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Joan Lee <[log in to unmask]>
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SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 1 Aug 2008 17:20:01 -0400
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In an earlier thread about language and "professorese" we discussed the 
ego involved in telling others that writing for a general audience is 
beneath their intellectual level. Nonsense. Listen to high school kids 
who are bored with school and one of their complaints is that they are 
patronized. I have heard several young people say that they would much 
prefer to just have the subject matter presented to them, not snippets 
that teachers think they can handle each year. We tend not to listen to 
students because we know better, know what's good for them, rely on 
"experts" who have learned from other "experts", and often have ego 
issues that we refuse to look at (all it takes is a mirror).  Kids are, 
in general, pretty smart and savvy and we do them great injustice. 
Their judgment isn't the best, that comes with maturity and experience, 
but their intellectual capacity is not impaired.  Joan

On Aug 1, 2008, at 1:57 PM, David Clarke wrote:

> I have experience the of actually being told to "dumb down" the 
> material. I agree that much of what is accused of dumbing down is in 
> actuality just simplification, but in the instances of which I am 
> thinking I was told by college professors that the students wouldn't 
> understand the concepts. In one instance the new work, for a 400 level 
> biology course, was a review of material covered in Biology 100. But 
> even in that later class, the teacher didn't expect the students to 
> understand the material any better than they did in the beginning. One 
> could argue that that was one professor but, sadly, in my time in 
> education I have seen this to be more institutional.