Summary: "Here we use the Socratic method: I call on you; I ask you a question; you answer it. Why
don't I just give you a lecture? Because through my questions you learn to teach yourselves.
By this method of questioning-answering, questioning-answering, we seek to develop in you
the ability to analyze that vast complex of facts that constitutes the relationships of members
within a given society."
Professor Kingsfield (in the Paper Chase)
Many students would likely cite a desire to learn as the primary reason for committing four
years to a college education. But what do we really mean when we use the word "learn"? It is
something we all do from the moment of birth, so most of us likely take this very complex
process for granted. How many of you have spent time trying to understand the meaning of
learning, or how it occurs? Although many of us have a general sense of what it means to learn,
there are often many assumptions involved. Teachers often assume that, because they are
"teaching," students must be learning. Students assume that, because they have read their text
and memorized facts, they have learned something. What should we expect to learn from a
college education? What are the roles of students and teachers in the learning process? Are
certain kinds of learning and thinking more valuable than others? What does sophisticated
thinking look like and what are the developmental stages for getting there? What kinds of skills
and knowledge do employers desire in their perspective employees? How do grades reflect a
student's thinking and learning? What role does higher education play in modern society?