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Thesis: Real Intelligence (So educated but could not be smart)
The article "What is intelligence, Anyway?" by Isaac Asimov, tells that he felt he was highly intelligent because he had been getting test scores that were higher than average, this didn't guarantee that he was very good at answering academic questions with worthy answers. He took his car repairman as an example of someone whose intelligence is not based on getting high scores in aptitude tests. When something went wrong with his car, he asked this auto repairman to come and fix the car, as if they were divine oracles. He supposed that in case this man, or a carpenter or farmers who have intricate knowledge or hard working ability ask him a question for an intelligence test, he would absolutely do poorly. He said that his intelligence is not absolute but functional to the society that he lives in and the society has created rules divining who is intelligent and who is not. His auto repairman started telling him jokes and tested his intelligence by asking him a question about the blind man who came in the shop to buy scissors. Apparently, he answered the repairman with his fingers making a scissoring motion. The auto repairman laughed and said," Why you dumb jerk, he used his voice and asked for them". The car repairman had been trying this trick all day. Asimov asked if he caught any, and the repairman said "quite a few, but I knew for sure I'd catch you". He asked him what he meant by that, the repairman said, "because you're so goddamned educated but you couldn't be very smart". The joke would fool most people, smart or not because they're thinking about the item and not the men's disability.
Thesis: Born Smart- or Get Smart
Kathy Seal's article" The Trouble with Talent: Are We Born Smart or Do We Get Smart?" tells us about Jim Stigler, a psychologist from UCLA, who wanted to test whether persistence might be the key factor why students from Asia do better than American kids at elementary math, (by designing an experiment in which the same insolvable math problem and separate group of Japanese and American children) Most American kids tried to solve the problem, after struggling, they gave up. The Japanese kids on the other hand, tried and keep on working until the test was interrupted. Stigler said, if the Japanese kids kept on working, they'll eventually get the answer and said that the American kids thought "either you get it or you don't". He detailed that Asian education relies on rote and drill. Asian teachers believe that their chief task is to stimulate thinking and anyone who thinks long enough about a problem can move toward its solution. He also concludes that the Asian belief in hard work as the key to success is one reason why Asians outperforms Americans in academics. Americans are persuaded that success in school requires inborn talent and you don't believe in education in some fundamental level. The Japanese believe that everybody can master the curriculum if you give him or her the time. There's some argument that the American fixation on natural ability causes to waste the potential of many children. Cross-cultural tests show that in a series of studies spanning a ten-year period, Stigler and his coauthor, Harold W. Steveson of the University of Michigan compared reading and math-test scores at more than 75 elementary schools in Sendai, Japan; Taiwan, China, Minneapolis and Chicago. The scores of the best-performing American school graders were lower than the scores of the worst performing Asian schools. Hard work pervades Asian culture, and even many folk tales make the point that diligence can achieve any goal. Asian countries demonstrate that the expectations in academic effort are democratic and high. Stigler added, that if learning is gradual and proceeds step by step, anyone could gain knowledge. They showed that the Japanese snaillike pace of giving the lesson in 52 minutes from start to finish allows the brighter students time to understand the concept in depth and slower kids and even learning disabled students benefit from hearing one concept explained in different ways and a large number of Japanese children advance relatively far in math. Meanwhile, in America, assigning students to curricular tracks based to ability is common but happens even in schools where formal tracking is not practical. Kids always know who the teacher thinks is "smart, sorta smart and kinda smart". Many kids face lower expectations and a watered-down curriculum. The national mania for positive self-esteem too often leads Americans to puff up kid's confidence and forget to tell them that genius is 98 percent perspiration and many Americans believed people who work hard in schools are lack of ability and someone who is so smart don't have to try. According to the survey made by UCLA researcher Valanne Henderson, they asked 229 seventh graders whether people are born smart or get smart by working hard. They compared the sixth and seventh grade students' achievement scores. The get-smart beliefs stayed high or improved while the born-smart believers scores dropped. Dweck's concluded that if you want your kids to succeed, you should emphasize effort and quit from praising or blaming intelligence per se. They even found out that bright girls believe that people are born smart, than boys, and that explains why many American girls stop taking high school math and science. Dweck added that seeing intelligence as a inborn trait also turns children into quitters, they are not worried about their intelligence, so they're afraid to take risks. Kids who think you can get smart aren't afraid by failures and find it exciting to figure out what went wrong and keep at it. Getting Americans to give up their worship of natural ability and replace it with Asian belief in effort seems a big undertaking but possible to train kids in hard work. The key to bringing kids around is for the adults close to them to talk and act that effort counts. The efficacy Institute is working based on theories that social psychologist Jeff Howard developed. He investigated why black students weren't performing on school as well as whites and Asians. Using the slogan" Think you can; work hard; get smart", the school conducts a seminar for teachers that wean them from the born-smart belief system. They told the teachers to talk to kids and convince them that they can get A's in tests and kids respond immediately and the results worked very well. Current efforts for change are modest, no less a force that the government is weaving this new thinking into its education agenda. During a talk by California Teachers Association, U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, pledged to work on setting national standards in education that must be for all of young people, regardless of their economic background, and must convince the people that kids are not born smart but they get smart.
In "A College Professor's View of College and Teaching", one of a professor's hardest experience's is to patrol the classroom during the final examination. If he tried to make the course important, and tried to interest the students in an adventure of learning, it is not possible for the teacher to know the students anxiety before or during the exam. The exam is there to prove that the students have actually learned something through the term. Students view finals as the last hurdle before they can move on. The examination gives the teacher the ability to see if information has been successfully transferred to the student. But the most important of all to the student is advancing toward their ultimate goal, a degree. Exams measure a student's accomplishment and teachers assign a mark. An integral part of the educational process is the mark. The final examination is the culmination of all the school work and testing that has already taken place, and the mark is what the student is interested in. Colleges are interested in the final outcome of the exam, and less so in the professors and the students. Exams have moved towards essay questions rather than the true or false or multiple choice questions, this type of examination must still place its emphasis on the facts in order to make possible a uniform grading system by one or more readers. Some professors want their students to think for themselves while others prefer the subject matter to adhere strictly to the text book. The author says that the students who are left to think for themselves will only be able to think based on their life experiences. He asks what grade these students should be given. The author feels teachers should be able to grade students as they see fit based on the students' ability where poor students maybe given an A for encouragement and good students maybe graded poorly if their work is below their ability. However, because marks are used as a measure of the students' performance and can affect future scholarship or job opportunities, teachers do not have real freedom or flexibility to mark, as they want. Students seem conditioned by the educational system to know what will give them success. They measured their teachers based on their personality traits to figure out what the professors want to see, this locks the student from taking any risks or liberties with the system.
Thesis: Bad Teaching
In this story "Sociology Final", the student arrived in the class late. The classroom was full because of an examination. The teacher seemed apathetic and was reading a book while smoking a pipe. When the student asked for the test booklet, the teacher had no idea who the student was. After establishing his identity and receiving the test booklet, the student went to find a seat but couldn't find one and sat down in the corner. When he opened the test booklet, he was completely lost. He had no idea about the subject matter; some of this could be because of nerves. He went to the cafeteria, had a cup of coffee, read his book. It seems that he quotes a passage from his book, Alonzo's El Gibaro, where he talks about being able to withdraw to an imaginary world. He went home and translated some sentences from the test booklet as best as he could without a dictionary. It seemed Edward Rivera has no interest in learning "sociology" and the professor has no interest in teaching it as well. He found out that this course is so shocking. He took his test booklet at home and apparently, he failed.