Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Students and teachers

My guess is that any teacher would agree with these and, moreover, would be largely uninterested in criticism from students who don't attempt to practice them. Via Insight Scoop and very relevant at the beginning of a new school year: "What a Teacher Wants in a Student":
1. Effort. I would gladly exchange 10 IQ points for sincere effort, any day of the week. Give me a student who has read the material, genuinely engaged it, and is struggling to understand it, and I will give that student everything I have as a teacher. By contrast, give me a brilliant student who gives a half-hearted effort, and it is hard not to be irritated, frustrated, and short with him.

2. Charity. This is much tougher than it seems, because being a good student requires charity on multiple fronts: toward other students, toward the professor, and, just as important, toward the readings. Take them by turns. ....

3. Practice. Reading carefully and writing well are skills, and, like other skills, they must be practiced. You must do them over and over again. .... When it comes to your own writing, revise, revise, revise. Go over your paper three, four, five times; in the morning and at night; let it go a day and then return to it. Do not be afraid to delete, cut, or globally rethink. There is perhaps no single more important key to successful writing than editing. Use it liberally.

4. Preparation. An old quip has it that ninety percent of success is showing up. I would say: Ninety percent of success as a student is preparation. ....

5. Finally, purpose. Why, exactly, are you here? .... [more]
James R. Otteson: What a Teacher Wants in a Student