Remonzer’s Weblog

everything that I am learning in EDUC 628

Role of the Student October 11, 2007

Filed under: EDUC 685 — remonzer @ 1:17 am

I found this rather interesting article, What a Student Owes His Teacher, written by Rev. James V. Schall, S.J.,(  about the role of the student in the classroom.  The article is very lengthy and I think it is mainly aimed at college students, but there are a few nuggets that we might possibly adapt for our own uses.  He begins by stating that some of the first responsibilities of the student is to is to demonstrate a “moderately good will toward the teacher, a trust, a confidence that is willing to admit to oneself that the teacher has probably been through the matter, and, unlike the student, knows where it all leads”  Schall goes on to explain that he doesn’t want to sound like a professor who (paraphrasing) wants his students to blindly accept his ideas, but  he believes that,  “…to be a student requires a certain modicum of humility.”

            Further, he states that he believes a student should have pesonal faith and confidence that he can learn whatever is put before him no matter how difficult it appears in the beginning. One of Schall’s ideas that I particularly agree with is the notion that the student has the obligation to tell the teacher when he or she does not understand something.  Following that, he offers this admonishment with a quote from Augustine, “But the student should first really try to understand before speaking. To quote Augustine again, students should “consider within themselves whether what has been explained has been said truly”.  He mentions the fact that teachers sometimes go blithely along thinking that students understand everything we are telling them.

            The next part I am not sure that I completely agree with, but will present it in this blog because it is part of the writing.  He believes that students owe it to the teacher to be compliant; “docility” is the word that he uses.  To me, the word – docility – conjures up the notion of a person who is sitting still, passively taking in the words of a professor never interacting or objecting.  But, maybe he means the student should be calm and open himself up to being taught, allowing the information to flow into his consciousness and taking time to consider all that he is hearing, seeing and so forth before making any judgments.

            I do agree with the next part and that is that he thinks “…the student owes to his teacher the effort of study,” because he (Schall) wants more than anything, more than remembering the professor’s name, more than jokes that were told, to remember the content matter.

Here are his thoughts on going to school and the fact that students don’t go to school to hear what professors think, but to learn to think (quite fitting for EDUC 685), “Rather, they [the students] go that they might, along with their professors, hear together the “inner truth” of things, a grace that engages all alike in one enterprise that takes them beyond the confusions and confines of the classroom to the heart of reality, that to which our own intellects ought to “conform”, as Aquinas said, when we possess the truth.”



2 Responses to “Role of the Student”

  1. Nate Lowell Says:

    These are good characteristics of learners.

    Here’s the problem.

    They’re predicated on the notion that the student is a volunteer.

    But any child in school today in the US is not a volunteer. He or she is being held, for the most part, at the behest of the state, required to do hard time in the Day Jail engaged in activities that are — from the child’s perspective — the moral equivalent of working on the rockpile with no more point to it than making little rocks out of big rocks.

    Under those circumstances, is it reasonable to expect these “debts” to be paid?

  2. Joe McConda Says:

    I really like this blog. I have often enjoyed reading Augustine. I see what Dr. L is saying too, though. The perspective of the learner is very different now.

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