I had this idea tonight for a cool way to teach a class. 

I was speaking with my friend Philisophistry about writing, and he mentioned how he thought school papers were one of the most useless forms of writing.  ‘A minute after it’s graded, who cares?’

Beetle and Penny

Beetle and Penny

I had to admit he was right.  Only two people have a stake in these documents – the student (for the grade) and the teacher (because they’re paid to give the grade).  I’m talking about the everyday average forgettable college paper – not some academia-rocking dissertation.  God forbid anyone/everyone should write one of these.  (Not me!  My papers were jaw dropping works of staggering genius!  Why didn’t I keep those?  And why can I only remember a couple of them?)

Here’s the idea:

On the day the paper is due the teacher grabs your paper, tosses it in the trash, and says, ‘okay, prove your point.’  Instead of reading your paper, you simply have to state your idea and support it with some reasons.  The teacher then tries to poke holes in your idea, but luckily you are armed with the main points of your essay to defend yourself!

If you can’t convince the teacher, you fail.

This idea isn’t very original.  The concept of ‘defending’ your dissertation is as old as education, but it somehow seems like an old school idea.  Who would dare call someone out in modern education on having a bullshit idea (or not even having an idea!)? God forbid a student should be embarrassed for writing a paper that they and the teacher both agree has been a waste of everyone’s time.

Re-reading this, I wonder why bitching about education always comes off sounding conservative…


2 Responses to “How many term papers have you kept?”

  1. Re-reading this, I wonder why bitching about education always comes off sounding conservative…

    Because education necessarily involves the community. Real men teach themselves! RAAAR.

  2. Clovis says:

    I had a professor who didn’t read any of the papers he assigned. . . he just used a ruler to measure how much had been written.

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