Feb 3: Are they learning yet? The Redux

This morning I received this from In Socrates Wake. A few days ago, in Dr. Joe Moxley’s ENC 6720 Studies in Composition Research, we had discussed the recent release of Academically Adrift, in which the authors conclude that students “aren’t learning much” in contemporary higher education. HERE is my initial response to Academically Adrift. Below is the redux – a response to Chris Panza and, in effect, a redux to my initial response to the text. *My response (and Panza’s subsequent response to my response to his post …I know … ) is also posted HERE, on the In Socrates’ Wake blog.

Karen Langbehn said…
Michael –
You’re right, Chris makes an intelligent point re: habits. But while reading Chris’s/your post, I wondered about HOW this habiting occurs. How does a student decide to commit to a habit of doing anything? I suppose my questions would consist of something like, “How do students decide which habits to foster and which to avoid? What are good habits for [anystudent]? What are counter-productive habits?”
From the way I see things, when we seek the answers to these questions, we find ourselves arriving at something significantly bigger: motivation. Is it logical to assume that a student will develop a habit because they have identified a motivation/motivations? I believe so. In fact, I firmly believe that a student’s (or anyone’s – yours, mine, …) diligence in asking him/herself simple yet profound questions like, “Why am I here?” and “What do I want?” require indulgence in dreaming … dreaming about purpose – which seems to offer long-term goals (or at least ruminations about long-term goals) or, in other words, motivations. From these motivations, then, students can more easily decide on the habits that reflect, enhance, and – ultimately – realize – their larger-scale motivations. 

*As an aside, at the end of each semester, I’ve made a habit of writing my version of “The Last Lecture” (see http://www.thelastlecture.com/). To be brief, my last lectures serve two purposes: the primary purpose of the practice – the habit – of writing this type of reflection reminds me of “why I’m here” and “what I want”. The secondary purpose is to tell a story about what motivation may look like; to use my/others’ narratives as suggestions for how to model/channel our dreams into realities. I post all of my “last lectures” here (https://karenlangbehn.wordpress.com/category/last-lectures/).
Again, thanks for sharing such an intelligent, insightful, and productive post.

February 3, 2011 6:02 AM


About klangbehn

Doctoral Candidate: Rhetoric of Science University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Avenue Tampa, FL 33620-5550 View all posts by klangbehn

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