Monday, November 11, 2013

Sarah the Snowy Has a Special Learning Style. It Was Called Lazy When I Was in School. From Yuri.

So I have a short unit on advertising going right now.

We viewed 4 television ads from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s. We watched them in class. I posted them on the class blog. I sent the links in an email.

Sarah, my snowiest of all flakes, came to my office Friday:

Sarah: Hi, Dr. Yuri. I'm having trouble with the assignment.
Yuri: Okay, what's the problem?
S: Well, I have a special learning style and sometimes assignments are hard for me.
Y: Well, what's the problem?
S: I'm having trouble.
Y: What kind of trouble?
S: I'm having trouble doing the assignment.
Y: Do you remember the ads we watched in class?
S: No, I wasn't there. I was sick that day.

Y: Okay, have you viewed them online yet?
S: No, I can't find them.
Y: Oh, well they're on the class page. And I emailed them to you.
S: I don't think I got the email. Sometimes my email doesn't work.
Y: Do you get the other emails I send?
S: Oh yes, I read them. You're funny.
Y: Did you check the class page?
S: I forgot how to use it.
Y: Well, the address is on the syllabus. That's how you get all your assignments, remember?
S: Sometimes Jonathan gives me the information.
Y: Well, what can I do for you to help?
S: I need to know what the assignment is. I'm having trouble.

[I turn to my computer, pull the page up, and print out the instructions. I hand them to her.]

S: Oh, I have these, but I have a special learning style and sometimes things are hard for me.
Y: Do you want to go over the lab and watch the commercials now so you can get started?
S: When is this assignment due?
Y: Well, it's due Monday. You still have plenty of time.
S: Sometimes it takes me longer to get it than other students.
Y: Yes, I can understand that, though I don't have any paperwork on you needing extra time or consideration. What is this special learning style you have?
S: My 11th grade math teacher told me I had a special learning style. It's really all my own.
Y: Okay, but you need to at least watch the videos and start attempting to answer the questions.
S: Can I have an extension?
Y: You have plenty of time to get this done. It's a small assignment and you have the whole weekend.
S: I'm going home for the weekend and going to my brother's football game.
Y: Okay, but maybe you can find some time to work on it when you're not busy at home.
S: My parents have to pay for me to come home. It's really important to them.
Y: Sure it is, and I'm sure it's important for them to do your class work.
S: If I could have an extension it'd really help me, because of my learning style.
Y: I think there's plenty of time. It won't take very long once you get started.
S: When are the labs open.
Y: Well, Xxxxxxxxx Hall has labs open 24 hours a day.
S: Even at night?
Y: Yes, all day and all night.
S: Do they have the videos there?
Y: Well, you can access the internet there, and our class page has the videos. They're also in the email I sent.
S: Can I do them at home?
Y: Yes, if you have an internet connection. You can do it at home, in your dorm, or in the labs.
S: But only if there's enough time.
Y: Exactly. Good luck!
S: Okay. I missed class today. Can you tell me what we did?



  1. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!(Eleventy)11!!!!!11!! (sit on hands resist urge to strangle)

    1. I'm having the "flunk or drop" conferences next week. I can see the above-stated shit coming. *sigh*

    2. Me too. They are always so bloody surprised. Can they not add all those F's together and figure it out?

  2. What you have there is what I like to call a "Hard wired auditory." Her "learning style" is so auditory she doesn't "get" anything she doesn't hear. That's why she's asking so many questions and expecting you to explain your answers. I bet she still won't "get" the videos even after watching them; they are a visual presentation. (I think I've told the story about the coworker who tried to go around the train crossing barriers even though the "arms" were down and the lights we flashing because the bells were broken. She only avoided getting crushed because the engineer saw her car about to cut across and blew the horn. Until that moment the only thing that registered in her mind was, "There's something in my way. I should go around it.")

    Snowy Sarah has not developed coping skills for her "special learning style." That's not your problem.

  3. While reading this I was having a vision of the same scene, going on recursively, again, and again, forever. That's Hell.
    Although, for Dante, playing the role of the professor for eternity would probably be the punishment of dimwit students. And administrators.

  4. Didn't someone determine that "learning styles" are BS? Isn't college about learning how to learn (in all different "styles')?

    1. I'm not espousing the efficacy of "learning styles" or using them as an excuse for not "getting it." I know someone that defines intelligence as being able to "figure things out." If you can't "figure out" a problem, find a work-around. Become a critical thinker. Be a problem solver, not an excuse maker.

  5. Why oh why oh why do schools still insist on teaching the utter bullshit that is learning styles?!?!

  6. My teaching "style" would have made me show Sarah the door before Yuri did!!


    1. Cal! I forgot to send you the new mod password. Sorry!! Check your phone!

    2. Les, you forgot we changed it to duckduck1111. Nobody is going to guess that. Oh, and it's not Cal who's subbing in. It's me. I'm planning a complete page re-design, fonts as small as the head of a pin, orange background, light orange text. Ads for orthopedic shoes and Asian dating sites. A link to some of my favorite songs by Boston. I'm going to rerun all my great posts from the past, even ones that were never posted, but that just existed in my head.

      Then it will be Wednesday and I'll put it all back where I found it.

      Oh, is this cake in the fridge for anybody? It's not gluten free is it? That would fuck me right up.

    3. Can we have pics on the left? That will simply blow everyone's minds.

  7. This was parts funny and parts painful. I wish I could not relate quite so well as I do.....

  8. So my learning style is to have people tell me the answers b/c I'm too dumbshitlazy to do it myself?

    1. Sounds like many of my students...

  9. It all started with that damned children's book "The Very Special Learning Style." I just know it did.

  10. Good grief. Yuri, you are a better man than I. When I get those students my eyes just glaze over and I go into a trance. I could NEVER remember the conversation well enough to write down some of these howlers!

  11. Can you IMAGINE what this FOOL will do in a real JOB with real RESPONSIBILITIES?!?

    This nincompoop shows signs of not having been told a firm "NO" often enough. Stick to your guns, Yuri, even though that mewling sound that students like this make is awful. You have tenure, so use it: courage starts with getting students like this to realize they are being given a firm "NO," quite possibly for the first time in their lives. It isn't easy: they'll do nigh-on ANYTHING to avoid acknowledging it.

    You're improving,Yuri!

  12. With me it would have stopped at "I haven't watched them yet", replied with "they're on the course web page. Come by after you've watched them. Have a good one, I have something I need to take care of."

    And I've never actually heard "different learning styles" within earshot. Not from a colleague (they'd laugh at it), not from a student (they can guess we'd have no idea what they're talking about. ) I guess I'm lucky.

  13. Who's on first? What's on the syllabus? I don't know.

  14. This sounds sadly familiar. Fortunately, only a minority of my students try these tactics, but oh my are they exhausting to deal with. If they put half the persistence into doing the work that they put into trying to persuade me to do the work for them (or to not require them to do the work, or whatever it is they want), they'd be getting very respectable grades.