Second Class Session in the First Year Seminar

Today we had our second class in the seminar, a more traditional sort of class meeting than the other day. We discussed some of the big questions that tend to be assumed in most college courses, but which make sense to me to raise explicitly. (More on these below.)

The dynamics of the class were very intriguing to me. I’ve had first year students in intro classes before, but they’ve tending to hide behind the upper class students, figuratively at least. This group was very different, showing a remarkable willingness to speak up and at quite a sophisticated level. Even the students I had to call on to participate had something thoughtful to say.

The questions (and a sample of the responses) included:

  • What is education

Education is both an accumulation of knowledge and the ability to learn. Education is a tool and a service.

Education is the foundation of all prosperous societies and the fuel behind any successful business. Not only is in necessary, but it is a desirable thing to have. Ayn Rand said that the worst sort of man is the man with no purpose, he who accepts what he has and makes no attempt to better himself or make his life fulfilling. I fully agree; who could possibly be satisfied with ignorance? I understand that education is not available to all, but any man with a hint of respect for himself should at least desire some basic knowledge.

Education [is] a process that fundamentally tries to shape and form a maturing organism’s values and habits, skills and modes of thought needed for social functioning.

Education is the label given to the acquisition of knowledge, either formally or informally. Education can be a discussion in a lecture hall or searching a topic on Google. They are both forms of education.

  • What is higher education? What is the purpose of higher education?

Higher Education means using the acquired skills as a foundation to a more individual, critical and networked way of thinking. This can be accomplished by continuously learning, informing and by further developing these skills so the person may develop an individual opinion on specific topics instead of accepting the general one.

Higher level education is the pursuit of knowledge beyond the rudimentary elements of math and language that allow an individual to simply function in society. As the accumulation of knowledge increases so does ones ability to be a useful member of society.

Higher education is designed for the elite and capable to further their educations. Higher education helps to foster societal intelligence, and new ideas. I am here to learn about the world I live in, and most importantly to learn about myself and my capabilities.

College offers me the opportunity to become more independent and to learn more about handling life.

  • Why did you choose this course? Why study globalization?

I chose this course because I am interested in globalization, people, and the future of our kind. Globalization helps people to understand about the way different cultures act in combination with each other, and I am interested in that already (as I am working towards a double major in Anthropology and Psychology)

Globalization is such and important movement and it is still unfolding before us and it is unusual to be able to study something as it happens.

I think that it is interesting to see the way that people and cultures interact with one another. What would happen if we put a McDonalds in Cuba? I also feel like I’ve never received the whole picture when it comes to globalization. Is their really no way to at least slow down the continual sacrifice of American jobs?

I am studying globalization because it is the future, it is inevitable, and, if understood, it is a fantastic opportunity. Our world is undergoing a fundamental change, and I plan to be riding it rather than being run over by it. What I can bring to the class is a passionate interest in the topic and a firm faith in its inevitability and goodness.

  • What do you bring to this class? If this group were to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in terms of our learning about globalization, what would they be?

I have a limited economics background from attending the Foundation for Teaching Economics camp. I am also well traveled and have seen everything from extravagant European capital as well as the slums of Belize; I feel I have seen, heard, and experienced many things and have some insight about the world that the average 18 year old American might not have.

I am very familiar with computers and the internet. I have also done a lot of traveling, inside and outside the country. I have basic education in anthropology, and I’m naturally a critical thinker. My weakness is my time constraints. I’ve got a full schedule this semester, so any extra time I have to do lengthy research on this subject will be limited

I don’t have a wealth of knowledge about globalization. I’m also handicapped in that I’m not particularly trustful of technology. However, due to my family background and other experiences I’ve had with people in lower income levels, I have a lot of concerns about the future of American jobs.

I was born and raised in the slower-paced country Germany. I bring a different – a more passive perspective on globalization to the class than most Americans. One of my weaknesses might be the fact that I’m not familiar with all of the concepts – and the disadvantage of English not being my first language.

I bring strong rhetoric skills, and an understanding of global politics, essential in a study of Globalization. My weaknesses are my writing ability, as well as my lack of understanding of economic principles.

For now at least, the students seem to have bought into the program. 🙂

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3 Responses to Second Class Session in the First Year Seminar

  1. Angela says:

    I was very impressed by some of the comments of your students–particularly the conception of one student of higher education as a critical and networked way of thinking. Pretty sophisticated! I want to take this class too!

  2. Pingback: Pedablogy: Musings on the Art & Craft of Teaching » Blog Archive » Notes on the Seminar

  3. Pingback: Pedablogy: Musings on the Art & Craft of Teaching » Blog Archive » More Thoughts on Thursday’s Seminar Session

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