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Blog #1

To begin, I have to agree with Ms. Davidson and her focus on the negativity of a standardized education.  To me, the idea that this form of education gears us toward a “twentieth-century, white-collar, middle-management economy” is too true (81).  I hate thinking back to the classes I had in middle and high school that were just geared toward tests.  Here’s a big huzzah to the fact that I’m now in college and can have those kind of meaningful educational experiences.

One of the most memorable learning experiences I had was in an international studies class called Comparative Development Strategies.  We had an incredible professor that would challenge us each and every day.  To begin thinking about international development, our professor had us do a variety of parables.  A parable is a short story, usually including a simple lesson.  Our professor, however, did not use the simple kind of parables we grew up with.  He would pose a development question to us, and working as a group, like crowdsourcing, we would try to figure out an answer.  These short stories would begin huge conversations and disagreements about what should be done.  Studying for the SATs never prepared me for anything like this.  There were no multiple-choice options that would reveal the answer to the parable we were trying to solve.  As Ms. Davidson put it, I’m sure a show like American Idol or Top Chef prepared me more for the flexibility and adaptability that I was experiencing (127).  And that’s exactly what the parables about development taught us: we have to be flexible and constantly adapt.

This learning experience definitely helped me develop my critical thinking ability.  With each parable we had to weigh pros and cons, who would be hurt by our decisions or who would benefit, how plausible each option was.  Our teacher was trying to put us in the mindset of actually being in a country, doing real development work.  As difficult as that is to think about in a college classroom at DU, it made me think more in that mindset than I ever thought I could.

Communication was extremely important in these activities because we had to learn from each other.  You can’t go at development work alone, so communication and collaborating were key for us to utilize.  In this activity, communication became our road toward education.

I think a good boss-level challenge for this class would be to do some sort of activity where people were tested on their understanding of material after learning it from different mediums.  This could include videos, readings, or lectures/class discussions.  It would be interesting to see which medium of communication allowed students to retain the info.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 21, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Ha, when I first read your opening sentence, I misread it to be saying ‘I don’t agree’ and I was ready to go into my anti-standardized test rant. Anyway, it look like you’re engaging the material, and that you’re bringing a solid, well-informed background to the table. An enjoyable read, full credit for the assignment.

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