Consumer students aren’t ‘paying’ to think

Students see themselves as consumers, not learners, writes a community college professor. When he discussed, in a rhetoric class, how mores and opinions have changed on a controversial topic, a student objected, saying, “I’m not paying for your opinion.”

. . . the current emphasis on “customer service” in academe seems to have given some students the impression that they have the right to “purchase” only those ideas that they personally agree with, and that all other ideas or opinions are at best irrelevant and at worst akin to faulty products or unsatisfactory service.

Ultimately, students are paying for faculty members’ opinions, or, at least, their professional judgment, he adds. It’s “not just what we know, but what we think about what we know.”

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  1. LacklusterSub says:

    Well, it used to be that a select few students were given the privilege to learn from the best and brightest because they earned it through their own hard work.
    Now everyone deserves a degree and the only stumbling block that the government focuses on is the price… so its not a surprise that colleges and students look at it from a consumption standpoint.

  2. I’ve discussed this consumer-oriented model with my colleagues and students for several years. The only way I can make it work is to style myself as an Intellectual Personal Trainer: no pain, no gain. I set the workout, and you get to remain one of my clients as long as you keep up the pace. Not everyone makes it; most of those who don’t sort it out early on, and drop my classes rather than fail them.

  3. In line with what Mike Anderson said: Many times students are paying not for the education but the credential–this is why they choose to go to UCLA, Stanford, Princeton, etc–and it’s in the school’s best interest to make sure these low achievers don’t, uh, “degrade the brand”.

    • When I was in college in the 60s, there were many posters with the legend “It’s hard to soar with eagles when you’re surrounded by turkeys” – with the suitable graphic.

      Particularly in smaller classes, it doesn’t take many unprepared, uninterested “students” to ruin a class. Faced with suitable grading, most of them will leave for easier pastures – fortunately.

    • lightly seasoned says:

      Right. Because it’s the low achievers who get into the Ivies. These students also have a sense of entitlement, but it isn’t because they are dumb.