In the chapter "Graduation," Paul Tough notes the difficult discussions between the school officials and students, as the students are informed that the high school for the Promise Academy will be discontinued. A major reason that the high school is discontinued relates to the low test scores among the students.
A serious conversation between small groups of students and school officials seemed important and unusual. For some reason, there are few forums where administrators, educators, and students get together to have serious discussions about the state and results of the education, so to speak.
If you were organizing a discussion with a dozen or so SIUE students and university officials with the ultimate goal of expanding academic success or opportunities, what one topic would you really want the group to concentrate on? Why that topic right now?
One idea that I would want to bring up in a discussion forum of SIUE students is the elimination of standardized testing in general. I don't really believe that standardized testing really evaluates one's academic knowledge or capabilities. Some people , so can be considered real good testers and not really have to grasp the concept of the information.But, I really believe teachers can use other creative styles of evaluating a student's knowledge. Student learners don't come in a one size fits all category so why do most teachers grade using one form of testing.
The topic would be the education being taught. I do not think I am well prepared for my career just by the education being taught. I have had good and passionate teachers here at SIUE. Then I have had teachers who just lecture for fifty minutes then are out of there. Also, I think two people with the same exact majors could be taught two totally different things. I know that I am in a multicultural diversity class and the teacher has not touched that subject. So, I really think the teachers and the curriculum need to be looked at here at SIUE. I think it is an important topic to look at now because education is the meat of college.
If I was organizing a discussion with a dozen or so SIUE students and university officials with the ultimate goal of expanding academic success or opportunities, the one topic I would really want the group to concentrate on is why people are sucessful in the "real world". I think a lot of college students are so focused on making good grades and passing classes, that sometimes how thwy would apply that information in their future careers is lost. I would want to start that now becasur the more experience students get in realistic stiuations they better they will be prepared when they graduate.
I would want to address the role out guidance counselors play in help us to succeed in graduating, especially in 4 years. When you first get to college, you need someone to be your advocate that knows how the school operates and places you in the classes you need to be in and help keep you on track. We have both good and bad counselors at SIUE and I feel there are specific areas of study that are lacking. I hear that complaint most from other students, and although advisors are not responsible for our success in school, they play an important part in guiding us through the difficult decisions.
In order to expand academic success I would want to focus our discussion on the individual as well as their primary group (close family & relatives). A lot of academic success is a product of family motivation and determination as well as self satisfaction. We would need to understand what the individual needs in order to accomplish goals that may seem unattainable as well as make sure the individual are making goals for themselves. Then, we need to make sure or try to figure out how to make their support system actually support. Money is not the only way to support; families need to keep constant contact with their child whose goal is to get a great education to open opportunities.
I would focus on knowing the subject and being interested in the subject. Teachers need to be interested in what they teach -- it is not good to have a bored teacher! Also, knowing and understanding the subject, not just knowing the facts, is important. It is better to be taught how to fish than be given a fish, right? I'm a chemistry major, and it is better that a teacher shows me why a reaction happens than just tells me that the reaction happens. So comprehension and understanding of how to do a problem is super-important.
The topic I would bring up would be the application of my studies to my major and my preparation for after graduation. I love this school and the education that I'm getting with all my heart, but at times I feel as if the things I'm learning feel unrelated to my major at all, and my attention begins to slip. Also, lately I've been really having to think about my future after graduating and what to do in preparation for what I'm going to do; I feel as if there were more opportunities offered through the school for those who are pre-optometry, I wouldn't feel so afraid and uncertain about applying for optometry school. I know others who are in the same boat as I am, and I know that I am not the only who feels a little lost.
In this discussion with a dozen or so SIUE students and faculty, I think that I would address the importance of providing more slots for people to achieve the majors they would like and work for. For instance, there are hundreds of students trying to get accepted into the pharmacy school here, yet only around 80 are accepted each year. Students are taking all the prerequisites and doing very good in their classes yet they are not accepted because the school is not big enough and a couple of students only did a little better.
Many students get very discouraged because of this. Also, in the process of applying, there is so much competition between these students that they can not even enjoy what they are learning or actually become goods friends with each other because they feel that they are fighting for "the sane seat."
This way of thinking has to be eliminated. There has to be a way to either make the acceptance rate higher or to let the students know right before they start their prerequisite courses what their chances are in being accepted and possibly offering a Plan B or alternative route.
If I were organizing a discussion with a dozen or so SIUE students and university officials with the ultimate goal of expanding academic success or opportunities, the one topic I would you really want the group to concentrate on would be GPAs. I chose that one topic right now because it seems to be the most important thing about furthering our education. For students planning on applying to med school, dental school, pharmacy school, etc., the first two things they look at is your test score and GPA. Some people don't realize that certain classes can really help/hurt your GPA, like 5 credit hour classes. They are weighted more into your GPA than usual 3 or 4 credit hour classes. I just don't think administrators and advisors educate students about things like this enough, as well as how important a high GPA is.
