[Milton-L] Re: Memorization and K. Jackson

jfleming at sfu.ca jfleming at sfu.ca
Wed Feb 25 07:41:45 EST 2004

Happily, on Ms Jackson's own theory -- which you approve at the conclusion of yor post --  I really don't have to listen to her. After all, she is a student, I a lofty Professor; and, as you put it, "it is not good for students if we allow them to dictate what is expected of them."  

In any case, I must say I find it an absolutely extraordinary suggestion that having students memorizing poetry means _challenging_ them. The whole reason I am against this practice (as I am against other forms of busywork) is that it is too _easy_. I have not said one word about coddling students -- but the practitioners of belles-lettres certainly have. Giving students who can't write an essay an opportunity to make up marks (per Captain Harper's post)? That's what I call expecting less and getting it.

J.D. Fleming

On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 16:08:14 -0500 milton-l at koko.richmond.edu wrote:
> I didn't find Kathryn Jackson's observations authoritarian.  It's an
> odd term to apply to a student's appeal for her teachers to expect
> more from their students and from themselves.	 I found Ms.
> Jackson's comments bracing.
> It is easier on us to expect less of students, but the results are
> predictable.  Students in my experience rise (or sink) to
> expectations.  It is good for us to be reminded of this, whatever we
> think of the case at hand (for the record, I'm with those who see a
> real and deep pedagogical value in memorization).
> Ms. Jackson hits the nail on the head when she argues that it is not
> good for students if we allow them to dictate what is expected of
> them.  If I did that, I might stop assigning them to write sonnets
> that make sense, rhyme, and scan.  Invariably, students who react
> with fear and horror on first learning of the assignment are glad to
> have been put through the exercise and recommend that I have future
> students write sonnets as well.  Often, they suggest that I have
> future students write more poetry in traditional forms.
> Steve Fallon
> >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:
> >>
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Dr. James Dougal Fleming,
Assistant Professor of English,
Simon Fraser University,
(604) 291-4713

Laissez parler les faits.

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