“Conceptual frameworks are not things to do. Conceptual frameworks are tools for understanding, tools to think with.” -Gardner Campbell
A lot of the points made by Gardner in his recent blog post, Conceptional Frameworks: some thoughts, really resonated with me. To start off, several of the issues of today’s educational system brought up in the post include some things that I have challenged with throughout the years, especially since I have came to Mary Washington. I have always found it counterproductive on how much the education system in the United States has become so standardized. Much of course assignments and class lectures are vigorously organized and concrete, which has limited free-thinking and creativity in the classroom. As Brittany said, I am a student that finds comfort in knowing what a professor expects from me. I spend a lot of time stressing on receiving specific grades and less time worrying if I understand course material or not. Dr. Greenlaw’s ECON 304: Macroeconomics was one of the few classes I have taken here at Mary Washington in which I was challenged to think abstractly. The exams were setup as free-response, rather than traditional multiple choice, and gave us an opportunity to show our understanding of the curriculum. We as the students were expected to use our imagination to provide examples to illustrate our answers and think beyond the classroom. I believe that professors should encourage students to think “outside the box” and to express different rationales to pending questions. Although setting identifiable goals in a class are important, I believe it is up to educators to emphasize that goals can be achieved through various different methods and reasoning.
Reading this article reminded me of a quote by Rob Siltanen, which reads “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”