Rhetorical Analysis: Final Draft

Rhetorical Analysis

Matthew Crawford’s assertion is that attention, specifically the near lack of it, in today’s society is not an individual, generational or even technological problem as is so commonly argued but that it is a cultural and continually political issue. The issue hasn’t simply progressed in deterministic pattern from flint and steel to electric stove, it has been pushed and pushed quite literally into our faces with the understanding that it will lead to profit. Attention is a finite resource, a person only has so much of it and can only direct it to a limited amount of objects in a given time. Knowing this, empty space-an expanse of wall in an airport, a bench anywhere to the smallest items like the back of a report card (as Crawford states on page 38) are disappearing and being replaced with bright, vivid scenes designed to capture a person’s attention, to change their thought process from the day’s plans to buying a tube of lipstick. Emptiness, silence is becoming a luxury, only available to the higher class. It is in this void where a person’s mind can unwind, is allowed to digest and for a minute, think and articulate the happenings of the world. As this gets taken away, given to those whose wallets are wide corporations in essence are gaining a bigger foothold on the population’s imagination, on their thoughts. The more they infiltrate ambient space, the more they guide where the mind wanders, as Crawford says “Without the ability to direct our attention where we will, we become more receptive to those who would direct our attention where they will”. Meaning, we become what they want us to. This leads into the loss of individuality, using Crawford’s example page 45, opposed to reading an umpteen number of books, he is tuned into, along with “4.6 million of my closest friends” to a perfectly executed distraction, a considerably meager example of loss but one that shows just how easily we fall into one of man specifically designed single-file line.

Crawford masterfully draws the audience into the article with an anecdote about flying to Chicago. The event becomes not only the background for his proclamation but is transformed into a brilliant analogy about the increasing domination of our attention by special interests groups. Crawford’s use of these light-hearted anecdotes such as going through airport security and even using an article from The Onion is an excellent way of keeping the reader interested and focused, while providing support for the overall point. Relying on a plethora of rhetorical tactics the argument flows naturally without any part becoming obtuse or blatant. Tone is a big factor here, written with a certain whimsical keenness which works alongside the analogies of everyday strife at the airport and elsewhere help create a relatable, almost personal atmosphere as if the reader is a direct friend of his. Transitioning smoothly into an emotional story with such subtly it’s easy to not realize they’re present until a deep breath is exhaled, until a thought is taken to process.  A flow of these emotions is created to narrate the argument, engaging the reader and pulling them in. The hassle of going through airport security is one that most people have directly experienced with the rest being able to relate in some way or the other. The stress of having so many worries run rampant  attention occasionally darting to the pretty clothing ad or hot dog stand, hungry? Is a situation felt by far too many, a situation which ignites a peculiar ferocity within a person. Making the point the one’s attention is a finite resource actively being stolen by corporate incites a feeling worry, people are people but the individual is always more concerned and likely to act if their personal self is the one being actively hunted. Taking it to a microscopic level, pointing the finger at one, pointing out against all others that that one is the apple of someone’s malicious eye is how you get everyone to care. Crawford’s conclusion is that attention is a political issue involving everyone. His open use of nearly every weapon in the rhetorical arsenal show that it indeed is.

In reading the article, analysing it from a variety of perspectives, the overall consensus is that Matthew Crawford does an excellent job of proposing and articulating his argument. Carefully picking through and inserting subtle allusion or small analogy, the actual logistics, the logos to create the initial facade for the claim that attention is a cultural problem not technological or generational as commonly discussed in the news is given to the reader without coming across as a boring facts. The ability to write about such a topic in such a way as it is while still keeping it at it’s core an academic paper proposing a critically thought out assertion is crucial. It is this that allows the information to be readily, nearly eagerly, consumed as opposed to having the message drift from one year to the other into the cluttered space that has taken over. The context is dark, scary and borderline bleak in some aspects yet nothing is lost to desolation. Moving at a casual pace from hotel to security to inescapable desert alluding to the once valiant native spirit crushed by flashy billboards and dollar signs the void doesn’t swallow meaning or interest, merely explains it with the feeling of a children’s scary story. Success, is a synonym for this article.

