Letters to the Editor

Aren't you in college to learn stuff?

Am I the only one disturbed by the implication of your article on college freshmen ("Profs best watch their in-class references," Sept. 6, Page B-1) that it is the teacher's obligation to draw references and examples only from the world the incoming students are already familiar with, however limited and often shallow that may be?

Presumably, freshmen are in college to expand, develop, refine and utilize an existing stock of basic knowledge. If they don't understand a reference, shouldn't they be the ones to run, if not to the library as in the past, at least to that all-knowing computer they all have to find the information for themselves? Why should college classes be brought down to the lowest possible common denominator?

Learning involves working to find what you don't already know, not complaining that you don't know it and the teacher should respect your ignorance. Even 50 years ago, in a much better prepared situation, I remember the frantic thumbing through dictionaries and encyclopedias to figure out the name my professor was referring to so casually, or why something was an example of something else I didn't understand.

Students today are certainly no less intelligent than in my day; can't we expect the same effort from them?