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Karen Wheless kwheless at rockland.net
Mon Nov 17 12:29:42 EST 1997

> I am not sure what the answer is.  How do you instill a love of learning?
> I don't know but I think that even in the last 10 years, we've gone a long
> way towards losing whatever instilled it in the first place. I'd love to
> hear from people as to how they think it might be possible to make it cool
> to be an intellectual again.  How do you make it cool to be well-read, to
> have a great vocabulary?  When did being well-eduacted and literate become
> intellectual snobbery?  And how do we turn that around?

Unfortunately, I think it's become a vicious cycle.  When I started
college, I was thrilled with the idea of learning.  I would just go to
the library and read for fun (not just fiction, but all kinds of
things).  But I quickly found out that I couldn't do that and also do
well in school.  I started out loving biology, and ended up hating it
because all that mattered was memorizing a hundred facts and
regurgitating them on the test, not understanding the underlying
principles.  The beauty of nature and life was completely lost.  Getting
an "A" wasn't the most important thing in my life, but I was very aware
that I was on a scholarship and had to get A's and B's to stay in
school.  "Love of learning" doesn't always translate to the classroom,
at least the way a lot of subjects are taught.  Especially in
introductory classes, many of the better students are put off by the
relentless emphasis on the lowest common denominator, memorize a few
facts and don't think too much about why.  (Not all professors are like
that, of course, but I think they're the ones that get good teaching
evaluations, because students know exactly what to expect!)

Karen Wheless                 kwheless at rockland.net
 "Art is I, science is we."  Claude Bernard

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