EducationPedagogyPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Time Management

Of course this topic choice has nothing to do with my nearly forgetting to write this post for the Monday pop quiz; that’s purely coincidental!

We are well aware students are not always the best at managing their time, but the reasons why may not be because they lack time management skills, but rather they really don’t want to do the work, so they put it off.  It may also be they don’t feel they need to do the work to do well in any case.

A lot of assignments then get point values added to ensure students do the darn things – they have to do them to get the points so feel a sense of obligation for their grade’s sake if nothing else.

Here’s the thing – I don’t assign tasks that I don’t feel will benefit the student.  I don’t believe in busy work any more than they do.  These assignments can include readings, watching videos, working problems, etc., and all are intended to reinforce their learning.  Most of my students do recognize the value of most of the assignments and do them, though possibly last minute.  They still express a dislike in doing them.

Why?  When and how do students develop a distaste for learning through these assignments?  Is it that they feel thee assignments impinge on their free time?  Is it they find the assignments dull or useless?  Are the assignments too difficult or frustrating?  Have we created a generation of internet zombies (not to be confused with last generation’s tv zombies, of course)?

When I design an assignment, I have specific goals in mind and I share those with the students.  I try to provide clear instructions, interesting ideas, connections to “real life,” what have you, to avoid the dull and frustrating problems.  That doesn’t seem to change the students’ dislike.  They only meet with me for three hours a week, so the free time argument *should* be invalid! I could go on…

Here’s my question to you: how can teachers keep students interested in learning so that they are happy to do assignments outside of class?  Is there a way to provide assignments they want to do?  Or is this a losing battle?

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the afternoon (ET).

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Apostrophobia is a college professor at a women's college in the US. She teaches biology, does pedagogical research on her guinea pigs (aka students), and has an existential fear of misplaced apostrophes.

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