The Educational Problem and Opportunity

I received this NPR article today.  While it is oriented toward science in China, it also highlights the general educational problems and opportunities I/we will face there, largely due to cultural dynamics.

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/03/138937778/plagiarism-plague-hinders-chinas-scientific-ambition?sc=17&f=1001

Part of our faculty’s mandate, “as I understand it,” will be to gently yet firmly steer students toward a different way of thinking, one that will harness the shear intellectual horsepower already present in the students, but also to help them understand that saying things to a teacher, and each other, such as “I disagree with you,” “I don’t understand,” “Can you repeat that?” “I believe there’s another way of thinking abut this,” “This is what I think,” “I believe you are mistaken,” and so forth, is, or at least can and should be,  part of the academic enterprise.  Of course, I know that this will be an enormous challenge, but one that will be rewarding and, I hope and trust, fruitful.

I’m jazzed.

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