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Judith, I'm sure that many of us share your frustration while dealing
with/helping the unmotivated student.  There were semesters when I would
encounter a class that I could not reach.  For the first half of the semester,
I  made changes in timing, delivery, and emphasis or demphasis on certain
aspects of the content.  I asked for suggestions from the class and acted on
those that seemed feasible or possible.  I hunted down new jokes and sought
out new or refreshing examples.  But when all attempts failed, I routinely,
and without undue guilt, just "held class," rationalizing this failure as yet
another problem I could not solve.  Especially if it occured during the fall
semster, I was comforted by one of the time-honored academic truisms:
"Everything between Haloween and Christmas is crazy,"  which did not help the
class, but I felt better.

But John Roueche had an aswer to the problem, although it probably has never
been employed, that is calculated to produce success, almost inevitably: "Give
every unmotivated student a Jewish mother."


Merry Christmas Anyway,

Gene K.