Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber
1. GP can't be gently put into the real world.
2. without someone taking an opposite side this discussion would quickly have ended.
3. As a mentor I do try my best, I am only human, we all fail sometimes
4. Only by presenting the cold hard stuff of reality can we be sure our students are adequately informed to choose engineering as a major.
DISCLAIMER: I dissected this post and numbered them because I want to highlight a few points and discuss them individually. They are not in the context that they were wrote in originally, however I will be speaking with regards to the original post. The quote above is only to show which points I am referring to. If you want to read their context be sure to refer to the post it was quoted from.
Now, onto my discussion.
On point number one, GP isn't being put gently into the real world. The approach FIRST uses is a bit more forceful then that. If they thought it was something to be gentle with, they would have made it a suggestion rather then a basis for awards.
Secondly, thanks for presenting a more bitter view then most. Without it, we would not be able to discuss. It's kind of like the one hand clapping. If only one side talks, there isn't a conversation.
Third point. As I've read this post, I've noticed alot of people use the phrase "only human". This is a common thought that I've heard many times that I honestly don't agree with. This can be used for any short fall without many people objecting. I just don't see any of us as "only human". I know I'm human. And with that comes a great amount of ability. Look at the things we have accomplished and try and say they are "only human". Perhaps if the word "only" were removed it would be more fitting. We are human. No more or less then Isaac Newton or Mohatma Ghandi. If we fall short of the greatness they achieved, it has more to do with who we are then what we are. I aspire to no such greatness, I just go out and do my best. I will blame my failures on my ill preparations, my lack of dedication, or my circumstances. But I will never use the term "I'm only human" because it seems to belittle what it means to be human and the things a human can achieve. I am in no way trying to single out Andrew on this, but am saying this to all who have used this phrase or thought it. Think about it before you use it again, for it is mighty strong words to be used as an excuse.
Fourth point. (sorry for the rant on three, just been thinking about that one for a while) I would like to suggest the power of placebo. People tend to see what they expect to see. If you tell people how terrible things are ALL the time, the world will seem terrible to them. If you tell them how great things are ALL the time, they might believe you and the world might seem great. However, in the second instance it is more likely they will see a few bad things and be disappointed and feel betrayed. I would like to suggest we present the world as mostly positive and discuss the negative sides when they actually present themselves. With this approach, maybe they will actually see the good and the bad. Afterall, it is our job to inform. That means a unbiased view of the world. Show them the fun of engineering and the hardship that goes with it. This is the only way to truly inform. If you try to give a biased view in either positive or negative light, you are doing a disservice to the students.