From: Randy Leedy (Rleedy@bju.edu)
Date: Mon Apr 05 1999 - 10:57:50 EDT
Thanks to Warren Fulton for a thought-provoking response. I also
received interesting responses off-list.
It is clear to me that our "one-size-fits-all" approach is in sizeable
part responsible for the sometimes disappointing achievement rate
among our students. However, this approach is deeply ingrained in our
departmental setup and even within the larger structure of the
University. Take, for example, Warren's suggestion:
>>>9. Track learners according to learning pace. In other words,
reshuffle classes. In Randy's case, flunk somebody before they get to
the 4th semester and ask these discouraging questions.<<<
This suggestion presents two challenges for my situation. First, there
is a scheduling challenge. Greek needs to be offered nearly every hour
of the day for scheduling flexibility, and the only way to provide
reshuffling in mid-stream would be to have each track meeting each
hour. This would make class size unworkably (i.e., uneconomically)
small. The only point at which classes could be shuffled would be
between semesters, and the result would be that the setting up of
different tracks would restrict students' scheduling options, since
each track could not meet each hour.
Second, there is administrative pressure (passed along from parents
and students) to have a high passing rate. Neither students nor their
parents like the idea of repeating a class, and students have a way of
representing a class as impossibly difficult, generating pressure on
the teacher/department to reduce grade requirements. The result is
that students get a passing grade while failing to master the
material. They feel better off in that they are advancing toward
graduation, and they don't notice the price of that advance until it's
As a teacher and not an administrator, I am not at liberty to vary
departmental policies. So I must simply do the best I can. Further, I
don't get students until later in their programs, so I don't get any
input with them early on. So for the moment, I seem to be stuck. But
Warren's thoughts are helpful in that I do feel the importance of
having a concept in my own mind of how I think we can improve our
program. Probably the time will come when these issues will get put on
the table for discussion, and I'd like to be ready.
In the meanwhile, I don't want to sound entirely "down in the mouth"
and dishearten students or colleagues who are working hard toward
success. Most of our students DO profit immensely from the time they
spend in our Greek classes, and they show evidence of that profit in
very encouraging ways.
Thanks again, Warren.
In love to God and neighbor,
Bob Jones University
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