Narcissism in Education

admin's picture

I realize that some believe nothing could be more self-indulgent than a blog. As someone who is trying to expose narcissism and warn others about the dangers of getting in a relationship with such a person, it may seem odd that I have a blog. I have toyed back and forth with the idea of having one.

I have come to terms with the idea of having a blog by realizing that if one uses a blog to inform and educate, it is not necessarily self-indulgent. At least, I like to think so.

My intent is to inform. People visit this website to learn more about narcissism. As such, I plan to post links to articles here discussing narcissism in our society. There are so many stories of narcissism in the news. My blog will serve as a central point for you to get an update on how narcissism impacts our daily culture.

The link I have pasted below discusses how differently the younger generation has been raised and how the increasing prevalence of narcissism has impacted the way they learn and study. It also asks teachers and professors to accomodate the learning style of this generation.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090408.COLETTS08ART20...

Would love to hear your thoughts/comments.

Comments

Susan32's picture

Teacher/Student Relationship

The "relationship" with my ex-Psychopath (he was on THAT end of the spectrum, not merely narcissistic) was an educational one. He was the teacher, I was the student. He had a sense of superiority. I remember an argument during the D&D when he said,"I think I'm right. I know I'm right. I'm right." yes, how dare I question him because HE was the teacher! HE had to be perfect! The verbal/emotional abuse was "teaching me a lesson."

A psychopath in a position of trust... that's what I call sickening.

ms_jeeves's picture

Your blog

Lisa,

I'm really, really glad that you want to revitalize your blog. At times, blogs and forum postings can be self-indulgent, especially when the words dwell on the harms that others have done. I'm doing that now and know it's not helpful in the long run and that I need to stop. However, I don't feel like your writing has ever been that way. On your front page, your introduction ends with the following: "We are responsible for the choices we make in life and we can choose to be happy or we can choose to play the victim. I choose to be happy and I hope you will join me in my journey." I love this sentiment and see it in your writing all the time. *You* choose to be happy and I would love to see more articles and thoughts about that.

Regarding the article you posted, I'm in higher education actually and so found it interesting. There's no question that we spend a lot of effort actually worrying about their "experience" and "satisfaction." A colleague of mine, 10 years ago, pointed out that students shouldn't be viewed as the "customer" of a university but as the "product." This is a controversial point and not well received!

The battle between the generations is inherent in our business and has always been there. So, while I agree that narcissism may be an issue in the younger generation, I'm not convinced that it's the whole story on what's happening. Times do change and the internet *is* changing how we interact, accrue information, and analyze it critically. I think it's important for faculty members to embrace these changes while keeping the mission of higher education firmly grounded.

Living where I do now, I see a lot of opportunity in information that's available over the internet. It's a godsend to remote regions of the world where resources are sparse. However, information is only that... knowledge comes from the critical thinking about it.

Incidentally, I'm a product of a strong liberal-arts great-books tradition, so I'm surprisingly optimistic about embracing the changes that are coming.

Ok... lots of words and actually not well thought out! :-)

Thanks again for your website and your positive attitude. I can't emphasize enough how important that has been to me.

Lisa E. Scott's picture

Ms. Jeeves

Thank you for your thoughts, Ms. Jeeves. It has to be quite a quandry. As a teacher, you must feel you should cater to the way students learn best. Everyone learns differently. Some people are more visual, while others retain more if they here it by ear.

We all have learning styles which are more conducive to our retention than others. It's important, as a teacher, to incorporate several ways of teaching so that students who learn better by hearing you lecture aren't at an advantage over students who may learn better by watching a movie or seeing something visual, if all you do is lecture.

The concept of whether we should look at students as the customer of a university or the product is interesting. I can see why it would cause much debate.

I agree with you that narcissism is not the whole story of what's happening on how students learn best now. There is a lot of opportunity in information that's available over the internet and as you said, "faculty members should embrace these changes while keeping the mission of higher education firmly grounded." Great point!

ms_jeeves's picture

You are absolutely right!

You are absolutely right!

There are definitely different learning styles and it's important for a faculty member to be able to reach out to students of all kinds. Actually, I think this is the highest barrier to using the internet for education. One-on-one contact and a relationship is really important in education and trying to rely on youtube, or other "static" forms of delivering content, is not very effective compared to the conversation that takes place with students. I guess this gets back to narcissism though: it's hard to have a real conversation with a narcissist!

I had one student, a few years ago, who was terribly difficult to deal with... because he was quite sure he knew everything already. I actually believe that he might have suffered from Asberger's syndrome, but that was my own conclusion and I am definitely *not* a professional who could assess that (my field is in the physical sciences). All I know is that his self-centered attitude made him impossible to teach.

That's what's really frustrating. I think our future could be in real trouble because students are no longer willing to recognize how much there is to learn. We're losing ground in terms of what our graduates know.

Ok... and now I've just proven to be a curmudgeon and I'm still in my early 40's! :-)

admin's picture

Ms. Jeeves

Not at all! I do not think you sound like a curmudgeon! I think you're being honest and telling the truth. I can see how difficult it would be to teach the younger generation because they do have an attitidue of superiority and entitlement far greater than those before them. It does concern me greatly.