Friday, September 6, 2013

...Mine is an evil laugh...

My composition I class has an essay we're starting: a summary/strong response essay.  They summarize, then respond to one of four essays.  This one and this one in particular have elicited strong reactions of distaste and anger. 

My girls are stunned and horrified by the image they've been given of radical feminists...which is the first step toward rejecting the feminist ideals altogether. 

Another group--the one reading Williams's piece--were completely horrified and outraged by the progressive federal government's mostly-successful attempts to enslave the American population by creating a permanent underclass of (mostly black) dependents, and workers whose paychecks are confiscated in ever-increasing percentages to pay for that permanent underclass.

See what I did there? 

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I'm not telling them what to think, just providing things to think about.  I'd've been just as happy if they'd questioned it all, and done research to prove the essays wrong.


  1. If you are asking them to think at all you are probably causing a lot of headaches in the classroom. Most of my college classes essentially consisted of getting your ticket punched. Just show up, repeat back what was in your notes, don't rock the boat. In four years, I only liked two professors. One was a retired navy captain who accused me of plagiarism. I had no idea what he meant. He asked me where I got the information for a report and I told him I copied it out of an encyclopedia. I went to a high school with less than 200 students and that's what we did. Instead of just being an authoritarian he explained to me that didn't fly in the big league, and let me do the paper over. I worked really hard on it, got a C, but I still remember the guy these 40 years later. The other was a hippie who taught Roman History. I got blind drunk the night before his final with some low companions from my reserve unit, and missed the final. Two days later when I could walk again, I went to see him. He asked me why I missed it. I said "I got drunk." He let me take it anyway. The rest of my professors I really don't remember now.

    1. My students actually really enjoy the class--I think they like not being condescended to, and like that they're actually being taught how to write, and being challenged to support their thinking.

    2. The instructors and teachers I remember were the ones who had actually used the skills they were teaching in the real world. My accounting teacher had run his own CPA business; the Computer Science instructors who had actually designed, planned, coded, tested, and implemented programs and applications were better than the guys who reluctantly left their labs to mumble at us for a couple of hours.

      The same may be true for you. You write, both here and in your books, and that makes you a better teacher of writing.

    3. I try. Most of them really seem to enjoy being exposed to new ideas, and picking up the new skills that will make the rest of their classes easier.

      Especially since I don't believe in busy work, and know that most of them have outside obligations that demand a lot of their time. I try very hard not to assign homework--we work on their stuff in class after I go through an example on the board.


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