• Professors Are Different

    No one with experience has to be told that teachers in high school are different from one another. But for some reason, freshmen expect more uniformity in college than they get. A few professors stay very close to the subject as presented in the text­book. In the extreme cases, fortunately rare, they practically read the text­book in lecture. This is a waste of time, although weak students prefer to hear, rather than to read. Time spent in class should be devoted to explanations of difficult topics or to adding supplemental material which the textbook omits for lack of space; it should include up-to-date developments occurring since the textbook was published,…

  • Teaching for the Unknown Future

    Education is not simply bringing up-to-date what has been discovered in a particular area of knowledge. The faculty has another obligation to students which is extremely difficult to discharge well. The faculty must develop leaders and thinkers to meet the unknown future. As an example, consider one type of engineering. Technically, a person can be trained to build roads, railroads, and bridges according to existing patterns. But they must be and are trained for more than just that. They are led along lines of thought which some day will enable them to be creative and meet new situations. If there should be a trend, for example, toward monorail vehicles to…

  • Carry-Over

    Past personal achievements count for almost nothing, except the confidence they give you, as you enter new classes. This includes high school fame of all kinds. A record in one college class doesn’t carry over to another, either. The reverse is happily true, as well: A poor record doesn’t have to be lived with. You can start each course with a clean slate. Students are sometimes unwilling to stand out in a class by taking an aggressive part for fear they will be looked down upon by their classmates. A good professor helps a class overcome this reluctance to speak up. Not to speak up is a hindrance to self-education.…

  • Supervision

    Parental supervision lessens when you go to college unless you live at home. In fact, parents are frequently far away. When the parents customarily had supervised too closely, their offspring later experience a counteraction for a while. There is a joy in the new-found freedom, and work is postponed. Freedom is not all sweetness and light. It brings responsibilities in like amount. Your first few weeks away from home may get you off to a poor start, unless you look at the parents’ supervision in a new light: You now will have to care more about yourself to make up the deficit created by your parents’ absence. Where they acted…

  • Drifting Along – The Able Student

    Perhaps you are a very good student, reading this book to pick up any chance ideas that will help. You may be the type who suffers a let-down in some college classes because the work is beamed at the average. It may bore you. But, like many fine students, you may wrongly adopt the idea that because “grades are grades,” you can relax and drift along. You feel sure of the A. But is drifting along really the smart thing to do? Would you think much of a track star – a high-jumper, say – if he drifted along because there were no real challengers in sight? What of the…

  • Are Class Discussions Important?

    Most educators think of class discussions as educational experiences of the highest order, particularly if everyone has read the assignments on schedule. Students having trouble will wish that the class proceeded along the lines laid down by the textbook. However, many teachers assume that everyone can read. They encourage discussion of what has been read. As mentioned, the better students resent an unprepared student’s slowing down the class. There are several rewards for engaging in class discussions: One is that you sharpen your mind. You also learn what is not found in the limitations of a single textbook. And the chances are good that the topics discussed will be stressed…