Lab grades and larger issues

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Mon Oct 27 11:58:32 EST 1997

At 3:16 PM -0500 10/26/97, Bill Purves wrote:
>Put any dozen of us in an enclosed area to discuss those things, and
>we would of course come up with a minimum of nine different answers
>to each of those questions ;-)    Even so, I would be inclined to
>mull over those questions before every course I was about of offer.
>Besides, even if different ones of us come up with very different answers
>and, as a result, approach grading very differently, our students will
>most likely gain from all of us, if we've thought hard and well and
>then follow through on our best thoughts.

I agree with Bill on this too! We each approach the
teaching and learning function from different perspectives
and the students do the same.  This means that we have
a good match with only some of our students in any one
approach.  The other students will have difficulty with
our courses because the match is not made.

In my youth I thought there was one right way to teach
and learn.  That naive thought occurred because I was seeing
it only from my own personal perspective.  Experience now
tells me that Bill is right.  As a department chair you
really get to appreciate this.  Complaints roll in from
the students about every faculty member, but who is
complaining and about what tells me that we are talking
about hits and misses that occur when teaching and learning
styles match or not.  The interviews with the complainants
have been fascinating and very enlightening.  Concrete
thinking students LOVE the drill and practice faculty and
HATE the abstract and experiential focus of our lab-centered
faculty.  I'm not using these words to name-call but to indicate
that there is a match between student and faculty member.
There are other students who feel just the opposite about
the two types of faculty members mentioned above.

So, to me Bill's lesson here is: know your own teaching
style and value system and use that to create an honest
course.  In my previous post I wrote where my style is is just one of the possible styles.


Ross Koning                 | koning at
Biology Department          |
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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