Saturday, March 11, 2017

Willful Ignorance

I asked a student to draw a tree diagram for flipping a coin three times. We have taught this in more than 3 90 minute classes. It is necessary to master for material that is coming.

What I got had no relation to a reasonable answer.

I corrected him, several times, trying to get him to create a correct drawing. But he refused to change what he was doing. He refused to reference any notes. He just kept drawing the same thing.

What I got was "I tried" - like that matters when you are unable to correct your erroneous attempts. So I drew the tree diagram. And he quit doing any work for the rest of the period.

I could not get him to see that 1) he needed to write it down 2) he needed to learn it and 3) there is no participation credit in his grade.

When did it become acceptable to not even try to learn? Throw some crap on the board, dance for your friends, sit down and talk. This is not learning.

4 comments:

Rita Cat said...

So happy to be away from that crap and lucky to never have had a student like that.

Ricochet said...

This class seems to feel they are entitled to do whatever they want and pass. And they aren't. (Passing)I do not know how to make it important to them.

Sharon R. said...

I find myself wondering if your student has autism... my sixth grade son is "on the spectrum" and with a different life story, I can imagine him getting stuck in a loop like that. Mine is very bright and does want to learn (both of which help a lot) but he's certainly capable of somehow not noticing any instruction (or just a random bit) in claases he attends, and then having no clue when it's time to do the work. Because he is very bright he can often figure it out on his own, and because he has good parents and training, he has mostly learned to accept help (including the help of notes and textbooks) but I can imagine a less gifted version of my son doing exactly what you describe, stuck in his noncomprehension, repeating his same error. In a previous generation a kid like that would never have made it as far as a college campus... I admit to mixed feelings about that.

Sharon R. said...

(Sorry, followed a link here and didn't realize this is a high school student not college. But this episode still strikes me as more complex than "doesn't want to learn" just because it echoes my personal experience with other kids.)