新视野大学英语2读写教程课文unit 8What Youngsters Expect in Life
Please listen to a short passage carefully and prepare to answer some questions.
Listen to the tape again. Then answer the following questions with your own experiences.
1) How do young students and older teachers see the role of education differently?
2) What is "quality of life" and how can it be improved?
3) According to the writer, what must educators prepare students for?
There's a Lot More to Life than a Job
It has often been remarked that the saddest thing about youth is that it is wasted on the young.
Reading a survey report on first-year college students, I recalled the regret, "If only I knew then what I know now."
The survey revealed what I had already suspected from informal polls of students both in Macon and at the Robins Resident Center: if it (whatever it may be) won't compute and you can't drink it, smoke it or spend it, then "it" holds little value.
According to the survey based on responses from over 188,000 students, today's college beginners are "more consumeristic and less idealistic" than at any time in the seventeen years of the poll.
Not surprising in these hard times, the students' major objective "is to be financially well off. Less important than ever is developing a meaningful philosophy of life." Accordingly, today the most popular course is not literature or history but accounting.
Interest in teaching, social service and the humanities is at a low, along with ethnic and women's studies. On the other hand, enrollment in business programs, engineering and computer science is way up.
That's no surprise either. A friend of mine (a sales representative for a chemical company) was making twice the salary of college instructors during her first year on the job — even before she completed her two-year associate degree.
"I'll tell them what they can do with their (music, history, literature, etc.)," she was fond of saying. And that was four years ago; I tremble to think what she's earning now.
Frankly, I'm proud of the young lady (not her attitude but her success). But why can't we have it both ways? Can't we educate people for life as well as for a career? I believe we can.
If we can not, then that is a conviction against our educational system — kindergarten, elementary, secondary and higher. In a time of increasing specialization, a time when 90 percent of all the scientists who have ever lived are currently alive, more than ever, we need to know what is truly important in life.
This is where age and maturity enter. Most people, somewhere between the ages of 30 and 50, finally arrive at the inevitable conclusion that they were meant to do more than serve a corporation, a government agency, or whatever.
Most of us finally have the insight that quality of life is not entirely determined by a balance sheet. Sure, everyone wants to be financially comfortable, but we also want to feel we have a perspective on the world beyond the confines of our occupation; we want to be able to render service to our fellow man and to our God.
If it is a fact that the meaning of life does not dawn until middle age, is it then not the duty of educational institutions to prepare the way for that revelation? Most people, in their youth, resent the Social Security deductions from their pay, yet a seemingly few short years later find themselves standing anxiously by the mailbox.
While it's true all of us need a career, preferably a prosperous one, it is equally true that our civilization has collected an incredible amount of knowledge in fields far removed from our own. And we are better for our understanding of these other contributions — be they scientific or artistic. It is equally true that, in studying the diverse wisdom of others, we learn how to think. More importantly, perhaps, education teaches us to see the connections between things, as well as to see beyond our immediate needs.
Weekly we read of unions that went on strike for higher wages, only to drive their employer out of business. No company, no job. How shortsighted in the long run.
But the most important argument for a broad education is that in studying the accumulated wisdom of the ages, we improve our moral sense. I saw a cartoon recently which depicts a group of businessmen looking puzzled as they sit around a conference table; one of them is talking on the intercom: "Miss Baxter," he says, "could you please send in someone who can distinguish right from wrong?"
In the long run that's what education really ought to be about. I think it can be. My college roommate, now head of a large shipping company in New York, not surprisingly was a business major. But he also hosted a classical music show on the college's FM station and listened to Wagner as he studied his accounting.
That's the way it should be. Oscar Wilde had it right when he said we ought to give our ability to our work but our genius to our lives.
Let's hope our educators answer students' cries for career education, but at the same time let's ensure that students are prepared for the day when they realize their shortsightedness. There's a lot more to life than a job.