Self-help course may replace humanities

Community college students in San Antonio will study the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People instead of history, philosophy or literature, if Alamo Colleges Chancellor Bruce Leslie gets his way. Learning Framework, based on Stephen R. Covey’s best-selling  self-help book, would be part of the core curriculum, replacing one of only two humanities requirements.

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  1. How sad.

  2. I suppose the thinking is that imparting some organizational/business skills would be more immediately useful than reading Brave New World (a popular lit choice at my CC). I can see his logic, given how many students I see flailing around because they just don’t know how to take college courses. That’s not to say I *agree* but I see his point.

    There are people who say that education is for broadening horizons and producing literate, functioning, informed citizens. There are people who say that education is for getting a decent job. It would be nice to find a way for people to be informed citizens with jobs, but I see an awful lot of people who have neither.

  3. Deirdre Mundy says:

    On the other hand, if you need a semester-long, professor-led course to read and understand the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, how are you going to pass a college-level English class?

    This should be a 1 or 2 day seminar during orientation week, not a whole class.

    And, that adds another hoop for returning students who’ve already had jobs and careers. People seeking a degree for a career change will see this course as a waste of time.

  4. Learning history would only depress them; it would provide proof of how much more previous generations knew than they.

    • This is the first paragraph from an April 4, 1943 New York Times article:

      College freshmen throughout the nation reveal a striking ignorance of even the most elementary aspects of United States history, and know almost nothing about many important phases of this country’s growth and development, a survey just completed by THE NEW YORK TIMES has shown.

      We’ve been complaining about how ignorant the kids are for quite a while now …

      • Roger Sweeny says:

        Which suggests that if the purpose of schools is to get kids to know those things, the schools have been failing for at least 70 years.

        There is a not altogether humorous saying, “When all else fails, lower your standards.” If the schools have been failures for decades upon decades, perhaps it is time to seriously re-examine exactly what schools can do and what we want them to try to do–with the proviso that even if we want them to do something they can’t, we won’t set them an impossible task.

  5. Michael E. Lopez says:

    The difference between this and actual Philosophy is smaller than most people probably think — but also more important than most people probably think.

    7 Habits is, essentially, a religion. It is a theory of contentment, prosperity, and fulfillment based on following principles of action.

    One could actually teach a very interesting Philosophy class using this book — but nothing in the class would necessarily involve advocating that the 7 habits be followed, though we may be led to the conclusion that at least some of them are worth considering.