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Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Doing" One's Homework

A young woman sat down next to me on the subway. She pulled from her knapsack an Italian language textbook. Naturally I became interested in what she was up to.

She took out a notebook and "did" an exercise in which she had to rewrite various sentences using different pronouns and so different verb conjugations. The way she proceeded was to pick a new pronoun, and then write any wich-wach verb conjugation that came into her head next to it, so, e.g., "Sono uno studente" became "Noi e' studenti." ("We is students," basically.)

Not once did she check the tables of verb conjugations that were on the previous couple of pages of her textbook. When she was done writing she simply closed the notebook.

Well, I suppose she had "done" her homework if we use "done" in the sense of "screwed." But the way she proceeded was probably worse than not having done anything at all: she was drilling nonsense conjugations into her head. And when she fails the next exam, she will complain, "But I did all of the homework."

One final point: if you find yourself sitting near me on the subway, it pays to be on your best behavior!

1 comment:

  1. My dad is a high school Spanish teacher (and, at one point, a community college professor), and he's also taught Russian. I used to help him grade some of the work, and I really don't know how some people come up with what they put down. I shouldn't be a hypocrite though, because I'm sure my Latin homework in high school was pretty bad (when I even did it).

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