This book is my gauntlet, and it has been thrown with alacrity into whatever arcane and hallowed cerulean vapor in which your mind traverses. Although you possess the ability to conceptualize and develop programmatic conditioning procedures for an array of individuals, be they human or non-human, you either fail to see the educational conditioning of the modern undergraduate, or you volitionally ignore it. Do you remember being taught the Flynn Effect? Have you stayed true to your discipline and remained conversant in this research and the apparent emergence of its inverse? If so, you would know that an ever increasing number of traditional college students appear to remain in the concrete stage of cognitive development as they exit high school and enter the world of post-secondary education; a world in which they are ill equipped to understand, or make use of the material they are expected to learn (Shayer & Ginsburg, 2009). Allow me to remind you that, while in the classroom, your charge and solemnn oath is to illuminate that which is veiled in ignorance. To be more precise, your job is to explain efforts made in understanding the human condition to people who still have difficulty thinking around corners, or creating an argument that would support their perspective on any given topic.
If the behaviorist is to be taken seriously, and behavior is goal directed, please clearly articulate your goal in requiring students to purchase textbooks that are beyond their ability to comprehend and then teaching from those texts. Is Vygotsky woefully errant in his proposition of the zone of proximal development? If that is the case, then please carry on as you were. If that is not the case, how do you formulate a justified true belief with regard to the logic, quality, and veracity of your instructional methodology?
Teaching non-human primates to memorize a list of vocabulary words is not a difficult undertaking. Teaching those same primates to engage in some form of behavior that wouldsuggest that they understand the abstractions of the words is impossible. In spite of this truism,you continue to lecture to humans as if they were some other species: Who was_____? What is________ ? Where is ________located? Identify the anatomical parts of the _______. At whatage does a person _________? What class of drug causes _______? And on, and on, and on.This is an intellectual exercise with no purpose and a journey that leads nowhere. What I have attempted to do in writing this book is to allow students to intellectually engage with the world in which they live, consider the other worlds in which other people live, to ask questions and find answers that have substantive meaning; a meaning that they can articulate and defend. This book is my attempt to lead students into a world that is malleable and frequently difficult to understand coupled with the repetitive mantra of using critical thought as a means of creating and understanding. In other words, this book uses a language that students can understand while simultaneously holding them to a higher academic standard than did their experiences with former iterations of education. I encourage you to consider doing the same.
Very Truly Yours,
Scott D. Reeder