Friday, April 28, 2006

Teaching -- response to Rate my Students...

Again, were I good at the link thing there would be one here...

Rate my students is a place where teachers can rant a bit about their students.

One post contained an analysis contained in the Minnesota Daily, which said something to the effect that a teacher who saw their students as lazy and willing to lie for the slightest reasons has some kind of mental illness and should choose another profession.. HUH?? Frankly, if you don't see your students that way -- you've lost what little critical thinking skills that you have gained.

I can't say that ALL of my students are lazy and willing to lie, but a large enough percentage of them have demonstrated their lack of concern for good work (i.e. are lazy..) and I have CAUGHT them in lies up to their eyeballs... if you aren't catching them i it s because YOU aren't looking -- not because they aren't lying to you.

The other post took a shot at group presentations and "active learning" techniques..

Granted, I'm not one who is willing to have students do a bunch of dumb-ass "active" assignemnts and say they've learned philosophy... but I do think that group presentations, when constructed properly, place the responsibility for learning ON the learner. This is especially true when they have to do the research and decide on the general theme of the presentation themselves.

Of course you have slackers and kind of crappy presentations -- that is why you need to be a bit more involved with the development of the project --

This post says that class should be canceled for things like individual writing conferences... ummm-- nice idea, but do you have any idea how much class I'd have to plan to cancel for 50 students to each have a 10 minute writing conference? I can do 7 per 75 minute class period?? The answer is nearly 8 class meetings -- a whole month of class.

I usually enjoy Rate my Students... if you haven't read it, go do so --


Dr. Crazy said...

re: the cancelling classes for conferences, I do it twice in a semester where I cancel my two writing courses for a week. I end up spending MUCH MORE than actual class time to meet with the 40-50 students, but I justify it to myself in that I have no prep for that week and no time spent on grading stuff for them, so it evens itself out.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

If I'm correct, you cancel two classes for the week (about 6 hours of class time.. right??) and conference with 40-50 students total?

If I were to do the same I'd have to plan to conference with 100 students, as each of my sections for which there is significant writing has 50 students.

I would have to plan on about 17 hours of conference time, only 6 of which would be during regular class time... That isn't a huge problem for me, I can clear my calendar as necessary -- the problem is that at my CC my students don't do ANYTHNG outside of class time... in that, they won't meet to work on group projects, they need the push of extra-credit to do anyting on-campus and if I had 66 of those students who had to meet outside of class hours, there would be at least 40 complaining to the dean...