Students Hiding Lack of Learning From Us

Some students are very skillful in our classes. However, their skill is not based on how well they have learned the standard but their skill consists of  hiding their lack of learning or their misunderstandings. They love group work since they can hide behind other students’ comments and work. They enjoy our large group presentations and responses since they can get away with not saying or doing anything. And yet until they say or do something, we cannot help them.  Silence and a blank paper do not help us diagnose the students’ present learning status. We are like doctors whose patient will not talk about his symptoms so we cannot help the patient get better.

What do you do to not let any student hide his/her learning?

4 Responses to “Students Hiding Lack of Learning From Us”

  1. 1 sphyrnatude December 16, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    by requiring the students to do individual work. group projects and efforts are a good thing to do occasionally, but should be a very small part of your lesson plans – for all of the reasons you listed.

    Also, wait until you have gottent o know your students before you assign a group project, then build to the groups so that they will help the students in areas where they are lacking – instead of random groups, build real teams that must work together cooperatively to complete the project.

    the reality is that no matter what you do, there wil always be student that can hide their weaknesses. All that you can do is help the ones that you can find, and hope the others will either manage to get by without the skills they are avoiding, or will get caught later on….

  2. 2 hgtuttle December 16, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    I agree that students are experts their lack of learning but I believe that we have a responsibility to create classroom assignments that allow us to see their thinking. The rich, more high level thinking projects such as contrasting two countries in a Global SS class allows us to see how well they can think through a standard.

  3. 3 adsoofmelk December 17, 2007 at 12:26 am

    To borrow a phrase from math teaching, I require my students to “show their work” — that is, during discussion or in a paper, they must explain 1) the evidence from the text that led to their conclusion, and 2) WHY that particular piece of evidence led to their conclusion. Too many times, students will have unsubstantiated (or minimally-substantiated) opinions, and the simple act of politely asking, “Okay, can you back that up? Can you read me the line that first put that idea into your mind and made you think_____?”

  4. 4 adsoofmelk December 17, 2007 at 12:27 am

    Oh, I’d like to add that I think two educational trends are responsible for a great deal of ignorance-camouflage: journal writing and group projects.

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