Penn State professor teaches students to live like monks
At various periods during the semester, students must forego technology, coffee, physical human contact and certain foods. They’ll also have to wake up at 5 a.m. - without an alarm clock.
That’s just a sample of the restrictions McDaniel imposes in an effort to help students become more observant, aware and disciplined. Each constraint represents an actual taboo observed by a monastic religious order.
"I’ve found in the past that students take this extremely seriously," said McDaniel, who has taught the class twice before. "I’ve had very few people who try to get away with things, and you can always tell when they are."
The discipline starts with a dress code for class: White shirts for the men, black shirts for women, and they must sit on opposite sides of the class. No makeup, jewelry or hair products. Laptops are prohibited; notes can be taken only with paper and pen. And don’t even think of checking your cellphone for texts or email.