Field of Science

Uh, oh. Some students are annoyed with their botany professor.

You know this happens from time to time that some students become annoyed with TPP.  In this case they had an assignment, and while there were some suggestions, some directions, some questions, their responses, their reactions were basically left unspecified.  In other words TPP did not spell out in detail exactly what they were supposed to do as some sort of a fill-in-the-blank answer sheet or a check-off list of items to include.  As a result some students were way more thoughtful than others, some students put in more effort than others, some students showed more insight and creativity than others.  Some students surprised TPP with their unique and unexpected perspectives.  And wouldn't you know, it's the hand full of students who didn't do these things that are annoyed. Why if they had only known what other students were doing, they might have shown more initiative too.  This is why a university is not a high-school, although not all administrators get this.  The students were asked to comment about photo-essays of a week's worth of groceries from different places around the world (links: here and here).  The students were instructed to be thoughtful and given some leading questions.  What did they notice the most?  The different amounts people paid for food ranged widely (over 200 fold).  How terrible some people's diets were (the USA did not do well especially North Carolina).  Most of them thought the Egyptian diet looked the most interesting and healthiest (Ecuador and Turkey followed).  Many of them commented on how inadequate some diets were in all respects.  They noticed which diets seemed to have lots of fresh food and which didn't.  They noticed the large amount of soda and candy in some of the piles of groceries.  Thoughtful students had no problems finding a number of significant things to comment about.  Open ended assignments, up to a point, leave it to students to show their interest, initiative, energy, and creativity, and that makes it easy for TPP to sort the sheep from the goats, which is my job.  Now this is early in the semester, and maybe, just maybe, a couple of the goats will think about trying a bit harder on the next assignment, after all TPP doesn't operate on some sort of quota system, but we often take the blame. 

3 comments:

Lyn said...

I had a student once who asked to see an example of an "A" essay. When I showed her one, she said, "That's not fair. There's no way I could do that."

Veronica Abbass said...

I would like your permission to use this post as a reading for an English class I teach at a community college.

You may contact me at veronica.abbass@senecacollege.ca with your answer.

Justin Tungate said...

I guess that's why I always preferred math. Precise questions with precise answers. You may find that it's a matter of personality rather than interest.