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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Enchantment: Fantasy's Revealing of Agency Through Words

   
Author Topic: Enchantment: Fantasy's Revealing of Agency Through Words
Katarain
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Well, my paper is done... my topic title is my title. I'm not posting it.... I might submit it here if I get a good grade on it. Right now, I'm in that part of the semester where I'm tired and feel as if everything I do is stupid. I require outside validation from someone with the title of professor to believe that what I did is worth anything... [Smile]

But it's really good to have it done.

Yay! [Smile] I got to turn it in now.

-Katarain

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El JT de Spang
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What a tease! I wanna read it!
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Just another Dharma bum
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I loooooooved Enchantment, I'd love to read your paper on it if you ever post it!
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Portabello
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You are not allowed to tell us you wrote it and then not post it for us. [No No]
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Katarain
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*whines* But I wanted to celebrate that it's done...I can't post it!! OSC reads this board now!! How embarrassing is that?? He'll reply and say Foolish girl! That's not what I was saying at all!! I give you an F-! Go cry in the corner, now!

This whole thing has already caused me an excessive case of punctuation marks...

-Katarain

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Orson Scott Card
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Please tell me WHEN I have ever said anything offensive or even critical to someone for a paper about one of my works <grin>. I'd love it if you'd contact the site and obtain the email address to which you might submit the paper for us to post. (Won't list the email addresses here, though they are widely known, lest some webcrawler add us to more spam lists.)
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lonelywalker
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Woo! Congratulations on finishing your paper. I have to do my Ender's Game presentation on Monday and at the moment it's all in bits and pieces...

And, yes, you have to post it. The title sounds pretty interesting!

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ketchupqueen
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Yes, post it! I want to read it, after all that hullabaloo about resources! [Razz] [Kiss]
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Katarain
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Wow. Didn't see that last three posts until just now. Forgot all about the thread!

Well, let me tell you... for some reason, my teacher doesn't think that I passed the course up to her standards, but she gave me a B because of the standards of the department. I really don't understand it. She said it was participation, but I participated just as much as the rest of my class and she often complimented me on adding a lot to our discussions--like she was really impressed. And in the same letter, she said that she really liked my paper topic. It needs more revision, though. But I don't think it was the paper that caused her to say that about my grade.

I don't know... I'm pretty disappointed in her comments, because I don't understand them--and don't think they're justified at all. According to her own grading scale, the grade I got was the one I deserved. Whether she has this unwritten standard I didn't measure up to, I don't know. I'm going to talk to her some time this summer. I can say, without a doubt, that she is a much tougher teacher than the veterans in the department--but that's typical of a new teacher. (She's new to graduate teaching, I believe--definitely new to this university.)

I know that I didn't live up to my own potential in the class--and I take the blame for most of that...but in all fairness, I've had a LOT of personal troubles this semester, including a very ill husband.

As for posting my paper, I'm going to be doing another revision or three on it, and then I'll submit it.

-Katarain

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Orson Scott Card
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Maybe your teacher is one of those people who thinks she can judge other people's "potential" and decide whether they're "working up to" it.

Maybe your teacher SAID she appreciated your comments but in fact resented them (I can't know what kind of person she is) because while you livened the discussion, your ideas contradicted hers. I've known a few (VERY few) teachers who would smile and tell you how much they appreciated your "contribution" while they secretly loathed you - no, ME - and found ways to show it without actually admitting it. (Like the teacher who deliberately changed a grade I had earned in order to lose me my scholarship.) It happens - but I hope that isn't what's going on.

Frankly, grading is just plain hard. When I teach, it's the thing I hate worst. My dad was a professor of education, and we talked a lot about grading and testing and such, and my father had complete contempt for grading on the curve. "Grading on the curve assumes that the teacher is irrelevant to the process," my dad told me. "If you're a GOOD teacher, then all your students who put forth any effort - by attending and paying attention - should get As and Bs, because you taught them well." To grade on the curve, he said, was a failing grade for the teacher.

But if you do grade by standards, what do you do when the standard obviously fails to reward (or over-rewards) students who clearly deserve either more encouragement or more of a wake-up call than the "official" grade will give them.

I had a lot of teachers who resented the fact that I earned an A in their class without taking it seriously at all. I'd attend the bare minimum of classes, study not at all, ace the tests, write A papers, and they HATED it.

But I meant them no disrespect. I simply felt that my time belonged to me. I allocated enough of my time to their classes to meet their standards for an A. Beyond that, I spent my time on other things.

