Becoming the Perfect University Student Article Review by Nicky

Becoming the Perfect University Student
A discussion on the difficulties faced by first year university students, based on Barbara Grant's article "Disciplining Students: The Construction of Student Subjectivities".
# 149673 | 1,310 words | 0 sources | 2011 | US
Published on Dec 28, 2011 in Education (Higher) , Education (Multiculturalism)

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The paper explains the process of transition into the university environment for the new student and highlights today's emphasis on independence and individualism. The paper discusses how Barbara Grant's article "Disciplining Students: The Construction of Student Subjectivities" questions the effects of university discourse on appropriate academic conduct and behavior and how she discusses methods of assessment that suggest a certain kind of intelligence is required to succeed in university, and by implication, succeed in life. The paper then looks at Grant's consideration of those students who resist the dominant meanings of the university. The paper concludes that learning demands cultural change on the part of all students, but the concern remains that some students from certain cultures are forced to change more than others.

From the Paper:

"The university's institutional model of the ideal student has shifted and changed over the years. However, within the context of liberal education, the resonant model of an "autonomous, rational, thinking individual" still holds an honored place in the rhetoric of many schools (Grant 102). The student is expected to learn about a broad range of subjects and to self-select his or her major and life course, with relatively minimal direction from advisors. To succeed in the estimation of the school, individual competitiveness (in terms of grades) rather than seeking teacher-oriented direction is encouraged (Grant 102). Students themselves may reinforce such ideas, resisting the idea of 'spoon-feeding' on the part of lecturers. Also, the increased drive to allow students to tailor-make their own education through self-designed majors further reflects this trend, such as at Brown and Wesleyan Universities in America, which have no specific requirements for graduation, other than the completion of a specialized major. This undercuts, however, another ideal of liberal education, the 'well-rounded' individual, socialized into liberal arts, common core of expected knowledge. Both the traditional mode and the new multicultural or otherwise self-designed student model still prioritize the need of the individual to learn to do things him or herself, educationally. Students who are too shy may suffer, if they cannot seek out appropriate advising or are reluctant to speak up in class. Ironically, although the university may embrace multiculturalism in its offerings of majors, students from cultures where individualism is not prioritized may have difficulty in acclimating to their new environment."

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