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Things you just don't get - Page 323

post #4831 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by Medwed View Post

 It is not entirely Americans fault, just as it was not entirely fault of Soviets to believe in Socialism.

 

You do know that communism and socialism is different, right?

post #4832 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by OJKD View Post

You do know that communism and socialism is different, right?

Do no lose your time on that one...

Believe me..satisfied.gif
post #4833 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackhood View Post

Being late is basically saying "my time is worth more than yours". So what, I'm cool to just sit around waiting for someone whose life is so jam packed with important stuff that I should just be grateful to see them at all? Fuck that, if you are more than 5 minutes late without a text/phonecall/im/facebook/carrierfuckingpidgeon then I'm leaving to do what ever was planned without you. As far as I'm concerned being late is one of the most basic rudenesses.
EDIT: I should clarify that if someone calls me up and says " hey dude, I'm gonna be 10/20/30 minutes late, that ok?" I'm happy to wait as long as it takes. Delays happen, not informing people of a revised ETA is not acceptable.

Amen brother!!!
post #4834 of 12446
I gave the students in one of my classes the opportunity to do their last exam as a take-home. For one of the questions I asked them to give the etymology for law. I had a fairly large number of students get it wrong. How do you get that wrong? All they had to do is consult a good dictionary. Or consult the book they should have been reading.
post #4835 of 12446
You often speak of students being somewhat incompetent. What, in your opinion, is the reason? Are they lazy, or are students getting stupider? confused.gif
post #4836 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

You often speak of students being somewhat incompetent. What, in your opinion, is the reason? Are they lazy, or are students getting stupider? confused.gif

In the etymology case, I honestly don't know why they went wrong. It's possible that they don't know dictionaries have etymologies along with the definitions.

I don't want to make this a bitching session about students, because I don't have a strongly negative attitude toward them generally. Sometimes I just post about cases that drive me nuts, but those don't always represent the norm.

But if I were to isolate a couple deficiencies that I'm seeing more and more, they'd be these:

1. They don't know how to read well. They can't follow a chain of reasoning over the course of a number of paragraphs. Indeed, they don't seem to recognize that the text is an extended chain of reasoning. Instead, they look for isolated bits of information scattered throughout the text, sort of like an Easter egg hunt. I'm sure they've learned to do that at earlier levels of education, but it absolutely doesn't work for reading most university level texts. Also, what they pick up from texts is a very general emotional tone. So for example, if they read a paper where X disagrees with the thesis of Y for reasons a, b, and c, they will experience that text as "X was bashing Y." I try very hard to get them out of that habit, but I have not met with a lot of success, to be honest.

2. Short attention spans. Of course young people are always going to have some difficulty focusing their attention for long stretches of time, but I've really noticed a decline in the time I've been teaching.

3. A tendency to view thinking as a kind of aesthetic self-expression. In other words, preferring this or that theory is sort of like enjoying this or that indie rock band. Related to this, they tend to think of their opinions as something they have a "right" to. Well of course they do, but no one is denying that! What's at issue is whether their opinions are true, or whether they can provide compelling arguments in defense of them. But when you ask them to defend their points of view, they sometimes seem confused at what you're asking of them. They're just expressing themselves. Again, I'm sure they're learning this mode of discourse somewhere else in their educational histories, but I don't know where. It's a real obstacle to good thinking, though.
post #4837 of 12446
Very interesting, thanks for that well thought out response. I find the emotional aspect particularly thought provoking.
post #4838 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by L'Incandescent View Post

