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To fail a student or is it futile?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So, I am wondering what to do about this. 60% is passing at this school (I assume all colleges follow this?), and I would really like to put 59% down for her. I just don't know what good it would do



China's way out of my territory and I don't claim to know anything about teaching there, but as a general principle, if a teacher fails a student by one point, it's definitely arguable. If you think she's in clear breach, fail her definitively - don't give her the opportunity to argue that it's only by one point; authorities are more likely to take her side in this case, than if you fail her by, way 15 or 20 points!
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xiguagua



Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 768

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've failed students in the past. It seems you have to actually TRY to fail a spoken English class, and these kids pretty much did, so I don't feel bad at all. I've also had to give past years students examinations because they failed the year before I arrived. Teaching sophomores, I guess some of them failed the class as freshmen. They still attended my class, but they had to take my final exam, then they had to take a "freshman" final exam as well which was news to me until I was approached outside of class about it. Why should I give 2 exams for the same person? So I just gave them the same grade they earned in my class.

Even if you are sure they're gonna get passed along anyway, failing them gives them a lot of inconveniences and groveling, which they won't have to do otherwise. From that standpoint, if they're gonna pass anyway, i'm gonna try to make it as inconvenient as possible for those that fail.

I had an exam 2 weeks ago and YESTERDAY a girl came up to me after class asking how she could make it up. Well, sorry sweetheart, you didn't tell me before the exam, you didn't tell me immediately after the exam, you didn't tell me LAST week when you saw me, so why should I accommodate you? I asked her why she missed the exam and she couldn't even remember........ Rolling Eyes
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1339

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All this talk of students not turning up, being lazy and generally not caring is a surprise to me. Sure, I've heard about them from this forum, but not experienced it.

I wonder if it's to do with the type of university you're teaching at?
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walkinginmemphis



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thatsforsure wrote:
How would it be a joke? It couldn't be truer. People who are "failing" students are taking themselves way too seriously.


No, it's called acting in a professional manner by having educational, teaching, grading standards and applying them uniformly and fairly to all.

It's those that just pass everyone that take themselves as to be backpackers with nothing else to do.
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GeminiTiger



Joined: 15 Oct 2004
Posts: 999
Location: China, 2005--Present

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shroob wrote:
All this talk of students not turning up, being lazy and generally not caring is a surprise to me. Sure, I've heard about them from this forum, but not experienced it.

I wonder if it's to do with the type of university you're teaching at?


Are you in China?
Are you working in a position that did not required a PhD?
Have you been here more than 5 minutes?
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1339

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GeminiTiger wrote:
Shroob wrote:
All this talk of students not turning up, being lazy and generally not caring is a surprise to me. Sure, I've heard about them from this forum, but not experienced it.

I wonder if it's to do with the type of university you're teaching at?


Are you in China?
Yes
Are you working in a position that did not required a PhD?
Yes
Have you been here more than 5 minutes?
Yes


I've honestly never experienced the level of laziness/apathy towards lessons as described in this thread. Sure, I have students who try more than others, but none that skip lessons.
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basbas



Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's time to be honest...chinese people are many things, but good students is not one of them...


All the talk of chinese people being hard working is (as far as I can see) just that 'talk'...when they say 'hardworking' what they mean is that they can and will do a repetitive tedious task that they believe helps them. But actually building understanding, things like comprehension they are terrible. With language learning it's the worst. They think they can get by on pure memorization. I always try to disabuse them of this idea. I always try to tell them that the hardest thing in the world to memorize is something that is meaningless. This is why memorizing the number Pie to 1000 digits is really tough because it's essentially a meaningless string of numbers. You see the same thing reflected in language, for all their skill at memorization they can never seem to do a simple thing like remember three tenses for the verb 'to be'...Years and years of education and they still can't do it!!!!

This brings me to the other problem they have, chinese people are very ideological and their ideology is 'the chinese way'... I cannot count the number of times i have said to someone 'why are you doing it this way, if you do it this other way it'll will work better' and the answer is always 'this is the chinese way'. This is reflected in language learning in the following way; they cannot stop grafting their first language structures onto English...Now before everyone on the form goes into seizures telling me how this is natural and everyone superimposes their L1 onto the target language. My answer to this is 'Yes, at first' everyone else on earth who learns another language eventually figures out (sooner or later) that each language has it's own rules of structure and you adapt your language of thought to this, simple as that. I can promise you that when I speak French I don't speak it like I am speaking english and I certainly don't speak chinese like I am speaking french.

