[Milton-L] Memorization

jfleming at sfu.ca jfleming at sfu.ca
Tue Feb 24 05:58:47 EST 2004


I find the authoritarian tone of these remarks -- "busywork or else!" -- quite unfortunate and uncompelling. 

J.D. Fleming

On Mon, 23 Feb 2004 21:24:35 -0800 (PST) milton-l at koko.richmond.edu wrote:
> --0-595580062-1077600275=:39278
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> 
> 
> A student's opinion:
> 
> The only thing more irritating than listening to fellow students whinging,
> bitching and moaning about being asked to commit something to memory (or to
> speak in front of the class) is instructors who decide to forgo these
> simple exercises because the students "won't want to." :P It is a
> tremendous disservice to allow students to dictate what should be expected
> of them; they're in college to learn, and to learn what's good for them. If
> you don't believe you are teaching them anything worth committing to
> memory, please resign promptly. If you are a student of literature who
> doesn't want to memorize what you're studying, then change your major to
> something about which you care. Memorizing some Milton is GOOD FOR THEM!
> 
> It's good mental exercise and will enrich their minds and lives.
> 
> Junior college or not -- in fact, ESPECIALLY in jc ---> it will not kill
> anyone to sit down and concentrate for a few minutes each night on
> something of more worth than syndicated reruns and ludicrous "reality"
> programming. "Gee! Wow! Not fourteen WHOLE lines" (That rhyme in most
> cases, for John's sake). In the time spent complaining they could be
> half-way through.
> 
> Students know all the words to pop songs, having poured over the liner
> notes. They can recite sport statistics because sports are "important" to
> them. They can recount gossip verbatim, even about "stars" they will NEVER
> meet. They have the capacity. Don't let them fool you with their lack of
> taste and judgement. A simple "Because I have decided it is part of your
> grade," should be sufficient.
> 
> And stick to it. If you want to SEE some discipline, exhibit some
> discipline.
> 
> You're doing them a favor.
> 
> Even if they never thank you. Even if they never figure it out.
> 
> You would be, in effect, rewarding them for rewarding themselves. The first
> one is NOT EXTRA CREDIT.
> 
> One prof at my univ. requires students to memorize and perform lines from
> Shakespeare. They begin with two lines and work their ways up to sixteen by
> the end of the semester. This bring -he-frog-to-boil technique seems both
> effective and not unpopular. Another asks us to choose our own fourteen
> lines from PL. I only wish "the shy ones" weren't let off the hook and
> allowed to recite privately during office hours, because it only reinforces
> the notion that their "shyness" should be indulged, when in fact, they need
> to get over it <-- but perhaps that's me going too far, as usual. And as
> for grad students -- well -- they should be doing it without being asked.
> Thank you for your time. Be Well.
> 
> kathrynanne
> 
> --0-595580062-1077600275=:39278
> Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii
> 
> <P>A student's opinion:</P>
> <P>The only thing more irritating than listening to fellow
> students whinging, bitching and moaning about being asked to commit
> something to memory (or to speak in front of the class) is instructors who
> decide to forgo these simple exercises because the students "won't want
> to."  :P</P> <P>It is a tremendous disservice to allow students
> to dictate what should be expected of them; they're in
> college to learn, and to learn what's good for them. </P> <P>If you don't
> believe you are teaching them anything worth committing to memory, please
> resign promptly. </P> <P>If you are a student of literature who doesn't
> want to memorize what you're studying, then change your major to something
> about which you care.</P> <P>Memorizing some Milton is GOOD FOR THEM! </P>
> <P>It's good mental exercise and will enrich their minds and lives.</P>
> <P>Junior college or not -- in fact, ESPECIALLY in jc ---> it will
> not kill anyone to sit down and concentrate for a few minutes each
> night on something of more worth than syndicated reruns and ludicrous
> "reality" programming. </P> <P>"Gee! Wow! Not fourteen WHOLE lines"
> (That rhyme in most cases, for John's sake). </P> <P>In the time spent
> complaining they could be half-way through.</P> <P>Students know all
> the words to pop songs, having poured over the liner notes. They can
> recite sport statistics because sports are "important" to them.
> They can recount gossip verbatim, even about "stars" they will NEVER meet.
> </P> <P>They have the capacity. Don't let them fool you with their lack of
> taste and judgement.</P> <P>A simple "Because I have decided it
> is part of your grade," should be sufficient.</P> <P>And stick to it. If
> you want to SEE some discipline, exhibit some discipline.</P> <P>You're
> doing them a favor. </P> <P>Even if they never thank you. Even if they never
> figure it out. </P> <P>You would be, in effect, rewarding them for rewarding
> themselves. The first one is NOT EXTRA CREDIT.</P> <P>One prof at my
> univ. requires students to memorize and perform lines from Shakespeare. They
> begin with two lines and work their ways up to sixteen by the end of the
> semester. This bring -he-frog-to-boil technique seems both effective and not
> unpopular.</P> <P>Another asks us to choose our own fourteen lines from PL.
> I only wish "the shy ones" weren't let off the hook and allowed
> to recite privately during office hours, because it only
> reinforces the notion that their "shyness" should be indulged, when in fact,
> they need to get over it <-- but perhaps that's me going too far, as
> usual.</P> <P>And as for grad students -- well -- they should be doing it
> without being asked.</P> <P>Thank you for your time.</P> <P>Be Well.</P>
> <P>kathrynanne</P> --0-595580062-1077600275=:39278--


Dr. James Dougal Fleming,
Assistant Professor of English,
Simon Fraser University,
(604) 291-4713

Laissez parler les faits.


More information about the Milton-L mailing list