I gave a 5-question quiz in one of my classes today, and every single student did poorly. Let me rephrase that: every single student failed. This was not a difficult quiz, which leads me to hypothesize that the problem is that students just aren’t doing the reading, although it might indicate that they are having trouble with the material. They were assigned “What’s a blog?” at Blogger and this basic “Introductory Guide to HTML.” Very simple stuff. Additionally, the course text covered 16 different tactics of definition for an upcoming essay they’ll write in which they define a term. Consider these questions:

  1. Define a blog using two different tactics of definition.
  2. HTML uses tags. What’s a tag and what are some examples of tags?

Most students simply left these questions blank, not even attempting an answer. Part of me feels like it’s a problem of motivation. It’s easy to think that the first couple of weeks are simply time to coast. “We’re not really doing anything important, yet.” Then a quiz comes along. “Oh! You wanted us to actually read that stuff?”

However, I need to check in with the students during my next class to see what’s going on. I’ll point out the universal failure and ask their thoughts on the results. The biggest mistake a teacher can make is to assume one’s own infallibility.

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3 thoughts on “motivation

  1. That’s possible, but I just don’t know. They are a pretty varied bunch (some are at UMKC for the first time; some have been here a few semesters already; some are older, returning students; some are recently out of high school), so I don’t know how many generalizations I can afford to make. I’m going to address this quiz in class tomorrow, though.

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