The intro paragraph to Crawford’s commentary begins with a simple anecdote about buying groceries, he says “…between swiping my card, confirming the amount and entering my PIN, I was shown advertisements. The intervals themselves, which I had previously assumed were a mere artifact of the communication technology, now seemed to be something more deliberately calibrated.” This sets up the rest of the article, a common experience everyone has witness when specifically pointed out allows the mind to think back not just on those brief seconds but on a myriad of other moments encompassing one’s life that may have been more cluttered than they initially seemed. Citing a satirical news report from The Onion is witty and informative to provide an idea of what is actually happening in the world. Obviously exaggerated (though not too far from reality), one can’t help but chuckle and nod their head at an excerpt from page 39 “  Marshall Platt, 34 was reportedly seconds away from letting go and enjoying himself when he was suddenly crushed by the full weight of work emails that still needed to be dealt with…an upcoming wedding he had yet to buy airfare for…” That quote, along with the body from which it came provides a startling light voice to quite the dark picture, we as a people are always present elsewhere, preoccupied with the sum of responsibilities while simultaneously trying to fight off a never ending army of brightly colored advertisements who are forcing their way into our heads in attempt to effectively control our every thought. This battle humorously summed up while growing through airport security is spoken as “This fresh demand for vigilance, lest I lose my powerpoint slide show, feels like a straightforward conflict between me and L’Oreal” (Crawford 41). It’s this use that make the essay such a compelling and surprisingly read. Crawford poses a brilliant and well executed pondering which rivals as one of the best.

Human Error in Diagnosing Mental Health: Rough Draft 1

Human Error in Diagnosing Mental Illness

Injuries are ubiquitous, tied seemingly into the fabric of everyday life. Be it a stubbed toe walking initially into the entryway after a day of schooling or work, cutting a finger while cutting carrots for dinner or in worse cases breaking a wrist after slipping on a patch of ice. Accidents happen and thankfully a simple visit to the doctor can generally fix issue through either antibiotics, steroids or splint or a combination. A few weeks later, a bit of rest and the injury is healed almost as if it never happened. It’s a straightforward process in nearly all cases except those involving mental health. The cause isn’t nearly as exact, not being one specific event but possibly multiple over years.  Why are trained professionals allowing for so much error? As complex as the illnesses themselves the answer is composed of a number of variables.

What one person believes to be just a bad stomach ache, with a visit to the local Urgent Care could actually be a symptom far more serious which could require immediate attention. A person only finds this out if they actually make it to the office ergo if that same person never goes then they never know. Unfortunately, as simple as this is, it is incredibly common. A survey from 2000 showed that 25% of people haven’t seen a medical professional of any kind in the past year (Schmitz, Norbert, and Kruse 382). The percentage does not discern between socioeconomic status which plays a large impact, generally the wealthy have the money and time to be healthier to actually see a physician. The notable thing to take away from those numbers is that lower class people are far more likely to have a mental illness than their richer counterpart. So a person actually gets to the doctor a big step in the prevention of misdiagnosis is already gone now actually in front of the doctor is where most of the mishaps happen.

It is imperative that patients trust the doctor they’re seeing, to believe that the doctor has their best interests at heart and will be guiding them from disability to full recovery.  That’s what they do, people get injured, they see the doctor and the doctor tells them how it can be fixed.The sum of such an event can be truly heart breaking and yet this is actually a common phenomenon-the intentional misdiagnosis of patients. Managed Care Organizations, also known as MCOs were born out of the idea that healthcare should be cheaper, better streamlined for the modern age and monitored more effectively. In order to do this they became a bridge for medical providers, the consumers (the patients) and the payers (insurance companies or out of pocket). They also began to set the standards and definitions of care, how much each treatment should be etc. Seemingly a good addition to a confusing system of healthcare, it faltered greatly while 42% of counselors were at least somewhat satisfied (6% being indifferent) an even larger amount at 47% were entirely disatisfied ( Braun and Cox 426).So it becomes either to issue no confirmed diagnosis or misdiagnosing purposely in hopes that the patient can get some sort of help that will alleviate some of the issue.  These diagnoses have a massive impact on the medical industry in 1995 and 1996  creating a loss of $100 billion (Braun and Cox 429). However, even a person with great insurance can still suffer.

