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Re: casual contributors

From: Graham Percival
Subject: Re: casual contributors
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2012 07:19:47 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 07:44:45AM +0100, David Kastrup wrote:
> Graham Percival <address@hidden> writes:
> > We need a *secretary*.  We need a *paper pusher*.  We need a
> > trained monkey.  I could even teach a first-year university
> > student how to be a perfect Frog meister, and having taught for a
> > few years you have no idea how low my opinion of those creatures
> > are.
> They could become like you if taught properly.  Didn't you?

I have never told my teacher "just wait a moment" in order to
finish writing a message on facebook during class.  I have never
answered a mobile phone while my teacher was giving me a short
oral examination (part of graded labs).  I have never submitted
code for grades with a different student's name still in a comment
at the top of a file.

I don't mind explaining -- slowly, over five or ten minutes -- how
you can calculate how many coins to return to a customer using
division and modulus instead of using a while() loop and
subtraction (i.e. "items cost $2.35, customer gives $5").  I don't
mind teaching fourth-year engineering students how to convert
between degrees and radians.  I don't even mind repeating that
lesson three times, for a total of an hour of lecture time over a
few weeks, when it became clear that most of them still didn't get
it.  4th-year electrical engineering.  Not music students.  But
hey, it's my job to teach them at whatever level they're at,
right?  I don't mind that stuff.

But facebook and taking phone calls while I'm talking to a
student?  No, that's just not kosher.

(sure, 30% of the first-year students are a joy to teach.  But the
overall horrendous level of facebook and plagiarism tends to stick
in one's mind much more than the students who actually work.)

- Graham

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