Friday, April 21, 2006

Teaching -- lecturing to the ignorant... options / opinions?

A friend of mine who is also a good teacher had the following situation in her class....

The basic schedule....
2 class meetings ago, they took an exam.

Last class meeting, they had a reading assignment and an accompanying homework assignment.

Next class meeting she has another homework assignment due, which will reflect information from the last class meeting.

When she went to the first section of the day, it became clear to her that they hadn't done the 4 page reading assginement. When she asked who had actually done the reading, nobody raised their hands. She responded by saying that they should take note of the homework assignment for next time and that for today class was not going to be held. She told them that if they didn't do their reading she couldn't teach them effectively. She packed up her stuff, told them to go do their reading and that she expected their homewrk assignments next class. They looked sheepish and left.

The second session of this class was later in the day. She asked them the same question, one or two people raised their hands. She asked everyone who had not completed the reading assignment to leave. A couple of students got belligerent -- (I'm not sure exactly how -- but one cursed and the other provoked, so she made both leave)... another student asked politely to stay, saying that she is confused by the reading but understands when she reads it after lecture [subject for another post...].

Do you think she did the right thing? It clearly upset her students, but that may be what she needed to do in order to teach them the hard stuff to come --

Is it common for students to mentally and/or physically take the day after an exam off?

Is it unreasonable to give an exam on a Tuesday and expect a reading assignment and homework due on a Thursday?

Have you done this or other things to let a class know that their level of preparation was unacceptable?

If you've done this, how did they react?

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