For many people, it’s easier to talk to someone they’re familiar with. A friend, uncle, dog, or even someone of the same skin color. Misdiagnosis isn’t always the problem of the doctor, they can only diagnose with what they know and what they know can only come from one place-the patient. Tests can only reveal so much if the patient is willing to take them honestly, to talk to them honestly. It turns out many races of people only feel comfortable in talking about the deeply personal topic of mental health with other people of their own race. The speculation for this is that in order to open up and talk about often hugely uncomfortable things people need to feel like the person that’s listening can understand or relate in some way. There are also many topics like drug abuse or sexual orientation that are especially sensitive in certain cultures and others that are more prevalent (for example racism). An African-American it’s been shown will open up more so and stay in therapy longer if the psychiatrist is also African-American and so on with Asians, Native Americans (Ibraki and Hall 944). An African-American speaking to a white doctor is likely to not talk as much if they’re suffering depression based around continued racism at work or PTSD from an abusive mother.

There are many causes of misdiagnosis unfortunately in the case of MCOs the medical industry is actually encouraging them, in others it’s a matter of simply better understanding the problem. It’s a troubling thought that so many people in need of treatment either aren’t getting it or are being completely misguided, it’s as much a societal as it is a medical problem and one that needs immediate attention.

Final Draft: Human Error in Diagnosing Mental Health

Human Error in Diagnosing Mental Illness

Injuries are ubiquitous, tied seemingly into the fabric of everyday life. Be it a stubbed toe walking initially into the entryway after a day of schooling or work, cutting a finger while cutting carrots for dinner or in worse cases breaking a wrist after slipping on a patch of ice. Accidents happen and thankfully a simple visit to the doctor can generally fix issue through either antibiotics, steroids or splint or a combination. A few weeks later, a bit of rest and the injury is healed almost as if it never happened. It’s a straightforward process in nearly all cases except those involving mental health. The cause isn’t nearly as exact, not being one specific event but possibly multiple over years. Figuring out the problem, whether it’s a cut finger or broken wrist-depression or PTSD is an entirely differently affair in itself, an affair that many in the psychiatric field are having a startlingly difficult time in solving which in turn is putting millions of people at an even greater risk. Why are trained professionals allowing for so much error? As complex as the illnesses themselves the answer is composed of a number of variables. First, one must visit the doctor.

What one person believes to be just a bad stomach ache, with a visit to the local Urgent Care could actually be a symptom far more serious which could require immediate attention. A person only finds this out if they actually make it to the office ergo if that same person never goes then they never know. Unfortunately, as simple as this is, it is incredibly common. A survey from 2000 showed that 25% of people haven’t seen a medical professional of any kind in the past year (Schmitz, Norbert, and Kruse 382). The percentage does not discern between socioeconomic status which plays a large impact, generally the wealthy have the money and time to be healthier to actually see a physician on a regular basis 57% of high class see a doctor regularly compared to lower class at 18.2% (Schmitz et al. 382). The notable thing to take away from those numbers is that lower class people are far more likely to have a mental illness than their richer counterpart. So a person actually get’s to the doctor a big step in the prevention of misdiagnosis is already gone now actually in front of the doctor is where most of the mishaps happen.

It is imperative that patients trust the doctor they’re seeing, to believe that the doctor has their best interests at heart and will be guiding them from disability to full recovery.  That’s what they do, people get injured, they see the doctor and the doctor tells them how it can be fixed. It’s a scary thought to think then, that a person with severe depression sees a psychologist hoping to get some medication or be referred to a therapist to help relieve the issue and get back to being a functional person but walks out of the building being told that it’s mild neurosis probably caused by the colder weather, to just wear a sweater and all will be well. The sum of such an event can be truly heart breaking and yet this is actually a common phenomenon-the intentional misdiagnosis of patients. Managed Care Organizations, also known as MCOs were born out of the idea that healthcare should be cheaper, better streamlined for the modern age and monitored more effectively. In order to do this they became a bridge for medical providers, the consumers (the patients) and the payers (insurance companies or out of pocket). They also began to set the standards and definitions of care, how much each treatment should be etc. Seemingly a good addition to a confusing system of healthcare, it faltered greatly while 42% of counselors were at least somewhat satisfied (6% being indifferent) an even larger amount at 47% were entirely disatisfied ( Braun and Cox 426).  In setting the definitions for what qualifies as a mental illness, for what’s covered under specific insurances they created an enormous confusing system which created many gaps in coverage and definition. This meant that a person’s insurance might cover only a few select mental illnesses forcing them to pay out of pocket for others, in which case depression might not be covered but PTSD would be. This put a huge moral and even legal issue on the shoulders of medical professionals. A person suffering with depression, whose insurance covers PTSD would be told that they actually, have PTSD simply so they could get some kind of care. Doctors being under a strict confidentiality code could not tell the patient that their insurance doesn’t cover their disease and would simply not be able to tell them the truth. So it becomes either to issue no confirmed diagnosis or misdiagnosing purposely in hopes that the patient can get some sort of help that will alleviate some of the issue.  These diagnoses have a massive impact on the medical industry in 1995 and 1996  creating a loss of $100 billion (Braun and Cox 429). However, even a person with great insurance can still suffer.

