Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Laura Penny on North American Education


This is the worst book interview I've ever watched but it's on a topic that's near to my heart so I stayed to the end of it. Laura Penny is a Canadian university academic.

I could not agree with her more that people should avoid getting into careers for any narrow set of reasons such as the current apparent health of part of the job market, especially when there is doubt that they will enjoy those careers, or whether those careers will fit other aspects of their lives, or whether the careers make good use of their available talents and aptitudes.

Since most of us still have to find jobs eventually, however, and most of us would find quite a number of subjects that are taught at university interesting I don't see why a person could not try to choose a subject that would be a best fit for him/herself and also marketable. When Penny says that education in the humanities confers certain skills and abilities how can she know that these are in any sense more valuable than those that could be obtained by study in some other subject?

Let me admit that, if I hadn't been so socially backward, I might have been one of those students who would have asked why I was obliged to study English Literature along with certain other topics. I still question that. A teacher can be sarcastic about the need to study what one does not want to study but I doubt it does any good. We learn best when we are a state of readiness to learn and I'm not happy with Penny's suggestion that you are either ready to learn the 'university way' or you should go to community college. I'd be willing to bet that they're just as prescriptive in general.

2 comments:

Nikola Kežić said...

How it looks on small island in Croatia. "Take it easy" still of life!

Nikola Kežić said...

How it looks on small island in Croatia. "Take it easy" still of life!