4/30: College decisions; teaching to the test

Moderated by Maureen Downey

On the eve of the deadline for college decisions, three educators write that high school students should just as seriously consider the challenge of getting the best out of college as they did the challenge of getting into the best college.

In another guest column, a director of undergraduate studies at Georgia State University considers the question: Why not just teach to the test? Finally, on our Get Schooled blog, more than 100 parents recently commented on escalating prom costs.

One comment Add your comment

Mary Elizabeth

April 30th, 2012
10:13 am

If one of the reasons for educating is to enlighten, then we must acknowledge that enlightenment will not be forthcoming simply by teaching factual information. Below is a paragraph from my blog which elaborates upon this thought.

“I have observed that some who view others with generalized, stereotypical perceptions, often insist that the only valid ways of knowing truths are through factual, mathematical, and scientific deductions. Although those ways of perceiving should be valued, it seems that many who accept only those ways of perceiving truth often fail to recognize and develop higher consciousness concerning why we are here, who we and others are in full, and how we should relate to others. These ways of understanding reality are fostered, not by a series of facts, but by the humanities, which emphasize mutilayered dimensions of thinking and perceiving human nature with complexity. Moreover, those who are exclusively centered on sets of facts for determining reality may often fail to appreciate the transcendent beauty and power of the human spirit, as experienced in performances such as Puccini’s ‘Madame Butterfly.’ The humanities and the arts aid in cutting through stereotypical thinking into more realistic and complex understanding of ourselves and others. Seeing others as stereotypes not only limits the other in our mind, but it also impairs our ability to solve effectively many of the world’s problems. For example, I do not think the problems between Israelis and Palestinians will be solved, regardless of how many facts are on the table, until both groups can envision the other as equal human beings who have an equal right to exist where they are, and not simply as the embodiment of a stereotypical external label, which can easily be turned into a one-dimensional, caricatured enemy.”