Essay 1.1 - Nick Hinman WR 122 1 22 2008 What role does the...

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Nick Hinman WR 122 1 – 22 – 2008 What role does the value of learning and the quest for knowledge play in an undergraduate university or liberal arts education? The acquisition of knowledge and the value of learning are adjacent variables in a contemporary liberal arts education that are easily disregarded by an undergraduate. The correlation between the two variables is uncanny. A student may exhibit extraordinary proof that he or she has learned specialized information by employing the academic tools necessary for the completion of classroom expectations. These expectations parallel that of learning how to write an enthymeme or memorizing the quadratic formula. However, once the student has exercised his or her ability to meet these certain expectations, he or she will subconsciously disregard the information to make space for new collegiate mediums. This cycle is repeated term after term, perpetuating the idea that the value of learning is undermined by students appealing to an academic hierarchy and a flawed evaluation system. The pursuit of knowledge and any attempt to retain information in a liberal arts education has been poorly prioritized by the contemporary student. An undergraduate education is inadvertently designed to encourage students to “learn” how to learn. The concept that collegiate institutions use a general education to teach students how to learn seems convoluted because students are allowed to choose their own specialized education before they are even accepted to the university. In reality, most breadth requirement classes are structured so students are required to refine, learn, or employ academic tools, such as structuring arguments, analyzing data, and solving problems. It’s not surprising that a junior may not remember what specific information he learned in his freshman astronomy class, but he may remember how he studied or what he did to get a good grade. Professors perpetuate this process
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by acting as a buffer between the student and his or her independent thought-process by providing narrow resources and a specialized structure. Common undergraduate essay prompts parallel something like, “According to [insert author or class reading here], how does [insert theory or concept] impact [class concepts].” More often than not, the prompt requires very little critical-thinking and relies more on the student to understand and regurgitate the class material. The student just follows the formula to complete a given assignment and receive his or her grade. The assertion that students in an undergraduate education are, after twelve years of state- schooling, learning how to learn, seems hard to apply universally. One could argue that undergraduates know how to learn, and students with undeclared majors are the ones affected. This is where the general education comes into play. The university requires all undergraduates
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course WR 122 taught by Professor Young during the Winter '08 term at University of Oregon.

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Essay 1.1 - Nick Hinman WR 122 1 22 2008 What role does the...

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