For many people, it’s easier to talk to someone they’re familiar with. A friend, uncle, dog, or even someone of the same skin color. Misdiagnosis isn’t always the problem of the doctor, they can only diagnose with what they know and what they know can only come from one place-the patient. Tests can only reveal so much if the patient is willing to take them honestly, to talk to them honestly. It turns out many races of people only feel comfortable in talking about the deeply personal topic of mental health with other people of their own race. The speculation for this is that in order to open up and talk about often hugely uncomfortable things people need to feel like the person that’s listening can understand or relate in some way. There are also many topics like drug abuse or sexual orientation that are especially sensitive in certain cultures and others that are more prevalent (for example racism). An African-American it’s been shown will open up more so and stay in therapy longer if the psychiatrist is also African-American and so on with Asians, Native Americans (Ibraki and Hall 944). An African-American speaking to a white doctor is likely to not talk as much if they’re suffering depression based around continued racism at work or PTSD from an abusive mother.

There are many causes of misdiagnosis unfortunately in the case of MCOs the medical industry is actually encouraging them, in others it’s a matter of simply better understanding the problem. It’s a troubling thought that so many people in need of treatment either aren’t getting it or are being completely misguided, it’s as much a societal as it is a medical problem and one that needs immediate attention.

English 111 Rhetorical Analysis: Draft 1

Montana Svoboda A

Professor Enos

English 111
September 23, 2016

Rhetorical Analysis

Matthew Crawford’s assertion is that attention, specifically the near lack of it, in today’s society is not an individual, generational or even technological problem as is so commonly argued but that it is a cultural and continually political issue. The issue hasn’t simply progressed in deterministic pattern from flint and steel to electric stove, it has been pushed and pushed quite literally into our faces with the understanding that it will lead to profit. Attention is a finite resource, a person only has so much of it and can only direct it to a limited amount of objects in a given time. Knowing this, empty space-an expanse of wall in an airport, a bench anywhere to the smallest items like the back of a report card (as Crawford states on page 38) are disappearing and being replaced with bright, vivid scenes designed to capture a person’s attention, to change their thought process from the day’s plans to buying a tube of lipstick. Emptiness, silence is becoming a luxury, only available to the higher class. It is in this void where a person’s mind can unwind, is allowed to digest and for a minute, think and articulate the happenings of the world. As this gets taken away, given to those whose wallets are wide corporations in essence are gaining a bigger foothold on the population’s imagination, on their thoughts. The more they infiltrate ambient space, the more they guide where the mind wanders, as Crawford says “Without the ability to direct our attention where we will, we become more receptive to those who would direct our attention where they will”. Meaning, we become what they want us to. This leads into the loss of individuality, using Crawford’s example page 45, opposed to reading an umpteen number of books, he is tuned into, along with “4.6 million of my closest friends” to a perfectly executed distraction, a considerably meager example of loss but one that shows just how easily we fall into one of man specifically designed single-file line.

