October 20, 2005

Good cop, bad cop

Yesterday, gami commented:
I thought that trying to excourage to creat their own education will not work well in our university. Many students will not study if they do not have assignments for next class. (Students have many homeworks each class. They have to do a part time jop.etc...)I thought that your idea is great, but you should make deadline and minimum requirements. If you put a lot of appropriate pressure on your students, they have to do thier work well. I think that even if you put pressure, you will be able to encourage students to creat their own education.

And I wrote that this was good advice and we would follow it. But I'd like to correct that. We do have deadlines and we do have minimum requirements. That isn't the problem. The problem is getting students to take them seriously! Even though they are physically adults, they don't have the self-discipline necessary to really do the necessary work...unles they are forced to. My colleague and I took the approach that they are adults; if they are always treated like children (told what to do, forced to do it by threats and punishments, etc) then they will not develop into adults, they will stay as children, leaving responsibility to the teacher. What I am questioning now is, whether this approach is working, and I feel that for all but a few of our students, it is not: they develop neither the self-discipline nor the language skills.

Perhaps we need to take a good cop, bad cop approach: we need to be tough on some students, some of the time.

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