BAD classroom exercises

Subject: BAD classroom exercises
From: holland -at- CVAX -dot- IPFW -dot- INDIANA -dot- EDU
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 1995 10:11:13 EST

If those of us who teach want our students to consider their audiences--and
I certainly hope we do--some of the recent suggestions about classroom
exercises are extremely counterproductive. Has anyone EVER learned how to
use a pencil by reading a user manual for one, as one listmember suggested?
Has anyone EVER learned how to tie shoelaces by reading a set of instructions
for doing so, as another listmember suggested? (Hate to pick on just those
two; there were others.) Assignments that call for students to write for
nonexistent audiences send the wrong message to students.

Why not a user manual for the office or campus standard telephone instrument,
which nowadays is likely to REQUIRE a manual? Why not instructions for
using that badly designed photocopier that all of us encounter in a public
area--instructions BRIEF enough to fit on a poster located above the copier?

There are lots of REAL and potentially USEFUL assignments--assignments
that'll give students a clear sense of serving a real audience for a real
purpose. They need that.

Steve Hollander
holland -at- cvax -dot- ipfw -dot- indiana -dot- edu

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