Crawford masterfully draws the audience into the article with an anecdote about flying to Chicago. The event becomes not only the background for his proclamation but is transformed into a brilliant analogy about the increasing domination of our attention by special interests groups. Crawford’s use of these light-hearted anecdotes such as going through airport security and even using an article from The Onion is an excellent way of keeping the reader interested and focused, while providing support for the overall point. Relying on a plethora of rhetorical tactics the argument flows naturally without any part becoming obtuse or blatant. Tone is a big factor here, written with a certain whimsical keenness which works alongside the analogies of everyday strife at the airport and elsewhere help create a relatable, almost personal atmosphere as if the reader is a direct friend of his. Transitioning smoothly into an emotional story with such subtly it’s easy to not realize they’re present until a deep breath is exhaled, until a thought is taken to process.  A flow of these emotions is created to narrate the argument, engaging the reader and pulling them in. The hassle of going through airport security is one that most people have directly experienced with the rest being able to relate in some way or the other. The stress of having so many worries run rampant  attention occasionally darting to the pretty clothing ad or hot dog stand, hungry? Is a situation felt by far too many, a situation which ignites a peculiar ferocity within a person. Making the point the one’s attention is a finite resource actively being stolen by corporate incites a feeling worry, people are people but the individual is always more concerned and likely to act if their personal self is the one being actively hunted. Taking it to a microscopic level, pointing the finger at one, pointing out against all others that that one is the apple of someone’s malicious eye is how you get everyone to care. Crawford’s conclusion is that attention is a political issue involving everyone. His open use of nearly every weapon in the rhetorical arsenal show that it indeed is.

In reading the article, analysing it from a variety of perspectives, the overall consensus is that Matthew Crawford does an excellent job of proposing and articulating his argument. Carefully picking through and inserting subtle allusion or small analogy, the actual logistics, the logos to create the initial facade for the claim that attention is a cultural problem not technological or generational as commonly discussed in the news is given to the reader without coming across as a boring facts. The ability to write about such a topic in such a way as it is while still keeping it at it’s core an academic paper proposing a critically thought out assertion is crucial. It’s this that allows the information to be readily, nearly eagerly, consumed as opposed to having the message drift from one year to the other into the cluttered space that has taken over. The context is dark, scary and borderline bleak in some aspects yet nothing is lost to desolation. Moving at a casual pace from hotel to security to inescapable desert alluding to the once valiant native spirit crushed by flashy billboards and dollar signs the void doesn’t swallow meaning or interest, merely explains it with the feeling of a children’s scary story. Success, is a synonym for this article.

The intro paragraph to Crawford’s commentary begins with a simple anecdote about buying groceries, he says “…between swiping m card, confirming the amount and entering my PIN, I was shown advertisements. The intervals themselves, which I had previously assumed were a mere artifact of the communication technology, now seemed to be something more deliberately calibrated.”. This sets up the rest of the article, a common experience everyone has witness when specifically pointed out allows the mind to think back not just on those brief seconds but on a myriad of other moments encompassing one’s life that may have been more cluttered than they initially seemed. Citing a satirical news report from The Onion is witty and informative to provide an idea of what is actually happening in the world. Obviously exaggerated (though not too far from reality), one can’t help but chuckle and nod their head at an excerpt from page 39 “  Marshall Platt, 34 was reportedly seconds away from letting go and enjoying himself when he was suddenly crushed by the full weight of work emails that still needed to be dealt with…an upcoming wedding he had yet to buy airfare for..”. That quote, along with the body from which it came provides a startling light voice to quite the dark picture, we as a people are always present elsewhere, preoccupied with the sum of responsibilities while simultaneously trying to fight off a never ending army of brightly colored advertisements who are forcing their way into our heads in attempt to effectively control our every thought. This battle humorously summed up while growing through airport security is spoken as “This fresh demand for vigilance, lest I lose my powerpoint slide show, feels like a straightforward conflict between me and L’Oreal” (Crawford 41). It’s this use that make the essay such a compelling and surprisingly read. Crawford poses a brilliant and well executed pondering which rivals as one of the best.

Compare and Contrast: Draft 1

Learning is a process, at certain stages of growth it comes far more naturally than it does others. Childhood is the time for this when the brain is fresh. Continuing to take in information, to learn becomes second nature as you age and specifically progress through school, it’s actually understanding where the difficulty lies. Robert Leamnson and Jack Mezirow offer forth their thoughts on how to comprehend new information as it’s taught from the perspective of the college student and established adult. Their methods and philosophies are equally similar yet ripe with differences.

