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Wednesday, March 27, 2013


            In my last post I talked about my drive to answer questions. It’s why I write, it’s why I read literature, it’s what causes me hundreds of work hours when I decide to tackle a new project I have no background in and have to—say—teach myself how to program. Even though this drive causes me to put forth a lot of work, I love it. Not only do I learn something, I conquer the idea. Sometimes, more often of late, I look back and say “don’t do that again.” We don’t get wisdom unless we try.
            But I’ve been noticing more and more of late that my students don’t have this same desire. They don’t want to discover. They don’t want to venture out on their own to answer a question. They want someone to give them exacting directions, micromanaged to the nth degree.
            Where I hated professors handing down exact topics with in-the-box parameters, my students seem to revel in them. They would prefer someone tell them the answer then to seek it out for themselves.
            I find myself frustrated as I don’t see them able to learn as much under such restrictions, and it’s disturbing because they’re quite content where they are.
            I’m reminded of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. I’ve come into the cave to free them, to take them out into the wide world, but they want their shadows. I’m coming to believe that they have chained themselves to the wall.
            And I don’t know how to bring them out.

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