Nico Jenkins, Ph.D, is a professor of philosophy at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. We had a fascinating discussion about the current education system and the direction that it’s going in, especially in the United States.
Having grown up all around the world—with a family of writers, Pulitzer Prize winners, and a father who was a war journalist for Newsweek and then the Washington Post—Nico wasn’t exposed to the American education system at a young age. But having taught many students, he believes our current education system has many problems.
In today’s episode, we discuss:
- Nico’s experience firsthand with students who’ve shown significant gaps in their education—including many of them not knowing what the Mona Lisa is or where certain countries are on a map
- What a “common currency” is and why we need a base of understanding in order to even teach about art, critique it, and decide whether it’s beautiful (because without having that common currency—it’s almost impossible to have a cultural connection)
- What has changed between the college students of the ‘60s and the college students of today
- How the rise in technology and distractions (by devices) have impacted kids and their education
- Where the divisive temperaments are coming from—and why people are so far apart in understanding things that have been common issues in our country
- How many of Nico’s first-year students are having many problems with socialization—because they spent the last two years in their mother’s basement looking at a screen—and the impact this is having on them
- Why students are so depressed about things like climate change (with good reason), that they feel like there’s no point in doing anything about it
Nico says democracy is about people being able to have a dialogue and being able to disagree. (Dialogue means “words between two people.”) However, we’re losing the ability to even have a dialogue, because people can’t find a common ground to even have the discussion.
Don’t miss this thought-provoking episode!
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