Monday, November 2, 2009

What are we teaching? What are they learning?

Although I'm not sure I understand the metrics of the study, it is still interesting if the Big Idea is that those students majoring in social sciences (including anthropology, economics, human geography, history, linguistics, political science, psychology, and similar disciplines which examine the social life of groups) are likely to be less 'religious', however one defines that, at the end of their studies than when they begin.

The summary of the report on this study in the Education Life section of the NY Times on November 1 suggests that the cause is "postmodernism, the staple of humanities classes, with its notions of relative truth (opposed to religion's absolute truth and questioning authority."

How does this relate to what we are teaching in Jewish education? Are we teaching absolute truth? Are we encouraging questioning? I believe the answer to the first question is more 'no' than 'yes', and I sincerely hope the answer to the second is resoundingly 'yes'.

Let us hope, then, that our students will not find that higher learning negates what they have learned while in our educational settings, but rather will see themselves as continuing to use the critical thinking skills that they have already exercised while learning with us.

No comments:

Post a Comment