Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Shameless Rant on Students "Getting it." . .

Two weeks from the end of the semester and I wonder if my students "get it."   I am not talking about SLO's (Student Learning Outcomes) or assessment techniques.  I am talking about the learning process, the spark that fuels learning that goes beyond the curriculum. 

Teaching dance might be an exception. But I have determined that students today are terrible at taking notes.  I give short lectures on anatomy, dance theory and dance history in my classes and they look at me with fascination, nodding in agreement, frowning in concern or questioning.  But, not a note written.

Don't they want to remember? 

I admit I was a pretty damn good student in my day.  I was that (annoying) person in class who always took great notes, studied and completed homework on the same day it was assigned and generally got straight A's.  (Ok, I got one B+ in my life. Black Studies. And, I really tried hard, but to no avail.) So, bottom line, I didn't understand my fellow (slacker) students then, and I don't understand them now. 

Do they really expect to remember everything that is said in a lecture? Even a short 20 minute lecture?  Don't they want to get it? Or am I just that much of an overachiever?

If I could teach them one thing, I wish I could teach them that success is fun!  Achievement is rewarding!  It is worth the effort and the time.  There is greatness to be had, but you have to work for it.  Taking notes isn't just about having something to refer to, it is about staying active while listening, connecting your learning to a physical act of processing.  Taking notes help you record and remember.  Duh!

But, alas.  They look at me with their sweet smiles and momentary interest, and I fear that I have failed them, because they still will only do what I tell them to do because I tell them to do it.  They haven't learned that they drive their learning, They drive their lives. 

My dad has a great shirt:  "If I am talking, you should be taking notes." 

Collect ideas, reflect, process and grow. 

This stuff is important people!  Get out your pen and paper. . .

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