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incidentally speaking

i broke down and called my dad for some help with incidence geometry models today. after much discussion, we both realized that neither of us knew the answer to my question, though we had made some progress. so, i sat down and gave it some really serious thought--not so much based on my dad being wiser than me and therefore more correct, but based on the premise that i found fault with his explanations and i just knew i could figure out exactly why.

so, i did.

and i just wrote a flawless geometry proof to boot. it's so fucking fabulous to finally be good at this shit. i'm much less reluctant about finishing my math major this semester. thank god.

xxx

today was my first discussion section for my western civ class. i loathe class discussions. it didn't help that i hadn't read the communist manifesto since the summer of 2004, but i went in there, raised my hand, spoke up, put forth my ideas in spite of the ridiculous interpretations offered by my classmates and promptly vomited on my shoes when i walked out of class.

i think, someday, i'll write a paper about the worthlessness of class discussions in 100-level classes full to max capacity. not today, though.

xxx

i like the idea of oral exams, though. i think it displays a much greater mastery of a subject to be able to discuss it fluently and on the spot with your peers or superiors. it's an entirely different level of examination than the joke of rote memorization employed in most public classrooms.

you may think this contradicts the section above regarding class discussions. and, in a way, it does. it's certainly possible to have rewarding discussions and debates when class size, time and subject mastery allow. however, that is rarely (if ever) the case in an introductory class with 55 students all vying to get their oh-so-important participation points.

oh! how i abhor participation points! it's my firm belief that an educator ought to inspire, not require, students to participate. and, under no circumstances, should a teacher penalize a student for not "taking advantage" of "tools" he doesn't not need to succeed.

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( 4 comments — Say Something )
monnggee
Feb. 8th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
at least at my school
i realized that the class discussions in the 400 level classes didnt get any better than the 100 level. there were just less people to talk thats all. still the same stupid lack of synthesis of knowledge, just regurgitation.
shakewell
Feb. 8th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
i suppose i would have to agree
though i haven't had much experience with upper-level classes, i would say that those who speak up are generally the ones who understand the material the least. lucky for me, most of my profs don't care to have us talk about higher math. though i will say having to watch some poor fool stumble through a geometry proof is one of the most painful things i've ever witnessed.
elizabethford
Feb. 9th, 2006 12:45 am (UTC)
i agree with everybody, especially on the congratulations.

both my majors involve about 90% discussion classes, generally with the same five or six idiots who have an opinion on every subject, especially those they know nothing about.

it does make me feel smarter, although this comes at the price of "why the hell am i wasting my life listening to this?"
dorso
Feb. 9th, 2006 03:14 am (UTC)
"it's my firm belief that an educator ought to inspire, not require, students to participate"

well said. the same goes for taking attendance
( 4 comments — Say Something )

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