Wednesday, October 9, 2013

PLN #4- In Praise of the F Word

The article “In Praise of the F Word” by Mark Sherry is about how many graduates of high schools today “have been cheated by our educational system” and encourages return to the policy of flunking failing students. In this article, the author explains how students are graduating without basic literacy abilities. Some teachers pass on flunking students, causing them to lose the ability to keep up in their future classes. Many have had issues with substance abuse, the influence of divorce, or abusive relationships, that cause them to not focus on their classes. The author shares how he asked students to share something that happened during their grade-school years that was an “unpleasant experience.” One student shared that, “I wish someone would have made me stop doing drugs and made me study.” Another, that, “I was a good kid and didn't cause any trouble, so they just passed me along even though I didn't read and couldn't write.” The author then goes on to explain how, in the adult-literacy program that he teaches, students have begun to make schooling a priority. He shares his opinion that students need to become more motivated and, “rise above their problems.” One of the forms of motivation shared is the fear of failing classes. The author concludes with the idea that dedication, between students, parents, and teachers are a big part of the flunking policy to keep students motivated and from illiteracy.

The article “In Praise of the F Word” by Mark Sherry surprised me because I didn't think that people who graduate High School were not actually ready to graduate. I couldn't believe that graduates could be illiterate, that’s crazy! I don’t understand why a teacher would pass a student on when they are failing a class with such needed skills. If a student is failing a class, it makes sense that they would need to take it again so that they understand the materials in the class. I don’t think it’s a good idea to pass them on, because if a student does not understand the material in the previous class, how can they be expected to be able to learn and understand new material presented to them at a higher level? I agree with the author that the flunking policy is an important part of the education system that needs to be upheld. The fear of flunking definitely motivates me to do well in school. The idea of not being able to graduate on time should motivate any student. The author adds to this in his article, when he shares how the fear of flunking encouraged his son to do well in his English class. I think that flunking students can keep them from falling behind, and keep students from graduating when they are not ready.

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