Babson College teacher named Kara Miller notices a difference among her students these days. Namely, that the American ones are just plain lazy.
My “C,” “D,” and “F” students this semester are almost exclusively American, while my students from India, China, and Latin America have – despite language barriers – generally written solid papers, excelled on exams, and become valuable class participants.
One girl from Shanghai became a fixture at office hours, embraced our college writing centre, and incessantly e-mailed me questions about her evolving papers. Her English is still mediocre: she frequently puts “the” everywhere (as in “the leader supported the feminism and the environmentalism”) and confuses “his” and “her.” But that didn’t stop her from doing rewrite after rewrite, tirelessly trying to improve both structure and grammar.
Chinese undergraduates have consistently impressed me with their work ethic, though I have seen similar habits in students from India, Thailand, Brazil, and Venezuela. Often, they’ve done little English-language writing in their home countries, and they frequently struggle to understand my lectures. But their respect for professors – and for knowledge itself – is palpable. The students listen intently to everything I say, whether in class or during office hours, and try to engage in the conversation.
Too many 18-year-old Americans, meanwhile, text one another under their desks (certain they are sly enough to go unnoticed), check e-mail, decline to take notes, and appear tired and disengaged.
True for all Americans? Of course not.
A completely unfair generalization from one classroom at one college in one city? Possibly.
But it also rings true. As a nation, we just don’t seem to be as hungry as we used to be.
(via Paul Kedrosky)
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