Re: to read or not to read... (fwd)

Cynthia Haynes (
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 14:01:05 -0600

On Mon, 24 Mar 1997 EBOQUET@FAIR1.FAIRFIELD.EDU wrote:

>Good questions, Ed. What do you do with such students? Maybe
>interrogate the universality of such terms as "beauty" and their
>applicability to Shakespeare. That's what's shaken up the canon (albeit
>not enough) in recent years. And I was glad to see that you brought up
>students because, as I've read through some of these posts, I've been
>reminded of all those really bad teachers I've met who maintain that
>the "problem" is with their students and not with their teaching methods.
>I'm having trouble seeing that this discussion, though couched in
>slightly different terms, is much different.

Beth...I agree that teachers who maintain that 'the' problem is with their
students and not their teaching methods need to reevaluate both "the"
problem, and where the blame for the problem actually lies. In my first
post about all of this, I reacted to some of the complaints about terms in
conference presentations by posing some questions that shifted the
discussion into tutoring situations (ie, What would we say to the student
who claims they don't understand their teacher, and they don't understand
something they read?). I did so to make the point that it seems unlikely
that we would criticize this teacher's methods (with no more information
than the student's complaint to go on), or that we would criticize the
reading assignment as too difficult to understand. I think we would all
probably ask the student to be more specific about what terms the teacher
is using that they don't understand...that we would use this as a teachimg
opportunity...that we would ask them specifically what they don't
understand in their reading assignment...again, using this as a teaching

One thing that writing centers do so well, I think, is to foster in
students a responsibility for their own writing, for their own the same time we help them learn to help themselves. I
don't see this as blaming the students rather than the teachers, that's
why I used that analogy in our discussion about terms some feel are too
technical or specialized in conference presentations. It was an attempt
to ask for specificity before making assumptions. It was an attempt to
see conference papers as learning opportunities.


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