Does college make you dumber?
In this alarming article in MSNBC, Mike Ratiff answers the question in the affirmative. Even though this applies only to American institutions of higher education, I’m sure the situation is only slightly different here in India. I’ve blogged about my feelings regarding this issue before.
But one thing that sure did catch my eye was this about negative learning.
We were startled by the extent of what we call “negative learning.” When courses are not offered or required, the students forget what they knew when they entered as freshmen
I’ve seen this phenomena happen right before my eyes. Many of my friends in college who even though were genuinely smart, let their skills atrophy and were dumbfounded when tackling problems that inevitably required those skills. What was the most alarming part of all that was their sheer callousness in their attitude. Even when I pointed out that they were things that they had learnt in high school, they behaved as if it was entirely natural to forget the important skills and basic knowledge that was supposed to be the foundation on which higher education was built.
Though their attitude is partly culpable, I for one, put the blame squarely on the staff and faculty who have pretty much the same attitude. Its a sad state of affairs here and unless something drastic happens the future seems pretty bleak to me.