Field of Science

Another fine semester shot to heck

You would think the Phactor would get used to semesters ending in a fading whimper, but it's still depressing even when your successes have greatly outnumbered your failures. You realize that once again heads are not empty vessels to be filled, but garbage cans filled with junk that must be emptied if any new knowledge is to be added and how stubbornly some heads hang onto that garbage, or is it just an inability to deal with all those nasty little details that make a difference, like confusing coca with cocoa, because among present day students a vowel here or there makes no never mind and things like grammar and spelling betray an old fashioned fussiness over trivialities, and you want to ask, "What then is the measure of being educated if you still write and speak improperly?" And yet a few seem to have caught the biology bug, that nagging curiosity that drives us to try and figure out little bits of life, and that love of accomplishment, that feeling of having been the first one to actually know something new. So to close in a more upbeat mode, this semester will end with an evening of Costa Rican food and a sharing of pictures from the rain forest field trip, and a most excellent award ceremony for distinctions and outstanding achievements. Who wouldn't want to be this year's Monsoon mud monkey (dirtiest in the field)?


Anonymous said...

I would never confuse coca with cocoa, primarily because I find the former so much more useful than the latter, especially when hiking in the Andes (just a pinch between the cheek and gum).

However, I do feel the Phactor's pain. In my experience, students don't write and speak properly because they don't read. Until you can figure out a way to make that happen, which would entail un-inventing television, computer games, the text-message, Facebook, Twitter, etc., you may as well fuhgeddaboudit.


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Sally said...

I agree, Shelley. Reading--a lot--is a huge part of literacy, that is learning how to speak and write correctly. I read everything, even comic books and cereal boxes, as a kid.

I thought my young niece would be handicapped by "new spelling" 15 years ago, now it just turns out she's pre-adapted for texting!

The Phytophactor said...

Yes, reading is the key, and it doesn't matter much what, and comic books & cereal boxes sounds very familiar. So glad someone else had a childhood like mine. Many of today's college students cannot write anything but childishly simple sentences, which only makes the gap between them and the more literate students even greater.