Uninspiring classes and excessive material make learning difficult
By Grace McDaniel–
I’ve never considered myself good at school. I doodle, I write in the margins, my cursive is sub-par and my test average is just that. I’m no type A, or A-+, pupil. Nor have I ever been destined for Valedictorian.
But I love to learn.
I love the organization in algebra. I love recognizing allusions in poetry. I love analysis and deconstruction. Nothing excites me and motivates me to work hard more than being surrounded by intellectuals. I love people who know what they’re talking about.
However, this morning in my eighth class of college to date, surrounded by groggy teens and energy drinks, faced with a professor screeching about the primitive systems of writing in the ancient near east, I was less than charmed.
I was doing everything right. My seat was front row. My notes were accurate and detailed. My eyes followed every flick of the professor’s sharp brown ones while she mentally thumbed through her internalized version of History 101.
But while my blue pen drifted in and out of legibility and as I tore up my poor composition notebook in a frenzy to keep up with the pace of the lecture, I decided that this crude cycle of information regurgitation is not the type of education suitable for a love affair with curiosity.
Writer’s cramps and poundage of blue ink aside, I go to class, write my outlines, chew them up and spit them out. Will I be able to remember the major accomplishment of the Hittites when I’m thirty? Probably not. Am I able to remember the major accomplishment of the Hittites right now, an hour after my history lecture? Sadly, no.
This is not the type of education I love. This isn’t learning.
The professor asks if the pace of the lecture is all right for everyone, and I just want to say “Hold on a minute! I’m out of breath! So is ancient Greece!” We dwindle from 40,000 BCE to 500 BCE in just over six hours of lecture. And like some sort of fad crash-diet, history is losing it’s weight.
Instead of understanding our roots, especially as an all-American melting pot of a class, we’re memorizing, rehearsing, performing. There is no comprehension, no retention. There is only pass or fail, and next time.
I love to learn. I want to learn. I’m paying to learn. Am I being set up to learn?