Friday, March 09, 2007

Student shortcomings

Jef sent me a link to this article which I thought I'd share. It's by a college professor in the US who uses the "seven deadly sins" as a way to categorise the multitudes of shortcomings in his students. Here are two examples:

Greed: Students often pursue degrees not for the sake of learning but with the aim of getting a better-paying job, so they can buy a bigger house and fancier cars than those owned by their parents and their neighbours. That often leads to greed for grades they have not earned.

Some students cheat on exams or plagiarise their papers; others, sometimes the most diligent, harass professors into giving them grades unjustified by their performance. The goal of such cheaters and grade-grubbers is not the reality of achievement but the appearance of it. They will then apply for graduate programs or entry-level jobs that they do not really desire and for which they are not really qualified.

They want to be lawyers, but they are bored by law courses. They want to be doctors, but they do not care about healing people. They want to go into business not to provide useful products and services, but to get rich by any means necessary. And so they come to believe that no one has integrity and that there is no basis, other than the marketplace, by which value can be judged.

Anger: Seemingly more often than in the past, professors encounter students who are angered by challenging assignments, which they label - with bureaucratic self-assurance - unfair or even discriminatory. When students do not succeed, they sometimes conclude that their professors are "out to get them" because of some vague prejudice.

Students feel entitled to deference from professors who "work for them and should act like it". They do not come to see them for clarification about an A-; instead, they argue that they are paying a lot of money and, therefore, deserve a high grade, and if you don't give it to them, they will "complain to management", as if they were sending back food in a restaurant.

Read the whole piece here.