Fórum de Discussão: o retorno a uma utopia realizável - a Universidade do Minho como projecto aberto, participado, ao serviço do engrandecimento dos seus agentes e do desenvolvimento da sua região

terça-feira, fevereiro 27, 2007

Notícias de Harvard, a começar a semana - II

Reproduzo de seguida a 2ª parte de uma mensagem que me caiu na caixa de correio electrónico ontem, e de que dei notícia da 1ª parte na ocasião, sob o mesmo epígrafe. Parece-me valer a pena a respectiva leitura, se bem que, como frisei na altura, possa provocar algumas cócegas.
Outro tanto acontece, aliás, com as declarações produzidas por alguns reitores, retidas por Blog de Campus, sob o título, de ontem, "Reitores pouco favoráveis ao fim do sistema de eleições". Note-se a subtileza do título (...pouco favoráveis ao fim do sistema ...). São mesmo uns malandrões, os editores do blogue, digo!
One point likely to raise eyebrows among academic traditionalists is the rationale for the newly mandated study of Empirical Reasoning, which will cover math, logic and statistics. It is being added, the committee report says, because graduates of Harvard "will have to decide, for example, what medical treatments to undergo, when a defendant in court has been proven guilty, whether to support a policy proposal and how to manage their personal finances." Does this mean balancing a checkbook is on a par with balancing equations? What about learning for learning's sake? What about the study of history, which Harvard will no longer require, even though its recently announced new president, Drew Gilpin Faust--the first woman to head the institution--is a renowned historian?
The plan's advocates say the curriculum is flexible enough that students will still be able to take courses in whatever interests them, be it ancient art or cutting-edge science. What's crucial, they say, is that the new approach emphasizes the kind of active learning that gets students thinking and applying knowledge. "Just as one doesn't become a marathon runner by reading about the Boston Marathon," says the committee report, "so, too, one doesn't become a good problem solver by listening to lectures or reading about statistics." Acknowledging how important extracurricular activities have become on campus, the report calls for a stronger link between the endeavors students pursue inside and outside the classroom. Those studying poverty, for example, absorb more if they also volunteer at a homeless shelter, suggests Bok, whose 2005 book, Our Underachieving Colleges, cites a finding that students remember just 20% of the content of class lectures a week later.
There were, however, some contemporary concerns that didn't make the final cut. In October, before finalizing its recommendations, the committee proposed mandating the study of "reason and faith." That drew sharp criticism from faculty members like psychology professor Steven Pinker. "The juxtaposition of the two words makes it sound like 'faith' and 'reason' are parallel and equivalent ways of knowing," he wrote in the Harvard Crimson. "But universities are about reason, pure and simple." Though 71% of incoming students say they attend religious services and many already elect to study religion, the committee gave in, ultimately substituting a "culture and belief" requirement. It turned out to be more practical.
Find this article at:
(extracto de mensagem electrónica proveniente de jcrmendes@ilch.uminho.pt)

Sem comentários: