Oh Contraire: Yale Classes Question the Norm

In my short time here at Yale, I have noticed a theme of teaching employed in all my classes, which encompass a range of disciplines: they all focus on the counterintuitive, the “contrary to popular belief.”

Then I had an epiphany: perhaps educating is not the transmission of mundane information and established fact.  To learn is to acquire a new frame of mind, to question your long-held beliefs and to come to a better understanding of yourself and the world. Here are some examples:

ENGL120 Reading and Writing the Modern Essay – Less is actually more.

The best kind of writing is not filled with elaborate rhetorical devices or lofty, lengthy sentences. Clear and concise is more powerful and effective.

PSYCH110 Introduction to Psychology – Seeing is not believing.

We are only aware of a fraction of what we see: your brain picks up many images, but you only perceive the ones you are consciously aware of.  In other words, when I look at a Where’s Waldo? image, I see Waldo; I just can’t tell you where he is in the crowd until my brain becomes conscious of his location.

CGSC 281/PHIL181 Philosophy of Human Nature – Happiness is a myth.

A person who was denied tenure, lost a loved one, or became paralyzed in an accident is just as happy as or happier than someone who was given a promotion or someone who just won the lottery!

ECON115 Intro to Microeconomics – We all pay the price.

It doesn’t matter who is taxed! Suppliers and consumers share the burden.

The list goes on. What have you learned at Yale so far?

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About Catherine Dinh

My name is Catherine Dinh. I'm a freshman in Pierson. I'm from Fremont, which is in the Bay Area, California. I am considering majoring in English or Psychology. I enjoy reading, writing, watching movies with friends, shopping, graphic design, taking walks, eating, imagining, and learning new things. I'm a member of ViSA and TAS, but I joined the APA blog because I wanted to reach out to more of the Asian American community here at Yale. In short, I hope this blog will be a huge success and am looking forward to seeing it grow.

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