The Collegiate Learning Assessment reveals that some 45 percent of students in the sample had made effectively no progress in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing in their first two years. And a look at their academic experience helps to explain why. Students reported spending twelve hours a week, on average, studying—down from twenty-five hours per week in 1961 and twenty in 1981.
Is it possible that what academics call “critical thinking” etc is actually just “memorizing our propaganda” — and students’ “inability” to acquire “critical thinking” skills is therefore a good thing?
Anyway… This is the key takeaway:
Second, and more depressing: vast numbers of students come to university with no particular interest in their courses and no sense of how these might prepare them for future careers. The desire they cherish, Arum and Roksa write, is to act out “cultural scripts of college life depicted in popular movies such as Animal House (1978) and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (2002).” Academic studies don’t loom large on their mental maps of the university.
People want/need to base their lives on a book they’ve read or movie they’ve seen.
This is not, by the way, an exclusively liberal predilection.
I can’t say whether or not this is a new phenomenon (that is, circa 20th century), but that it exists now, and is chronic and toxic, is obvious.
Unless you’ve photographed it — the crime, the sex, the party — it didn’t really happen.