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Morning Minutes: January 11, 2016

Morning, all.  Didn’t drag out of bed till 4:19 this morning.  Gonna be a Monday. Don’t love Mondays. Definitely a Superman-shirt day.

Anyway, over the weekend some may have noticed that I started a new section titled, “Their Thoughts.”  It’s a section devoted to highlighting and sharing comments from those who have joined the conversation. I began with sharing student comments from this month’s “Student Say” section, and though I may have “cheated” a little bit by having my students go on and post in class, I wanted to promote the voice of this incredibly important stakeholder group.  So, if I have to cheat a little to make that happen, I will.  It is really about them after all.

I’m also rolling out a new section next Sunday called, “Weekly Wonder.”  This section is where I will begin to get a little jiggy with it, setting the stage for more provocative, controversial topics, hopefully generating some tougher talk on the status quo, opening a pathway for change and progress by challenging conventional wisdom.  Here’s a sneak peak of the first topic.

Weekly Wonder: I Wonder If We Should Fail Kids.

Failing them teaches them a lesson. If we don’t fail them, they will never learn, so we have to fail them…or so conventional wisdom goes.  But does it work?  Does it really teach them a lesson? I’m not sure.  For many of the kids who fail in high school, it is not a new phenomenon, and many become our frequent “failers,” apparently not “learning the lesson” from past-failed classes.  And sadly, for many, in high school, they are set on a track from which it is difficult to deviate and they struggle to learn from the tough-love lessons that we provide.  Some simply give up and disappear.  I wonder then if we shouldn’t consider a new course of action, a new track.  What if we didn’t fail kids?

I will present the full post on Sunday.

Meanwhile, this week back in 219 we will be busy pursuing an answer to our essential question, “Can we prevent injustice, or is it an unavoidable consequence of human society?”  Along the way, we will pause, viewing the vistas of the rhetorical appeals, and logical fallacies from the various speeches we read.  Gonna be a busy week.  But it always is.

Thanks for tuning in.  Have a magnificent Monday. See you bright and early tomorrow.  I never sleep in on Tuesdays.



5 Replies to “Morning Minutes: January 11, 2016”

  • Should we fail students? I think we’re ethically bound to give them what they earn. Doing otherwise is crippling to them. I love the research that shows how much the brain develops when you get a question or problem wrong. If we celebrate failure as an opportunity to grow, does it reduce the frequency of disengagement and permanent failing grades for students in class? I hope so.

    • Hi, Melissa. Thank you for joining the conversation. You raise some important points that I think are worth examining and discussing. In particular, our ethical responsibility to give them what they earn raises a question for me regarding if we can in all cases stand with absolute certainty on our grading practices as the definitive means of knowing what they have earned. In addition, it makes me wonder if the same ethics apply on the other end of the spectrum regarding giving kids A’s. Certainly, there are cases where kids get A’s without “earning” them. I’m not certain there is a simple answer. I am certain, for me at least, that the topic presents more questions than answers. Let’s continue the conversation in the first Weekly Wonder post. Thank you for joining the tougher conversation.

  • I took the time over the weekend to read all of the comment in “student talk.” It was interesting to hear how they feel as students. There were some that just did’t feel that school or learning was for them. It made me ask why,and then there were students that had all the eagerness in the world. One reason for some of the students was the support they get from home, then having teachers that actually care and their own personal drive and wanting to succeed in life. The students that didn’t have a positive reply seemed almost lost.

  • Yes, it must be a Monday . . . 4:25 sleep in for me! Looking forward to the Weekly Wonder, particularly after talking to former students who experienced standards based grading and the opportunity to retake/resubmit assignments to get the grade that showed they met standard. New discovery . . . that doesn’t happen in college!

  • I still feel the same way about failing kids. I did have to fail one last semester though. I felt horrible doing it but I had literally no work from him at all to base any grade off of. He is a frequent failer in all of his classes. He is a hard kid to reach, I can barely get a word out of him 🙁

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