"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Higher Learning 

As a product of science education, I'm a big fan of it being better than it was. The higher level science classes I took were all great, but the problem was the intro classes. I was going to be a biology major until I encountered introductory biology. 8 AM, huge lecture, professors that just spew information out at you without much interesting stuff to say, and 'cookbook' labs: just follow instructions and fill out forms and take the exam. A professor friend of mine once said:
"You've got to learn what I tell you, put it on the test, and then forget it, ok?"

This is not a good way to get people interested in science. I understand that a top program needs to 'weed out' the less-than-the-best students, but frankly that should come later. Intro is the class everyone takes. It's a class that should be accessible to the English major who just needs distribution credits. It should make that English major more interested in the subject, rather than scaring him/her away.

With all this in mind, I read about this policy paper from a group of science educators. And I say "well done!" A more interactive, challenging (in a way other than how much can you memorize) style would not only have been more useful to me (as a science major) later on, but also to all the others in the class. Now, here's hoping it actually gets implemented!

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