I had a student come up to me last week, just as a test was about to start I was nice enough not to laugh.
“Do I need to take the test? I don’t know the material.”
“Why can’t I be tested on the stuff I already learned?”
“Because this is a subject test. This is the material we’ve been going over for the last few weeks.”
“I don’t know this stuff.”
“Okay. How much time have you been putting in?”
“About 5 hours a week.” (I recommend 8 to 16 hours for most students)
“So I think you should spend some more time working on the material.”
“Fine, I’ll take the test.”
One thing that constantly perplexes instructors at every level: students who want to be passive receptacles for knowledge. Some students don’t realize that they need to work/study/read/listen in order to know things. I admit, it makes me sad. Part of me wants to blame our culture which encourages passive entertainment, and a media which spoon feeds people sound bites to support opinions that they already have. Or by people who reward minimal effort and actual achievement equally. We protect people from the consequences of their actions.
Ultimately I come around to this: students are responsible for their own learning. I can give them the information and showcase the skills, they are the ones who actually need to apply it.
This brings me to one of the things I’m happy I can do as a college professor. I fail people. I think of this as the “other kind of educational experience.”
I have a personal philosophy: There is no such thing as a right without a corresponding responsibility. (I should also say, there are MANY responsibilities that don’t grant you special rights.)
Students have a right to be taught, but they have a responsibility to learn.
*sigh* I can fix ignorance. I can’t fix stupid.