Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Enlightened schoolboys, exasperated teachers

One of my more educated young readers sent me this link today. It's about how ever brighter our kids are becoming at school, in this era of total freedom and Facebook. I found it a fine piece of black humour. Do let me know how it struck you.


Shilpi said...

That really is a sharply done piece, and a delicious title for it too. Nice twist on the "we mustn't say anything to hurt the child's self-esteem". I had to smile through all of the ones listed but especially the ones on homework, Camus, hypotenuse, the last one, and Amar, Akbar, Anthony!

Sometimes, teachers might get so exasperated that they don't want to see the same faces in their classes and will do anything to get the smartie-pants (or utter duds?) out and on their way to wherever...There was a little cartoon the other day in the school newspaper. A kid is tearing his hair out because he knows he's going to fail in a physics course and has to re-take the course yet again. The next pane shows him looking utterly perplexed as he stares at his report sheet which says, "Exam I - F; Mid-term - F; Quizzes: F; Final Exam - F. Final grade for this course: C."

Shilpi said...

P.S: I forgot to mention this bit in relation to your comment in your other blog. Many kids are so terribly pampered though here, and it must have started a long time before facebook - and some of them still remain that way even when they are well into college although many of them also work part-time (I find the contradictions strange in some ways). I've had so many students asking me, 'how many points are on the exam?' And right there on top of the sheet is the total score, and printed in bold. And that's just one of the less strange questions. I also remember some funny stories from the first couple of semesters since I had no idea that college-goers were treated with kid gloves, and I have sharper ones from later on. There's this idea that students are never wrong and even if they are, they must never be told in so many words. And one could get fired I'm sure or reprimanded and on multiple grounds for saying, 'now, don't be so dumb...' Although of course, more than some professors and instructors leave a lot to be desired as well - goes without saying.

I remember one instructor though one day said, and very clearly, 'I know all of you have been told that there are no stupid questions. But there are stupid questions and you can be called stupid for asking such questions, and I will not entertain them. Please read the course requirements very carefully because if anybody asks me a question that's already covered in those pages, that will be a stupid question, and I will call you stupid.'

I often wonder what you saw and noted and liked and admired and raised your eyebrow at, when you were here and visited all those schools, and classrooms, and educational institutions.

Hmm. Better scram for now. Thanks for putting up that link...maybe I'll get around to reading it out one day...preferably on the first day of new classes. Take care.

Saikat Chakraborty said...

Dear Sir,

This post reminds me of a cartoon I read few days back. In 1970, parents are scolding their children as they have got poor marks. But in 2010, the parents are quarreling with the teachers for awarding poor grades to their children.

Shilpi di, the cartoon that you mentioned about is a reality in the so called premier institute of India where I am currently pursuing my studies.

With warm regards,

Shilpi said...

Oh, and Saikat - with all the bonus points and extra credit assignment points that I've handed out as an instructor - that cartoon rang a bell on a personal count. It's very much of a reality in most educational institutions. Grade inflation isn't an urban legend...

Shilpi said...

Here are a couple of gems from college students who want fine grades...makes me wonder more and more about your quote from Galbraith (universities and schools are making people dumber...), and that bit from the Leacock book I'd picked up because of a post of yours. The following bits came from a student paper that one professor had to grade,

"...traditions are something embezzled in us."

But the corker,

"...a young girl that lived in Niger was ostrich sized from her own community..."