AP and helping others

S L Forsburg forsburg at nospamsalk.edu
Wed Dec 3 10:42:13 EST 1997

I'm sorry I can't get the threaded replies to work;  I'm posting
through my browser and it doesn't give me the option.  

 Karen Allendoerfer (ravena at cco.caltech.edu) writes

> I was depressed, not from the slowness of how things went, but from
> how quickly they went, how hard it was for me to keep up, and from the
> pressure and competition. 

I never felt pressure or competition in high school.  Senior year, 
I took three APs, in the morning, and spent my afternoons on the UC
 Berkeley campus taking college classes in an accelerated program 
that gave early entry to students.  It was a great year, and I
just enjoyed its intellectualism.  The AP classes meant that 
when I started in college full time the following year, I didnt
have to take Biology, History, or freshman English--in fact I never
took a lower division English class (and majored in the subject
to boot!) APs were a great success at that time.

Ah, college.  I loved college.

> I'm just curious, why is it that bright kids don't benefit from
> helping
> out the kids who don't get it? Why is that a fallacy? Why can't that
> work? I believe you that it doesn't, but why not?

During my school years, when "helping" was required, it was 
frsutrating because what I wanted to be doing was LEARNING,
stretching my mind out and moving ahead.  Helping the slow kids
was like a ball and chain on my ankle--it crippled my own progress.
I got the feeling it was frequently used by teachers who
didn't know what to do with bright kids.  I hated those classes
because the pace for me was soooo glacial.  Fortunately, it didn't
happen much in high school--mostly in the years before that.

That's not to say that there's not a place for tutoring relationships
and they can be very rewarding.  But they should be by choice, and
not at the expense of restraining a kid from flying!  
And, just because a child is bright, doesn't mean that they are
a very effective tutor.

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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA 
"These are my opinions.  I don't have  
time to speak for anyone else."

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