The Decline Of Conceptual Thought and Critical Thinking In America…

I recently read an article, “Who’s University Is It Anyway” by Ron Srigley , that just made me want to cry…no, weep for all of us in this country who are standing by and watching as our colleges/universities are being micro-managed by administrators right out of any true form of existence. We are selling not only our children’s education down the river, but we are denying them the chance to become who they are–we are keeping them from their own journeys and all they might discover not only about themselves, but about the world around us–maybe even become part of the solution to the problems facing us today…

I am going to stop right there as I already replied (in length) in the comments section of the article itself and if I get going–I’m going to become even more angry. I encourage anyone who cares about higher education, university instructors, and all the things we need to learn to help us explore the human condition to click on the above link and have a look for yourself at what is going on with our system of higher education in America. Please share the link as well.

3 thoughts on “The Decline Of Conceptual Thought and Critical Thinking In America…

  1. I’ve given up on the whole business. Now and then, I make a list of awful finds: grammar, word usage, bizarre ideation, etc., with the intention of blogging about it. Why bother? Give it a couple more decades, and everything will be visual or audio, for a population that can’t read, write, or think. We’re well along on that path already.

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    1. I don’t blame you…I see it too, especially as I tutor college students–Undergraduate to Graduate and I am often at a loss as to how universities are allowing these students, particularly young ones, to progress through at all. Some, the few who come into college with actual spelling, grammar, and basic essay skills–the challenge is to help them to use those skills while cultivating critical thinking in what they are trying to get across in their written communication–be that an essay, thesis, or business letter. While they still need a bit of help/work they have some basic tools to start with, but these students are few and far between and I’m seeing even fewer as time goes on. Mainly I find myself working with students who don’t have a clue how to formulate their thoughts into any kind of cohesive written statement. They lack the spelling, grammar, and basic essay skills I can remember learning in the seventh and eighth grades–it is an appalling view of our country’s education system. Add to this technology’s ability to present the world in brief, pre-selected, and often biased snippets that rarely cover the depth and scope of a given problem/issue…and you wind up with people who are not only enjoying technology now, but will become completely reliant on it later as they slowly lose their ability to form, much less relay complex ideas of their own to another human being.
      I don’t think that it is enough to rely on technology and I think many people are making that mistake–possibly to the point you are suggesting in your reply. Technology is great in many instances and definitely has its place in making our world better–but I do not believe that an all out bail on the importance of cultivating all the skills we need, not only to problem solve critically, but to apply what we learn and know to find solutions to the problems facing us today is the way to go. Regardless of the advances in technology, wherever we go, and whatever we do…there we are–and if it is the we…the I…the you…the me that we are in the end left with–we’d better make damn sure that we have the ability to know ourselves (the human condition)–for if we can’t know that, how can we hope to know, to understand anyone or anything else?
      Gahhhh! This kind of thing just drives me crazy and I agree that, at times, it looks like there is no way to turn things around–but I am hoping still that there is–failing that–lies madness I think.

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      1. I understand your frustration. My husband was an English teacher, and I think he would have just thrown his hands in the air and found another career if he was alive now. I’m not much in touch with what’s going on in education these days, but the snippets that come my way make me think you’ve hit the main point: students aren’t being given the basic tools they need. If anyone wants a good cross-section of competence and incompetence at communicating and comprehension, I would recommend reading the comments on various news sites, and the book reviews on Amazon. It’s pretty scary stuff. At the back of my mind is always this question: How are the next couple of generations going to cope with the massive changes being wrought by climate change?

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