Our brains by adulthood have had plenty of time to become set in their ways, flawed or otherwise. The difficulty in teaching a mind that has already made up its own becomes apparent as Mezirow states “Adults have acquired a cohere body of experience-associations, concepts, values, feelings…frames of reference which define their world”.  It’s through this bias Leamnson and Mezirow reach an agreement in the difficulties of teaching and being taught. Leamnson goes at it with a more precise look delving into the actual architecture of the brain equating teaching to “something like demolition before construction can begin.” Indeed that is a terrifying thought for anyone striving to ascend their education. To think that your brain has all these counterproductive and sometimes completely useless material can easily bring an uneasy feeling. A feeling which might cause many to go through the motions, certain that this is just the same as the prior twelve years. It is the educator’s job to break this mold, to re-ignite and to build the foundation for the passion of knowledge. The differences between learning as an adolescent and as an adult are remarkable and how you go about this is where the two writers disagree.

Leamnson’s “Today’s First-Year Students” speaks to the late-teens, early twenty year olds whereas Mezirow directs his article towards the more established adult, the pre-thirties and beyond. A minor seemingly minor distinction that can be overlooked at a glance. The recent high school graduate sprouting into college will generally be entirely disinterested in the idea of four more years of class, seeing college as simply the last hurdle and treating as such. These students come from entirely different backgrounds than what the college professor is able to handle. Having built up an “‘immunization’ mentality about discipline” they enter the classroom with a distorted idea of school, this idea commonly is the precursor to their false confidence. This false confidence is a sort of armor, with the instructor’s teachings being unable to penetrate. Adult learners differ in that while having even more time to build up bias more often the adolescent-esque bravado has eased away. Life experience, settling down growing into a responsible grownup has its effect on the process of being educated. More so here than in the younger crowd, it’s not about teaching but to “strengthen and build on this foundation to…become more aware…more effective at working to collectively assess reasons, pose and solve problems”.

For truly effective teaching Leamnson’s idea is based on the theory that the teacher needs to understand the student in order for the student to understand the teacher. Focus needs to be put on emphasizing the student, essentially taking the core material and adapting it for easier digestibility to overcome the stubborn armor they have enshrouded themselves in. College in context of educating as a whole isn’t a simple victory lap nor is it a routine that can be passively accomplished. Mezirow has a list of processes in which learning can be done saying “one process is to elaborate an existing point of view…a second way is to establish new points of view…a third way is to transform our point of view…finally, we may transform our habit of mind”. To initiate these processes, it is said that the educator must take the roll as an architect to create an open environment which readily encourages the flow of new challenging information composed as to be individually relevant, communication amongst participants that poses questions and challenges to better incite personal reflection while keeping a specific amiable feel as to not shock or cause outright denial of the information.

As a daunting task it may be, learning as well as teaching an aging audience, all is not lost. The path may be riddled with inordinate knowledge, unnecessary bias and a stubbornly structured brain but Leamnson and Mezirow have written extensively how to overcome the challenge. Each with a method quite different from the other, the underlying style and theme sharing a large amount of similarity. Although not necessarily typical in the classical form of schooling, undertaking the responsibility of educating older students lends itself to being far from what’s expected. In doing so however, in exploring the student’s tendencies, in adapting the material to fit their idiosyncrasies while simultaneously filtering out the redundancies to create increasingly critical minds we benefit ourselves individually as well as society.

Compare and Contrast: Final Draft

Montana Svoboda

Professor Enos

English 111

September 21, 2016

Learning is a lifelong process, at certain stages of growth it comes far more naturally than it does others. Childhood is the quintessential time for this when the brain is fresh and surrounded entirely by the unknown. Continuing to take in information, to learn becomes second nature as you age and specifically progress through school, it’s actually understanding where the difficulty lies. This is where Robert Leamnson and Jack Mezirow offer forth their thoughts on how to comprehend new information as it’s taught from the perspective of the college student and established adult, from the perspective of teaching them as well. Their methods and philosophies are equally similar yet ripe with differences, each offering a distinct perspective on how to best accomplish the task.