Sometimes I cheated myself out of opportunities to learn from excellent teachers. Sometimes, that attitude allowed me to survive in incompetently taught classes. Win some, lose some. But I always resented (and still resent) teachers who punish a student for being clever enough to get by without a lot of effort. It isn't about effort, is it? It's about results.

So as a teacher, when I have to give a grade I'm frustrated. I'm perfectly happy to give Ds or failing grades to people who don't bother to attend classes where classroom discussion is vital. I'm also happy to let bright students coast through if that's what they want to do.

But when students work hard, I want to reward progress as well as achievement. But does that mean giving the same grade to someone who brings his work up several levels of competence as to someone who by natural talent easily achieved excellence? I always want to give, not a grade, but an explanation.

And now here your teacher is, giving you the explanation, and it only makes things worse!

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Katarain
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Yeah... I thought I had understood it better before I had read her typed comments that she included with everyone's final paper. We had emailed back and forth, and she said that she gave me a B because of Departmental standards--she didn't mention that she didn't think I should have passed. I assumed she meant that she thought I deserved a C. I don't really agree that I deserved a C, either, but it's a lot easier to understand than a D or an F. So for her to say there's that big of a difference between the grade she gave me and the grade she thinks I deserved---THAT bothers me.

But I do like this teacher. I think she's great--and she's all about challenging. I think she was very sincere when she told me that I have the mind for this stuff. What she wanted from me was to be able to transfer what I was good about verbalizing into the written work. In her letter, she said that I started the class with better writing skills than all or most of the class (I don't remember which she said), but I didn't improve like I should have. But she seemed to indicate it was my participation--not my writing--that caused her to believe my grade was undeserved. I don't know... maybe she meant participation generally.

Anyway... I like her, and I already asked her to be on my committee for my oral exams and thesis defense. She and I will talk--but AFTER I have a chance to send her a beautiful new revision of my paper. It will have no affect on the grade, but it's about the learning--not the grades.

Thanks for your comments, Scott. They helped me put her explanation into a better light--and also realize that I did put the minimum amount into her class. I was one of _those_ students. (What she doesn't know is that the rest of the class of 6 was just as bad, or worse, than me. But that's okay. I'm just really honest about it.)

I did say one thing that she said bothered her... I made a comment before one class started that I wished we could be outside on such a beautiful day instead of in class. She was pretty much shocked, because we all chose to be here. I suppose I probably did say something like that--but I certainly was joking. I was a teacher too (high school), and I had plenty of students say things like that and really be whining about it. It was likely one of those things that I said to be funny and failed miserably..and then when I said it, there was no way to back out gracefully, so I just shut up. I think we all say stupid things sometimes... and that was one of mine.

Anyway.... I've rambled on enough. It's Memorial Day!! Gotta... um.. clean more of the apartment. Yay me.

-Katarain

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Sartorius
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Wow. You're taking this a lot more calmly than I would have.
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alluvion
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*tries to rig a grade-A sign of encouragement for Katarain (if that's her real name, but never mind!)*

*KERPLUNK!*

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Narnia
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(((Katarain))) I still want to read it. Enchantment is my favorite work of OSC's.

Speaking of OSC related school projects, my younger brother (10th grade) just finished his huge Ender's game presentation. He drew this awesome collage and designed his own logos for the battle school armies. He also drew frames for a comic book that everyone in his group contributed to. One of my favorite frames was Ender on a table in front of the Giant and the two drinks. [Big Grin]

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Exploding Monkey
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I had a similar situation where I passed an English course with a 'B,' only to have the teacher tell me she didn't think I was ready to move on. This woman had done nothing but put my efforts down all semester long while I was earning mostly B's on my papers from her. To this day I don't understand where she was coming from.

Anyway, I politely told her that since I passed both the course and the exit exam that she would indeed allow me to move on or we would be sitting down with the Dean to discuss it.

She passed me.

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Starsnuffer
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Maybe I have just been lucky enough to get teachers who respect my abilities, or maybe I dont let on that much that I barely try because my teachers have always tried to be accomadating(sp?) to questions I have and are rarely bitter about me pointing out in not the nicest way, what i see to be pitfalls in their logic.
Also in regard to OSC reports, I have just finished a few hours ago a poster on shadow of the giant that I will be turning in tomarrow.

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beatnix19
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As a teacher I completely agree about grading. It is very frustrating. We have just begun reading a very interesting book called "How to Grade for Learning" by Ken O'Conner. He has a very interesting insight on how to grade in today's educational structure.

"But when students work hard, I want to reward progress as well as achievement. But does that mean giving the same grade to someone who brings his work up several levels of competence as to someone who by natural talent easily achieved excellence? I always want to give, not a grade, but an explanation."

