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The Paradox of Choice - Chater one (6)

(2009-08-02 22:53:16)
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翻译

第一章

杂谈

分类: 翻译工作

Shopping for Knowledge

 

    These days, a typical college catalog has more in common with the one from J. Crew than you might think. Most liberal arts colleges and universities now embody a view that celebrates freedom of choice above all else, and the modern university is a kind of intellectual shopping mall.

 

    这些日子来,一份高校目录和你想象来自J.Crew的有着更多的共同点。大部分文科高校和大学现在都有着这么一个观点:选择上的自由其它一切更值得庆祝。而现在的大学就是这么一个“知识超市”。

 

    A century ago, a college curriculum entailed a largely fixed course of study, with a principal goal of educating people in their ethical and civic traditions. Education was not just about learning a discipline—it was a way of raising citizens with common values and aspirations. Often the capstone of a college education was a course taught by the college president, a course that integrated the various fields of knowledge to which the students had been exposed. But more important, this course was intended to teach students how to use their college education to live a good and an ethical life, both as individuals and as members of society.

 

    在一个世纪以前,一个大学课程承担着固定的教学课程,其首要目标是对人们的伦理和社会公民传统进行教育。教育不仅仅是取得一张文凭 —— 而是为了唤起公民的共同价值和追求。大学教育最重要的课程常常是由大学校长来传授的,这些课程关乎学生接触到的各个领域的知识。更重要的是,这些课程是为了教育学生如何利用他们大学的教育去过上美好和符合伦理的生活,包括作为个人和一名社会成员。

 

    This is no longer the case. Now there is no fixed curriculum, and no single course is required of all students. There is no attempt to teach people how they should live, for who is to say what a good life is? When I went to college, thirty-five years ago, there were almost two years’ worth of general education requirements that all students had to complete. We had some choices among courses that met those requirements, but they were rather narrow. Almost every department had a single, freshman-level introductory course that prepared the student for more advanced work in the department. You could be fairly certain, if you ran into a fellow student you didn’t know, that the two of you would have at least a year’s worth of courses in common to discuss.

 

    而事实不再是这样了。现在不再有固定的课程,没有单独一门课程是对所有学生都有要求的,也不再致力于教导人们如何生活,究竟什么样的生活是好生活。三十五年前,在我上大学的时候,所有学生都要求完成差不多两年的通识教育。我们也可以自由选择一些课程,来达到通识教育的要求,但可选的范围窄得多。几乎每个大学都要新生介绍课程,为了让学生对以后的高级课程作更好的准备。几乎可以肯定,如何你碰到你不认识的学生,你们俩至少有一年共同的课程可以讨论。

 

    Today, the modern institution of higher learning offers a wide array of different “goods” and allows, even encourages, students— the “customers”—to shop around until they find what they like. Individual customers are free to “purchase” whatever bundles of knowledge they want, and the university provides whatever its customers demand. In some rather prestigious institutions, this shopping-mall view has been carried to an extreme. In the first few weeks of classes, students sample the merchandise. They go to a class, stay ten minutes to see what the professor is like, then walk out, often in the middle of  the professor’s sentence, to try another class. Students come and go in and out of classes just as browsers goin and out of stores in a mall. “You’ve got ten minutes,” the students seem to be saying, “to show me what you’ve got. So give it your best shot.”

 

    今天,现代的高等教学机构提供了一系列广泛的不同的“货物”,允许,甚至鼓励学生 —— 作为消费者,去一直选购知道找到他们喜欢的东西。个体消费者可以自由地“购买”一捆捆他们想要的知识,而大学则会提供他们要求的东西。甚至在一些声望较高的大学,这种“购物商场”的观点甚至被推向了一个极端。在前几周的课堂里,学生开始对“商品”取样。他们去到一堂课上,呆上十分钟去看看那教授长什么样的,在教授的话还没说完就中途离开,接着去尝试另外一门课。学生在课室里出出入入,就像逛街的人在商场里进进出出。这些学生好像在说:“把你有的都给我看看。展现出你最好的一面吧。 ”

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