I came across this cartoon some time ago:
It is worth reposting at the start of a new semester. We call them “disciples” but they were basically students. And as hard as an educator might try to explain things, students still ask questions like this one. Let me try once again to explain why the question is such a frustrating one from our perspective.
Education is not about being given a set of information which you know you will need and then reproducing it on some predictable occasion in the future when you know in advance that you will need to do so. It is about becoming well-informed, and competent to cope with the unexpected things which jobs, and life in general, inevitably throw our way.I wonder whether the question “Will this be on the final exam?”, and the sense many of today’s students have that core curriculum and general education courses are irrelevant to their chosen vocation, are not connected. Both reflect the belief that the future will follow a predictable path, and that all students need to do is gather up the answers now and then have them ready for the moments when they are needed.
If we send you out into the world thinking that you can know what will be on life’s examinations, we do you a disservice.