ERIC Number: EJ923534
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 5
Where Is the Space for Education?
Davidson, Ron; Henderson, Lynette K.; Knotts, Greg; Swain, John
About Campus, v16 n1 p30-32 Mar-Apr 2011
Many competing factors are now affecting how students think about higher education. One primary factor is the use of a business model for education--highlighting profit, patents, commercial investments, and the use of market competition, for example--appears to have become commonplace. Boards of education and university presidents now include a high number of business executives and corporate employees. This model has had some negative effects on traditional institutions of teaching and learning in higher education--including disintegration of tenured positions, overemphasis on efficiency and standardization, and the marketing of education as a commodity to "student-consumers" who view a "degree", not an "education", as the goal. Other factors affecting students' attitudes and expectations in school include the changing uses of technology for teaching and learning, budget cuts, suppressed enrollments, the increasingly fast-paced flow of information, and a sense that planning for a particular career may be an outdated notion. So what, then, is the place of education today? Jerry Farber presents a model of episodic learning--the contextualized (in intellectual and physical space), present, deep, robust, and substantive experience of learning communally and specifically. It is this sort of engagement in discourse--within a context, face-to-face, interpreting the intentionality of speakers, and the purposefulness of the constructive and collective learning activities--that drives the purpose for education. This episodic learning is necessary in that it mirrors the larger social/cultural world of shared collective/public experiences (learning in a classroom, standing in line at the grocery store, attending a concert, driving on the freeway). To learn, or to become educated, then, involves the ability to critically reflect and deconstruct those experiences, not simply to have them. Education provides the opportunity to engage in the world, not simply to exist in it in predetermined ways. In this article, the authors advocate for the preservation of the formerly understood purpose of a higher education--as transformative and as a road to enlightenment. Even in the current corporate state business model, and high-tech world of today's higher education, the authors advocate for a conscious investment in thinking that is precipitated by the goal of lifelong learning, not simply education as a pathway to a career, or education as a checklist of degree requirements.
Descriptors: Student Attitudes, Lifelong Learning, Performance Factors, Educational Objectives, Student Educational Objectives, Educational Philosophy, Foundations of Education, Influences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A