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poniedziałek, marca 07, 2005

We Don't Need No Education: Teaching - the View From Poland

We Don't Need No Education: Teaching - the View From Poland

News Poland
Just in from The Chronicle of Higher Education:

"In the belief that participation should be encouraged from the outset, I attempt to spark discussion. I pass out a timeline of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and ask students to identify significant patterns on it. But the rush-hour traffic makes discussion nearly impossible. Nobody can hear anyone else over the cars and thundering trams that rush down Naurotowicza every few minutes, rattling the windows."

"So begins my first semester of teaching in Poland."

"On the whole, however, student performance is weak. Completion of reading is uneven, although I deliberately keep the English-language texts to a mere 20 pages per week. During lectures, students cannot be troubled to be quiet. Although I underscore the critical, analytical, and argumentative nature of expository writing, most students persist in thinking of information-gathering as the sole point of papers."

"In short, with some notable exceptions, I find Polish student performance mediocre. Primary blame, I believe, rests with university policy. Given three attempts to pass any class, why should most students care? Negative results have no lasting consequence."

The saga continues here

I experienced the Polish culture of collaboration (read: cheating) in school as a grad student in Warsaw. But the class had students from all around Central/Eastern Europe and the spirit of cheating transcended national boundaries. I wondered, in this class of students studying to become social scientists, what standard of research integrity is being transmitted here? ...or, that's what I wish I was wondering as I scanned my neighbor's desk. Really, it was significant enough to notice.

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