By: Lawrence H. Summers, The New York Times
Level of difficulty: ***
Thanks are due to my friend and colleague Kerem Özkan for this interesting text.
BEFORE YOU READ
1. What is the purpose of education?
2. Does the purpose of education change over time?
3. What should the purpose of education be in the 21st century?
4. What changes would you make to current classroom practices to achieve this aim?
- Read the first two paragraphs of the text. The writer starts with the following words: “A paradox of American higher education is this”. What is the paradox? You will have to use your own words. Be brief.
- In the fourth paragraph, the writer states that “inertia may be appropriate”. Give an example from the text of what the writer is referring to with the word “inertia”.
- Now state clearly why the inertia is, perhaps, a good thing?
- Why exactly should emphasis shift away from factual mastery?
- What current trend should be reflected in education in the writer’s view?
- What are the advantages of practices like accelerated video lectures?
- More dynamic learning will encourage students to …………………………………………………………………
- What developments could reduce the need to learn languages?
- Which of the following does the writer advocate: the introduction of analysis into education, the introduction of analysis into all spheres of life or the introduction of more in depth analysis into education?
PROBLEM / SOLUTION ESSAY
Write a four paragraph essay discussing the changes the writer envisages to improve the current education system. Use the notes, thesis statement and topic sentences provided to come up with a quasi summary of the text. Your second alternative is to write a multiple text based essay after covering "An Examination of 21st Century Skills" by Dean Vendramin and "A Five Point Programme for Policy on Education: How Do Policymakers, Parents and Teachers Fit in? by Professor Frank Furedi. Consult the notes concerning these tasks for further instructions.
Thesis statement: There are various changes that need to be implemented in the current educational systems if we are to keep up with the times.
First developmental paragraph: Opportunities should be provided for students to develop their inherent cognitive skills. In this context, discuss the following: how to process and use information, how to analyze information. Remember to provide examples and your own views as well.
Second developmental paragraph: New technology should be allowed pride of place in the classroom of the 21st century. In this context, discuss the following: how technology will change teaching and learning, collaboration, active learning classrooms. Remember to provide examples and your own views.
WHAT YOU (REALLY) NEED TO KNOW / KEY
This is a text about education and learning, a subject which usually goes down like a lead bullet with students, but this one won’t; I guarantee. It is so topical, and so successfully gets to the heart of what all our problems are about worldwide that it can’t but capture and hold students’ attention. The plan for the writing task is closely linked to the text and will help students revise their summarizing skills, show them how text related writing tasks are planned and help develop those cognitive skills.
- Although college campuses are seen as the sources for the newest thinking and for the generation of new ideas, society’s cutting edge undergraduate education changes remarkably little over time.
- Select from paragraph three.
- Part of universities’ function is to keep alive man’s greatest creations…
- Because of both proliferation of knowledge and how much of it any student can absorb
- Professors will have more time for direct discussion with students, cost savings, material will be better presented.
- Actively use the knowledge they are acquiring
- Rapid progress in machine translation and the fragmentation of languages around the world.
- The last.