“Scholarly effort is in decline everywhere as never before. Indeed, cleverness is shunned at home and abroad. What does reading offer to pupils except tears?”
“They attend classes but make no effort to learn anything….The expense money which they have from their parents or churches they spend in taverns, conviviality, games and other superfluities.”
These quotations are not, as you might expect, taken from some contemporary op ed piece about the decline of student engagement in the university classroom but from the scholar and educator Egbert of Liège, writing in the 11th century, and the Galician friar Álvaro Pelayo in the 14th. (More examples here). Sometimes it seems things never change …
Yet the students who come to our classrooms are not the same as those of the past. I’m linking here to a short, smart piece by the wonderful Sara Goldrick-Rab and Jesse Stommel from the Chronicle of Higher Education on how the changing demographics of the US student body are best answered not with the impatience of Egbert and Álvaro, but with sympathy and an eye towards context.
I hope you find something useful in it.