Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dumbing Down Material

My response to Professor in Training: The Great Education Debate

My courses are tough and I am a very popular teacher. How does that correlate? Because students know when they've accomplished a "big thing" and they gain CONFIDENCE from COMPETENCE. No one should cheat them out of that!

I try to 1. convey my enthusiasm about the subject matter. 2. Hold a high standard for my students. 3. Support struggling students as much as they are willing to meet me. 4. Teach to all learning styles: I can make a lot of material stick by making sure there are analogies, demos, and an affective component or narrative. 5. Treat every single student with respect.

Remember that even weak students can take something away from your class, and develop skills and gain knowledge they can be proud of later.

When I was hired it was with a mandate to weed out weak students. Well, I don't have to do that directly, but simply teaching to the B+ (un-inflated) students takes care of that for me.

Students that are some combination of underprepared or undermotivated simply don't pass. Now students who are sharp as a tack and do some semblance of work can pass. No work, can't. Students who are underprepared but work their butts off pass. Keep Butt? Don't.

And I sleep very soundly at night flunking those students that are both underprepared and undermotivated, because everyone (esp. the students) knows that a good grade in my class really means something.

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