The Beloit Mindset List

As promised, here’s a link to the Beloit Mindset List for the Class of 2017.

For a little humor, you can check out the blog Beloit Mindlessness, dedicated to dissecting items on the list. (Hat tip to Hack Education.)

I have to admit that the total irrelevancy of some of the items on the list leads to me question the utility of such a project in general. The list might give greater consideration to the perspectives of international students, students of different socioeconomic levels, and students of different races and ethnicities. Yet each entering class is composed of such a wide variety of individuals that no list can really sum up a single “mindset.” The fault isn’t in the items on the list, it’s in the idea itself.

Needless to say, the list has become a touchstone for how the media talks about new classes of college students.

I can see the value in trying to get a sense of who the students are as a group, especially if one starts with the understanding that statements are not universally true and significant. Is the answer to focus on skills? Something like, “Most students know how to do x . . . .” Or does this assume too much reliance on the flawed narrative of digital natives? Maybe it’s better to focus on lived historical experiences? Those key shared experiences don’t come around every year, however. For example, most students in the class of 2017 were about six years old when 9/11 happened.

It’s worth repeating that your students may not share your experiences or perspectives. The real purpose of the list may not be to help instructors get to know the students, but  to get instructors to choose examples, cultural references, and jokes carefully.


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