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Inflexible students September 6, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in education, teaching.
Tags: , ,

One of the assignments I give my students is to choose a class and try three new note-taking methods in that class.  This means that I ask my students to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new for three hours of their life.  The idea behind this is to try and see if they find something that helps them learn better in my (admittedly weak) attempt to teach them to be self-regulating learners.

And it never fails: I have half a dozen students who will inevitably tell them that they simply cannot do the assignment.  You see, some of them simply don’t take notes.  Others already know that what I’m asking them to do won’t work.  And then a lot of them have classes where they get powerpoints, so of course they have no need to take notes or consider trying new ways of notetaking.

When I tell them they must, they seem to think that I simply don’t understand why they have a very good reason not to do it and, if I did, I would obviously just excuse them from such a superfluous assignment.

The funny thing about this is that the notetaking assignment is optional.  They don’t need to do it if they don’t want.  But they always seem to come up to me and need to justify why they don’t have to do it.

The disappointing thing to me is that this demonstrates how rigidly some of them are stuck in their ways and aren’t open to new experiences.  Isn’t that what college is about?


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