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How Learning Works by Richard E. Mayer, Marie K. Norman, Marsha C. Lovett, Michele DiPietro, Michael W. Bridges, Susan A. Ambrose

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CHAPTER 6

Why Do Student Development and Course Climate Matter for Student Learning?

End of Story

Yesterday in my Economics class, we were discussing an article about the cost of illegal immigration to the U.S. economy. The discussion was moving along at a brisk pace when one student, Gloria, began to intervene quite forcefully, saying the reading was biased and didn’t represent the situation accurately. Another student, Danielle, responded: “Gloria, why do you always have to bring up race? Why can’t we just discuss the figures in the articles without getting so defensive?” A third student, Kayla, who has been pretty quiet up to this point in the semester, said that, as far as she was concerned, illegal immigrants should be arrested and deported, “end of story.” Her grandparents were Polish immigrants, she continued, and had come to the U.S. legally, worked hard, and made good lives for themselves, “but now this country is getting sucked dry by Mexican illegals who have no right to be here, and it’s just plain wrong.” At that point, the rest of the class got really quiet and I could see my three Hispanic students exchange furious, disbelieving looks. Annoyed, Gloria shot back: “Those ‘illegals’ you’re talking about include some people very close to me, and you don’t know anything about them.” The whole thing erupted in an angry back-and-forth, with Gloria calling Kayla entitled and racist and Kayla looking close to tears. I tried to regain control of the class by asking Gloria ...

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