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Wildcatz abe at U.Arizona.EDU
Tue Nov 18 09:37:34 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? 
	I have no grand social answers - just comments for smaller
individual social cirles.  I think part of it depends on the circles you
run in.  I have friends I do have great discussions with, we recommend
books to each other - those kinds of conversations where you stay up all
night solving all the world's problems.  Some of the best classes I've had
have been English classes, where we spent most of our time discussing the
books.  I get such a charge out of those kinds of things.  It's a
wonderful chance for me to exercise my brain without it being the
structured kinds of things required in a classroom.  But then I have
friends that if try to initiate that kind of conversation with - they look
at me like I was speaking Martian.  There certainly were the experiences
in high school, getting a high score on the exam and not necessarily
wanting to advertise that fact, because then you get teased for breaking
the curve for the rest of the students, who then couldn't get the high
grades they wanted without the work.  We're an instant gratification
society.  We want our food in less than a minute, we want our car and
glasses fixed in less than an hour - no one wants to wait to put the time
and effort into anything to assure a quality output.
	I think one way to help change starts at home.  Some of my
favorite childhood memories were laying in bed at night waiting for Mom
and Dad to come and tuck me in, trying to think of questions to ask my
Dad, to keep him there talking with me.  He always had time for my
questions, time to give me clues and let me try to figure it out on my
own.  That's one of the things he and I both miss now that I'm away at
school.  Mom always asked us how school went and used to ask us what we
learned that day - until we got old enough to decide Mom was being silly
for asking!!  :)  I think parents encouraging good work at school, and
encouraging individual and creative thought is very important - clearly
not to the point that the child feels pressured to have good grades for
mom and dad and then starts cheating - but so that the child learns to
value the effort, not neccessarily the grade.

abe :)
"Uh Lady ... you don't work here!"
	-Ani DiFranco, concert in Tempe

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