In the etymology case, I honestly don't know why they went wrong. It's possible that they don't know dictionaries have etymologies along with the definitions.
I don't want to make this a bitching session about students, because I don't have a strongly negative attitude toward them generally. Sometimes I just post about cases that drive me nuts, but those don't always represent the norm.
But if I were to isolate a couple deficiencies that I'm seeing more and more, they'd be these:
1. They don't know how to read well. They can't follow a chain of reasoning over the course of a number of paragraphs. Indeed, they don't seem to recognize that the text is an extended chain of reasoning. Instead, they look for isolated bits of information scattered throughout the text, sort of like an Easter egg hunt. I'm sure they've learned to do that at earlier levels of education, but it absolutely doesn't work for reading most university level texts. Also, what they pick up from texts is a very general emotional tone. So for example, if they read a paper where X disagrees with the thesis of Y for reasons a, b, and c, they will experience that text as "X was bashing Y." I try very hard to get them out of that habit, but I have not met with a lot of success, to be honest.
2. Short attention spans. Of course young people are always going to have some difficulty focusing their attention for long stretches of time, but I've really noticed a decline in the time I've been teaching.
3. A tendency to view thinking as a kind of aesthetic self-expression. In other words, preferring this or that theory is sort of like enjoying this or that indie rock band. Related to this, they tend to think of their opinions as something they have a "right" to. Well of course they do, but no one is denying that! What's at issue is whether their opinions are true, or whether they can provide compelling arguments in defense of them. But when you ask them to defend their points of view, they sometimes seem confused at what you're asking of them. They're just expressing themselves. Again, I'm sure they're learning this mode of discourse somewhere else in their educational histories, but I don't know where. It's a real obstacle to good thinking, though.

TL:DR
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I KID, I KID, I KID!
post #4839 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by L'Incandescent View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
In the etymology case, I honestly don't know why they went wrong. It's possible that they don't know dictionaries have etymologies along with the definitions.
I don't want to make this a bitching session about students, because I don't have a strongly negative attitude toward them generally. Sometimes I just post about cases that drive me nuts, but those don't always represent the norm.
But if I were to isolate a couple deficiencies that I'm seeing more and more, they'd be these:
1. They don't know how to read well. They can't follow a chain of reasoning over the course of a number of paragraphs. Indeed, they don't seem to recognize that the text is an extended chain of reasoning. Instead, they look for isolated bits of information scattered throughout the text, sort of like an Easter egg hunt. I'm sure they've learned to do that at earlier levels of education, but it absolutely doesn't work for reading most university level texts. Also, what they pick up from texts is a very general emotional tone. So for example, if they read a paper where X disagrees with the thesis of Y for reasons a, b, and c, they will experience that text as "X was bashing Y." I try very hard to get them out of that habit, but I have not met with a lot of success, to be honest.
2. Short attention spans. Of course young people are always going to have some difficulty focusing their attention for long stretches of time, but I've really noticed a decline in the time I've been teaching.
3. A tendency to view thinking as a kind of aesthetic self-expression. In other words, preferring this or that theory is sort of like enjoying this or that indie rock band. Related to this, they tend to think of their opinions as something they have a "right" to. Well of course they do, but no one is denying that! What's at issue is whether their opinions are true, or whether they can provide compelling arguments in defense of them. But when you ask them to defend their points of view, they sometimes seem confused at what you're asking of them. They're just expressing themselves. Again, I'm sure they're learning this mode of discourse somewhere else in their educational histories, but I don't know where. It's a real obstacle to good thinking, though.

I don't think a lot of this is limited to students (whether you intended it to be or not I'm not sure). It's really a lack of education (or educational rigor) and lack of intellectual maturity. What you're seeing in university is the effect of lowered admissions standards (or lowered standards all around). In the past these kinds of students would never have entered university whether -- willfully or otherwise -- but now they are.
Edited by why - 12/17/12 at 9:04am
post #4840 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

I don't think a lot of this is limited to students (whether you intended it to be or not I'm not sure). It's really a lack of education and lack of intellectual maturity. What you're seeing in university is the effect of lowered admissions standards (or lowered standards all around). In the past these kinds of students would never have entered university whether willfully or otherwise, but now they are.

I agree with all of that. I teach at the university level, so in the post above I was confining my remarks to my experiences in the classroom.

This is speculation, although I'm sure others have studied this more closely: I think some of the deficiencies I'm seeing also result from the ways students are tested, especially multiple choice exams. (I'm really focusing on the humanities here. I understand that things are different in other fields.) Of course multiple choice exams can be written well, but for the most part I think they encourage students to think of a text as a bunch of discrete pieces of information that they have to remember. The goal of reading is to track down those pieces of information. I've seen multiple choice exams--including some by my colleagues at the university level--that just floor me. They ask the students questions about isolated sentences in the text, completely irrespective of whether the points they're asking about are essential, secondary, or utterly trivial. That form of testing has to cultivate bad reading habits.

