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Topic: Bang Your Head on Your Desk - the thread of teaching despair!

Started by the_geneticist, May 21, 2019, 08:49:54 AM

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fishbrains

Anyways, my student who was going to "catch up" over fall break unfortunately discovered that the entire state of Florida does not have internet. Not anywhere. Not in their public libraries, not in their hotels, not at any Starbucks, not in the airport, not at any McDonald's . . . absolutely nowhere.

It boggles the mind to contemplate how anyone living in Florida gets anything done.

Nice tan though.
I wish I could find a way to show people how much I love them, despite all my words and actions. ~ Maria Bamford

apl68

Quote from: Stockmann on October 18, 2023, 07:47:00 PM
Quote from: apl68 on October 17, 2023, 07:57:56 AM
Quote from: Caracal on October 17, 2023, 06:38:54 AM
Quote from: fosca on October 16, 2023, 06:53:52 PMI've run into a lot of students like that: they run into an issue, and if they can't Google the answer or don't have someone around to show them exactly how to do it, they just freeze and don't even try.  It definitely seems to have gotten worse with the rise of cell phones in general and smart phones in particular; being used to having answers to everything at their fingertips seems to have robbed many of a chance to figure things out themselves and learn that way. 

As always, I'm skeptical. Of course, some students are like this, but I suspect some students have always been like this. We can create these narratives about how it's gotten worse because of smart phones, but professors have been complaining that their students are worse at everything then they used to be because of the decadence of modern life since Socrates.

I really must disagree here.  No, it's not something we haven't always had to deal with, but I really do believe it has gradually gotten worse in recent decades.  I and fellow employers of youth find so much of this.  It's a big part of why we hear so many complaints by employers about the newly-graduated products of K-12 of colleges. I try to resist simplistic monocausal explanations--It's all the smartphones!  It's all the helicopter parents!  It's all the schools' fault!--but I believe we are dealing with a genuine and widespread phenomenon.  Something seems to be slowing down young people's cognitive development and maturing process.  They tend not to be where people a generation or two ago were at their ages.

I agree, and I don't think it's a huge mystery why. I think we're seeing the downsides of neuroplasticity - past generations shouldered all sorts of adult responsibilities at young ages, and that in itself made them mature faster. Nowadays, in the developed world and among the middle and upper classes in the developing world, this is no longer the case for a wide variety of reasons, from child labor laws to smaller families (meaning older siblings have fewer younger siblings and are therefore less likely to be parentified), to helicopter parenting, to smartphones, to social promotion at schools, responsibility and accountability are much less for young people - and their brains therefore mature more slowly.

That all seems plausible.  The correlations that Jean Twenge and others have identified of course don't prove causation--but man, there are some mighty strong correlations there.

As for the "it was ever thus that age complained about youth" argument--that's true enough, and I know my history well enough to be well aware of that.  What seems to be different in recent times is that these past complaints were directed mostly against adolescents in elite society--the few members of society who had much freedom and resources with which to get themselves into serious problems during adolescence.  Whereas in modern societies those sorts of freedom and resources have come to be considered the norm. 

I recall some years back reading Neil Postman's The Disappearance of Childhood.  I recall thinking then, and still think now, that Postman missed the real story.  The real story about what's happened in recent generations hasn't been "the disappearance of childhood."  It has been the emergence and rise to cultural dominance of modern mass adolescence.
To us a child is born, to us a son is given
And the government will rest upon his shoulders;
And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father,
The prince of Peace.
Of his government and peace there will be no end.

apl68

Quote from: fishbrains on October 19, 2023, 05:36:56 AMAnyways, my student who was going to "catch up" over fall break unfortunately discovered that the entire state of Florida does not have internet. Not anywhere. Not in their public libraries, not in their hotels, not at any Starbucks, not in the airport, not at any McDonald's . . . absolutely nowhere.

It boggles the mind to contemplate how anyone living in Florida gets anything done.

Nice tan though.


Even in a little rural Arkansas library like ours you can check out a wireless router to take with you on your vacation to Florida to give you internet.  If you don't keep running the battery down like one of our patrons recently did.
To us a child is born, to us a son is given
And the government will rest upon his shoulders;
And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father,
The prince of Peace.
Of his government and peace there will be no end.

mythbuster

We don't have internet here?!? Then how am I checking the Fora every day?! I'm so confused now.  LOL.

onehappyunicorn

Student emailed me to ask if I would please clear their attempt to submit an assignment because they weren't done writing it out yet. Considering that the instructions explicitly say to type the assignment out in a word processing program and then copy it over the the submission box I'm not sure how someone accidentally submits a partially written submission.
I mean, I know how, but sending me an email like you are just the unfortunate victim of an accident isn't the best look.

the_geneticist

I'm getting the "please let me register for your class" emails.  We are 1/3 of the way through Fall.  No, I will not excuse you from 1/3 of the materials.  No, it is not practical/reasonable for you to "get caught up".  Take the class next quarter.

Puget

Quote from: Puget on October 18, 2023, 03:10:51 PM
Quote from: Caracal on October 18, 2023, 09:02:29 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on October 18, 2023, 05:15:56 AM
Quote from: evil_physics_witchcraft on October 18, 2023, 03:50:05 AM
Quote from: Puget on October 17, 2023, 12:51:59 PMI've now had two students today ask for scheduled time to meet because they say they can't come to office hours, then give me a list of available times that  include my office hours.
This sort of lack of reading comprehension and attention to posted information may go a long way to explaining the poor class performance they are meeting to talk with me about.

Yep. I've had students, this semester, ask me when, and IF, I have office hours. Um, there is this thing called a syllabus which states exactly when I have office hours that I reviewed on the 1st day of class and that I reference EVERY class (for the course schedule). Frustrating!

