Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Low stakes, part II: is fear a good motivator?

I am nervously awaiting the deadline for the second paper my students in Introduction to Pseudology are writing.  After the unsparing grades came in for the first paper, my office hours went from desolate to chock-a-block.  Seriously, last week's office hours looked like finals time: my colleague next door was stepping over bodies sacked out on the floor waiting their turn to consult with me. 

So, now that a whole bunch of students who previously thought they knew it all already have been stunned by a poor paper grade, and have responded by carefully consulting with me about how to do better next time, I'm about to found out how well my low-stakes assignment strategy worked.  (And, perhaps, how much of the previous poor work was due to learned laziness and how much to genuine confusion.)  I'm sure I'm not as nervous about this paper as my students are, but I have a little shpilkes about it.  Am I learning how to be a cannier and more effective teacher?  Or have I merely hit on yet another solution that doesn't actually work?

Guess I'll find out in a few hours.

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