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Thursday, June 12, 2008

An educational cancer

Amazingly, some researchers have concluded that gazing at your own navel and talking endlessly about yourself may not be the best way to learn anything after all.

Schools and universities are producing a generation of “can't do” students, who are encouraged to talk about their emotions at the expense of exploring ideas or acquiring knowledge, academics claimed yesterday. The strong focus on emotional expression and building up self-esteem in schools and colleges was “infantilising” students, leaving them unable to cope with life on their own, according to the authors of a new book, The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education.

Dennis Hayes and Kathryn Ecclestone, of Oxford Brookes University, argue that this “therapeutic” approach to education is at odds with the acquisition of knowledge because it views the emotional skills associated with learning as more important than subject content or criticism. “Turning teaching into therapy is destroying the minds of children, young people and adults,” Dr Hayes told Times Higher Education. “Therapeutic education promotes the idea that we are emotional, vulnerable and hapless individuals. It is an attack on human potential.”

That rigorous academic field of women's studies, on the other hand, is expected to yield some amazing benefits to the advancement of human knowledge, science, and technology any day now. It will be interesting to see how feminists of the 22nd century attempt to explain away the complete lack of women's academic contributions to the human race in the 20th and 21st centuries now that they have become the majority of college graduates.

There are, however, a few signs of hope on the horizon:

One of Britain's leading universities is to introduce an entrance exam for all students applying to study there from 2010 because it believes that A levels no longer provide it with a viable way to select the best students.

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