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Topic: home work

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Subject:   RE: home work
Author: markovchaney
Date: Oct 5 2006
On Oct  5 2006, Mathman wrote:
>I agree.
> However, it it not what should be done so much as the extent to
> which it should be done.  When one or two decide to not do homework
> then they should suffer the consequences of their actions.

Fascinating choice of words: "suffer," I suspect, is not randomly chosen.

> When
> most decide to not do their homework, it is because they KNOW that
> they will be passed along in any case.  Perhaps I'm advocating a
> "tough love" policy, depending upon the circmstances.

So it's not that the assignments might be onerous, irrelevant, boring, too long,
etc. It's that the students are trying to game the system (and let's not
investigate what might motivate kids to see school as something to be "gamed").

I happen to know the couple who invented "tough love": they were on the faculty
at my college. They came up with it to deal with a drug-addicted daughter who
brought her lover/pusher to their home, whereupon, with her help, he ripped them
off. Just a teensy bit different from how I think of students whose "crime" is
not doing homework.

> A policy must
> suit the situation as it stands, and must be designed to accomplish
> what best suits the majoriy.  I realise that in saying this, I've
> opened another can of worms on school policies for passing a
> subject, but there is a definite link with policy and general
> behaviour.  Sometimes tough love hurts for a while, but when it is
> realised that those who succeed REALLY succeed, then there can be a
> huge turnaround.

Hmm. I keep thinking kids will do what makes sense to them to do. We can employ
carrots that have no relevance to the learning. We can employ sticks. We can
call that "tough love," but I think what best describes it is "rationalizing

Example in another instance:  Nice young lady in
> grade 9 decided to not take an assignment seriously.  Very upset
> when all got good to excellent results compared to her very poor
> results, and a redo was adamantly refused.  She persevered, and did
> good work after that.  At a later date when I was sure she had
> earned it, i then told her the former results would not count
> against her.  To have done so at the beginning would have set the
> stage for future lack of effort. She finished second in the class,
> and said "Thank you." for the best lesson she had that year.

It's good that she was nice. But I wonder: why did she choose not to do that
assignment? Do you have any idea? Did you ask? Do you think it's important to

By the way, what if she hadn't been nice? Can we give "tough love" to students
we don't like, or who are indisputable pains in the rear end? Or is that more
like "tough disdain"?

I know that kids will sometimes thank us for kicking them in the tail. Then
again, some kidnap victims fall in love with their captors (is that "tough
love"?) The best lesson I had from a teacher was when I was a freshman in
college taking an independent study on the fiction of John Barth. The professor
and I contracted for me to write a paper every other week, to read a set number
of books, etc. Before Thanksgiving break, we met and he suggested that it would
be a good time to consider writing a paper of some more serious length (15-20
pages) that summarized and pulled together all of my work thus far. Of course,
the contract didn't call for that. He knew it and said, "Of course, you don't
have to do this, but I think you'll feel better if you do." And I did it, and he
was correct. But there was no "tough love," no carrots, no sticks, just a
respectful appeal to my intelligence. What a concept!

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