English: Education Essay

Submitted By nootgomez
Words: 1173
Pages: 5

Nathanial Gomez
Andrea McCaffree-Wallace
English Comp. 2
10 September, 2013 Mark Edmundson, an English professor at the University of Virginia, published an essay in September, 1997, titled “On the Uses of a Liberal Education.” In this article he writes about how there is a lack of passion in the school system as well as students as individuals, and how there is no intellectual curiosity whatsoever. The cause of this, Edmundson writes, is consumerism. Commercials, television, advertisements, and things alike are causing students to hop onto the bandwagon to become a “culture of the cool.” He wants to see aspiration, controversy, and inspiration, but the most he can get out of his classroom sessions are slumped over students with, at the most, a slight bit of interest with a liking for his relaxed and tolerant ways as a teacher. Edmundson also finds fault in the school systems for this as well. He observes that schools are catering to more of the students wants and extracurricular desires rather than focusing on the education aspect of college. While Edmundson is correct in his writing that consumerism is having an effect on students as far as becoming imprudent towards education and lack interest, he it is hard to agree when he says that college ads should be pulled completely and that teaching methods are pulling students even farther away from an intellectual education. Edmundson’s first generalization about the student mindset in todays school system can seem a little insulting at first, but with some consideration, he is not that far off. Many students today really are losing their desire for an education. He observes them mindlessly walk into class, waiting for the teacher to provide some sort of ice breaker in order to spark conversation (Edmundson 39). The classroom setting lacks the tension that occurs when a controversial topic is brought up. He wants his students to argue and question. He wants them to have successes and failures, otherwise, how else will they learn? I, for one, can attest to this. With my full year of college nearing as well as my high school education, I have noticed that students hardly ever want to voluntarily answer a question or ask the teacher why something is the way it is. If the student is called upon in class then they will answer the question almost reluctantly, and that’s if they even think they might know what the answer could be. Of course, there are a small number of students who are fairly are confident and are willing to put themselves out there, but it’s the vast majority that just seems as if they almost don’t care. Perhaps is because there are far more things to do than sit locked up in a classroom all day, which brings up the next subject. Edmundson argues that college advertisements are ruining the school systems and creating a “retirement spread for the young” (Edmundson 43). The money is going towards new dorm rooms, exercise facilities, entertainment rooms, and food courts. Yes, colleges are becoming more competitive and need to have the one up on their competition, but the point of going to college is being lost in translation. It makes sense that the colleges would try to accommodate the students desires (since having a degree is almost a necessity for any sort of career), and the schools need the money to stay functioning, but where is the focus on education? Upon taking a campus visit to the University of Colorado, right after everyone was checked in I would have expected to make a visit to a professor or lecture hall, but instead we went straight for the dorm rooms. After that it was the brand new gym equipment and then the different extracurricular programs that were offered. Not once did we visit a classroom (I had to stray from the guided tour on my own for a few minutes to actually see one), but they definitely tried to make an impression on how much fun going to this campus would be. I believe that if the advertisements took a favor to the educational