Ranty McRant Thread 2

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Chips
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Post by Chips » Mon, 11. Dec 17, 23:19

Guessing you do say something akin to "and you've started your assessment material by now" and "my office hours are x" (feedback session equivalent) and "read through it, any questions, come ask me in my office hours/via email" etc.

My supervisor had bad students, and some would try to ask for help. Others blatantly wouldn't, but when panic sets in children do blame others for their own circumstances. They know it's their fault, but they cast about slugging others with it instead.

My favourite was the "i need more time because x happened" to which the response was "When did that happen? Last week? The work was given out 2 months ago, why did you not start it? I mentioned it in every lecture... and you didn't come to see me at the time about this scenario, only now the day it's due - wanting an extension. Can you show me what you've achieved so far?"

The level of squirm as all their missed opportunities, lack of engagement and how they're ultimately responsible, wasn't pleasant. It didn't stop them blaming others (despite the fact they would admit it's their own fault to their friends)...

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Post by mrbadger » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 00:16

I had a student asking for help today on a worksheet that should take at most four hours to complete, and was supposed to have been done ten weeks ago. I repeatedly said 'this must be done now' in the first few weeks, and it is one of only two compulsory ones out of seven.

Thing is, without doing it, none of the rest of the work that can raise a grade over 45-50% can be done.

So, at least their work will be easy to mark.

I'd describe the problem they were having, but that would possibly be identifiable, so I'd best not. Suffice to say a reasonably capable first year student would not have had the same problem.

Suffice only to say that for some it seems the Linux command line is a thing akin to forbidden knowledge of the ancient masters, forever unknowable to mere mortals.
Last edited by mrbadger on Tue, 12. Dec 17, 00:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ranty McRant Thread 2

Post by Morkonan » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 00:24

mrbadger wrote:....So why is it, year after year, I have this same 'I've left everything till the last minute and now I'm stuck because I didn't come to the lectures or do any work and I don't know what I'm doing' crap?
How many times a night do you have to tell your stepdaughter that "it's time for bed" just to make her stop whatever she's doing and realize she has to wake up for school the next day? How often do your stepkids do things that don't make sense and surely don't demonstrate that they have any sense of personal responsibility? Do they make "bad decisions" or "childish mistakes?"
And somehow this is my fault? Or they seem to feel it should be.
As it should be... You should not have put that cookie jar where they could reach it. Why did you make the sun come up so early in the day? Don't you realize that the most important thing in their life is Justin Bieber and if you keep them from worshiping him, they will actually, for realz, die?
...So it's not all bad, but I do get so fed up with trying to figure out how to get through to the kids who won't do the work till the last minute.
What may seem like "the last minute" to you seems like the perfect time to work on this, since I really want to do this other thing, right now, and then I want to go do this other thing, too, and need, desperately, to go with my friends to do something else and it's going to be so great and surely it won't be any problem at all for me to finish that boring work assignment for that professor that has no clue how stressful and hectic my life is right now and doesn't understand all the obligations I have...

So, what's the answer?

They are adolescents.

The human brain doesn't really become an "adult" brain until the early 20's. Even then, there are a lot of outside distractions for an early-adult to cope with that they have never encountered before.

An adolescent brain doesn't cope well with situations that require good decision-making ability. It's inclined to take risks and enjoys doing so. It has a lot of difficulty with "planning" things and it often does not do a good job of realistically and objectively running cause/effect and reward/punishment scenarios in order to come to a decision or to plan a process. "Logic" to an adolescent brain is largely circumstantial and it finds it difficult to actually define it due to many age-related, social and physiological factors that, in truth, don't have anything to do with what it's considering.

Do you want to pick a crewmember to leap through the hatch into the vacuum of space in a faulty spacesuit so they can re-align the antenna so the rest may live when its likely they will surely die?

Pick an adolescent and they will enthusiastically leap, not fully understanding the risks - The eternal optimist. Who... doesn't survive long in "the real world."

And, let's say you did that. What would the adult members of the crew think of you? They'd think you were a "monster", right? They'd likely think that anyone who would allow an adolescent to engage in such risky behavior is a terrible person, since everyone with any sense knows that adolescents aren't normally capable of logical reasoning and avoiding pitfalls and risk-taking behavior.... right?

But, they're supposed to leave their gradeschools and, with usually not more than a "student handbook" expect to adopt graduate-student behaviors overnight?

