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TEACRINO THROUGH

RF.S
PONSIBILITY
. re COLIEOE•S
PART PARENTAL
ROLE

Morr.la T. Keeton
Dean ot the Faculty
" Antioch College, Yelloll Springs • Ohio

Liberal educatian is too much in loco parentis 9 a phrase that


Elliot Cohen translated as •crazy like t>&rentao" The reference is not to all
parents, but only to those who are too protective, too selt - interested g too
interested in preserving unchanged the roles ot innocent chi ld and wise parent o
Contempora17 society needs much more sophisticated and mature adults o The
student will not beccne so by being coddled in his housing,spoo n- te d in the
classroom, and thai diapered with a hood at commencemento
The cmplaity of contemporary society and the consequent growth in
the d.18par1t7 between the good or which we are capable and the evil that ve
can do call for men prepared to decide end act respons i bl y in f!IYeryrole ~ trom
c1tisen to protessienalo , The student's cap acity !or th is response grows best
if he 1a exposed, under tutelage, to opportunitie s to exercise responaib111ty o
The typical liberal arts college toda.7, hm r s is umd.lling to eapoee ita
students to the ri.slca ot such responaibilit7 0
I sympathize with the college , parent and student o It given this
treedOID•atudenta may make some ridiculous, sometimes even destructive, choices ~
Wh"' Rot beoauoe they- are less mature than moat adults (look at voter behavior
at the polls, or at the results or certain personalit7 tests given to students
and adults) 9 Not because students , even freshmen, know less than most adults ~
And not because students are less 1dealiet1c or ethical than others (it anything.,
they are t .oo starr)"-eyed) o I would asa1111editterent dangen u
lo Few atuddents have enough vested interests or their own to be "sensible" in
our teru ~ they have little to loseo
2 Having been protected trcm the effects of their earlier acts , moat students
C,

sense but diml.Tthe consequences or what they doo (•It I'd lmown it would be
like thia -• she said to the deano)
lo Few students have a good sense of timings Whenthey are first put in charge
. ot producing the effects tney want , they expect miracle s right &V&Y'o

ho In addition• students harbor much mythol~ and demonolgy o Ccaplex problema .


the7 often think~ have a single easily re movable ca.us - for exampleg the president g
who must be knuckling under to donors or the legislature ~ ·

These tacts, however, call tor neither fenced com.poundsnor proctored


study hallso Students are to be cherished aa they are "* and trustedo Although
students may' not seem ready- for much responsibility~ theT should be obliged to take
. ~

itJ 1.t tbe7 do not. the,' v1ll ~ :lmatureo They become adult · it w trust
tliall vi th reeponsibili ties larger than they have handled botore. bat, not ao
large that thq camot meet apectations reasonably wllo
Teaching through respona1billt:,-giv1ng requires a great deal of e•- ·
tional c tment and commitaent or sheer t1ae and raeult)" energieso Tbi
tacult7 auet dellber with students about the use ot their t.reedoao Student,
leaden who viah their freedom to oonUuue and to grow u1ll be obliged
to interpret tbia situation at lngth to their peere1 Freedou a1wQB haw
lhd.taJ in the long ran the range of raailODSibili'Uas, and t.hu ot treedom, 1a
expanded only it we obae lhd.ts and wrk ettectiYe:11' to tultill reapon-
s1b1lit1es within tba.

Furthermore, it students are active c1 tizens, tbe7 will leam that


the routes to eftectiTe social change are el.ow, mul.t.itudinoua~ and uuall.7
Yery tmapectacularo Their ideals will otten sustain them through the leamingo
Earq studies or religiou connreion, howver., indicated that adolescent.
wen particularl.J' S'WICeptible to vhoop...al2d-holl CODTereiODo Tbe7 haft
a1nee S'lfOOnedtor Sinat d · c ched tor th tlea. Ent Er.lkaon a a
fidelit7 as a part,icnil.ar strength of youth. It 1s a special boon to college ,
for the aearch fo:r tid.elit7•a proper object is of 1ngu1.ar ooncern in
liberal studies o Still, high ideals and read:lne s to be jalled vll1 not.
81lfftee in our . aoci t7 o 1'b.e problae are COJIPl• ad d i,-rootedo With
opportvnit7 and faC'lll.t7 aid and counsel, tudent.s are bright and unaelt.lah
enough to learn these t.bi so
I predic rather t.ban baa student part.1 ·c1pation in political
.
. ~
caueao The q st.ion 1 not v ther there will be participation, but.
16hetber we will develop re sponsible, conatructiTe nd etfectiTe parUcipa-
tion than that of ~uden in Latin 1-erica, Asia or our ow countryo
In this co'Olltry ve haft the opport.unit7 to find a more ettectiTe
role for students int conat:ractin change of our culture, and at tba
same tille to enhance t eir learning nd accerlerate their aaturit7 o Surely
will not turn away fro an opport.unity so relevant to liberal ed cation~
the opportunity to be craz,- l good p&1'81lts~