I hope everyone got the memo today about changing the due dates for all the assignments. I'm going to paste it in here so that everyone can see it again.
Changes in due dates:
Essay #4: Thursday November 8, 2007
Essay #5: Friday November 23, 2007
Essay #6: Cancelled
Annotated Bibliography #2: Friday November 9, 2007
Annotated Bibliography #3: Cancelled
Book Report #3: Monday November 26, 2007
Remember – no classes Monday or Tuesday November 12 – 13, 2007
Combined Listening & Speaking Classes
All classes will meet together for the first hour after the grammar and writing class
2:30 – 3:30 Thursday November 15, 2007
2:00 – 3:00 Friday November 16, 2007
2:00 – 3:00 Friday November 23, 2007
I hope that all makes sense. It was hard for me to decide on doing this, but I think it is for the best. It seems like a lot of my students are suffering from "homework" shock, and may be it's time to ease back a bit on the official homework. My only worry is that the students will stop studying all together or that all studying will sink down to the lowest common denominator. One of the reasons we instituted the assignments as we did was so that the students would be using as much academic English as possible outside of the class. The goal was to push their learning to the next level. In the past, I used to give lots of suggestions for studying, but I found that if there wasn't a mark attached to an assignment, often the assignment wasn't done. However, the minute a mark was attached to an assignment, most of the class would at least make an effort at doing it. Thus, it becomes a fine balance between grading homework and encouraging students to do things on their own. Ideally, I would have a system where no grades were given, rather I would tell people if their work was poor, developing, satisfactory or outstanding. One of the drawbacks of grading things such as the essays is that if one person gets 85% on an essay, and another person gets 88% on an essay - does that mean that the person with the higher score is 2% better at English than the person with the lower score? I don't think so. I think we are trying to cut things too finely when we are using percentages. Rather, we should have broad bands.
Anyway, this is what is going through my mind at the moment. One thing that has driven all of these thoughts is the fact that I have such a large class this semester. Now I know why my French Professors in my undergraduate studies only assigned one essay per semester!