/sigh :)

You don't have to push them out the airlock, you have to keep them from leaping out of it! :)

That's the first part of the answer - The majority of your students are likely to still be adolescents and still under the strain of having to cope with adult-like responsibilities armed only with a hunk of squishy meat that hasn't yet finished deciding what it is going to become and is ill-equipped to do much else than pay attention to eating, pooping, sleeping, trying to make babies and feed its constant need for stimuli.

I also think that adults often forget their own body of experience when examining the actions of young people.

"Why didn't they realize that was a bad decision?"

Because - They've never made a decision like that, before. They've never encountered that situation. Their library of experience is limited to a few small, tattered, periodicals and pamphlets, most of which no longer apply to any experience they're likely to encounter. It's the first time they've "fallen in love," the first time they've been in a position of leadership in their social group, the first time they've ever encountered people like that, the first time they've ever "been in charge" of their own life, the first time they've been able to choose to stay out all night and party or... not.

As old, crotchety, "get the hell off my lawn" adults, do we remember all of those "first times" for ourselves? Not likely. (Well, some, like "first loves" are hard to forget. But...)

When was the first really bad decision you ever made? What was it? And, how do you judge just what made it a "bad" decision, using your values today or those you considered at the time when you were making it as an adolescent?

How "important" was that bad decision? I don't mean "the worst one" you ever made, I mean the very first one. If someone had told you that it would have long-lasting consequences that could follow you around for the rest of your life... Well, did anyone tell you that and did you, at the time, truly realize that may be the case? Or, did you think that no matter what happened, the sun would rise tomorrow and you'd go to school, eat your lunch, and play with your friends again at recess?

So, we've got adolescent brains with little or no practical experience in dealing with situations and variables that will have long-lasting consequences, sometimes on the course of their very lives.

And, they aren't responsible enough to study every night, show up for every early-morning class, engage enthusiastically and studiously in self-guided learning activities? :)

Questions lead to solutions, so no answers would be complete without proffered solutions.

1) Incorporate the relatively recently acquired knowledge of human neurological development into our scholastic programs, particularly in early and late adolescence. In various times in Western civilization, children and adolescents have been treated both as "little adults" and "blank slates" with sometimes horrifying consequences. In short - We do not have a good history, judged by "today's standards" when it comes to dealing with children. By today's standards, again, we suck at it. Truly. We now have the tools that prove, beyond a doubt, the differences in the adult, adolescent and child brain, if not function, at least in capability and requirements. We must take heed of the knowledge revealed and plan accordingly.

2) Entering college/university for many children is akin to a bird having its cage door opened for the very first time. Free! FREE! Free??

How many children have engaged in self-directed study before entering into the "adult world" of true academia? How many children have been taught how to study? Sure, they have studied, but by-and-large their sum total of experience in true "studying" has been subjected to only a limited number of "pass/fail" situations, where they are left on their own to figure out a process that actually "works." And then, they're moved into another subject, where previous successful self-directed processes are not necessarily suitable for that area of study. When presented with mathematics, the student that excels in history may not have realize that the path to success in mathematics is... "doing" instead of "observing."

3) For most adolescents, this period is their true introduction to adult-like life. For many, they will be making their own decisions regarding how they spend their time, how much they dedicate themselves to study and how much energy they will put into this entire process which will, of course, effect the rest of their lives.

"Oh, you're not familiar with hand-grenades? No worries! Here's a blue one, a yellow one and a red one. Pull the pin on one of them and set it at your feet."

We, in my opinion, do not do a good job in preparing children for this point in their lives. Sure, we stress how important it is, but in doing so we're much like Trump:

"Oh, it's very important. So important. You can't believe how awesomely important it is. Very important."

"So, what do I do?"

"Oh, your decisions are so important! Very important. Unbelievably important! Importantly."

...

Students need to be better prepared before entering the adult world of academia. I don't mean in their knowledge of applicable subject material, but in the knowledge of "how to adult." Further, they need experience in doing so and need to have their solutions critiqued. They need to have experience, in safety, in planning their study habits, making long-term, practical, decisions, again in safety with little true consequence, and they need to learn how to examine themselves, their own thoughts, and to apply what they know of "reality" in order to determine whether or not they've correctly examined a decision and come to a reasonable one.

Not easy, of course. We suck at the whole "building children" thing, by today's standards. (We have lofty expectations of ourselves, don't we?)

But, we keep the same old models, insist that no matter how they fail to provide what's desired, we continue to doggedly pursue them.

