Friday, January 30, 2004

Yeah, let's beat up Onigiriman!

Okay, I guess I deserve it. First Bane_vixen calls me a loser. Then triphopx tells me, "you were a pain in my a** my senior year." Whew! THEN Consummate_Leah writes, "Power tripping professors rock! (Sense my sarcasm)."

I know they're just kidding, BUT! Maybe I am, a pain-in-the-ass power tripper. Hah! But to all of you who think pop quizzes are bad, let me tell you what my pop quiz is like and then let you decide if you wouldn't mind taking my class. I administer pop quizzes in my language classes only. I teach advanced Japanese, and so I have them read material in Japanese. I give them a clean copy of the text--they don't have to buy a book. Each copy comes with a word list, and it is fairly extensive but not necessarily comprehensive. Click here for a sample. I require students to read it before they come to class--i.e. prepare--so that if there are portions that are difficult to understand, we can work them out in class. Unfortunately, there are students who do not prepare. There are a lot of reasons, I suppose. Some were sick. some had unexpected guests, some failed to plan their lives successfully and had to write a paper at the last minute. Whatever. I drop the lowest quiz grade, so if they have such an emergency, they should rest assured that I will not count the bad grade against them. (Am I a sweatheart or what.) But there are also those who simply come to class hoping to hear someone elses translation or ask questions on something they did not prepare. So how can I distinguish those who prepare from those who don't? I give a pop quiz. for the quiz, they cannot use a dictionary, but they can use anything else: the text itself with the word list, any notes they may have taken, any translations they may have written to prepare for class. It is basically an open note quiz. There is kanji as well, Chinese characters that are in the text but not on the word list. Don't know how to read the character? Well, that is a dead give away that you didn't crack a dictionary, that you didn't prepare for class.

So really, how hard do you think my pop quiz is? It's based on the text you were supposed to prepare, you can use all your notes, and if you did prepare, chances are you will get 100%, an EASY way to kick up your grade, and all you have to do is prepare for class. That's all.

But keep in mind, I don't do this to punish those who don't study. I do this to reward those who do. There is a difference. As I have said a thousand times here (well maybe 27 times): I love my students, especially those who put in the effort. I have learned over the years that studying a little at a time over the course of the entire semester will reap greater benefits than cramming for a midterm and final. This is my attempt to prompt students to study continuously. I do not want any of my students graduating and later saying, "I don't remember a damn thing!" No way. This may be my "power trip", but I will not allow students to not study in my class. And just for the record. When I came to this school in '96, I had only 2 students in the second semester of 4th year Japanese. J-minors do not have to take the second semester to earn a minor. This year, I have 17. Do you get the impression that maybe they want to take the course, in spite of this loser, pain-in-the-ass, power tripping, ego maniac? Dwahahahahah! * sinister laugh * Just kidding, don't take this thing too seriously--except for the quizzes, that's the whole truth.

So what was the best method a teacher used to get you to study?

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