Anyway chinese people are lovely in many ways, I have many friends that I will miss dearly when I finally leave this place, but good students they are not.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ shroob - Its not really my experience either.

Chinese students are pretty good in my book. They compare well to all the students I have taught. I disagree with a number of the comments slating them, or if not slating, complaining about them.

Could you imagine teaching Chinese to a state school class of 25 uninterested British teenagers studying for GCSE? It would be horrendous, and I doubt any of them would even open their text books to study the language in-between classes.

The German students I am teaching now come from the top tier of the German state school system, and they also prefer teacher led lessons with 'chalk and talk' grammar sessions and rarely use English to communicate with each other outside class. And my German bosses son has spent half of his life living in England, is at university in the UK, and still applies L1 rules of adverb placement when he speaks English!

Students are problematic from everywhere Very Happy and whilst the study habits and the way they try and memorise stuff can be frustrating, at least most students in China do some type of study, even if its a way of studying we sometimes feel isnt the best way. Its unrealistic and incorrect to expect and suggest that students from other countries understand, accept and even demand CLT, TBL and all the other 'modern' teaching methods.

And the vast majority of FT's in China have minimal (if any) qualification to teach English, have very little knowledge of grammar, language awareness and knowledge of SLA, and so why would Chinese students ignore 10+ years of English education within their state system to believe what their latest unqualified native speaker tells them?
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The irony of some posts here is killing me. Much of the talk about how bad Chinese students are comes from people who are pretty much unqualified to be teaching. At least the Chinese students are real students. If you're gonna rail against the students at least accept that how you're teaching might have something to do with how they perform in your class. Some introspection would be helpful for a lot of people on this forum I think.

Give a student a 59? Why be spiteful? Either fail them definitively if they're that bad or give them the extra point if they're so close to passing. How many students are thinking "yeah i really deserved that 59." No, they're more likely thinking "he gave me a 59, what a dickhead."
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Give a student a 59? Why be spiteful? Either fail them definitively if they're that bad or give them the extra point if they're so close to passing. How many students are thinking "yeah i really deserved that 59." No, they're more likely thinking "he gave me a 59, what a dickhead."


You sure said a lot in a little time. I give you that. However, let's look at each variable:

1. "Give a student a 59? Why be spiteful?"

That's not what this is about. If you got a B+ that would also be undesirable because with just a little more effort you could have gotten that A.

2. "Either fail them definitively if they're that bad or give them the extra point if they're so close to passing."

I have had my share of failing grades, and I never really looked into it when I got less than a 60. I didn't try to study more, I didn't ask the teacher any questions. I just took it and waited for the next test. It returned to bite me again at the end of the year though.

If I had been given a grade "on the fence", then it would have sparked something in me to ask, "Ok, what little more can I do to bump it up?"

I could have gone from a B+ to an A, a C+ to a B, or a D to a C.

In this student's situation, she emailed me the day after she didn't show up to apologize. She asked me to make up the work. The second day after she didn't show up was another class for students in her class to do extra work to get extra points. She didn't show up for this.

Another student told me she would be absent beforehand and asked what she could do. She didn't wait till after the fact. The first student has a habit of doing bad, asking the teacher to make it up, and doesn't show any signs of taking responsibility beforehand compared to other students. 2 other students also couldn't come to my classes because they are doing an internship, but they prepared a presentation and gave it last week.

Enough said, this isn't about being spiteful.

3. [How many students are thinking "yeah i really deserved that 59." No, they're more likely thinking "he gave me a 59, what a dickhead."]

That's the point. That's the exclamation mark. The other 99% students talked with me or came to my class. If you are going to be a dickhead and lie to me, come more than 60 minutes late to my classes, what do you expect?

Really, what do you expect? Should I hold a party in your honor?
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No I don't expect a party in my honor but I do hope you respect my opinion on the topic.

The difference between an A and a B is just a letter, the student passes easily in either instance. The difference between 59 and 60 is only one point but it also makes the difference between passing and failing. These two examples are quite different. If this girl is as bad as you suggest then she wouldn't deserve a 59 but instead she's rightfully earned a solid fail, pick a number between 30 and 40. If you can back the low score up with evidence of her poor performance throughout the term there shouldn't be a problem. But handing out a 59 as a final course mark in almost any case is just being spiteful and serves no useful purpose.

