Some interlaced conversations today

Student: This book is something you administer, not something you learn from. When I am working with it and its companion website I am in a frenzy trying to make sure I know where I am and that I am matching the right thing to the right thing. I am completing an exercise and learning to use the book and software more efficiently for this purpose, but I am not learning material since I am too distracted by the book and its website. This is to say that the textbook package is designed to enable students to pass courses, but not to teach them Spanish. It is only useful insofar as it helps one to fill out its rote worksheets. To do that it gives translations and has you fill in a blank, but it does not immerse you in the language.

Professor Zero: Can I quote you anonymously on that?

Student: Yes.

PZ later repeated the above to a TA she is friendly with.

TA: Yes, that is the problem with the book we are using in my field as well. But it is not only a problem with the book, it is also a problem with the structure of the courses.

Friend of the TA: Well, the problem of courses structured to get students through requirements but not to teach them anything is university wide.


2 thoughts on “Some interlaced conversations today

  1. This is what my students told me about our textbook almost verbatim. Language textbooks are becoming more horrible by the minute. All of these digital companion workbooks and websites are total garbage. Last semester, we used the textbook twice in the entire semester. I have no idea why the university wasted a packet of money to buy it.

    Sorry for the rant. This is a sensitive topic.

  2. We also have this weird requirement where students have to spend a specific number of minutes inside the lab. It doesn’t matter what they do there but they have to physically be there 1000 minutes per semester.

    It is impossible to enforce something so patently stupid and retain students’ respect. So I’m not enforcing it. But it’s a big secret that I’m not. Just like it’s a big secret that I’m not using the textbook. Now the question is: why should I be doing all these secret things just to be able to teach my courses? Why can’t I be trusted to know what I’m doing?

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