Sunday, December 20, 2009
I have one particular student who chronically chooses not to work. Today, several minutes into the period, he had nothing done on his review sheet. Flipping the blank sheet over, I asked incredulously, "Is this your strategy for passing?" He said that all he needed to pass the class was a 30%. He already had 90% and only a 60% is required for passing. His goal, he said, was to pass with as little effort as possible. This reasoning may be short-sighted, but it is not altogether unreasonable. It's definitely efficient and seems to align with his values and priorities. He seems to be a quick and organized enough thinker that he could be doing math at whatever level he wanted to (assuming he put in the work). While I can't make him want to learn math, I have to keep in mind that this attitude can infect other students and result in lower performance all around.