Sunday, November 29, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Faculty responds to ‘easy’ classes

In “Easy: PSUC students must choose fate” (Feb.12), Julia Overton-Healy remarks that employers look for communication skills, such as “writing, public speaking, sitting across the table from each other and making eye contact. Employers want communication skills and you get that by being exposed to a wide variety of people. That’s through internships.”

Internships certainly provide valuable experience. However, communication skills are already integral to most college courses. In English, we teach not just content but the skills of writing, reading, debating and presenting ideas. It is unlikely that one will succeed in a job (or an internship) without these skills. Students can best help themselves by mastering the content and skills taught in their courses.

I also take exception to Overton-Healy’s assertion that students are taught to “regurgitate” what professors want. “We don’t really teach students how to have proactive initiative,” she says. These generalizations disparage our ability to teach creative, critical thinking, the main objective of college education.

In the rush to professionalize education, let’s not forget that courses provide the foundations for success: content, theory, and, of course, critical thinking and communication skills.

Elaine Ostry
Associate Professor of English

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