m a r k a n d e y a

Doing the bare minimum…

Posted by Brian on April 2, 2007

One of the several types of frustrating students to work with as a teacher is the “bare minimum” student. This student will do nothing more than what is exactly required of him or her and will often race through a handout or activity without the slightest thought of follow-up questions or tweaking the activity to better fit his or her own circumstances.

Case in point, today in a low-level class we were practicing polite requests, such as “Could you take a message, please?” One of the supporting activities was to take a scenario and design a dialog around it, and one of these scenarios involved asking a neighbor to turn down his loud music. A pair of students decided on this scenario and went to work.

They finished quite a bit earlier than the rest so I asked what they had come up with. Here’s what they had written:

A) Could you turn the music down?

B) OK.

Granted, it was a low level class, but nevertheless, I found their work to be pretty shoddy. So I encouraged them to expand on it with some sort of set-up that explained why the loud noise was troublesome. To my surprise, their final work was quite good, with one student explaining that he was trying to study for a test but couldn’t because of the music.

I suppose a “bare minimum” teacher would have been satisfied with what they had written, but I expect better from my students.


One Response to “Doing the bare minimum…”

  1. Kevin Kim said

    You’re right to push.


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