it has been a week of engaging with young people for me. the first was a skype discussion with a classroom of year 12 catholic boys in christchurch. since they're doing that sharing of schools thing down there, the morning session runs from 7am to 1pm, and i was on skype around 8am. unfortunately it wasn't working properly so they could see me but i couldn't see them. that was a bit wierd, but i hope they got something useful out of it.
the second encounter was on tuesday when i had to give a lecture on MMP vs FPP to a group of students at university. these were people who were doing some kind of bridging course as they hadn't got through NCEA. having spent 4 years of my life teaching at uni, many years ago, i don't particularly look forward to going back there for the purpose of giving lectures.
i remember one i did to a 4th year accounting class last year. a room full of young people who looked like they would rather be anywhere else, who seemed to have no enthusiasm for the subject, and it's really not fun to have to speak to that kind of a crowd. these days when i have a public speaking gig, i'm invited by a group that has some interest in what i have to say and are there because they want to be there. so i find it even more difficult to deal with a group who is only there because they want the degree that will be the result of sitting through any number of tedious lectures.
still, this tuesday's session was much better than that, mostly because the people attending seemed to be interested in the subject, seemed to be more motivated and engaged in the topic. and possibly it was because i was also feeling that way. it's much easier to engage an audience when you feel passionate about the subject matter.
but it just goes to show that, really, it's such a pity that young people these days are getting an education soley for the purposes of getting a high-paying job. wouldn't it be so much better if they could make their educational choices based on the subjects they felt passionate about? it would definitely be better in terms of the quality of education they obtained, in terms of their intellectual stimulation and increased capacity to contribute to that particular field. and i'm sure, in the long run, it would be much better for the economy, as the country would be producing workers that more highly motivated and enthusiastic about their field of expertise.
instead, we have people making decisions based on the size of the student loan they'll have to leave university with, and on their ability to pay back that loan. it's hardly surprising that they look so bored.