Can I Wait to Take a Stand Until I Have an Opinion? …I did fail out - twice!!

The Role of Instructors in Preparing Students for Academia

April 2nd, 2008 nafiseh

“The ability to listen, summarize, and respond” (3). So that’s what literacy is all about. If only all teachers and professors could be this clear, the world would be filled with students confident in their reading and writing. I too had difficulty with class conversations, wondering why everyone understood the text so well, or why I would end a chapter in my text book and not remember an idea from that chapter. Before entering colleges our high school teachers do inform us that college has a much larger workload than high school. The schools try to prepare us by making us sit in 90 minute sessions with only ten minute breaks from 7 AM. I went to one of those so called “star schools” - known for its excellence in academia in the state. In fact when my parents were looking for a house, their first criteria was to find a house that was close to McLean High School. On silver days I had gym, and on red days I had biology. I hated red days. I remember when I entered college I was so relieved that I had a choice to pick my own hours. Though I’m still not sure if it were the 90 minute sessions that prepared me for college. I was home schooled in the final year of high school, but was still admitted to college. I found college to be a great deal of self discipline, I did less idling, more studying, and it all paid off.

However, I suffered. I did not know how to listen to the lectures and take notes at the same time. The professors would lecture really fast. Some professors would lecture with Power Point slide shows and would go on to the next slide before I could finish writing the material from the previous slide. I eventually gave up and decided to write down whatever I saw or heard, and then try to understand them before an exam or paper. I did not learn how to summarize and respond, how to make an argument. As long as I had the format of an argumentative essay: the thesis, the body, the conclusion, I thought I would be okay. Luckily I had some professors who helped stop that cycle before I lost interest in academia. They taught me to choose topics based on how deeply I believed in them, and argue accordingly. I was able to enjoy reading again. I agree with Graff in that “students must not only read texts, but find things to say about them, and no text tells you what to say about it” (9). If instructors teach students how to talk about text, students can learn to enjoy the process of listening, summarizing and responding.

Entry Filed under: Week 11

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ENGL 610:002 // Spring 2008

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