The following video is of Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus
of Linguistics at MIT:
For Noam, politicians designed our educational system to
preserve the forces already in power. To me, that seems a bit too conspired.
But having being familiar with both the British education system as well as the
American one, it’s true that large American universities make far greater use
scantrons and standardized methods than the British. Most of the work in the UK
is done on the student’s own time, outside of class through research, reading,
and writing essays and reports. Here, rather than asking students to using
learned facts and processes to design solutions, our approach seems to
emphasize using study guides and syllabi that outline exactly what a student
needs to study to get an A on the final. Rarely are we given any substantial
writing portion, and if we are, we are generally scrutinized on how many facts
we can recall, rather than rewarded for having original thought.
It probably wouldn’t be too hard to incorporate free
thinking and creativity into Gen-Eds, and I feel that it mostly has to do with
the amount of writing we’re expected to do for those classes. The University
would need to train TAs to grade essays, but the value of innovative thinking
is well worth the effort.