I would say that our school could have a candid discussion about alternative methods to learning such as well as improving student participation in class and not just having 99% of all classes be lecture classes. I would ask if there was anyway to make classes more individualistic such as having everyone do the exact same thing give us some freedom to show that we actually know something. I would advocate the discontinuation of GROUP WORK because working in groups all the time only proves that 1/4 or 1/5 people know something, not that the entire group is learning.
The one idea that I would like to focus on is the participation of the students in events that would help educate them further on their future careers and how to reach their academic goals. I would want to discuss different ways to encourage the students to use all the resources available to them here.
The discussion would focuz on rosources and way to let students know about those resourses. I think that SIUE student would be more sucessful if they had better access to resources to help them when they feel lost in a class, or in the next step in life.
I think that students how have that extra help with different courses or someone to help them find out where they could get interships and things of that nature than they will be able to succeed.
Also it's not just enough to have those resourses available, but to actually have ways of letting students know that the resourses are there for them.
The one topic I would want to bring up is attention on the individual. I would want to discuss individual goals and ways to help students succeed. I would also discuss different ways to study or ways to set small goals for yourself so it is easier to accomplish goals. I think it is important because it can really help a person succeed in school and even in their jobs.
I would want the group to focus on accomodating more students into their desired program or school of choice if thats why they made a decision to attend SIUE. Whether it be the School of Buisness or the School of Nursing. It shouldnt be a "cut off" on how many students get accepted. Im not saying allow everyone into their desired program, becuase if they are not qualified then they should not be allowed to enter. But if the student is qualified but doesnt meet the cut off, thats not encouraging the student to stick to their plan of choice because then they might feel like they arent good enough or not qualified. I think this would be a great topic right now because I know a lot of people working on applications for their school of choice.
If I were organizing a discussion with a dozen or so SIUE students and university officials with the ultimate goal of expanding academic success or opportunities the main topic of discussion would be study sessions. I believe that it should be mandatory for professors to host at least one study session per week. Sometimes when sitting in large lecture halls with hundreds of students it's kind of intimidating to ask questions. However, during a study session where things are more informal students will feel a little more comfortable with asking questions and getting a better understanding of the material. My organic teacher hosts a few study sessions throughout the week and it is very very beneficial. She encourages us to ask questions and help us learn by going up to the board and doing problems. These are things that can't be done in lecture because lecture is only so many minutes and the teacher is more focused on simply getting through the material they are required to cover before the end of the semester. Students can decide to attend the study sessions or not, but students should be given that opportunity. It would probably take teachers that are very passionate about their job to take out time to do such a thing, but that should not be an issue since SIUE has such good and passionate professors.
The discussion forum I would have with staff and students here at SIUE would be directed towards the work students are given and the evaluation of its quality. As a student I've experienced unprepared facilitators. They come in with an agenda that is simply not related to field of study nor will it benefit you on preparing for future "important" exams such as: content and other standardized test.
I feel that professors (regardless of seniority) should be evaluated on course material presented and required. Students should not be required to do such assignments that are not beneficial to them.
As a university we emphasize GPA and yet a student cannot graduate without passing standardized test that most professors don't teach towards. They mention how they are giving us knowledge for the real world, yet standardized testing is the only way one can graduated to go into this so called "real world".
I would say that we should try to expand academic success for minority students on campus. I would say this because I feel that on campus minority students are not even focused on.
I would organize a forum about the effectiveness of academic advisors and whether or not they are truly committed to the students' success. I often find that advisors act as if they are too busy to help or are apathetic to students' needs.
Many people, especially freshmen, are confused about what classes to take and how to plan for a 4 year graduation. With the exception of the SOAR Office and a few other individuals, I've found that advisors at SIUe don't always steer students in the right direction. This needs to be addressed.
The one idea I would mention is that standardized testing should be done away with. As we should know all people don't learn in the same way and at the same speed. Its not fair to make a test towards the 'general' population but not take into acount those with learning disabilities or that may need additional services in school. Then there are those students who aren't that good at taking written tests but can ace an oral exam. That's why the No Child Left Behind Act is a virtual failure (ask any grade school teacher) ; a bunch of lawmakers that have no background in education make these laws that they think are benefitting the children, but in reality the gap is widening and it's hard for schools to catch up once they are behind. The way students learn always has to be taken into account, and a good teacher does their research on the different learning styles and can adjust their curriculum accordingly.
One idea that I feel strongly about is the teaching style of many professors at the university. There is way too much lecturing and not enough engaging activities, that motivate learners. Education is about more than showing a powerpoint and reading every slide. I cannot speak for all professors, but my experience has only allowed me to be taught by a few excellent professors. SIUE needs more instructors who are willing to cater to different types of learners such as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. The topic is important right now because even at the high school level, students are dropping out left and right. Maybe that is the reason many students drop classes, withdraw from classes, or withdraw from school altogether. Education must be engaging for students!
