Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cotton Ball Arrests at U. Missouri


by Dr Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

One of my friends, Dr. Tommy Whittler, is a very talented and prominent Psychologist.  Dr. Whittler once told me that when he was training rats in the lab, he would sometimes become frustrated with the fact that the rats would not do what he believed he’d trained them to do.  His mentor would always correct him with a reminder that when the rats do things that deviate from his intended outcome, it was likely due to the fact that he may not have done his job properly.  His mentor would say to him, “There is no such thing as a dumb rat.  There are only dumb trainers.”  Dr. Whittler went on to become an outstanding scholar because he learned how to properly critique his own behavior.

While human beings are certainly not lab rats, a similar analogy can be applied to college professors working with their students.  Sometimes, college students do things that disappoint us:  Some choose to drink till they puke every weekend and become lifelong alcoholics.  They might commit violent acts against each other, sometimes as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.  Some choose to engage in irresponsible sexual choices and end up with venereal diseases and unplanned pregnancies.  Also, they sometimes say or do things that are terribly ignorant, racist and insensitive.

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