I think having grown up with customized apps, reccommendation engines, and The Algorithm(TM), they just expect to get personalized information and instructions on everything. They can't conceive of everyone getting exactly the same information and having to figure out for themselves what's relevant to them.


Syllabi have become increasingly less important for students to look at in many classes, including my own. Readings are usually posted in the CMS, so they aren't pulling the thing out, so it isn't that shocking they don't think to go look at it.

Office hours are also prominently displayed at the top of the CMS page. 

It may not surprise you to learn that one of these students has now emailed to ask me where my office hours are held. Which, you may have guessed, is also prominently displayed on the CMS, right under when the office hours are.
"Never get separated from your lunch. Never get separated from your friends. Never climb up anything you can't climb down."
–Best Colorado Peak Hikes

Parasaurolophus

Quote from: the_geneticist on October 19, 2023, 12:15:07 PMI'm getting the "please let me register for your class" emails.  We are 1/3 of the way through Fall.  No, I will not excuse you from 1/3 of the materials.  No, it is not practical/reasonable for you to "get caught up".  Take the class next quarter.

Yeah, I got one of those the other day. Except we're halfway through. I'm willing to allow it for students facing deportation, but failing the class is not great for their study permits either.
I know it's a genus.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Parasaurolophus on October 19, 2023, 05:21:12 PM
Quote from: the_geneticist on October 19, 2023, 12:15:07 PMI'm getting the "please let me register for your class" emails.  We are 1/3 of the way through Fall.  No, I will not excuse you from 1/3 of the materials.  No, it is not practical/reasonable for you to "get caught up".  Take the class next quarter.

Yeah, I got one of those the other day. Except we're halfway through. I'm willing to allow it for students facing deportation, but failing the class is not great for their study permits either.

Has anyone had one of these students who pleaded to be added late and who then actually proceeded to work really hard to not only catch up, but do well? Honestly, I can't think of a single one. Most don't even get completely caught up.

It takes so little to be above average.

FishProf

Quote from: marshwiggle on October 20, 2023, 05:11:30 AMHas anyone had one of these students who pleaded to be added late and who then actually proceeded to work really hard to not only catch up, but do well? Honestly, I can't think of a single one. Most don't even get completely caught up.

Nope, never.  Ditto for the "I don't have the prerequisite but the subject is so interesting to me I'll  work extra hard to catch up".

I'd rather have questions I can't answer, than answers I can't question.

spork

Quote from: onehappyunicorn on October 19, 2023, 11:02:36 AMStudent emailed me to ask if I would please clear their attempt to submit an assignment because they weren't done writing it out yet. Considering that the instructions explicitly say to type the assignment out in a word processing program and then copy it over the the submission box I'm not sure how someone accidentally submits a partially written submission.
I mean, I know how, but sending me an email like you are just the unfortunate victim of an accident isn't the best look.

Look at the publication date:

https://activelearningps.com/2017/10/06/first-impressions/
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

the_geneticist

Quote from: FishProf on October 20, 2023, 08:19:23 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on October 20, 2023, 05:11:30 AMHas anyone had one of these students who pleaded to be added late and who then actually proceeded to work really hard to not only catch up, but do well? Honestly, I can't think of a single one. Most don't even get completely caught up.

Nope, never.  Ditto for the "I don't have the prerequisite but the subject is so interesting to me I'll  work extra hard to catch up".



In my experience, they drop the course after failing the first exam.

Larimar

I gave a quiz last week and got a shock when I saw the results. It was a low-stakes, multiple choice quiz on the three classic persuasive appeals. The questions essentially would take a quote from one of the readings the class has done up until now, and ask which appeal it exemplifies: logos, ethos, or pathos.

Two students passed, one with a D.

I'd lectured on the concept, assigned the textbook chapters, and posted an online video for them to watch on the LMS that also explains it, all before assigning the quiz. I hadn't given this quiz before; I wrote it for this term. I have no idea what went wrong. Any ideas or advice?

Thanks,
Larimar

downer

Quote from: Larimar on October 21, 2023, 10:28:53 AMI gave a quiz last week and got a shock when I saw the results. It was a low-stakes, multiple choice quiz on the three classic persuasive appeals. The questions essentially would take a quote from one of the readings the class has done up until now, and ask which appeal it exemplifies: logos, ethos, or pathos.

Two students passed, one with a D.

I'd lectured on the concept, assigned the textbook chapters, and posted an online video for them to watch on the LMS that also explains it, all before assigning the quiz. I hadn't given this quiz before; I wrote it for this term. I have no idea what went wrong. Any ideas or advice?

Thanks,
Larimar

The obvious advice is to let the students fail. They seem intent on doing so, so why get in their way?
These days, faculty often face obstacles to handing out lots of F grades.
How free are you to fail most of them?
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."—Sinclair Lewis

ciao_yall

Quote from: Larimar on October 21, 2023, 10:28:53 AMI gave a quiz last week and got a shock when I saw the results. It was a low-stakes, multiple choice quiz on the three classic persuasive appeals. The questions essentially would take a quote from one of the readings the class has done up until now, and ask which appeal it exemplifies: logos, ethos, or pathos.

Two students passed, one with a D.

I'd lectured on the concept, assigned the textbook chapters, and posted an online video for them to watch on the LMS that also explains it, all before assigning the quiz. I hadn't given this quiz before; I wrote it for this term. I have no idea what went wrong. Any ideas or advice?

Thanks,
Larimar

Did you do an in-class activity in which they brought in examples of the 3 concepts? I find that my lecturing goes in one ear and out the other. Videos don't do much. But if they are talking and applying, they really pay attention to each other.