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I Love Learning; I Hate School

An Anthropology of College
Narrated by: Laura Jennings
Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Frustrated by her students' performance, her relationships with them, and her own daughter's problems in school, Susan D. Blum, a professor of anthropology, set out to understand why her students found their educational experiences at a top-tier institution so profoundly difficult and unsatisfying. Through her research and in conversations with her students, she discovered a troubling mismatch between the goals of the university and the needs of students.

In I Love Learning; I Hate School, Blum tells two intertwined but inseparable stories: the results of her research into how students learn contrasted with the way conventional education works and the personal narrative of how she herself was transformed by this understanding. Blum concludes that the dominant forms of higher education do not match the myriad forms of learning that help students - and people in general - master meaningful and worthwhile skills and knowledge. In this critique of higher education, Blum explains why so much is going wrong and offers suggestions for how to bring classroom learning more in line with appropriate forms of engagement.

The book is published by Cornell University Press.

©2016 Cornell University (P)2016 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A must-read for all who care about educational improvement and renewal." (Peter Demerath, University of Minnesota)
"Susan D. Blum has written the book the majority of college faculty would write if they only had her encyclopedic knowledge, deep insight, and courage." (David F. Lancy, Utah State University)
"Beautifully written…a thoughtful, intimate slant on how to make sense of our lived experience as teachers and students." (Cathy Small, Northern Arizona University)

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Made a college senior cry

I’ve firsthand experienced all of this, and have been talking about this for awhile before ever listening to this. I’m Heartbroken I wish things were different.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • EP
  • Walnut Creek, CA United States
  • 09-25-16

How Humans Learn and How Schools Get It Wrong

If you could sum up I Love Learning; I Hate School in three words, what would they be?

This is a very useful and interesting audiobook! As someone who works in the field of education, this audiobook gave me a lot to think about when it comes to the "nature" of what it means to be human-and how American schools disregard or even work in opposition to that nature.

Human beings possess an "unquenchable" drive to explore-yet school often requires teachers to "force feed" students the curriculum. Humans need to feel emotion to learn effectively-yet schools often treat emotion as if it were a nuisance. Humans are not just social, but "ultra" social-yet schools often requires students to learn and function in isolation. Lastly, humans possess bodies that were meant to move-yet schools often structure learning in a way that completely isolates mind from body.

I was amazed to discover that almost NO information learned abstractly transfers to life outside of school. For example, students who learn how to drive in a classroom setting are typically paralyzed by inaction when they must apply the classroom knowledge to driving "in the wild". Real-world learning seems to be the "gold standard " of learning-something few American schools currently offer its students.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was the way the author/narrator jumped around between topics-I would have preferred a more sequential delivery of the content.

Any additional comments?

I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I hate learning how bad college is but...

...I love knowing it can be better. And this book contributes a lot to that enterprise. Blum presents the common complaints that I and many, many of my faculty colleagues have about student learning. She then goes into considerable depth in describing the roots of the the issues that so disenchant us in the real experiences of students, particularly the paradigms that shape their approaches to learning. She provides a rich buffet of data to support her arguments about the failure of the educational system to address the learning needs of all but a very quirky few students. This all rings true to my experience and my own research on teaching, learning, and the educational system in the United States. Where the book is less helpful in in practical strategies for addressing, to the extent we can, these shortcomings. Even her own experiments with more engaged learning seem often to have been flukes, a perspective she acknowledges to a large extent in the final narrative about a 2013 course. Another issue for me is that, as a tenured full professor, Blum had the luxury to experiment in the classroom, really learning from negative evaluations, to a degree that adjunct and pre-tenure faculty, whose jobs and promotions depend of good student evaluations of teaching (worthless in terms of actually measuring learning that the are). Though Blum did evince a sensitivity to the reality of the non-tenure-track majority in U.S. college & university classrooms and her own relative privilege, her imagination seemed not to extend to practical ways to enliven the classroom to cultivate (her rich metaphor) real learning without generating the resistance to the time such learning takes for students that often results in poor evaluations. Nonetheless, this is an important and challenging book that every college and university educator and--importantly--administrator should read (or listen to, at least).

The narration of the audiobook is reasonably good in that Jennings's voice is pleasantly listenable. However, she struggled with pronunciation throughout, a lapse that seemed more related to fatigue than knowledge (although, lord help her on "Bourdieu"). For instance, toward the end she confused "colleague" with "college," and that somehow wasn't edited over. Likewise, she flipped pronunciation of "read" in the present tense with "read" ("red") in the past tense. That these annoying little ticks became noticeable points to how much more frequent than these couple examples.

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  • Daniel_23
  • MIAMI, FL, United States
  • 05-11-17

Un paso más allá hacia la revolución educativa

Where does I Love Learning; I Hate School rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Este libro acompaña varios títulos que hablan acerca del problema del sistema educativo actual y de la necesidad imperativa de un cambio de raíz. Es un complemento a lo ya escrito acerca del tema por grandes personajes como Ken Robinson y José Saramago, que sobresalen entre varios académicos menos conocidos que hablan de un cambio de paradigma de la educación por ya varios años.
La ventaja de este libro es en enfoque particular que se le da hacia los estudiantes y su experiencia, la manera en la que se les enseña a engañar al sistema y cómo se castiga a aquellos que no lo saben o no lo quieren hacer.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

El aspecto personal que se le da a la historia, contada como un cambio progresivo en el pensamiento de la autora, que se va dando cuenta gradualmente cómo funciona el aprendizaje y el sistema, y cómo producen resultados devastadores en el presente y futuro de miles de personas en el mundo.

What about Laura Jennings’s performance did you like?

Me gustó su dicción impecable y su ritmo. Sin embargo su tono de voz me pareció monótono y falto de emoción.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Ninguna reacción extrema, pero un sentimiento grarnde de empatía. Me sentí muy identificado con la historia. Habiendo estado varias veces en el rol de estudiante y unas cuantas en el de profesor, puedo decir que tenía ya una idea del problema del sistema de educación. Sin embargo, fue justamente al entrar al sistema de educación francés que este libro fue una gran ayuda para sobrellevar la carga académica mal equilibrada, el sistema roto y ciertos profesores que no merecen ser llamados educadores. Al entender más acerca de este sistema arcaico y decadente, tengo esperanza en que las cosas están a punto de cambiar para las nuevas generaciones.

Any additional comments?

Este libro me dejó con la idea subyacente de contibuir a la revolución educativa desde mi propio frente. Aún no sé cómo lo voy a hacer pero sé que es necesario...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Much Read Photographer
  • 08-26-16

An eye opener

Any additional comments?

I am only part way through this book as it gets me so angry I have to walk away for a while and then come back and listen some more. I am one of those people that did not gel with school at all and I was always puzzled as to why some teachers just didn't grasp how to connect with pupils like me. Reading this book certainly gives me a much greater understanding of the level of arrogance amongst some within the teaching profession. I think this book should be read by all teachers (holding a mirror up to themselves might make them recognise how out of touch they are with pupils) and also by parents. I am long since beyond the school age, but have come away from this book feeling even more disillusioned by the whole system: it needs a radical overhaul and this book might help to achieve that.

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.