Re: The school game

Nick Carbone (nickc@MARLBORO.EDU)
Mon, 12 Aug 1996 15:50:00 -0400

To be fair to us, and to students, scoping out teachers and knowing how
to 'play' them is a wonderful skill that in many instances is more useful
in life than the content of a lot the courses the students take. Real
life, if we want to use that term for all the stuff that happens outside
of school, involves maybe even more scoping and strategic considerations
of self-presentation and degrees of guile/subversion/principle/buckling
under/indifference/etc. that a person, or group of folk will employ.

How anyone plays the game(s) depends on how much they care about the
stakes (a redone quiz with an already decent grade being pretty low
stakes in most books) and how much, if they do care, they are willing to

It's not hard, though it is tedious as hell, to create air-tight
conditions and to insist on rules by ignoring complexities like Mick's
little case (which we've made more obscure, if not more complex, by
discussion). That said, I'm not sure insisting onsome standards and
having some goals necessarily means we're adopting or instilling a group
mediocrity. It just seems that sometimes we set out to measure, and to
teach to the measurement, the wrong things.

Nick Carbone, Writing Instructor
Marlboro College
Marlboro, VT 05344