Friday, January 04, 2013


Yesterday a student and I were chatting.  I mentioned to him my worries and pet peeves concerning my students' participation in a national language exam.  As it so happens, many of the students have little to no motivation to put effort into the exam, as they are often resigned to the fact that they will not succeed and as such, choose to put as little effort into answering the questions as possible. 

His response went something like this, "Well, most of us just don't give a ****."  I may have been and might still somewhat be an overachiever, but I am convinced that the extent to which the teenage blase attitude currently extends has reached a new summit.  I feel that working with young people in their teenage years might have focused my lens more tightly than it should be, but I worry about a generation of people who never had to use phonebooks, never had to use an encyclopedia for a school project, never had to sell cookies door-to-door, has no idea how the dewey decimal system works, and would rather order pizza via their iPad than make a 3 minute phone call.  I mean talking to some "rando" at a pizza place is uncomfortable, amirite?

Don't misunderstand me.  I enjoy the convenience that technology and its cousin the internet bestow upon us all.  Sometimes I would rather not speak to a person face to face but instead send an email.  I do not however, doubt that this particular tendency is the result of technological influence on my life.  I wonder how the world expects a generation of young people who start using iPads and cellular phones between the ages of 7 and 12 to understand why it is important to keep hard copies of books in libraries, why it is important for them to know who their neighbors are, why it is important to be able to have a conversation (albeit awkward) with someone you have never met. 

Maybe it is just me.  I tend to view the world around me as the same place it was when I was growing up.  It frightens me to think that my views on what is useful, just, practical, and necessary are going to some day be viewed as old-fashioned and trite.  I pray that what I know as a vital set of life skills will always remain exactly that, vital.  Even though I say I view the world as unchanged, I know that is not true.  The world changes more quickly than ever, at least according to the Charlie Rose's interviews.

Technology and the internet gives my students endless opportunities to be curious lifelong learners.  They have incalculable advantages over their forebears in that they are able to find answers to their questions with a button click, a finger swipe, or an uttered word.  On the flip side, this easy access to virtually unlimited amounts of information and knowledge has a tendency to dull their curiosity's blade.  Why do you need to keep the knife sharp if the substance you are cutting is so pliable?  We need to find a way to encourage our students and children to keep looking.  To keep wanting to look, simply for the sake of having worked to achieve something if nothing else.  Every time we get something for nothing, we get a little bit more satisfied.  As Hatebreed says, "Satsifaction is the death of desire" and I for one, would hate to live a life where desire is absent.      


Blogger Greg said...

Let's keep this thing going.

8:50 AM  

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