Some Pretty Odd Findings

| Taiwan | Ignoring/Inattentive, Students

(We have a project to be completed at the end of the second semester. Throughout the first half of the first semester (weeks 1-7) the teacher asked us to group ourselves and hand in a paper with our group members and told us what we were supposed to do. For the second half of the first semester (weeks 8-14) the teacher periodically reminded us but nothing else. The first class of the second semester the teacher has us sit with our groups while checking our progress.)

Teacher: *to student sitting alone* “Your group?”

Student: “Which is my group?”

Teacher: “You don’t know which group you are in?”

Student: “Someone asked me to join their group the first class but hasn’t found me since.”

Teacher: “And who is that?”

Student: “I don’t know. It was a girl with long hair.” *this describes 30+ students, including herself*

Teacher: “Okay, here are the groups. Look for your name.”

Student: “I don’t see my name.”

Teacher: *to class* “Which group is she in?”

(No response.)

Teacher: “Then you’ll have to join a new group.”

(She joined the group I am in and told me the above and added:)

Student: “I was sure she’d show up at my desk today.”

Me: “You never got her name or contact?”

Student: “She said she’d be in touch!”

Me: “And for the entire first semester she didn’t?”

Student: “No…”

Me: “Why didn’t you say something?”

Student: “I thought she’d find me.”


A Divisive Lack Of Knowledge

| CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Math & Science, Teachers

(I am teaching a language development course. The students in this class are all in an elementary teacher credentialing program, for teaching kindergarten through sixth grade . I have just demonstrated a procedure for estimating a language development stage for young children. The procedure involves doing some very basic math to calculate the average length of utterance a child produces. We begin a practice exercise.)

Student #1: “But how do I find the average?”

Me: *repeating what I have just explained to the whole class* “You count up the total number of morphemes and divide them by the number of utterances. For example, we just counted 57 morphemes in 14 utterances, so we divided 57 by 14. This comes to just about 4.”

Student #1: “How do you know how to divide 57 by 14?”

(I am a bit stunned since the student is a college graduate, and calculating the average is something kids in 3rd or 4th grade learn to do.)

Student #2: “[Student #1], this is third grade math. How can you not understand it? You are going to teach it.”

Student #1: “I am not going to teach math. I am going to be a K-6 teacher.”

Student #3: “You do know that K-6 teachers teach all subjects, including math, don’t you?”

Student #1: “Oh, shut up.”

Student #4: *under her breath* “God help the kids in her class.”


Scoring A False Positive

| USA | Exams/Tests, Popular

(The college I’ve transferred to has an online orientation video with a quiz afterward. Neither the video nor the quiz were very well-formatted, marking opinion questions as “incorrect” and such. I’ve gotten past all of the campus-related questions, when this gem pops up.)

Question: “On a scale of 1 to 5, how helpful did you find our orientation?”

  1. True
  2. False
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