And I could go on and on about PowerPoint, but I won't.
post #4841 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by L'Incandescent View Post

This is speculation, although I'm sure others have studied this more closely: I think some of the deficiencies I'm seeing also result from the ways students are tested, especially multiple choice exams. (I'm really focusing on the humanities here. I understand that things are different in other fields.) Of course multiple choice exams can be written well, but for the most part I think they encourage students to think of a text as a bunch of discrete pieces of information that they have to remember. The goal of reading is to track down those pieces of information. I've seen multiple choice exams--including some by my colleagues at the university level--that just floor me. They ask the students questions about isolated sentences in the text, completely irrespective of whether the points they're asking about are essential, secondary, or utterly trivial. That form of testing has to cultivate bad reading habits.

I think that comes from the way 'study habits' are taught. Students sit there taking notes with four different colored highlighters and never seem to really read -- let alone comprehend -- the text. One teacher (one of the brightest yet most seemingly-cruel people I've ever met) succinctly put into words an obvious characteristic of poor thinkers that I never took the time to articulate: those who don't or can't think just memorize the material instead. It then becomes a chicken and egg scenario: do they memorize the material because they can't think, or can they not think because they learned to just memorize the material?

I have no doubt that part of the decline in reason is due to an increasing lack of classes devoted to it, which at the primarily levels of education primarily means the weakening of most mathematics and science curricula (and ineptitude of the educators).
post #4842 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

I think that comes from the way 'study habits' are taught. Students sit there taking notes with four different colored highlighters and never seem to really read -- let alone comprehend -- the text. One teacher (one of the brightest yet most seemingly-cruel people I've ever met) succinctly put into words an obvious characteristic of poor thinkers that I never took the time to articulate: those who don't or can't think just memorize the material instead. It then becomes a chicken and egg scenario: do they memorize the material because they can't think, or can they not think because they learned to just memorize the material?
I have no doubt that part of the decline in reason is due to an increasing lack of classes devoted to it, which at the primarily levels of education primarily means the weakening of most mathematics and science curricula (and ineptitude of the educators).

This is a good point: I never memorized anything, except for the humanities. Most of the time I could derive where I was going - up to a point.

But the bad news is that we've turned into a checklist culture where the teachers teach from an Approved Checklist to their students who are looking for an least-effort method to pass the Approved State-Administered Exam Du Jour. The individual school boards have the means to disavow their usage, but then are confronted with this issue: once you scrap that definition of success (as awful as it is), what do you use to replace it? And is your funding in jeopardy as a result?
post #4843 of 12446
The purpose of education is to pass tests. And the purpose of tests is to provide an easy-to-grade, quantifiable measure. Whether the measure measures anything important is a completely separate question.
post #4844 of 12446
Quote:
Originally Posted by L'Incandescent View Post

I agree with all of that. I teach at the university level, so in the post above I was confining my remarks to my experiences in the classroom.
This is speculation, although I'm sure others have studied this more closely: I think some of the deficiencies I'm seeing also result from the ways students are tested, especially multiple choice exams. (I'm really focusing on the humanities here. I understand that things are different in other fields.) Of course multiple choice exams can be written well, but for the most part I think they encourage students to think of a text as a bunch of discrete pieces of information that they have to remember. The goal of reading is to track down those pieces of information. I've seen multiple choice exams--including some by my colleagues at the university level--that just floor me. They ask the students questions about isolated sentences in the text, completely irrespective of whether the points they're asking about are essential, secondary, or utterly trivial. That form of testing has to cultivate bad reading habits.
And I could go on and on about PowerPoint, but I won't.

I fucking HATED those tests. These jackoffs would cherry pick some obscure detail out of the paragraph buried somewhere in the center of the chapter and you'd have to spend time focusing on all these ridiculous little details as opposed to learning the broader scope of events. History professors are particularly egregious in this department. You'd get some shit like "what was the name of the street corner where Lincoln Douglas first got thought up?" and you'd have to bypass the whole meaning of the fucking thing just to focus on shit like that.
post #4845 of 12446
Somewhat related question: when did we all start calling exam questions and paper topics "prompts?" The use of that term seems to reflect a conception of exams and papers that is problematic.
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