I just had a horrifying conversation with my seniors.
I put a quote by Steven Biko on the board for them to reflect on for this morning’s writing exercise. About a quarter of the way through the time I give them, I asked if anyone knew who Steven Biko was. Big surprise, none of them did.
Now, to back up a bit, I have been specifically annoyed and generally infuriated lately by how little these kids are willing to work to connect information – they know so little about so little that they miss an astonishing number of connections and allusions that would make their experiences richer and more fruitful. That they wouldn’t bother to do a quick internet search (most of them had their computers open in front of them) before they started writing was yet another example of that; even when the information is literally at their fingertips, none of them was curious enough to do even a rudimentary investigation of the work I was asking them to do.
That’s not what horrified me, though. While I was explaining who Steven Biko was and under what conditions he lived (and died), I asked if anyone knew what Apartheid was. One student said she DID know what Apartheid was because – and I swear to Goddess I’m not making this up – she’d learned all about it from a Disney movie. Another kid piped up that he knew who Nelson Mandela was… because he’d seen a movie.
I despair for our future….