Our brains by adulthood have had plenty of time to become set in their ways, flawed or otherwise. The difficulty in teaching a mind that has already made up its own becomes apparent as Mezirow states “Adults have acquired a cohere body of experience-associations, concepts, values, feelings…frames of reference which define their world” (86). Frames of reference- an internal bias a person has built up throughout their life greatly affect how they not only take in information but also how they utilize and make sense of it. It’s through this bias Leamnson and Mezirow reach an agreement in the difficulties of teaching and being taught. Leamnson goes at it with a more precise look delving into the actual architecture of the brain equating teaching to “something like demolition before construction can begin.” (75) Indeed that is a terrifying thought for anyone striving to ascend their education. To think that your brain has all these counterproductive and sometimes completely useless material can easily bring an uneasy feeling. A feeling which might cause many to go through the motions, certain that this is just the same as the prior twelve years. It is the educator’s job to break this mold, to re-ignite and to build the foundation for the passion of knowledge. The differences between learning as an adolescent and as an adult are remarkable and how you go about this is where the two writers disagree.

Before getting into their individual theories of teaching what must be discussed first is the demographic of which they are aiming at. Leamnson’s “Today’s First-Year Students” speaks to the late-teens, early twenty year olds whereas Mezirow directs his article towards the more established adult, the pre-thirties and beyond. A minor seemingly minor distinction that can be overlooked at a glance. The recent high school graduate sprouting into college will generally be entirely disinterested in the idea of four more years of class, seeing college as simply the last hurdle and treating as such. These students come from entirely different backgrounds than what the college professor is able to handle. Having built up an “‘immunization’ mentality about disciplines” (Leamnson 76) they enter the classroom with a distorted idea of school, this idea commonly is the precursor to their false confidence. This false confidence is a sort of armor, with the instructor’s teachings being unable to penetrate. Adult learners differ in that while having even more time to build up bias more often the adolescent-esque bravado has eased away. Life experience, settling down growing into a responsible grownup has its effect on the process of being educated. More so here than in the younger crowd, it’s not about teaching but to “strengthen and build on this foundation to…become more aware…more effective at working to collectively assess reasons, pose and solve problems” (Mezirow 90). Now we may go into the technique.

There are a wide number of variables when it comes to teaching, with an almost limitless number of approaches. As daunting a task as it is to learn, it is just as so to be the educator. For truly effective teaching Leamnson’s idea is based on the theory that the teacher needs to understand the student in order for the student to understand the teacher. Focus needs to be put on emphasizing the student, essentially taking the core material and adapting it for easier digestibility to overcome the stubborn armor they have enshrouded themselves in. College in context of educating as a whole isn’t a simple victory lap nor is it a routine that can be passively accomplished, the task of rerouting redundancy and reigniting the passion for knowledge. Mezirow has a list of processes in which learning can be done saying “one process is to elaborate an existing point of view…a second way is to establish new points of view…a third way is to transform our point of view…finally, we may transform our habit of mind” (90). To initiate these processes, it is said that the educator must take the roll as an architect to create an open environment which readily encourages the flow of new challenging information composed as to be individually relevant, communication amongst participants that poses questions and challenges to better incite personal reflection while keeping a specific amiable feel as to not shock or cause outright denial of the information. Discourse as this is called is the key to teaching Mezirow believes, the conditions are peculiar but if care is taken those conditions can be met and can lead to fruitful scholars.

As a daunting task it may be, learning as well as teaching an aging audience, all is not lost. The path may be riddled with inordinate knowledge, unnecessary bias and a stubbornly structured brain but Leamnson and Mezirow have written extensively how to overcome the challenge. Each with a method quite different from the other, the underlying style and theme sharing a large amount of similarity. Although not necessarily typical in the classical form of schooling, undertaking the responsibility of educating older students lends itself to being far from what’s expected. In doing so however, in exploring the student’s tendencies, in adapting the material to fit their idiosyncrasies while simultaneously filtering out the redundancies to create increasingly critical minds we benefit ourselves individually as well as society.

 

English 111. Compare and Contrast Draft 2

Learning is a lifelong process, at certain stages of growth it comes far more naturally than it does others. Childhood is the quintessential time for this when the brain is fresh and surrounded entirely by the unknown. Continuing to take in information, to learn becomes second nature as you age and specifically progress through school, it’s actually understanding where the difficulty lies. This is where Robert Leamnson and Jack Mezirow offer forth their thoughts on how to comprehend new information as it’s taught from the perspective of the college student and established adult, from the perspective of teaching them as well. They’re methods and philosophies are equally similar yet equally ripe with differences, each offering a distinct perspective on the method to do is effectively.

