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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

In school and university are you encouraged to learn the material or to improve the field?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (14577points) January 23rd, 2019

Instead of being a parrot?

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16 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

A Bachelors degree is intended to teach you the fundamentals in depth.

A Masters gets one to the point of being able to explore with guidance.

A Doctorate is when one demonstrates the ability to take study into a new direction.

JLeslie's avatar

Depends on the field. I basically agree with @zenvelo’s answer, but there are exceptions. Some science and engineering degrees research and innovation is encouraged even at the bachelor level. However, in the medical doctor field I’d say emphasis is on memorizing not on improving the advancement or being innovative. Medical research is different, but straight MD and DO, are basically learning the material and administering, and they go through many years of education. They look to standard of care and research already done, especially while in school.

seawulf575's avatar

I don’t know. You are supposed to be encouraged to learn the material and improve the field, but there are many professors that punish you if you have a differing opinion from themselves so that sort of puts a damper on improving the field.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My undergrad pushed you to research if you made it to senior year but it was more learning the state of the field. In grad school you were expected to begin to learn to advance it. I did not stay for a phd but took a few classes at that level. It was a lot of research projects.

ellespark's avatar

My undergrad (anthropology/archaeology) pushed for both. Improvements in the field in multiple ways also as far as pushing for new research and an emphasis on cultural anthropology to bridge the gap between indigenous groups and archaeologists through indigenous archaeology.

Jeruba's avatar

First, learn the material.

I would not consider someone who masters a field of study to be merely a parrot. It’s not about simply reciting. Comprehension of ideas and their relationships, principles, history, exposure to alternative theories, and ability to draw conclusions from data all come into it, in addition to content and process knowledge. Someone who has learned the material is entitled to respect for his or her accomplishment, and not to be dismissed as a parrot.

LostInParadise's avatar

The purpose of an education, even at the most rudimentary level, is to have a set of useful tools. Education is only meaningful if we can use it in either a practical way or to gain an understanding of how the world works. This is most obvious in elementary school, where we learn the 3 R’s, tools we will use throughout our lives. Why study history? We learn history to understand patterns and to relate different civilizations, including our own.

Jeruba's avatar

^^ I don’t agree that education is completely utilitarian. It confers understanding, or at least an opportunity for understanding, that enhances one’s life in ways that can’t be measured and may have no application at all in the workplace. It furnishes background and context, supplies perspective, adds depth, transmits culture, and, at best, nurtures thought and an appetite for greater understanding. It is not just about turning out tractable citizens and supplying the economy with workers, which some rightly say may be the purpose of public education through high school.

Having something going on in your head besides active current sensory experience, whatever input comes through various media and whatever task you are performing in the moment, means having an inner life, being present in one’s own mind. That’s not about tools. It’s about inhabiting one’s own experience of consciousness.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You have to learn it first. How can you improve something if you don’t fully understand it?

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janbb's avatar

My liberal arts undergraduate gave me knowledge about the humanities and taught me to think critically about the world and my place in it. My master’s in library science gave me the skills to improve it. And, I agree with @Jeruba that all my learning has enriched both my understanding of the world and enabled me to have a rich inner life that is mine alone.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I looked at this question yesterday and have been bouncing the word “encouraged” around with disturbing inconclusion. The substitution of “expected” seems to make a bit more sense, but I’m still not sure as to what you’re asking. Is it the purpose of education? My impression is that you might certainly obtain a document certifying your education through mastery of parroting skills. This is what I remember as the foundation of (my) primary education, and my report cards reflect more than adequate squwaking capabilities for which I was indeed ENCOURAGED and praised with the promise that I would someday be coveted and fought over by the pirates of the world. I think your question is too deep for an accurate answer. The parameters quickly balloon out of hand. How do you (for example) answer such questions as: which is more valuable—an education or a certificate supposedly proving it.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Jeruba , Perhaps I did not explain myself sufficiently. I offered practical application as one type of tool and greater understanding as another.

I took a required one semester course in college where the instructor explained poetry analysis to mostly science and engineering students. This was and still is foreign territory to me, but I saw how poetic structure contributes to a poem’s meaning. I could see how rhyme and meter may count as much as the literal meaning. I was given a set of tools that I could at least think about trying to apply.

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JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @Jeruba. GA. I didn’t understand it in the same way when I was younger. My grandmother used to tell me to always keep learning. She took classes well into her 70’s. Now, I get it.

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