- fear of failing in the studies,
- fear of not getting a job after the studies,
- fear that the younger students may learn new more useful material
- fear to miss something essential of the old when replacing it with the new.
onsdag 22 december 2010
Why Students Fear the New
From the movie Hets (Torment) 1944, after a screenplay Ingmar Bergman.
KTH-gate concerns an undercover operation in the name of students to prevent BodyandSoul to be used in the new Bachelors program in Simulation Technology to start at KTH in the Fall 2011. Students were stimulated by the School of Engineering Sciences to approach the President of KTH and media with a protest against BodyandSoul in order to "save new students from the dangers of BodyandSoul".
The fact that BS contains some analysis of mathematical models used in climate science, was then used as a pretext, because in Sweden climate hysteria rules, to stop the reform of BS. Students never protested against the old trivial numerics course of little relevance, only against the new non-trivial course of high relevance.
How can we understand that students protest against the new and relevant and support conservation of the old and non-relevant, rather than the opposite as the natural expression of a youthful drive to reform?
How can we understand that older students suddenly become very concerned about the well-being of younger students? That older students want to protect younger students from new material, which the older students have not met and thus cannot judge?
My understanding is that this is a consequence of the fear transmitted to the students from the educational system:
The fear is enforced upon the students by the system with the motivation that it will help the students to perform well and succeed with the examinations.
The fist message by the math teacher is that students who fail in math will fail with everything else in life as well. The math teacher sends this message to inspire the students, knowing very well from experience that half will fail in the math exams, despite the inspiration.
A drawback of fear is that it produces adrenaline which blocks the mind. Another is that students are pushed into a conservative attitude viewing novelties as a threat to be met by resistance, rather than as a possibility to find a place in society to be met with enthusiasm.
I believe that the student engagement in KTH-gate can be understood from this perspective.
A good (non-scared) teacher can help students to open their minds to the new without fear. A bad (scared) teacher does the opposite.