Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Apathy

I gave my students a Thomas Friedman editorial to read last night. In it, he labels this generation of college students (and I have juniors this year, so I include them in this generation) as "Generation Q." He claims they are a group of quiet, virtual activists--and as Friedman says, they maybe too quiet for their own good because they don't take on the world face to face, but behind a virtual line.

We have been discussing The Crucible in class for the last few weeks and I thought this article might serve as a good ending discussion. In the play, Miller advocates social involvement, in the character of John Proctor, so I wanted them to think about THEIR involvement in the world--or lack thereof.

Some of my students had a lot to say on this topic, claiming they could be activists on-line and that Friedman didn't understand how powerful MySpace and Facebook can be as a tool for communication. But most of my students had nothing to say about any issue. When I asked them "What would you fight for?" They just sort of shrugged. One girl said meekly, "the environment"?

Well, this is something I would fight for--to shake them up, make them think, help them see that they can and should make a difference in the world. The most dangerous citizen is the apathetic one.

4 comments:

cbh said...

you should have them post a false bulletin on their myspace page or friendster about some kind of issue asking for a response of some kind to see what happens. to figure out just how "involved" their virtual friends actually are and what kind of impact do their bulletins actually have?

thank you for commenting on my own blog. i appreciate it and you will now be taken off my s!@t list.

i'm ashamed to admit that i don't know why your blog name is pearls before piglets.

LitTeacher said...

My blog is called "Pearls Before Piglets" b/c someone had already taken "Pearls before Swine"---and that's how I feel teaching great literature to high schools students, like I'm throwing pearls of wisdom, insight, thought, writing before SWINE (or in this case piglets) who could care less and who can't understand the art before them. Cynical, I know!

cbh said...

in response to our myspace conversation the other day read this post:

http://in2thetrenches.blogspot.com/2007/10/isnt-it-ironic.html

Johns said...

It sounds like a lot got lost in translation. Is your generation more active than the "Q"s? The generations from the 70s and 80s are just as apathetic. Set an example by doing real good (NOT IN SCHOOL) and your students will follow the example if you're open and explanatory about your work. And i know, i know, you're swamped with engfish and student bs as a HS teach, but everyone can always make the time, we all just pretend to be truly busy.