Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Quiz Students Every Day

RE-POST - Mazenglish, 2012

"The students don't read ...."

How many times over the years have I heard this complaint. And it should be no surprise to any English teacher in the country. Students don't read unless A.) they want to, or B.) they have to. And the only way to make sure they have to is to evaluate them regularly and strictly. Whether it is a graded discussion, or participation points, or daily quizzes, the only way teachers can guarantee that the students are prepared is to make it hurt if they aren't. Granted, this theory only works in schools where students are reasonably motivated to pass. Most suburban schools and all schools with college-bound populations have students who care enough. However, if they have been conditioned to believe they can get by without reading, many will not crack open the Scarlet Letter or Readings in American History or any book for that matter.

So, quiz everyday and they will respond. Let them know they can get away without reading, and they will.

UPDATE - So, I posted these thoughts back when I was teaching full time, and I don't disagree with my original point. However, in looking back, I am a little put off by my assertion that the "only way to guarantee that students are prepared is to make it hurt if they aren't."  Something about that rubs me the wrong way these days. I do believe in accountability, and I know that many students won't read if they don't have to. And, I will concede to my students that often it is nearly impossible for them to efficiently and effectively read everything that is assigned to them. I get it - I really do. So, there has to be a comfortable compromise to encourage and inspire the reading of literature. "Making it hurt" just doesn't sound right.

What do you think?

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