Saturday, March 6, 2010

MAC Week #1 Response to Jose Benitez

Jose Benitez wrote:

As a student I know the feelings that the human body can create through stress, anxiety and the occasional dream of failure (or showing up to a presentation without pants). The stress, for me, is not in the content, its not even on the final presentation, it is on maintaining the 4.0 through the program. The desire to receive the appropriate grade stems back to grade school, and the amount of importance on academic excellence through standardized testing.

The experiment discussed in Chapter 3 of the book on giving an A truly inspired me as an educator. Allowing the students to write themselves a letter, stating why they received an “A” is a great way for introspective exercise.

I once had had a design professor say that he would not give anyone an A. The grades had been developed so that it was impossible to receive an A in his class. After more than half the class dropped, he came in the second day and said, “ Well, now we can get to work.” While I did not receive an A, the skills learned in that class are still utilized in my design projects, and I teach those same techniques in my courses. While his approach was unorthodox, and possibly inappropriate, the point I believe he was trying to make was that knowledge is not at the top of letter grade mountain.


I appreciate how you graciously extended an A to the design professor in your comments. Knowledge, indeed, is not at the top of the letter grade mountain. We have been conditioned to strive for the grade. It is reflected when we and/or our students ask for what will be on the test. We all shoot for the A. It’s the mentality that states no one wins silver – they lost gold.

The best part of our current reading – is the challenge to see our same world and circumstances with a different perspective. It’s funny how changing our perspective can actually change the world.

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