An interesting essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Disagreement is a prime engine for advancing human knowledge — and besides, hearing boldly stated opinions is tremendous fun. For smart students to feel challenged, and for dull students to lose their cobwebs, they need to learn that academic subjects are both a matter of grave moral concern and a source of exhilaration, worth becoming overheated about. They learn this not by being invited to care, but by watching professors who manifestly do care.
This reminds me of the thesis advanced in Gerald Graff’s Clueless in Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind. Namely, Graff believes that argument is the coin of the academic realm and that schools do a great disservice by not teaching their students to construct arguments.