J. Peder Zane in “College orientation – go left young freshman” (Aug. 2) decries the books chosen by UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State and Duke for all incoming freshman to read and discuss for being “at bottom, personal stories. ... not collections of facts – which can be debated objectively.” But the “personal stories” – written by a Muslim, an African-American and a gay person – give the freshmen in-depth viewpoints with which the majority are unlikely to be familiar.
Certainly, to avoid any hint of indoctrination, faculty-led discussions must respect the views of all students. Thoreau’s “Walden” is also “personal stories,” but many people’s lives have never been quite the same after having encountered it. (I would add that Zane’s well-researched, beautifully written columns are a prize, however much one may disagree with him.)
Hands-on learning ‘necessary’
Regarding “UNC panel votes to bar new clients for civil rights center” (Aug. 2): As an educator, I was struck by Joe Knott’s comment that law centers should only provide students the opportunity to “evaluate and study and discuss and debate cases that have been decided.”
This viewpoint disregards the valuable learning opportunities beyond classroom walls. I am fortunate to see students as young as 3 and as old as 14 learning how to observe, question, collaborate and create through real-world experiences. These students go out into the field, whether it is to visit a bakery, a community garden or the Carolina coast. They make observations, note problems, ask questions and develop compassion for others. Once back in the classroom, these experiences inspire meaningful discussions and prompt students to develop innovative solutions.
Regardless of age, experiential learning opportunities support the necessary critical thinking and communication skills students will need as productive professionals.
Lessons from Boy Scouts
Regarding “Trump speech to Boy Scouts elicits criticism for its partisanship, profanity” (July 25): So President Trump got Boy Scouts to boo a former president of the United States. He must be so very proud. It makes me very sad that he continues to show his disrespect of the most powerful office of this country. Trump once again makes a speech about his greatness instead of about the greatness of his audience. (Think back to his address to the graduating cadets at the Coast Guard Academy.)
Trump should read and memorize the third section of the Scout Oath and try to live through those ideas: “To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” Then he should learn and live the 12 points of the Scout Law. If he followed these examples, America would be a better place.