Agree with the problem, and totally disagree with the solution - the solution, for me, has been STORYTELLING... students love to tell stories, I love to read them, and it gives us an opportunity to work - to REALLY work - on their writing, which students desperately need, far more than they need more tests. UGH for tests! HURRAY for stories!
More about how writing works in my classes:
More about how writing works in my classes:
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- Exactly,- in that sense, I feel a much stronger affinity for the types of classes you teach than for reading-heavy classes in the English dept. where students are reading, for example, a bunch of novels by Dickens and memorizing long lists of characters and plot events for "short identification" fill-in-the-blank questions, essay exams, and other types of content-driven testing.
Personally, I think that it's better to do less cramming of content and more writing-as-creation (as opposed to writing-as-testing-by-another-name) so that students really are engaged with the content... but of course for some (many) students that might require the teaching of writing, which not every Dickens scholar sees as their job, understandably.Dec 17, 2013
- And 's problem is that the students are simply not reading at all (the reason for the weird tests of whether you've read the book).
I don't know the answer. I know that it resides somewhere in wanting to please the teacher. The only answer Plato could come up with was love. It's the only one that works as far as I can tell.
When you discuss a book with a student and he WANTS you to appreciate him or her? Then the effort is there. If s/he could care less? Then you can pretty much guarantee the book was never read.Dec 17, 2013
- If you read Plato, that was the lesson, the stories. I wish we could do more of that now!Dec 17, 2013
- Indeed. Plato and his allegories are well worn dinner table fodder in my home.Dec 17, 2013
- , I agree that CS students need to learn to write prose. They need to write things like specifications for their software. However, they aren't learning that in the first year. The first year (or two) of CS are driven by the content of learning to communicate with the computer. For all the lamenting about how poorly students write prose, at least they have a background in it. They have been given writing assignments for 10+ years before coming to college. In CS we have to make students proficient at creating content on the computer when most of them come in having never written anything in a programming language prior to college. We have four years to get this done and we start with a blank sheet. Given the rate of change of technology and how new areas are added regularly, it is very challenging.
What is more, the parts of CS that require writing are things that students don't deal with in their first year. Software development has different phases. In the first year they focus on implementation and debugging because those are the things that are most foreign to them and they have to understand those things in order to be able to do other things. Deeper in the curriculum they will worry about analysis and design and need to be able to write proper English specifications, but you can't even understand those things or the precision needed in them unless you first know how to code. Putting writing in those early CS classes just becomes busy work for the students. They don't see the benefits and, quite honestly, I don't think they would get much of anything out of it. However, it does take time and that time pushes out the foundational content that really needs to be covered early on.
Also, if you don't understand the issue with students and reading I feel you need to work on identifying with the students. Students optimize their time and they are forced to take a lot of classes they don't really like. That includes both humanities classes forcing them to read books they don't find interesting as well as STEM classes making them learn things they are already decided are unimportant in their lives. So they pick what they spend their time on trying to optimize a combination of grades and what they enjoy doing. If something doesn't seem to have a real impact on the grade and they don't enjoy it, they won't do it. That is why humanities classes so often give writing assignments that are basically tests of reading. It isn't because students are evil or lazy, it is because students have other things they want to do and if reading the book you assign isn't really going to be critical to the method of assessment, they aren't going to read it.
My daughters are avid readers of various types of books, mainly fantasy fiction. However, that doesn't mean they enjoy reading all of the books they are assigned for their English classes. It also doesn't mean they will always read those books when they get to college unless there is something in the grading rubric that forces them to do so.Dec 17, 2013
- Dec 17, 2013