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January 12, 2017 Comments (0) Consult of Education

Dale Schlundt: A Call for Practical Curriculum in Higher Ed

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by Dale Schlundt

The various hierarchical levels in a corporate business, business mergers, countless statistical formulas for probability, and accounting are a few of the topics I covered while working on my bachelor’s running a business Management. Important material you might suggest. Good to know, possibly. My reaction to that is, \”I want a refund.\”

Dale Schlundt

What my college overlooked within their curriculum was that little of the previous topics just mentioned held as many pounds as the most significant priority in most profit based industries — that\’s being able to sell. More specifically, without the ability to be successful like a salesperson in almost any sector of business, relatively little of the rest turns out to be beneficial. Regretfully, this was never a major emphasis within my undergraduate course work, yet something learned beyond this context.

Now before I go any further, it is important to say that I am a huge proponent of higher education, when i now teach U.S. history at the college level, and honestly think in its undeniable benefits. However, what I question is the fabric taught both in secondary and post-secondary institutions, when it comes to its ability to ready our pupils for that real world. There aren\’t any quotations around that phrase, real life, because there are truly none needed. When talking about this place in this way, it should be noted that real is exactly the correct description. No longer based on theory (or what should work), but on what actually does work. ?Unfortunately, very few people are willing to pay for theory, but what is appreciated is results. So my question is why do so many institutions teach what few care about in the real world?

Now being an academic I am heavily devoted to theory within my specific field, as most professors are and really should be in their field. Regardless of this fact, my teachings although include theory, aren\’t limited to this, but focus on practical applications. The argument here\’s that theory shouldn\’t be the beginning and end in our pedagogical work. So staying true to what I am \”preaching\”, let me give you a practical illustration of this argument or theory I am promoting. I rarely teach specific dates within my U.S. history class. Students understanding the correct century, in addition to whether it was early, mid, or late within the century, is easily the most that is required of these to do well within the class in reference to dates.

Now of course there are exceptions, for example we should all know when we declared our independence. Not overlooking 1861 perhaps, when the American Civil War began. However, February 12, 1809, the date of Lincoln\’s birthday, I put the question to you, do we mind? More to the point, do we really need to care? The Louisiana Purchase was completed on April 30, 1803, now how many of my students, who don\’t continue on within the discipline of history, are likely to remember that date once they turn 3 decades old?

Now the probability that they might remember the Purchase happened in early part of the 19th century is much higher, I would argue. It\’s reasonable to point out that requiring the less specific date is much more practical, because these dates are usually not what exactly are asked in an interviews our students participate in later in life, whether or not the position is historically related or not.

Continuing with the prior example, you might be pondering the issue, so what would you teach? Isn\’t history all about dates? As discussed in one of my previous articles, \”Teaching that Promotes the \’I Get It\’ (Understanding or Memorization)\”, the answer is whatever helps make the content significant to my students. Quite simply, what makes them motivated to become engaged.

That is within reason, of course. For instance, slavery is unfortunately a significant historical element in both U.S. in addition to world history, one which cannot be overlooked by historian. Yet students can become bored with seeing this topic continuously arise in the many time periods being covered through the semester. So one day my goal ended up being to find a new element to create into the topic, while still since the necessary material. The aspect of both slave songs in addition to religion came to mind. I began to research and use many knowledgeable scholars\’ focus on African American\’s link with the Baptist religion, in the 19th century and as seen in current day America. To advocate for the student\’s perspective, who cares about what kind of faith 19th century slaves were able to adopt and gradually make their own?

Simply put, there are those who don\’t find history interesting, or important. Yet, hook it up to our lives today, such as how this affected what can be the primary religion practiced by African Americans today and every one of a sudden the relevance as well as interest has drastically grown inside the student\’s eyes.

This debate is obviously not restricted to history, lending itself to any educational efforts or goals. As adults we\’re feeling that our time is efficacious, not to mention without availability. Yet to boost our success within the practice of pedagogy, one should consider their student\’s time just like important as their very own — therefore being more discriminating in deciding what information is vital, instead of, for insufficient a better phrase, a waste of time.

Dale Schlundt holds a Master\’s Degree in Adult Education having a concentration in American History in the University of Texas at Dallas and is currently an Adjunct Professor for Palo Alto College.

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