The New York Times Sunday Book Review had an item on Christmas 2016 in which it asked prominent (“notable”) people, mostly writers such as Hilary Mantel and James McBride and Maxine Hong Kingston, but also public figures like Paul Simon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, what they had read this past year.
They didn’t ask me—I’m not notable enough for the New York Times—but I want to weigh in. This blog lets me do it!
Living and Learning with Risk: Against Rubrics and Grades. How "Ungrading" Allowed My Students to Try Some New Things
I gave my students freedom to write (present) what they learned however they wanted. They were terrified; how could they get an A without a rubric??--and then they reveled in it. We took risks together, and learned together.
Here is a 3-minute movie I made, with the incredible assistance of undergraduates Taylor Still and Anne Visser, posted on YouTube, intended to introduce a series of other short films and podcasts.
*NOTE: Views are my own and are not the official positions of the University of Notre Dame.
Parents of college students: When you see your kids at Thanksgiving, don’t ask them how they are doing (in terms of grades). Ask them what they’ve learned. Ask what they have enjoyed. Ask what is magical, transformative, even useful.
And students: Don’t play for praise. Don’t learn for me.
Sink in, really be there, and forget about your teachers. Forget about me.
Play, learn, climb the log for yourself.
The American people and some of the rest of the world met Melania Trump in Cleveland. We are getting a first glimpse of a potential first lady and, by extension, her spouse. And who did we see? A plagiarist? Or a liar?
[Read below, or on Huffington Post]
Gym class is good for you. Vegetables are good for you (and me). It's prudent to know how to avoid credit card fraud. Everyone should know about climate change. We live in a diverse world so we need to learn about cultural diversity. But 1) random disconnected bits of knowledge do not make a person live a meaningful life and 2) when we force students to do something, even when it is good for them, they often try to avoid it or use the minimal energy possible.
That is the question: Can we make incremental changes or do we need wholesale enormous change? Kinda like the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders question. And while I'm with Hillary in politics, I'm with Bernie in my own thinking.
James M. Lang wrote about my book in this context in the Chronicle of Higher Education. See his piece on June 19, 2016.
"Small Changes or Big Revolutions? A new book says the higher-education model is too broken to be fixed piecemeal."
My Reflections on My New Book, "I Love Learning; I Hate School": An Anthropology of College, in conversation with Prof. Ilana Gershon
Here is the link to the interview I did with Ilana Gershon on the Communication, Media, and Performance blog, CaMP Anthropology, at Indiana University.
For perfectly well-intentioned reasons, many people advocate “college for all.” But going to college, as Bryan Caplan puts it, “is a lot like standing up at a concert to see better. Selfishly speaking, it works, but from a social point of view, we shouldn’t encourage it.”
Susan D. Blum
Who doesn't think there is something wrong with education? Anthropology has a lot to offer when we think about how to raise up our young--in often unexpected ways! Join me as my thinking about higher education unfolds.
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