this Onion piece: The headline makes the point right away: "English Professor Suddenly Realizes Students Will Believe Literally Anything She Says." (They really do. Trust me).
While the piece is funny, I think it also reveals a deeper truth. William Deresciewicz, a Yale writing professor, explores this topic in his compelling essay "The Disadvantages of an Elite Education." Here's a brief excerpt of his condemnation of "elite educations":
"Being an intellectual begins with thinking your way outside of your assumptions and the system that enforces them. But students who get into elite schools are precisely the ones who have best learned to work within the system, so it’s almost impossible for them to see outside it, to see that it’s even there.
Long before they got to college, they turned themselves into world-class hoop-jumpers and teacher-pleasers, getting A’s in every class no matter how boring they found the teacher or how pointless the subject, racking up eight or 10 extracurricular activities no matter what else they wanted to do with their time. Paradoxically, the situation may be better at second-tier schools and, in particular, again, at liberal arts colleges than at the most prestigious universities." (bold, mine).It is out of our hope that you become intellectuals that Mr. B and I urge you to create your own philosophies on the issue of civil liberties and why it is paramount that you stake out your own positions on your blogs!
How does our school promote individual thinking, the questioning of authority? Where does it fall short? How might we do better?