I hope that in higher education, small classes will not be replaced by large classes or open-enrollment online classes (“Future college,” editorial, Jan. 28).
Education is not just facts learned. Personal interaction with fellow students and the instructor provides important and powerful stimuli, and class size matters with respect to goals and teaching.
Universities have to recognize that learning facts does not make a college education important; what is important is learning to use information accurately in a creative way. The information is only a means to an end. If facts are all there is to an education, students can get facts for free on the Internet.
There is a feeling that students will flock to online open-enrollment classes provided by super-professors. However, the interaction in small classes is missing.
Class size affects what the instructor sets as goals and how students learn. Administrators know the value of small classes; they practice that principle all the time.
When they want to make substantive decisions, they meet with small groups. They know that small groups achieve more and do so better than large groups.
SAM NADLER, JR.
Editor’s note: The writer is an adjunct instructor in the University of Toledo’s department of mathematics and statistics.
Work to stop dating violence
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen relationships. Unfortunately, the problem is staggering.
A nationwide survey conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control found that 9.4 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey. By the time they graduate from college, 44 percent of students will have been in an abusive relationship.
Thirty percent of teenagers who have been in a dating relationship say that they have been text-messaged between 10 and 30 times an hour by a partner seeking to find out where they are, what they are doing, or who they are with. Twenty-three percent of teens who have been physically or sexually assaulted by a dating partner say they reported the abuse to no one.
In addition to physical injuries, teens who are victims of dating violence face a host of negative health consequences, including depression, suicide, and eating disorders. They are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as smoking, alcohol abuse, and illegal drug use. They are three times more likely to become pregnant and more than twice as likely to report a sexually transmitted disease.
Parents, teachers, faith leaders, and all other individuals who touch the lives of young people have an important role in preventing teen dating violence.
Through these individuals, teens have the opportunity to learn that healthy relationships are formed through respect, trust, equality, honesty, support, good communication, understanding, and the celebration of individual differences.
Teens also can learn that a healthy relationship should never involve fear or intimidation.
Chief Executive Officer Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center