Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My lazy American students...

From Boston.com... the entire article is worth a read. This is just one professor's opinion but I think it is a fairly honest appraisal of many American students. It's not something that we want to hear - that our kids are lazy, that they are creative with no background knowledge - but we need some tough love as a society to fix this work ethic gap.

"By the time students are in college, habits can be tough to change. If you’re used to playing video games like “Modern Warfare’’ or “Halo’’ all night, how do you fit in four hours of homework? Or rest up for class?

Teaching in college, especially one with a large international student population, has given me a stark - and unwelcome - illustration of how Americans’ work ethic often pales in comparison with their peers from overseas.

My “C,’’ “D,’’ and “F’’ students this semester are almost exclusively American, while my students from India, China, and Latin America have - despite language barriers - generally written solid papers, excelled on exams, and become valuable class participants.

Chinese undergraduates have consistently impressed me with their work ethic, though I have seen similar habits in students from India, Thailand, Brazil, and Venezuela. Often, they’ve done little English-language writing in their home countries, and they frequently struggle to understand my lectures. But their respect for professors - and for knowledge itself - is palpable. The students listen intently to everything I say, whether in class or during office hours, and try to engage in the conversation.

Too many 18-year-old Americans, meanwhile, text one another under their desks (certain they are sly enough to go unnoticed), check e-mail, decline to take notes, and appear tired and disengaged.

Creativity without knowledge - a common phenomenon - is just not enough."

Cheers!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

IS THIS A FUNCTION OF A DISFUNCTIONAL FAMILY,OR LACK OF ABILITY OF OUR BLOATED BUREAUCRACY IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM?

The Artful Blogger said...

The trends highlighted in the article seem to appear across socio-economic classes so I don't think it's attributable to a dysfunctional family.

I also tend to give our schools the benefit of the doubt.

The article is a call to action to improve our work ethic as a nation. That involves families, teachers, politicians and private firms working together toward a goal. Unfortunately, the days of unified goals seem to be in the rearview mirror for the USA.

The professor did say in her article that the best American students combine an excellent work ethic with knowledge and creativity to produce superior products. However, there are too few students like that today.

Thanks for the comment.