Actually, this thought didn't evolve from my experience as a paddling instructor. Sure, I have continued to watch others and learn new teaching techniques from them, but the lessons are still pretty much as they have always been. I am talking here about college.
I remember going to college (and med school). I remember going to lectures, taking notes and then studying those notes and the assigned text book. When the time came, I took quizzes and exams (by the thousands), and used my wrong answers to guide my future study. Today, as one teaching 3 college courses (some to premed students), I am flummoxed by some things I am seeing.
1. Students insists that notes and/or power points be put up on our web site well ahead of the lecture (I do the work).
2. They come to the lectures and furiously write notes, but the lecture (and slides) are the ones posted days before the class!
3. A student e mailed to say that she felt my exam was unfair. First, she lectured me, she had been taught that there should be 4 multiple choices, 2 of which should be obviously wrong. She insisted that the student who "knew their stuff" would be able to decide between the two remaining answers. Huh? Wait, she has more to say.
She didn't like that my questions were in two columns as "I could see the other column out of the corner of my eye, all the time." Never mind what she thought about my multiple choice answers that included "a & b are correct", or "all of the above are correct." I cannot, in my deepest fantasy, imagine ever saying that to one of my professors (we had no e mail back then).
4. In one class the students are required to write a paper...a lousy 3-5 pages. Well, you would not believe the grammar and spelling errors. Sentences, that when read out loud, sounded like someone from Mars trying to convey an idea in English, and doing so horribly. More over, many of them use semi colons all over the place. I was taught that to use a ; is to brag about your writing abilities (I really don't see much need for the damn thing, any way...now I am going to hear from the editor). They simply cannot write. My generation wrote much better, and I mean while in high school.
5. They want gimmicks like hand outs and "games" and "tricks" to help them "learn". And on it goes.
So what's up here? Are the high schools dumbing down their standards? I know a lot of people graduate college. I wonder how well prepared they really are to take on a job. I have more faith in a student who has taken an intro to sea kayaking course to save me than I do in some of these scholars.