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"I Love Learning; I Hate School": An Anthropology of College

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  14 reviews
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 experience at a top-tier institution so profoundly difficult and unsatisfying. Through her research and in conversations with her students, she discovered ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published June 23rd 2016 by Cornell University Press (first published March 29th 2016)
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Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Teachers, educators, school boards, student counsellors

“I believe the institution of school has outlived its usefulness. It rarely succeeds. There is chaos in discussing its aims, implementation, measures. As a system of educating, its returns on genuine learning are shameful. As a signaling game and credential competition, it is incredibly wasteful. As a way of trying to squeeze all individuals into a tight mold, it is abusive and creates suffering. This system began, basically, with the Common School movement. We can’t significantly improve a
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All the review I think you need is this, "Now that I've read this book, I'm excited to start planning the nuts and bolts of my spring classes."
Island Ellerby
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love when a book takes something I value deeply and makes me question everything about it. It's like seeing education in a whole new context and asking questions about its relevance in today's world. How do you measure a good life? What is the goal of school? Can we achieve equality with the systems we have?! I'll be thinking about this book for a long time.
FunkMaster General
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
About 70 sticky notes marking passages for use in the classroom.
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: educators, parents, students
Disclaimer: I received access to a digital copy of I Love Learning; I Hate School through Netgalley. I was not required to review this book, and any recommendations are made voluntarily. Any views or opinions expressed are my own.

Even though a lot of what I read in I Love Learning were things I kind of knew, it struck a very deep chord in me. Here’s this professor who’s been teaching for years who seems to finally get the plight of the young college student, or of any student, who is sick of
Clare O'Beara
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I downloaded a copy from Net Galley for an unbiased review.

The author loves learning and teaching and could not see for a long time why or how the education system in America failed many pupils. This despite the fact that she helped design a college curriculum which forced all students, including athletes, to take a term course in 'childhood studies' and she saw their stubborn rejection of what they saw as a pointless, retrograde step.

There's a broad look at various facets of the American
Teresa Raetz
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am perplexed by the four star average review this book has received. It is, essentially, a long essay about what the author doesn't like about the way college is organized (everything...grades, majors, any requirements at all...everything) and students. She's obviously thought a lot about her dislikes, she writes well about them, and I think some of them warrant analysis and change. The problem is, she seems to have given almost no thought to what we should do differently. There are a couple ...more
"I love learning, but hate school" is probably the only short description that perfectly applies to myself without further need for clarification. And I must say that Susan D. Blum does exemplary job at dissection why individual might come to exhibit this attitude, but does a poor job at explaining the emergence of the system itself.

The author draws on important anthropological and sociological studies, philosophy, and personal experience to write a compelling argument as to why the school
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an engrossing read, especially for people who are interested in education and pedagogy. Blum explores the reasons that students fail at school or fail to be truly interested in school (or really that schools fails students). Near the end she recommends additional books for those interested in learning more about alternative pedagogical strategies that better match how students "learn in the wild."

RIYL smashing your LEGO creations and building something new out of the wreckage
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
There's much to admire and learn from this anthropology, beginning with Blum's impulse to write it in the first place. From tracing her own path to better understanding the "entitled" and "lazy" attitudes of her many students to giving some clear-cut ideas for how higher-education could get ourselves out of the hole we seem to have dug, this book was both introspective and practical. I feel like it should be assigned reading for professors and administrators at elite colleges and (especially) ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very good examination of many of the issues with the current education system at all levels. Highly recommend this!
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Many students find their time at college or university to be a very difficult, dissatisfying experience, something they endure and go through the motions with as a means to an end. Does it need to be like this?

The author, a professor of anthropology, had had enough and decided to dig deeper into the subject. For a long time she had been frustrated with her students’ performance and came to the conclusion that there is a concerning mismatch between the goals of the university and the needs of
Apr 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I am such a sucker for books like these.

were this an Atlantic essay about one professor's evolution of how she saw her students and herself, I would have enjoyed it. instead, I found her trodding very familiar ground, a lot of it, and not quite as well as others before her.
Julia Hendon
Dec 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Disappointed that a book with so much hype and by an anthropologist should be so poor. Very little of the author's own experiences, no ethnography, and a lot of mishmash of other people's ideas.
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