How Do Students Become Self-Directed Learners?
The “A” Student
I was exhausted from reading and grading twenty-five papers over the past weekend, but I was glad to be able to hand them back so quickly. It was the first big assignment in my freshman seminar on immigration, and it required students to state an argument and support it with evidence from course readings and supplemental documents. After class, one of the students, Melanie, approached me and insisted that she needed to talk with me immediately about her grade (not about her paper, mind you!). Hers was a typical first paper in this course—it lacked a clearly articulated argument, and there was only weak evidence to support what I inferred was her argument. As we walked across campus toward my office, she began explaining that she was a “gifted” writer who had always received As on her high school English papers. She made clear to me that there must be some mistake in this paper’s grade because her mother, a high school English teacher, had read the paper over the weekend and thought it was wonderful. Melanie admitted that she had started this assignment the night before it was due, but insisted that she worked best under pressure, saying, “That’s just how my creative juices flow.”
Professor Sara Yang
The Hamster Wheel
After I saw John’s grade on the second Modern Chemistry exam, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “How can someone attend every single lecture—sitting attentively in the front row—and go to every ...