Thursday, June 07, 2007

Attention Deficit Disorder

It doesn't matter whether you're young or old, or taking Ritalin or Geritol. We all have to be careful.

Mr. Arbus, after collecting books from his class, asked them if they'd ever read the multiple choice questions in the text. Students shook their heads.

"Where do you think I got all those test and quiz questions from? Why do you think I assigned you all the exercises except the multiple choice for homework?"

Students hung their heads in shame, or missed opportunity, or both. Boy, if only I'd looked at those questions I could've aced all those quizzes.

Sadly, adults are by no means immune. Mr. Borden likes to give pre-tests, to give his kids a better chance of passing. He likes to do that on Friday, go over the tests, and let kids study over the weekend. That's what he did last week. Imagine his consternation, then, when he looked on the blackboard Monday and saw the answers to the pre-test still on the board. He decided to ignore it, and as far as he could tell, his furiously scribbling students were too intent on the test paper to even scan the blackboard.

Mr. Connor is very introspective. After he writes a test, he likes to leave notes on it. He writes why certain answers are preferable to others. But Mr. Connor is absentminded, and last week he copied his annotated test and distributed it to his students. One girl wrote him a thank you note, expressing her gratitude for the helpful notes he'd provided. But most kids ignored the notes entirely, and did neither better nor worse than before. Some of them even failed.

Maybe we all need to keep our eyes open. Who knows how much we're missing?
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