There's a steep learning curve when dealing with students in this country, at least you're asking questions about how to deal with some of the peculiarities. Some teachers can't be bothered to do that much.
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No I don't expect a party in my honor but I do hope you respect my opinion on the topic.


You misread me there. I said "you" as in you being a student, in the general sense (a hypothetical). I was not specifically saying "you" the person replying in this thread.

Quote:
The difference between 59 and 60 is only one point but it also makes the difference between passing and failing.

I disagree. There are other issues at hand. I was informed that if I fail a student, I must give them a make up test in March. Also, other teachers have cited their school requesting them to pass the student.

So there is pressure to pass a student regardless of their behavior. That is where the problem lies.

Quote:
But handing out a 59 as a final course mark in almost any case is just being spiteful and serves no useful purpose.


I disagree also. Have you ever gotten a really bad grade? When I got really bad grades, the last thing I wanted was to look at them and find out how to do better. I simply hoped to do better next time.

However, if you see you have a number just under the threshold, wouldn't you be more inclined to find out how to bump it up a bit? If I saw a 59, I would sure question it. If the teacher said, "Well, actually, you only should get 30%, but I gave you the most I could. A fail is a fail. It doesn't matter if it is 1, 3, 22, or 59%.

At least the 59% might get this girl thinking how she could do it differently to change it to passing. I have one student who sleeps in class, he does the work, but he doesn't care about his grade. So, he won't get a good grade, but he will pass at least for doing the bare minimum. If you are a student and pissed off at a 59, then you are prime real estate to learn how to improve. If you are a student and you don't care, then that number won't matter to you and it will function the same as a 29.5.
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basbas



Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
The irony of some posts here is killing me. Much of the talk about how bad Chinese students are comes from people who are pretty much unqualified to be teaching. At least the Chinese students are real students. If you're gonna rail against the students at least accept that how you're teaching might have something to do with how they perform in your class. Some introspection would be helpful for a lot of people on this forum I think.

"


I really hope you are not referring to me here...cause if you are it just confirms why I should not post on this form, because it's a circle jerk of dead-head esl people. Remember in every esl teachers mind they know the most about language, they are the best qualified and they are greatest teachers in the world and everyone else blows compare to them

yawn*
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rawera



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

basbas wrote:
Javelin of Radiance wrote:
The irony of some posts here is killing me. Much of the talk about how bad Chinese students are comes from people who are pretty much unqualified to be teaching. At least the Chinese students are real students. If you're gonna rail against the students at least accept that how you're teaching might have something to do with how they perform in your class. Some introspection would be helpful for a lot of people on this forum I think.

"


I really hope you are not referring to me here...cause if you are it just confirms why I should not post on this form, because it's a circle jerk of dead-head esl people. Remember in every esl teachers mind they know the most about language, they are the best qualified and they are greatest teachers in the world and everyone else blows compare to them

yawn*


I'd like to second the opinion that some students are inexplicably bad students. They definitely fall short of "real students." Sure, I may not actively engage every student in the class, but a good portion is seemingly beyond engagement. These are the nail painters, iPad players, the students who try to listen to their iPod, the ones who think pausing the game and locking the screen constitutes turning it off. I have students taking pictures in class -- and posing for them with friends. I have students take cigarette breaks in pairs when they ask to use the double you see, always flashing the hand signal. I have sophomores who cannot construct a sentence in English if their life depended on it. I had a student leave class and return 5 minutes later with a hot meal. I had another student go downstairs and buy a cell phone. He returned with an unopened box and proceeded to show it off to his friends. We were talking technology so I implemented it into the lesson, but why does the school building sell cellular phones?

Admittedly, I am pretty weak on discipline. But this is university. The majority of these habits -- texting on cell phones notwithstanding -- would definitely not occur in a western university, I think. Compare sending a few SMSes to playing a tower defense game full screen on an ipad.

I'd estimate about 1/3 of my students are interested in the lesson even if they tend to be quiet, 1/3 pay attention for a bit then check out, and the last third might as well stay home as far as I am concerned. I should work harder to include the middle third, but the final third -- hopeless.
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I have students take cigarette breaks in pairs when they ask to use the double you see, always flashing the hand signal.


I ran into 2 students of mine in the hallway when they should have been in my class. They looked at me actually said, "Teacher, we can't find the classroom." Confused
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