Tuesday, June 21, 2022

How much time are you willing to give?

From the Curmudgucation blog:
I see this thread from time to time, this insistence on denying that students are bad at something. "No, you just weren't taught that well" or "Your teacher lacked the right tools" or "You are the victim of too-low expectations" or "You just needed more opportunities to master the material and concepts." Sometimes these ideas make it all the way into policy: if you are a teacher of a Certain Age, you may well remember sitting in a PD session in which you were told earnestly that "All can learn all."

No. Some students are bad at some things. This should not come as a surprise; all human beings are bad at something.

We have a finite number of hours to invest, and we all make choices about how to invest them. It's a weird brand of age-ism to imagine that students do not make similar choices. I don't believe in lazy students, but I absolutely believe in students who will sit in your class and make a rational decision that they do not want to invest the kind of time in your subject that judge would be necessary.

Go read the rest for the full scope of what he is saying. It's worth your time.

<idle musing>
Yep. Time and energy, as well as innate capabilities. In graduate school, with two kids, I had to budget my time, so at the beginning of each term, I decided which class I would settle for a B in. If I had the extra time after assuring an A in the other ones, then I would attempt for an A in that one too. I rarely did, and sometimes I didn’t get an A in some of the ones I was aiming for an A in.

And when it comes to Akkadian, I suck at the signs. Never could wrap my head around the multivalency of them. I enjoyed Hittite because the multivalency was much more limited and the sign list was manageable. I did fine in the grammar and reading of Akkadian once it was transliterated, but the signs? Yuck.

And when I was in engineering, before seeing the light and becoming a humanities major, I hit a brick wall in linear algebra. I just couldn't wrap my head around the concept of six, seven, or nine space. Matrices just blew my 20-year-old mind. Now, I understand the concept, but I'm forty-six years older…
</idle musing>

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