Our brains by adulthood have had plenty of time to become set in their ways, flawed or otherwise. The difficulty in teaching a mind that has already made up its own becomes apparent as Mezirow states “Adults have acquired a cohere body of experience-associations, concepts, values, feelings…frames of reference which define their world” (86). Frames of reference, this internal bias a person has built up throughout their life greatly affect how they not only take in information but also how they utilize and make sense of it. It’s through this bias Leamnson and Mezirow reach an agreement in the difficulties of teaching and being taught. Leamnson goes at it with a more precise look delving into the actual architecture of the brain equating teaching to “something like demolition before construction can begin.” (75) Indeed that is a terrifying thought for anyone striving to ascend their education. To think that your brain has all these counterproductive and sometimes completely useless material can easily bring an uneasy feeling. A feeling which might cause many to go through the motions, certain that this is just the same as the prior twelve years. It is the educators job to break this mold, to re-ignite and to build the foundation for the passion of knowledge. The differences between learning as an adolescent and as an adult are remarkable and how you go about this is where the two writers disagree.

Before getting into their individual theories of teaching what must be discussed first is the demographic of which they are aiming at. Leamnson’s “Today’s First-Year Students” speaks to the late-teens, early twenty year olds whereas Mezirow directs his article towards the more established adult, the pre-thirties and beyond. A minor seemingly minor distinction that can be overlooked at a glance. The recent high school graduate sprouting into college will generally be entirely disinterested in the idea of four more years of class, seeing college as simply the last hurdle and treating as such. These students come from entirely different backgrounds than what the college professor is able to handle. Having built up an “‘immunization’ mentality about disciplines” (Leamnson 76) they enter the classroom with a distorted idea of school, this idea commonly is the precursor to their false confidence. This false confidence is a sort of armor, with the instructor’s teachings being unable to penetrate. Adult learners differ in that while having even more time to build up bias more often the adolescent-esque bravado has eased away. Life experience, settling down growing into a responsible grownup has its effect on the process of being educated. More so here than in the younger crowd, it’s not about teaching but to “strengthen and build on this foundation to…become more aware…more effective at working to collectively assess reasons, pose and solve problems” (Mezirow 90). Now we may go into the technique.

There are a wide number of variables when it comes to teaching, with an almost limitless number of approaches. As daunting a task as it is to learn, it is just as so to be the educator. For truly effective teaching Leamnson’s idea is based in the theory that the teacher needs to understand the student in order for the student to understand the teacher. Focus needs to be put on emphasizing the student, essentially taking the core material and adapting it for easier digestibility to overcome the stubborn armor they have enshrouded themselves in. College in context of educating as a whole isn’t a simple victory lap nor is it a routine that can be passively accomplished, the task of rerouting redundancy and reigniting the passion for knowledge. Mezirow has a list of processes in which learning can be done saying “one process is to elaborate an existing point of view…a second way is to establish new points of view…a third way is to transform our point of view…finally, we may transform our habit of mind” (90). To initiate these processes, it is said that the educator must take the roll as an architect to create an open environment which readily encourages the flow of new challenging information composed as to be individually relevant, communication amongst participants that poses questions and challenges to better incite personal reflection while keeping a specific amiable feel as to not shock or cause outright denial of the information. Discourse as this is called is the key to teaching Mezirow believes, the conditions are peculiar but if care is taken those conditions can be met and can lead to fruitful scholars.

As a daunting task it may be, learning as well as teaching an aging audience, all is not lost. The path may be riddled with inordinate knowledge, unnecessary bias and a stubbornly structured brain but Leamnson and Mezirow have written extensively how to overcome the challenge. Each with a method quite different from the other, the underlying style and theme sharing a large amount of similarity. Although not necessarily typical in the classical form of schooling, undertaking the responsibility of educating older students lends itself to being far from what’s expected. In doing so however, in exploring the student’s tendencies, in adapting the material to fit their idiosyncrasies while simultaneously filtering out the redundancies to create increasingly critical minds, we benefit ourselves as well as everyone else.