He addresses this concern. I like his approach. He says that as teachers we often lie to ourselves about grading being an objective activity. Everything about grading is subjective. We chose what material to cover, how to present it, what material to test over, how the test questions are worded. Every aspect pulls from our own preferences and prejudices. So... He says we need to embrace the subjective neature of grading and insead of trying to fall back on the numbers, look instead at the students and their overall progress. He says it is more important to have a strong explanation for your grades and why you do things the way you do as opposed to having numbers in your book.

If you ever get a chance it is a book worth looking at.

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0range7Penguin
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What I hate is when teachers seem more interested in the grade than whether or not they are actually teaching you anything. THey give you pointless busywork and other stupid things. About to go off on tangent, must restrain self...
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SpEeDMaSTeR
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Um. Katarain, your essay isn't posted yet. Let's go! =Ă¾
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macnewbold
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Hear, hear. One more vote for posting the essay.
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Daric
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I just like killing the curve. In my chemistry class everyone failed the test yet I recieved a 124 due to an excessive amount of bonus points. Everyone hated me after that...
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macnewbold
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Teachers should simply call scores like that "outliers" and ignore them when calculating the curve or high score.

I once had a teacher move a test date mid-semester to a date when I would be out of town, and so I had to take the test as an oral exam rather than written. I did okay, scoring an 80%. The high on the written was 69%, so he just made my score equal to the real high score, since I took a completely different test. It worked out well for everyone, especially since I doubt I could have pulled a 69% on the written version.

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Yozhik
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quote:
I've known a few (VERY few) teachers who would smile and tell you how much they appreciated your "contribution" while they secretly loathed you - no, ME - and found ways to show it without actually admitting it.
This happened to me too. The professor in charge of the Russian language teaching program at the UW didn't like me, which meant that I didn't get a TA position unless there was absolutely no one else available. Also, he told me that I had to pass all of my language competency exams before I would be allowed to teach... yet even after I HAD passed them, he found an excuse to deny me a position, while giving slots to OTHER grad students who hadn't passed the exams. This SOB was the reason I left grad school in Russian at the end of 1997 -- he had a huge influence in the department, and it was obvious that he was never going to treat me fairly.
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SpEeDMaSTeR
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quote:
Originally posted by macnewbold:
Teachers should simply call scores like that "outliers" and ignore them when calculating the curve or high score.


What happens with this though is that if you have a student that gets a 90 and the rest get 50-70's after the scale he won't have a relatively high score. Why punish the kids that do better on difficult work by not giving them a boost? I'd rather pass all students of mine and have the smartest of them averaging 100+ than to have the most challenged be failing. Sufficient effort, of course, is mandated.
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Daric
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I ended up tutoring the entire class by the end of the year. And by tutor I mean I was in a class with a bunch of idiots that thought the teacher didn't know anything so they came to my desk in the back and didn't allow me to finish my work during class.
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Liz B
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OSC said:
quote:
But does that mean giving the same grade to someone who brings his work up several levels of competence as to someone who by natural talent easily achieved excellence? I always want to give, not a grade, but an explanation.
I love reading/writing workshop grading for that reason. Each student and I sit down and set goals appropriate for his or her level and interests, then at the end of the quarter we sit down again to see if those goals were met or not. I'd rather just write a detailed evaluation, but since I have to give a grade . . .
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Liz B
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Oh, and I want to read the essay too!
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Katarain
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I keep on waiting for this post to drop off the front page, so I can be off the hook, but ya'll just won't let it die! Why Why Why?!!

*Agony*

Anyway, I did NOT rewrite this... and it's pretty darn crappy... and it sounds like a 3 year old wrote it. A slow 3 year old. I have better abilities than this. I was in a hurry. *sigh* Okay.. disclaimer out of the way... Here you go... Don't say I didn't warn you. And don't bother telling me it's good. Cause then I'll know you either are lying to make me feel better or you only skimmed it. [Wink]

***The paper has been deleted here. Email me if you really, really, REALLY want to read it. katarain AT yahoo DOT com or leave a post here.***

-Katarain

[ August 11, 2005, 08:43 AM: Message edited by: Katarain ]

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CRash
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Wow! Spectacular work, Katarain. How long did it take you to complete it?
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Katarain
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Ya know...I don't remember. I wrote it in a few stages of several hours each. If I had taken more time, I could have done a better job...for example, taking the concept of agency past the very simple definition I used. There's a lot that I could have delved into. It ended up being a bit too superficial... as usual... [Smile]

And thank you.

-Katarain

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