As a student, I have read “On the Use of a Liberal Education: As Lite Entertainment for Bored College Students” written by Mark Edmundson many times. Edmundson’s article is now published in textbook (for example: from Inquiry to Academic writing) and taught in English university education. Edmundson argues that nowadays liberal education is as lite entertainment for bored college students; education is product and universities are suppliers that satisfy the expectation of consumer students. In any aspect, I agree with him. The education now is changing in bad way.
The students do no longer care about what they need to learn in the school except for their point. But why does this happen? This article just show one side of students. What about teacher? School? Family? Or society? Generally, there are some points I consider make me not believe or agree with this article absolutely. First, he wrote this article after many-year teaching. This is based on his be-teacher experience. He is in the point of view of teacher. But despite teaching many years, how many student he taught? What percentage in the total number of students in USA or the world does it hold?
It is unfair and unbelievable when he draws the conclusion about all students with only students he has taught. Maybe he is right but he is also possible to be wrong. Because that number of student may be very high, maybe hold 70%, 80%, even 90% but also just 20%. There are no researches given in the article. No one knows the exact number so can’t give that conclusion. But the only thing we can believe is that many is not total; that many students are as consumers. Secondly, he says education is as lite entertainment for bored students. What is meant by bored students? How bored?
A teacher comments that students are bored so what did he/she do to improve them. I know learning is responsibility of own student but school or teacher is instructor leading them to what they need to explore themselves. They now are just in the wrong way, so it doesn’t mean they will be so forever. They now need a person to lead them in the right way. Besides, he just shows their present that they are bored but not shows the reasons. Why doesn’t he/she ask the question about himself, about his lessons. To each student, their ability to take lessons is very different so with a lesson, just some student feel interested.
In his essay, Edmundson claim that most student today consume their education than interact with it. He says he wanted his student connect with him, but it doesn’t mean they have to like or dislike him. He says that “ I don’t teach to amuse, to divert, or even, for that matter, to be merely interesting. He also says “ I think many of my student have imbibed their sense of self from consumer culture and in general from the tube in particular”. That not only shows his lack of native passion of a teacher but also that he become accept education’s business.
Next, when he assume that teacher do anything to make them satisfied, interested, I wonder just only students feel that. That time, did teachers feel satisfied? The answer is, of course, YES. Both teachers and students feel comfortable and facile. So why don’t make lesson colorful, instead, boring and not effective. Each teacher has different ways of teaching to help students understand lessons. One of them is that make it interesting. That means both create interesting atmosphere and help student easy to understand. Students are young people, no experience; they just learn what they care.
If schooling is bored, they can’t both study and find the right way to go in the future. But if the school is an interesting thing that they take everyday, they feel life to open, to explore and persue. The second view is clearly better that the first and why does he consider all such lesson as product standard for consumer students. The last thing I wonder is the reason why education is changing. Nowadays, society is developing with high technology and opening economy. Society requires people that are excellent or really good. How does society realize such people?
In general, it is evaluated based on the point of student at school. So, that students are always care about their point because they are worried about their future is grossly. Moreover, education system always evaluate their performance and achievement. Because of that, they always worry that they can lose, they can in the bottom at school and hope they are in the top. Some can make effort to reach it, but not all is the same. To some student, it is motive power to be better themselves but to the rest, it is pressure make them in stress. Besides, not all teachers is good.
Some requires presents and they “sell the mark”. To students, this is a good way to improve their mark not trying to study. That is small gap in education system. In the end, Edmundson’s article is not researched and have a few logical fallacies but warn us the status of education as product. Although there are something I disagree with him, evidence of his argument is not denied; it is difficult for anyone to argue that consumerism has not poured in the university to some degree. [That is my personal point of view. Maybe it is not right absolutely. ]