How Do You Go To School?

Dear Colleagues

A theme has emerged the last few weeks that merits further discussion–the idea of how one goes to school.  The question is why is a student left to figure out how to go to school on their own? What can higher education do to help shorten this learning curve?

I recall figuring out the secret of the system way too late in my undergraduate career at The University of Illinois-Urbana.  I apparently was quite the slow learner, as I figured ‘things out’ my last semester.   *sigh*  I remember thinking “Why weren’t these tips available to me freshman year? My life would have been SOOOOO much easier had I known at the beginning what it took me 3 1/2 years to figure out. *profound sigh” Often, we have these woulda, shoulda, coulda moments–way too long after the fact.

These skills of developing systems for attending school should be taught at the beginning of one’s career, not figured out so late as in my case–towards the end.  The good news is that my schooling would continue for another 7 or so years within the official halls of academia, and as a life long learner ever since.  I would then be able to use and apply these secrets in my later pursuits of my master’s and doctoral degrees.

This outcome of course then begs the question: why do we allow students to struggle so much and so often for so long–often letting students figure out the secret(s) or unravel the mystery well beyond when the skills could have been useful.

My mission is to change this outcome.  Why struggle alone when answers and techniques and strategies exist to help?  As professional educators, there is a balance of knowing when to step in and when to step out when allowing a student to honor the struggle of learning.  However, there are systems that can be taught to help students, particularly in understanding and creating their “How Will I Go To School” systems.  What are the benefits?  The benefits might include easier learning, less stress, less confusion, and more focus on the important stuff–the lessons, the course objectives, and the content. Process can be honed, improved, and perhaps even perfected along the way, however, no need to reinvent a wheel in the beginning, when so much could help so many as they begin their journey.

Just my :02 cents and musings on this Oscar Sunday evening. Imagine what we might accomplish if we shared these secrets earlier in the process?

I welcome your thoughts.

My best,

Dr. Cheryl Lentz

Professional Educator, Writer, & Editor


February 22nd, 2015 by admin

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