it's the schooling, damnit 2
was thinking more about this yesterday (a bad habit of mine...thinking about things) and i know that this will sound heretical (i prefer the term honest), but really what we are trying to do with our students, at least in terms of getting them to think critically, is resocialize them. i find that i have to contend with years of conditioning about world, self (mentioning the distinction between brain and mind -- how many students, let alone professors, eagerly embrace the news that mind does not exist? unsettling, yes, but that is what the empirical data indicate), economics, politics, etc. it's almost as if we say, "okay, you know all that crap you've learned about virtually everything in life? yeah, well most of it is mythology, propaganda, and most importantly, dead wrong...welcome to sociology!!!" seems like a real waste of time to "educate" students about the world for 12 years and then when they hit college tell them what is really up. and those twelve years of "learning" are not comprised of mere content, they represent at least 18 years of social conditioning...and we are supposed to get them to think critically in a semester or two??? something wrong with this picture.
anyway, here comes the heresy...maybe we need to learn some of the strategies that are used in total institutions to resocialize people since this seems to be the business that many of us are in. having worked in an institution of that sort, i know how effective they can be. so...classroom as total institution...interesting idea...?