(This was written a lifetime ago, before the corona virus totally changed the academic landscape. But it is more relevant than ever today with online classes. Teachers now grieve over the way students respond to lessons with a camera and microphone at their fingertips, turned on and off at will. Call this post, then, an ancient lament of a once-upon-a-time traditional college teacher.)
It was one of those days.
“Today’s marketing is consumer-centric. Meaning, ooops,” I caught myself, “I am spoon-feeding!”
One looked up from his laptop and in his loudest voice said, “Miss, spoon-feed all you want!”
They listened to my every word after that—and without their knowing it, I veered away from spoon-feeding.
More than any time in our educational history, most students today want to be told what they need to know. Instead of thinking on their own, they click a few buttons on their gadget and there it is! The idea has been fleshed out for them in various ways. It’s like eating puree that needs no chewing, just swallowing.
If you are a teacher and you want to make your life easier, spoon-feed. Just give them all the information so they do not need to think for themselves.
But I guess I am of the old school. In my workroom, I keep a card—given to me by one outstanding student on World Teacher’s Day years ago—that reads:
“What does bureaucracy mean?” I asked once. He was a lawyer, he should have been able to explain it in a few words.
He said instead, “Look it up.” I did, and I’ve been looking up things on my own since.
As a part-time college teacher, my approach to student learning is based on Matthew 7:7: “Seek, and you will find.” (ESV)