Raspberry & Blackberry Tinctured Burley
The previous day was one of mildness of thought through constant activity. My myriad of students received the scores of their first exams back. I have to remember to spend as much time as possible in my back office and lab so as to not have the hundreds of them knocking on my door with their emotional mantra's of:
"I am so upset at my grade! I have never gotten such a grade before, ever!"
For me it is a rough road to hoe. But it is one that I think is desperately important. You see, this particular semester, I have introductory biology students and lower level anatomy & physiology students. Both groups are typically derived from the same stock... namely they are new freshmen... or are very young, novice students.
My goal (above the goal of teaching them the content details of biology and anatomy & physiology) is very simple.... I strive to have these minds learn how to think DEEPLY about science, about day-to-day activities, to think DEEPLY about life! And, unfortunately, because damn near all of them attended high schools where thinking was limited at best to memorization and regurgitation of factual minutia.... a large percentage of my students STRUGGLE with my exams that focus on the nurturing of higher level thought skills.
If you have ever looked at a pedagological/philosohpical idea called Bloom's Taxonomy, you will find a pyramid that shows the different level of thought that can be attained. Most all of the K-12 schools (those schools from kindergarten through high school) in our nation (please note, I said most, not all) focus almost exclusively on the first (lowest) level of Bloom's Taxonomy... the level of remembering knowledge. This is why the brightest freshmen are near experts at memorizing and regurgitation details... it is in their training. A few, more advanced high schools emphasize the ideas of the second level as well (understanding). But that is typically it... especially in terms of teaching of science.
I focus from the very first moment my students step into my class in forcing them to strive for deeper understanding and my major goal is to have them be able to think and reason at the VERY LEAST into the analyzing level of thought if not into the top two tiers of the taxonomy... evaluating and creating. I tell them this from the moment class starts. But... sadly, so very sadly... so many of them do not believe me, or they mistakenly think that they already do that. This is why I have so many students following the first exam of the semester wail in agony at the rather abrupt confrontation they have with the limits of their understanding. Often, they do not like this confrontation, and then attempt to find a scape goat to blame the difficulty upon.
That is why for the next two to three weeks, other than my mandatory office hours, I think I will spend my time in the quiet solitude of my back office, and/or stay in the bowels of my lab where only the research students know where to find me. Getting pummeled with so many emotional students is very draining and the office hours are bound to be chuck full of them... they always are immediately after this first exam.
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In my current wave of nostalgia, I once again found another song from my earlier life that you might also find enjoyable in this snippet form. To me, this song always spoke of joy and fun and good times.