Many students would likely cite a desire to learn as the primary reason for committing four years to a college education. But what do we really mean when we use the word “learn”? It is something we all do from the moment of birth, so most of us likely take this very complex process for granted. How many of you have spent time trying to understand the meaning of learning, or how it occurs? Although many of us have a general sense of what it means to learn, there are often many assumptions involved. Teachers often assume that, because they are “teaching,” students must be learning. Students assume that, because they have read their text and memorized facts, they have learned something. What should we expect to learn from a college education? What are the roles of students and teachers in the learning process? Are certain kinds of learning and thinking more valuable than others? What does sophisticated thinking look like and what are the developmental stages for getting there? What kinds of skills and knowledge do employers desire in their perspective employees? How do grades reflect a student’s thinking and learning? What role does higher education play in modern society? These are but a few questions to consider while reflecting on the purpose of a college education.
“Here we use the Socratic method: I call on you; I ask you a question; you answer it. Why
don’t I just give you a lecture? Because through my questions you learn to teach yourselves.
Read also: Learning to Learn – Slides