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aloisia schmid a-schmi at uiuc.edu
Mon Nov 17 12:57:33 EST 1997

> > Frankly, the posts on spelling corrections echo this problem.  Were the
> > students with good lab reports praised?  Were only the poorer students
> > chosen for follow up comments?  Students of all ages will quickly blow off
> > comments they are not interested in hearing.  Likewise, almost all age
> > groups still repsond to praise and work harder to get more.  Sure, correct
> > the spelling, recommned remedial work, but most importantly praise the
> > achievers.
> As an undergraduate student, I think this is a very important point.  It
> drives me nuts when I have put a lot of hard work into a paper, only to
> get it back with just a grade.  Feedback - positive and negative - is
> crucial.  I agree that proper spelling and grammer is crucial to effective
> communication in any field, but everybody needs some kind of output
> regarding their input or they will not feel that their input has been
> valued at all.  And to echo a statement made previously - why should the
> student care if the instructor doesn't seem to?  The professor at the head
> of the class can have a tremendous impact on how the students approach the
> class on a daily basis, as well as the topic later on.  The worst classes
> have been the ones where the instructor (prof or TA) is just going thru
> the motions, not trying to work with the students.  Otherwise - what is
> the point of teaching?!

I respect these opinions, but I disagree with them.  First of all, the
people who did well of course get praised.  That is the easiest part of
the job!  But this first posting and the response to it, are bordering on
what I felt the problem was int he first place.  "Students of all ages
will quickly blow off comments they are not interested in hearing." My
complaint is that this means that they don't want to hear anything
negative at all, and are not willing to own up to the responsiblity of
working hard in this learning process.  Education is not something that
can just be provided....it has to be accepted and received, and be
digested and built into something meaningful, and my complaint is that the
joy in that, the sense of absolute Priviledge in being able to devote
one's time to learning is increasingly lost to today's students. 

This is not to say that professors can abandon ship and expect students to
thrive anyway.  But I honestly have to say that most of the professors I
know do not just phone it in.   Furthermore, a professor who DOES do that,
develops a reputation for not caring---and students will no longer sign up
for his course.  Students on the other hand, are transient---and their
track records have minimal bearing on whether or not they are allowed in a

                  Anyway, while it is worth asking how to improve teaching,
my question is more painful for both sides.....how do we improve student


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