In my last post I wrote about how one history teacher was frustrated because students don’t work hard enough on their homework. They deal only with things on a point-based scheme of understanding. For the most part, students understand that if they fill in certain blanks on a worksheet or meet the minimum word requirements, they will receive “credit” for their work and they will get a grade in the class. Even if they can’t pass the tests, students will still probably pass their courses because of the amount of “free” points they get for filling up space on a paper. When I worked down south, another teacher at the junior high level noted that she only gives in class assignments because cheating on homework has become so abundant that it is pointless to assign it.
The problems in the school system are abundant. In this post, I told the story of one teacher who explains that the main problem is not student ability, but parental oversight. The same woman who doesn’t assign homework also notes that students have less and less base knowledge with which to do the assignments that she was giving them. The students complained more and more that the assignments were too “hard” for them.
But here is my question to ponder for educators: Is it, perhaps, that we have lost faith in our students rather than our students losing faith in us? Or, perhaps, have students lost faith in our system of education precisely because we have lost faith in them first. Perhaps we have set our standards so low as educators that students have come to believe they can only perform at a certain level.
Perhaps it is because we treat students like they are dumb that they become dumb.
Or maybe my observations are just too simple.