Not a huge deal, but I figured, “What the heck? Give ‘em a ‘throwaway’…a no-brainer.” All they had to do was read an article carefully and find the mistake…a fairly obvious mistake.
So I gave them the title of the article and said it was in the Boston Sunday Globe. My mistaken assumption was that they would all leap merrily on this chance to get a guaranteed “A” for accomplishing a simple task, and I would be inundated with responses.
Within a couple of hours, I had gotten four responses…
- One asked, “What section of the paper is it in?” (Apparently no attempt whatsoever to look…as the article began at the top of Page One.)
- One asked, “Where can I find the article?” (Ditto above)
- One asked, “Can you give more information so I can find the article?” (1-2-3-4-5…)
- The last was more a statement: “The least you could do is give us the link to the article so we can find it.” (Won’t comment on that one.)
The fascinating part of this is that these are not newly-minted freshmen just learning the ropes of college. These are, for the most part, juniors and seniors…many of whom are starting to set their sights on “life after college” and…jobs!
This isn’t a new topic for me. I’ve gone off on a spree before venting about the reluctance (inability?) of today’s generation to look for solutions to problems. My perception is that they are sitting back complacently waiting for me…or someone…to waltz in the door with the answer for them on a silver platter.
I do have to hasten to add that this characterization doesn’t apply to all…but It’s real.
My challenge, and that of my academic colleagues, is to drive home the point that life doesn’t come with a preset menu of choices. We have to help/make our young charges come to grips with the fact that, more often than not, they will have to sift through the rubble of decision-making to find the solution to the problem at hand.
I’m not totally discouraged by this most recent exercise, however, as I can cheerfully report that, by the end of the evening, I had received a half-dozen correct responses from others, including one who pointed out an error that I had missed.
So there is hope! But the basic point remains. Thinking…It truly IS critical.
“To most people nothing is more troublesome than the effort of thinking.” – James Bryce, “Studies in History and Jurisprudence – Obedience”