That’s the question two researchers ask in a commentary for the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Now while the authors have come under a certain amount of attack, there are some very interesting points in this article that may point at why fewer people place demands on K-12 librarians to prepare students for college.
Is it possible … just a little bit … that some students aren’t getting the kinds of undergraduate experiences that require the diet of critical thinking and problem-solving that we anticipate?
If the researchers are correct, there’s a pretty low amount of cognitive growth happening for students. And why is that? The authors posit that it’s because everybody’s happy with how undergraduate education currently works. Students get time to socialize; administrators get a steady flow of tuition dollars; professors get time to work on projects; parents get a diploma to frame.
(Not sure I agree that everybody’s happy … I think most undergraduate professors at highly-ranked institutions are pretty happy, but I hear from ones at lower-ranked institutions that they see kids with poor study skills and little drive to learn … but then again, let’s get a reality check: nobody’s publishing my work in Chronicle of Higher Education.)
Take a minute to read this article in its entirety. Does it explain some of the placidity with which you see some parents, students, and colleagues when you make a plea for deep thinking activities? Does it explain why some governmental agencies and politicians don’t prioritize the very kinds of critical thinking skills librarians prize?
It’s a sobering essay, in any event. Read on.