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Re: <nettime> New Media Education and Its Discontent
Michael H Goldhaber on Thu, 9 Oct 2003 20:16:19 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> New Media Education and Its Discontent


Some of the items in this thread are quite disturbing, such as the thought
that many people are insufficiently intelligent to go to university, but
should rather go to polytechnics or the like:

"Public universities are packed with students who simply should not be in
college. This policy
that everyone's son or daughter should be able to go to college is ludicrous
and devalues the degrees of those of us who belong," says David Patterson.

It strikes me that much anti-intellectualism stems from many students' being
led to expect from early on that they just can't cut it, that they are
essentially unworthy, and that there is nothing they can do  about it. At the
same time, in our society, it is repeatedly claimed that education is the key
to a good job and thereby a good life. Naturally this combination breeds
resentment and resistance to being told either to read, write or think, in
many cases, even though many who end up resisting formal thought are
perfectly capable of thinking, and indeed, outside the academy often do it
well. (Today, Gramsci's "organic intellectuals of the working class" might
well be rap singers, e.g.)

To pursue the discussion, a definition of  "intellectual" might be
worthwhile, so I will start with my own idiosyncratic attempt: "an
intellectual is a person who never gives up trying better to understand the
world and her place in it, and continues to attempt to live according to
that."

This definition doesn't particularly favor the written word, nor scholarship,
but it also cannot be satisfied with narrow expertise of any sort.

It strikes me that the role of a teacher should be  in part to help  find
ways to honor and encourage each student 's best forms of being an
intellectual , in this sense, without necessarily using the label.  Even
better would be to help all the members of a class recognize each others'
ways of being intellectuals. I am not saying that in my own teaching I do any
of this very well.

Michael H. Goldhaber

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