And then, armed with their little adolescent brains surrounded by a stew of emotional goop, unfathomable responsibilities and primal hormones, under assault by every new experience and under the constant pressure of "importantliness", they're thrust into the adult world and expected to make logical, reasonable, rational decisions and are expected to always sufficiently handle the responsibility of planning the rest of their lives on their own, with their newfound... freedom.

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Post by mrbadger » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 00:43

I was thinking about why I didn't understand my weaker students total inability to grasp the consequence of their inaction.

I think I might have it.

It's not that I'm some great and wonderful person.

I am profoundly Dyspraxic. Severely so. In fact when I was finally properly diagnosed at university the person who did it said she was the worse case she had ever seen.

I already knew I was probably unsafe to drive, after that diagnosis I was officially not allowed to drive. And I was so profoundly dyslexic I literally had to brute force my brain into being able to read and write, because I so desperately wanted to.

That seems to have been the difference. I actually couldn't do well at school. There I was just labelled as educationally sub normal and ignored to the extent that I was just able to spend all day in the library reading books.

Had I not been I might have been just as bad myself.
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Post by Morkonan » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 01:10

mrbadger wrote:...Had I not been I might have been just as bad myself.
One of my best friends in college was severely dyslexic. Of course, he didn't find out until after he had already started college... He had to take the basic "English" course, "English 101," five times.

Five times.

He spent his entire freshman and sophomore years, practically, in "English 101." When students were studying great English Literature and writing "scholarly works" on why Madame Bovary was really a ****, he was struggling to write a coherent sentence. As a adult.. as an advanced "student" in college.

(Edit:Add - Wow, the forums have a "curse filter!" Who'da thunk it? I used a word that can mean something nasty, but it's also used to mean "jerk" or something like that. Never encountered that before, here. Kinda cool!)

(He had, btw, already passed the "099" course requirements, so they couldn't push him back to that "remedial" English class.)

But, he made it through and graduated. (Business) In fact, through those five times experiencing different approaches in trying to pass the same darn course, somehow he finally "got it." He then applied that experience to other classes and was largely successful.

Yes, like you he had to devote energy differently and more earnestly, in some situations, in order to accomplish what may have been easier for others. But, in finally succeeding, that experience served him well in future courses.

Related, but not directly:

I think every new student should be required to take a series of courses on "how to college/university" and "how to adult." I think they should be instructed how to apply cognitive-behavioral training to their own selves with an aim to improve themselves in both their study habits, being "responsible" people, and in successfully navigating the new world that they have been thrust into.

I think all new students, no matter what age they are or what course of study they're engaging in, should be required to take, attend, and "pass" these classes in order to better prepare themselves to be functioning adult human beings. :)

During such classes, qualified instructors need to examine the performance of students and be prepared to identify and assist those that are struggling, including those with disorders or issues that have, as of yet, failed to have been properly identified.

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Post by Stars_InTheirEyes » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 01:49

Only thing I have to rant about is the NHS, kind of.
Went for an appointment, told to see them again in a month, but they couldn't make the appointment as they were changing systems. Went in to speak to receptionist a couple weeks later and the Dr. I was told to come back to see only works 2 days there and was full for the next month. Still haven't got an appt 2 months later. Given up at this point.

If it's something to die from, I'll be sending a letter of complaint from the grave for sure.
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Post by mrbadger » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 03:44

Stars_InTheirEyes wrote:Only thing I have to rant about is the NHS, kind of.
Went for an appointment, told to see them again in a month, but they couldn't make the appointment as they were changing systems. Went in to speak to receptionist a couple weeks later and the Dr. I was told to come back to see only works 2 days there and was full for the next month. Still haven't got an appt 2 months later. Given up at this point.

If it's something to die from, I'll be sending a letter of complaint from the grave for sure.
They can't schedule you for another doc?
If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. ... Niccolò Machiavelli

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Post by Morkonan » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 04:29

Stars_InTheirEyes wrote:Only thing I have to rant about is the NHS, kind of.
Went for an appointment, told to see them again in a month, but they couldn't make the appointment as they were changing systems. Went in to speak to receptionist a couple weeks later and the Dr. I was told to come back to see only works 2 days there and was full for the next month. Still haven't got an appt 2 months later. Given up at this point.

If it's something to die from, I'll be sending a letter of complaint from the grave for sure.
This is the sort of fear that Americans have when anyone talks of "Nationalizing" healthcare... But, it still fookin' happens to us, too.

Went to the emergency room earlier this year. Doc told me to go home, that I was fine. Went back two days later in extreme agony, told them to screw-off that I wanted to be examined properly, ended up in emergency surgery.

