The Official Blog of

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Students who feel "Entitled"

I just read a great commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Elayne Clift called "From Students, a Misplaced Sense of Entitlement."  In this op ed piece she bemoans "The sad thing is, I'm not alone. Every college teacher I know is bemoaning the same kind of thing. Whether it's rude behavior, lack of intellectual rigor, or both, we are all struggling with the same frightening decline in student performance and academic standards at institutions of higher learning. A sense of entitlement now pervades the academy, excellence be damned."

I have to say I found this article very enlightening because as a violin teacher, I really never encounter this attitude from students.  I started wondering why I (and to the best of my knowledge, my colleagues) am not dealing with this issue as a teacher.  Could it be that there is something inherent in the training that musicians receive that nips this problem in the bud?  In fact, it has been my experience over the past 25 years, that students want us to raise expectations and be even more demanding.

Isn't it ironic that at a time when funding for the performing arts is being slashed that the values that mainstream professors find lacking in their students are so prevalent in the arts community?   Could it be that the performing arts has more to offer than just "entertainment?"  Could it be that the virtues of humility, compassion, discipline are the philosophical foundations of the arts?  Here is an interesting vignette....  A parent of one of my students once remarked that the only thing that came close to the rigors and demands of the training her daughter was receiving to become a top notch violinist, was the 4 years she herself spent as a midshipman at the Naval Academy in Annapolis in the 1980's. 

So maybe, if we want to stop raising a generation of wimpy, entitled brats, we should make every child learn to play an instrument at a proficient level.

No comments:

Post a Comment