Isaacson says, “In my research, I use research methodologies and technologies that are normally found in modern academia. My scholarship is grounded in the social sciences of sociology, anthropology, history, political science, psychology, and economics. In other words, it is grounded in the broader intellectual resources of social science and not simply in a few narrow fields such as historical studies or anthropology.”
He then points out that he does not use the broader social sciences of sociology, anthropology, history, political science, psychology, and economics in his teaching methods. He explains this: “Because I teach in the humanities, I don’t have to use those sociological, cultural, or historical theories, because they are not my focus. What I need to do is teach social-scientific theory and the methods by which it can be studied.” In other words, he teaches the theory of social-science research that is widely used by most academic scholars and the educational community.
His approach and the university’s philosophy on these methods in the educational area of Research and Teaching Case Studies must be questioned. He claims to use them but does not share them with the student. When the student learns these methods and the tools of research and teaching, he might find them lacking.
It is easy to see where this would happen. First of all, students may not be fully informed on how they should use the same methods that are used by the academic community. Secondly, students need to understand how to test their theories, their methodologies, and use their tools of research and teaching in a relevant and intelligent way.
Thirdly, students will be forced to the interesting place, which is outside of their comfort zone, because the core curriculum doesn’t support the exploration of social-scientific inquiry. The core curriculum forces students to learn that knowledge and application. That is where he believes that the exploration and testing of a theory should happen.
He explains in his theses analysis example education at Harvard: “To change the curriculum, we need a new teaching guidebook. To create one, we need to think about the critical questions: “What is the purpose of humanities education?” What is the function of teaching methodologies that are the bedrock of sociology, anthropology, history, and other social-scientific disciplines? How can we help students move beyond the boundaries of these fields?”
So in the above paragraph, Isaacson seems to suggest that the major problem that faces humanities educators and social scientists is that their disciplines of knowledge do not offer the techniques and tools necessary to properly educate students on how to do research and apply it to real world situations. Not everyone believes in these disciplines and so they cannot test their theories on the specific situations students are faced with.
In a section of this education resource for college students, we are told that the problems facing the humanities and other social sciences are often the same problems facing the general college student. According to Isaacson, these students do not get enough advice and instruction from their professors. Teachers don’t do enough in-depth research, they teach more by what they already know, and they don’t involve the students in their own learning.
Furthermore, according to him, the reason why most students struggle in the classroom is that they lack a mentor. They are still learning the basics of research and the basic techniques in the social sciences. They are not ready to test their theories, methods, and tools of research and teaching in the real world.
The reasons why he believes these students do not explore these subjects are time and money. In order to complete a course, they have to attend class and interact with their classmates. Since they are not directly involved in applying the theories and the tools of research and teaching, they need a mentor to help them out in this process.