Left the next day, didn't feel like staying any longer, 'cause I'm a "man" and that's just how we roll... Was given a followup appointment with a surgeon for 10 days later, just to be sure everything was fine.

He examined me, ripped open the surgical wound, blood everywhere, then told me I needed another surgeon and I was beyond his capabilities.

A MONTH later, I finally saw a specialist. We didn't get along very well... He refused to answer any more of my questions, told me to read a pamphlet and then said he was going to schedule me for an MRI, to follow up on all those things they found out about in the CT scan I had at the Emergency Room...

What "things?" Huh? WHAT THINGS!

Yeah, you see, nobody had ever bothered to tell me about the CT scan I had prior to emergency surgery. Nobody had bothered to tell me that they found a crapload of unusual stuffs all over the place... NOBODY SAID JACK @$$%@$%!

So, that was early this year. Since then, I can't tell you how many doctors I've seen since. It wasn't until one of the last ones, about three weeks ago, that any of them bothered to finally say:

"Look, all this is very unusual, but it doesn't appear to be anything to worry about right now. Just keep getting an MRI once per year to keep an eye on things and go about your life."

I was planning on dying earlier this year. No lie. I was getting my affairs in order, preparing to be deceased. Just in the past few weeks, I find out I am probably not likely to be deceased this year and probably not going to be deceased next year. Further, it's not likely that any of this will cause me any mortal issues. So, instead of being "dead man walking" I am simply "weird man walking."

As if I didn't already know that. :)

But, nobody gave two wet farts if I knew about any of these findings after the CT scan. The head of the radiology department will not return my calls, doctors just shrug and make excuses like... "Well, that's terrible, they should have told you, don't know wtf you expect me to say... let's talk about something else that doesn't entertain a possible lawsuit."

(My rant contribution on healthcare.)

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Post by pjknibbs » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 12:48

mrbadger wrote: Suffice only to say that for some it seems the Linux command line is a thing akin to forbidden knowledge of the ancient masters, forever unknowable to mere mortals.
You mean it's *not*? :wink:

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Post by mrbadger » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 13:14

I once had a student come see me with a question on how to do something using a GUI on Linux, and I had no clue.

I had literally no idea how you might use a mouse on Linux. I just never had. I do now, but it's still a rare thing.


I had to be talked into installing a desktop manager on our teaching Linux Server that I administer. By talked I mean my boss made me do it (but I still refuse to let my students use it).

I was allowed to alias Nano to Vim however, because Nano is proof that the devil is real. Well Nano and Starbucks.
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Post by pjknibbs » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 17:27

I prefer Joe myself (command-line text editor that uses Wordstar editing commands!). If you're using a GUI then you can run multiple command lines each in their own window, so surely even you would find that better?

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Post by mrbadger » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 18:54

I use emacs, where I can have multiple buffers and run ansi-term in as many of those buffers as I want, which basically gives me the same thing.

Only it's in emacs, which is just plain better than anything else.
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Post by Morkonan » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 21:16

Years ago, I was handed a computer to "fix", probably because I "knew computer" and they thought that was enough. It was running Unix. I derped haaard... I don't think I had access to an O'Reilly book on that. (Popular programming-for-dummies reference book series) I don't remember if I achieved much other than "it's running, I think." :)

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Post by Chips » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 21:17

RE: Doctors appointments, register for a different doctor? Depends where you live of course, but...

Our's has a guaranteed morning drop in clinic every single work day of the week. Arrive before 10am you will get seen. It is supposed to be for "emergencies" - and those do include "feel terrible" type of can't wait - so if you call they will ask what is wrong and you may get a 5 min telephone consult before they ask you to come in; i just turn up as I work 100 miles away. I should change doctor, but...

If you phone for normal appointment, up to 2 days. Phone for appointment with your own named doctor - can be 2 weeks. So the delay's they're making sound farcical.

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Post by mrbadger » Tue, 12. Dec 17, 21:53

My GP surgery had a breif period of time when they were short of GPs due to a change of ownership, which caused lots of old hands to quit. I neither know nor care much about the exact detail on this.

But as a consequence they implemented a GP callback thing as a temporary measure, where you could call and request a doctor to call you back that day, or the next day.

I absolutely love that, and even though they are back to full staff I still use it as my primary consult method for matters involving my pre-existing conditions.

They don't advertise it any more, but they haven't told me I can't do it, so I keep on using it.
If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. ... Niccolò Machiavelli

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