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December 09, 1970 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-12-09

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Page Eight

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, December 9; 1970

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PRE-CHANUKAH
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URGE SELF-INITIATED LEARNING

Classes tend toward new student freedom

(Continued from Page 1)
Based on extensive interviews
concerning the state of class
structuring with students a n d
faculty, the following generali-
ties are apparent:
There seems to be a trend
away from most of the rules 1
which characterize highly struc-
tured classes, and a resulting
trend toward classes placing in-
creased emphasis on the student
to initiate and maintain t h e
learning process.
The role of the teacher as a
"font of knowledge from which
the student drinks" is being re-
placed in many cases with t h e
role of the teacher as facilita-
tor and advisor, a kind of med-
iator who is available when
problems arise.
* While it is obvious that stu-
dents generally abhor rigidly
structured class situations, it is
somewhat surprising that they
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equally dislike extremely un-
structured classes.
At first, it seems, the idea in-
evitably appeals to students.
Most look forward to a com-
pletely unique and rewarding
educational experience. But
about halfway through the
term, most of them say they wish
the teacher would impose at
least enough structure to t h e
course so they would be more
motivated to learn.
Almost all students, along
with most of the faculty, say the
ideal educational atmosphere
would be the striking of a bal-
ance between both extremes.
0 Class structure is often a
factor of the nature of the
course material and the sizetof
the class. Most professors be-
lieve strongly that introductory
classes andclasses with rela-
tively large numbers of stu-
dents require more structuring
than smaller, more specialized
classes.
Mandatory attendance is t h e
most obvious manifestation of
class structuring. The main
questions seem to be whether a
student should be forced to come
to class, given that the class-
room is the primary tool of ed-
ucation, or whether if he is
forced to attend, can he still
retain a favorable attitude to-
ward the course?
Almost all teachers believe the
nature of course material and

the size of the class will dictate
whether attendance is neces-
sary. Many teachers hold stu-
dents responsible for all t h e
material presented in the class.
"In order to have some no-
tion of what is going on in a
large lecture it is necessary to
know attendance," says P r o f.
Ellwood Derr, who teaches a
music theory class to all soph-
omores in the Music school.
"This situation which h a s
become necessary is not an ideal
one, but in order that we have
some kind of uniformity and

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4

standardization, it is necessary,"
Derr says. "I would like to have
it another way."
"In my opinion, attendance is
quite important, because the
student who cuts classes regular-
ly will inevitably suffer," says
music Prof. David Crawford.
Nursing School Dean R h o d a
Russell agrees with Crawford,
saying "we don't require you to
come, but if you don't get it,
you don't get it."
"We have much more need of
personal contact with our stu-
dents than other schools do with

their students, because of the
nature of the learning process
and the kind of courses in the
nursing school," she says.
Language is another area
which both teachers and stu-
dents generally agree requires
regular study in order to keep
pace with the material present-
ed in class.
"While for the most part
there is no mandatory attend-
ance in elementary F r e n c h
courses, because language is a
skilled course in communica-
tions, classroom attendance is

There seems to be a trend away from most of
the rules which characterize highly structured
classes.
r:?E??;.i":"i~m s i;ie~g~is;i~mtir:S"::3h{.::: """:?:::Ai:%?fi%~: "re""::;o""":J i:?..;: ei {"Y;:ai " i}: a"T: i :0;~;;; s;ii;;;::

very important," says Michio
Hagiwara, director of the ele-
mentary French program
He says most students f i n d
they cannot afford to miss
classes because the work can al-
most never be made-up.
But mandatory attendance en-
counters disapproval from many
instructors.
"I think taking attendance is
absurd," says English P r o f .
Marvin Felheim, for example.
"You can make students come to
class, but you can't make make
them pay attention once you've
got them trapped."
Many professors and teaching
fellows accept some of the re-
sponsibility for students not at-
tending their classes.
"If a faculty member sees a
lack of attendance at one of his
classes, before penaliizng stu-
dents, he should wonder if he
may not be partly at fault," says
Richard Wilson, associate dean
of the engineering college..
One of the major responsibili-

ties of the teacher is to stimulate
students," says Wilson. "He
must be creative and innovative
in attempting to win the stu-
dent's interest."
As expected, students are al-
most all unanimously opposed to
mandatory attendance and as-
signed seating. But, as a rule,
most would agree with the pro-
fessors that course material can
make attendance necessary.
Michael McGill, '73, agrees
that engineering courses require
that the student keeps up, say-
ing "If you miss a day, you
might not be able to catch up,
or figure out what the read-
ings are talking about."
'It is impossible to cram for a
language test at the end of the
term," says John Mitchell, "73,
currently enrolled in Spanish
231."Thebest way to make it is
to prepare 'yourself daily, and
not miss any classes."
For the most part, students
do not like either very structured
or very unstructured classes.
They seem to prefer a class with
a flexible framework that leaves
ample room for innovation.
Sonny Cohen, president of
Engineering Council, is an
example of many students who
believes courses should gener-
ally become less rigid from
freshman to senior year.
"Ri-ht from the beginning it
should be made clear that edu-
cation is going to be primarily
the students' responsibility," he
says.
A Junior in the literary col-
lege honors program who has
had experience with both types
of courses dislikes them both,
saying "the ideal is to find a
happy medium."
"I can't stand super-unstruc-
tured courses," she says. "Unless
the students involved are ma-
ture enough, they can't assume
the responsibility necessary to
benefit from such a free atmos-
phere. It is virtually impossible
to get away from 13 years of
taking rules."
At the same time, she says
rigidly structured courses are too
confining, adding "structured
classes only breed resentment.
You feel too constrained."
One example of an extremely
disillusioned student, who nev-
ertheless speaks for many oth-
ers, is a sophomore in the lit-
erary college. She is presently
enrolled in a loosely structured
introductory sociologytcourse,
(Continued on Page 9)

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for information call
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Tickets are available
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Thanks for your patronage and we look forward
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The world has entered a new stage of history,
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The source of this new development was a
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THE GLORY OF GOD
Baha'u'llah is the latest in the succession of Divine
Messengers sent by God since the beginning of

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