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The difficulty is the point (teaching lit)

An article about the difficulties of teaching literature in Australian universities in the Facebook age

NotWithoutMyOntic
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Gord i read this today and thought of you, even though you're a Canuck :coolwink:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/dec/24/the-difficulty-is-the-point-teaching-spoon-fed-students-how-to-really-read

figured i would just point out my favourite quotes from this article so you can suss out the general argument:

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Added to this, the university’s relatively new status as a business means that it desperately needs students, and will make it as easy as possible for everyone, anyone to enrol. When I began teaching here the Atar for education was officially 60, but many students were entering the university through alternative pathways: Tafe, bridging courses at the university itself, written application. Universities are businesses. Students are customers. The more customers, the better the business does.

And of course, the best way to retain a customer is to keep her happy. I’d suggest that happiness for students might arise from challenge, from hard work fairly rewarded, or from the acquisition of new skills. But there is of course a quicker route: you keep students happy by not failing them. And then – surprise! – when they graduate they are not literate, or numerate, or knowledgeable enough to perform the work they have been studying for.

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Asking universities to stop making it easy for students to gain entrance, and making it easy for them to pass, is like asking Coca-Cola to slow down its sales. The logic of capitalism overrides everything.

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British academic and critic Mark Fisher says, “Some students want Nietzsche in the same way that they want a hamburger; they fail to grasp – and the logic of the consumer system encourages this misapprehension – that the indigestibility, the difficulty is Nietzsche.”

(I can attest to that one above!)

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Fisher says that many of his students are in a state that he calls “depressive hedonia … an inability to do anything else except pursue pleasure”. I’m not trying to give my students pleasure, or make them enjoy themselves. I’m trying to show them how critical engagement with literature enables critical engagement with living. I’m trying to interrupt what Fisher calls “the constant flow of sugary gratification on demand”.

and maybe one of my faves:

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the distinction between adults and teenagers has been blurred. We all want the same things now: phones, clothes, and food to photograph. We are all consumers. Teenagers don’t want to stick it to the man anymore. They are the man.

happy [insert your favourite nondiscriminatory holiday word here]!

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We need to teach children how to think rather than what to think. – Margaret Mead

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On 12/25/2017 at 10:07 AM, NotWithoutMyOntic said:

the distinction between adults and teenagers has been blurred. We all want the same things now: phones, clothes, and food to photograph. We are all consumers. Teenagers don’t want to stick it to the man anymore. They are the man.

Fucking BRILLIANT.

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