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Amanda Kesner kesner at aecom.yu.edu
Mon Nov 24 13:49:04 EST 1997

> 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!)

I'm sorry to say that this was my experience, too, at MIT.  Most of my
classes WERE aimed at the pre-meds, and therefore, were almost solely
focused on memorizing the "facts"  that the profs wanted you to
regurgitate, rather than learning concepts and critical thinking.  Very,
very few of my bio courses taught these really important skills, and the
students that were there to learn, rather than get into med school,
suffered greatly.  (I am forced to admit, however, that during my time at
MIT, I knew exactly 2 bio majors other than myself who were not pre-med. 
One is in law school, now, and the other is planning on entering grad
school next fall like me.  So much for teaching the future researchers...) 
Just my gripes on the subject...


Amanda L. Kesner
Research Technician
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
kesner at aecom.yu.edu

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