Think and Ye Shall Learn, Research and Ye Shall Know

For months, you’ve heard my frustrations about the unmotivated students in my writing class, and their low level of excitement for what I’m trying to teach them. But, tonight I’m looking forward to getting together. You see, when I left them on Monday night, they all left class excited about their new assignment.

On Monday I gave them a research project. It seems to me that they are not too curious about anything, so I wanted to send them into the library to find out about something they probably don’t know. To get them started, I threw out a bunch of ideas I had conjured up while watching the Sunday football games.  One girl in the class asked me where I got all of the ideas, and when I pointed to my head, she rolled her eyes and said, “No shit?”

Some of the ideas were pretty obscure. Here’s an example: “Where did the expression, “rainy cats and dogs” come from? There were other mundane questions like, “How did Thanks giving become a National Holiday?” Another one was, “Who invented beer?” (Remember, I’m dealing with a college class.) Their assignment was to find the answer and write a paragraph about their findings. I impressed upon them they had to do more than just find the answer.

So tonight, I’ll get to hear what they discovered. With them picking their own topic from the list, I’m hoping they’ll get excited and really get into the topic. I’m hoping by getting them into the library or going online to do their sleuthing, they’ll get excited about something that will light their fire.

Do I believe in miracles? You betcha!

Later — The experiment was a success. The students took pride in reading their paragraphs based on their findings in FRONT of the class. In fact, the quietest kid was the first to volunteer. Chalk one up for the teacher!

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