It has become quite clear that Americans struggle with knowing how to think for themselves in recent years. This is especially evident in the political opinions they espouse (or don’t).
But while many Americans – particularly young ones – don’t recognize this problem in themselves, many others see it clear as day. Employers see it in through their inability to find employees who “communicate clearly, take initiative, [and] problem-solve.” College professors see it in their young freshmen, who can’t discern the difference between fact and opinion.
A member of this latter group recently penned an article for The New York Times, sharing a real-life example from his freshmen writing class. As Professor Scott Korb explains, his students, newly released out of the public education system, were unable to interact with, discuss, or even bounce ideas back and forth over the meaning of a writing selection. Instead, they just looked at him with blank stares, seemingly unaccustomed to thinking for themselves. Such a response led Korb to the following thoughts:
“We expect college freshmen to feel at least as comfortable with self-expression as the burbling bloggers and writers of yesteryear. Something beyond stylized selfies must populate their social media streams, after all.
But every year I find that getting them to admit to feeling devoted or frustrated, to being peculiar in any way (much less in a large way), verges on impossible. And as someone who has read thousands of student essays over the past 10 years, few things are more dispiriting — and as the pages mount, soul-crushing — than those written by 18-year-olds who can’t see themselves as peculiar.”
In other words, today’s young college freshmen act and behave as just “one of the herd.” They don’t stand out. They can’t swim upstream. They struggle to think outside the box of their training, turning out “soul-crushing,” unoriginal essays in the process. Why?
Korb hints that the answer to this question is that students have been confined to a soul-crushing system. Read here the full article