BUT, we do have a great many “best practices” because of this tradition…8 This was one of my very first blog posts (back in February 2011) - way before I rediscovered my love of visual literacy (that's why it has no images)! I have had an 'upgrade' (or follow-up post) on me to-do-list for some time - but just wondered if the post has stood up to the 'test of time'. I think it has...but looks better with a few images (and a few 'red-hot' links)...what do you thunk? 8
Trust me – I’ve asked people these questions over and over. Noone has been able to give me an answer – apart from “That’s just the way it is”…. 8
Maybe, I’m a bit thick!
Maybe, the university (we know and love) has a wee design flaw!8 Here’s another one…why do we train PhD candidates only to do research, when we know most of them will be hired to “teach” our kids. Teaching people “how to teach” (or at least helping them “understand how people learn”) would seem like a pretty good idea for say, a lecturer, yes?
...it all does not seem “right” somehow…8 Yeah, yeah...Tony's needs to blow off some steam and have a rant! But it’s not just me that thinks that the Academe’s obsession with research might, just a teeny-weeny bit, be getting in the way of student LEARNing. Lauren Pope, writing in 2006, offered this advice to parents and kids getting ready for college:
...for the undergraduate, the Ivies and their clones are scams. In those universities, you will be ignored. There are no rewards for teaching, so professors, famous or not, do little or none of it. If they do, you’ll only ever see them behind a lectern. In many of these schools you will never write a paper. Nearly half of your enormous classes will be taught by part-timers, many of whom can barely speak English. And he was talking about the best universities on the planet.
As things stand, less than half of all young people go on to university, and many of those who do, now endure an assembly-line experience at least as passive and depersonalised as school.
These damaging things are compiled by statisticians who can only measure input factors, many of which are totally irrelevant to education. They know nothing about what happens to young minds and souls in the four years of college. Some anonymous Canadian has said the American way of judging the quality of college by the grades and scores of the freshmen it selects is like judging the quality of a hospital by the health of the patients it admits. What happens during the stay is what counts.Trust me – it is not only America and the UK that plays these games – try every country on the planet!
Some of the best Turkish universities play the game, too – and are getting very good at it.8 Those of us who love (or have "adopted" - as home) Turkey all know, deep down in our hearts (and because the World Bank tells us), that most public universities in Turkey have been developed as though they are or will be “research universities” (whatever that really means). This is despite the fact that the level of research is low at most institutions and the post-graduate population remains tiny – this is even true of the newer, more dynamic foundation (private) universities. Granted there are a few “stars” in the Turkish Academe – but many other members of the Academe remain “little more than secondary schools” (Mızıkacı).
and '6'...and '7'...and '8'...and...8 And, we know that our schools are doing little more than socialising Turkish children into the “ways of the examocracy” – while doing really well as “supply schools” for the “Dershane Culture”.
BUT, he says again, it all does not seem “right” somehow…8 Wouldn’t it be süper if the Academe could respond to a few of these issues – with more than “a bun-fight” any time we put them on the table? Wouldn’t it be great if more of them committed to:
Making a difference in student lives by putting learning at the heart of what they do,
Promoting real learning by community building, purposeful engagement and encouragement of risk-taking on the part of all students and staff, and
Providing choice, widening interdisciplinary collaboration, and making sure they produce meaningful “value added” in every single student.
And then, did something about it.
For our “sevgili inekler” (who tell me off for not citing my sources):
Anderson, C. W. (1993). Prescribing the life of the mind: an essay on the purpose of the university, the aims of liberal education, the competence of citizens, and the cultivation of practical reason. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press
Claxton, G. (2008). What’s the point of school? Oxford: Oneworld
Mızıkacı, F. (2006). Higher education in Turkey. UNESCO-CEPES. Monographs on Higher Education. UNESCO, Bucharest
Pope, L (2006). Colleges that change lives. (New York, Penguin)
Schleicher, A. (2006). The Economics of knowledge: Why education is key to Europe’s success. Lisbon Council Policy Brief, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2006). ISSN 2031-0943