If I were able to have a group of SIUE students and faculty present I would definetly want to concentrate on the relationship between the students and professors. Just this week I took an exam where 90 percent of the students failed, I believe, because the professor wanted to teach a lesson. Not only does he not really teach anything in class, but then hands out impossible exams to complete. Education is about preparing the student with the tools he or she will need for the future. I think a huge part of that should be the relationship they form with their professors. If professors are too busy thinking they are better than the students and screwing them over just because they can, then nobody learns anything. Students need someone to rely on so that they have the confidence to acheive what theyre suppose to.
One topic that I would bring up is how to prepare students for the real world and job market. Most classes that we take do not prepare us for what will happen once we graduate. There needs to be courses offered to help us make that transition from college to having to go to a 9 to 5 everyday. The classes that are offered as well i feel that some that are unnecessary should be eliminated and replaced with classes that we will actually use.
Besides that evaluation professors performance instead of students is a must. If semester after semester students are failing classes with the same professor then to me that shows a problem not just with the professor but how the material is being taught.
I would want to discuss the practical applications of my classes and education. Often times in class you don't often see how learning something will help you on the job, in the "real world." I suppose I chose it because I am close to graduating. Also, I have often heard students question their coursework and real world applications during the course of my education.
If I were involved in a discussion forum about expanding academic success or opportunities with other SIUE students and university officials, the one topic that I would want to focus on is how to prepare students for the world after graduation. The college prepares students for their chosen career paths but does it really prepare them for the challenges they may face after going into that career. Some of the different schools here prepare students for what they will face, but what about the students in a major that the college is less famous for. All of the schools need to be on the same page of preparedness because it is unfair for students in one of the less famous programs to not feel as prepared as those in a more famous program.
If were to hold a forum, I think that I would like the students to focus on expanding getting help for classes. SIUE has a good availability when it comes to academic help, something that every student should take advantage of. This doesn't mean it should stop there, I would try and encourage input from students to see if tutoring and the options available properly meet the student needs. Importantly, it would also greatly improve existing services. I think this is important, because now more than ever students are worried about passing classes and getting good grades. Improving and discussing these options can help those students find the help they need to do well on exams and in class.
One topic I would want the group to concentrate on would be preparing for the "real world." Some students, after studying very hard for the classes and getting very good grades, when they graduate they won't be able to get a good job. They won't know how to handle the "real world." There needs to be something to ease the transition from college to the "real world."
I would want to concentrate on better connection with students. Improving Student-teacher relationship.It seem some teachers dont care and that decreases on student acemdic success,which is most important. This seems like the main issue with some teacher. Improving these relationship can motive students to succed. Its mostly the effort of the student but teachers have their part also.
One idea that I would bring up in discussion is elimination of standardized testing and having more cultural groups at SIUE. Standardized testing is very judgemental and it doesn't really show who the students are that care the most. Some people who get really high scores don't get good ACT scores are really hard workers. And some people who get high ACT scores do not like to work in school at all. Furthermore, students should feel more in union with other students that share the same culture. I feel like there should be more an emphasis on that.
I agree with Denita, I would eliminate Standardized Testing as well. The test should not determine on which schools accept you and which don't. It's funny because I didn't do as well as I wanted on that test, but when I got to college my grades never reflected how my scores.
A good focus topic would be the transition from the college world to the "real world". Many students may not know how the skills they learn in college relate to life past college. This discussion should not only encompass skills that are needed in the professional world, it should also include critical thinking and other skills that enables one to think on their feet and tackle any challenge that arises as an independent adult. We acquire these necessary skills through our college journey but many of us don't make the connection between what we learn in a classroom or on campus to worldly situations.
The topic i would bring to attention would be the passion of a teacher vs. their students' success at the given subject. If passion is brought into the equation it fuels discussion and in essence a better understanding of the subject at hand. If the teacher is passionate of the material being taught how can a student ever be expected to learn to their fullest capacity
Christian Bias said...The topic that I would touch on would be making sure commitment from the individual student is number one priority. I am a senior this year and one of the most important concepts that Professor H. and Bradley taught us was the aspect of "selling-out", not in the bad perspective but in the committed one. Minority students have to have the right mind set being in a college environment like SIUe. There are just things that you are going to have to give up in order to be successful, and if you are committed the understanding teachers, academic support, and grades will show.
One subject that i would choose to address with SIUE officials would be the amount of class time actually used to teach the subject at hand. There are too many teachers that let their views and ideals slip through into their teaching methods. In some cases it may be good to have your own teaching style, but when the relevance of a topic is insignificant to my learning experience I feel that it is a waste of time.
I would focus on bridging the gap between our education here at siue and its real world application. Many students learn the information needed only to take the tests and then forget it. The benefits of our education while we are here doesn't amount to much because we do not get a chance to put it into practice. We need more opportunities to gain experience in the fields in which we want to work. This will help better our understanding of the concepts we learn in class by allowing us to apply them in the areas which truly interest us.
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