He do the police in different voices

A while back I blogged on an effort to build more intrinsic motivators into my classes (see Getting Better All the Time ).  I had students select personal goals and coached them on those goals.  I even built in a little self-evaluation into the grade and a celebration at the end of the course to recognize progress and growth.

While I still think this is a good idea, I have to admit it's been singularly ineffective this semester.  For whatever reason (my lack of planning, skill deficiencies in my students, bad course design) far  too many students in my classes have been ill-prepared, absent, late and sloppy this semester.  I can't recall a term in which so many students have performed so poorly.

It's been so bad that the small group of students who are actually doing the work delegated one of their own to speak to me about those who consistently come unprepared to take part in group work.  Unfortunately, the policies I built into my syllabus are set for the semester.  I have to live with them.

Next semester, though, I'm reverting to playing bad cop: show up without the text and you'll be asked to leave.  Don't have your rough draft, and it's a zero for the assignment.  Miss more than three classes and your grade goes down a full letter for each additional absence.  Try to skip and email in the assignment, no'p.  It's a zero.   This is a cattle-prod approach to education that I hate, but I'm going to do it anyway.

I so want it to be about the work and not the enforcement policies, but when I have students come to me complaining that their class mates brag about never doing the reading, what choice do I have? 

So it's time to put a bit of stick around.  I mentioned this in class the other day and one of my students laughed.  "A leopard can't change his spots," he snorted. 

We'll see.


Anonymous said…
keep me posted!
i have students that (obviously) do not purchase the text, much less read it.

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