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Reply to Lori regarding students who refuse to involve themselves in their
learning:
 
I think the most important piece of advice I would have for you, Lori, is
to hang on.  Students who have never been involved or participated as
active learners in the learning process or have not been required to accept
personal responsibility have been "set up" by the educational process and
are happy as bystanders to their own education.  In order to move them
forward and help them learn about personal rewards in learning and accept
their own responsibility and role in their learning, we must hold fast to
our own commitments to active learning and encourage the students as they
grapple with these new demands.
 
You are probably providing these students with their first taste of
independent and personal learning, and your students are finding this
opportunity to be troublesome, a lot of work, and demanding in that they
can not hold you responsible for their progress or for their successes or
their defeats.  We all know it is much easier to be passive and let life
happen.  What is really sad is that some of your students may never be
converted to active learning, may never realize the real joy of personal
discovery and independent learning, may never accept their own value as a
responsible learner.  Even though this may be true, I feel it is a real
educator's responsibility to facilitate the learning process and to
encourage all learners to recognize their own potential through their own
efforts, -- and I firmly believe that we cannot accept responsibility for
those who chose not to follow our lead.
 
Hang in there.... be firm, be encouraging, be demanding, be fair, and
believe in your ability to determine what format your course should take.
Karen
 
>Situation:
>I've constructed the Study Skills course syllabus so that students are
>responsible for their own learning as much as possible.  They must
>collaborate, they must write & present, they must apply.  They must
>actively participate in their own learning.  I will demonstrate &
>guide, facilitate & encourage.
>  [Yes, *I* have constructed the syllabus; do 18-year-olds know what
>  strategies they will need to succeed in college AND on the job?
>  They may have a vague idea that they need to read better, so isn't
>  it then my responsibility to collect specific information from more
>  experienced students and graduates?]
>
>Problem:
>In spite of my efforts, the students are passive.  They refuse to
>engage or participate.  Their expectations--"tell me what will be
>on the test"--do not change.  They will not be motivated.  In fact,
>they are angry.  What do YOU do to move or guide them past the
>passive-receptacle stage as learners?
>
>Curiously, & ready for summer vacation,
>Lori Nielsen
>Learning Center          (402) 426-7334
>Dana College             [log in to unmask]
>Blair, Nebraska  68008
 
Karen G. Smith, University Director
Learning Resource Centers
Rutgers University
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