Monday, September 13, 2010

Words to My Students on the First Day

Good morning and welcome. No one is going to care about the letter grade you get in this course. I assign letter grades as a way to tell you how you did overall, at the end of the course. My bosses insist. This kind of makes sense - you would like to know how you did at the end of it all, wouldn't you?

But what will matter most when you leave my doors? By the time you are an adult, none of the programs we are using will be there anymore, or will likely not look the same. The information will have changed because you and people like you around the world keep making it change. You might not remember any of the facts you learn in my class when you are an adult, or only remember some of the facts. This is normal.

After informally interviewing people with all kinds of different jobs this is what I have summarized:

You must learn to be hard working - grades don't always help you there, nor does criteria. They tell you "go this far and stop."

Creativity - Dan Pink in his talk on motivation says "if this...then that" rewards systems only motivate people to do simple tasks. Learning is NOT a simple task.

Communication - Can you explain what you mean with your writing, spoken word, a piece of music, a drawing or painting, or a math equation? I can - and I want you to be able to do this too.

Collaboration - this means working together. I will help you learn how to work together, but if you can't work and play well with others, and need a "ref" after you graduate, no one will want to work with you. No one will want you.

Critical thinking - don't believe everything you read on the Internet - or anywhere else. You are allowed to disagree with me, and are obligated to come and tell me you disagree with me. Just have a reason you disagree that is defensible, and better yet, offer me a better idea!

So, the adventure begins. See you in class.


Olga said...

The beginning of a new school year--always exciting, so full of potential. Have a wonderful year.

James Gill said...

Thanks Olga! I wish you the same. The kids were very excited to begin my course too.

Radjabumi said...

wow....nice article....good job guys..