Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Part Two: What's up with THAT?

First, help me understand this: someone I know keeps the end rolls of toilet tissue - about 1/4 inch on each.

Why?

No, I haven't asked the person. I don't know why, perhaps I'm afraid to hear the answer.

And so it goes.

Next: why don't teachers actually teach their students RESEARCH SKILLS? Starting with keeping index cards, or a notebook dedicated to their project. They were in the library last week, and they may have had at most, a sheet of paper and a pen. And I found exactly ONE sheet of paper with notes, AFTER they had left. Too cool for school?

Should I go off topic and mention the student helper who can't remember his tasks - there are about six of them. His supervisor said just as much. I mentioned she might want to type a list. Then I saw such a list a few days later. As stupid as this may sound, I keep a notebook for each job I've had.

And I've had many!

A notebook on how to do your job helps you avoid the student helper-type questions, like:

"NOW, what do I do?" He asks ME this, and I just tell him I'm NOT his supervisor. I'm not!

"What time do I start today?" I said I'm NOT your supervisor, so I DO NOT KNOW.

"Where's the nearest drinking fountain?" I told him the other day, but repeated my answer. "Oh, I THINK that one's broken." THINK or KNOW? If you haven't seen it today, do you KNOW?

So, if you HAVE a notebook, you could write all sorts of things in it. Like your schedule. Your six tasks so you could learn them. And then the supervisor could teach you the six new tasks! You could put a map of the library in your notebook, so you can know where each and every drinking fountain is, on every floor!

Okay, back on topic: Research Skills. When I asked the students how they were going to decide whether the book they held in their hands was going to have the information they needed for their topic, one of them said: "Read it."

They were genuinely delighted when I told them they didn't have to. It was a surprise to them that all they would have to do was look in the table of contents, index, read a few pages, and look to see if there was a bibliography with more references.

But a researcher told me that some law students on this island, because they are so used to looking at databases and reports online, did not even know books HAVE indices and TOCs!

It's a new world, and I'm not sure I like it. But at least, I have something "new" to teach each incoming class. And their older siblings!

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