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Teaching Comp101 and Research–Reader Question

October 13, 2008

The High and Holy Forker asks the following in response to my post Google is not Research :

Oh, the fear builds! I’m polishing off both my Humanities MA and Writing Instructor Cert, internship for Comp 101 (at a pretty big CC) in spring. Question: it’s a 101 course, how much “research” am I likely to actually get?

I will take a few liberties with my assumptions, so I beg your indulgence from the start.  Teaching at a “pretty big CC” means, to me, that either you live/work in a relatively large urban area or a smallish one with a large industrial base.  Saying that, which really doesn’t mean much, your CC students should fall into the following stratas:

  • Super-achiever (5%): who for some reason (fear of the unknown, breakup, costs, etc.) didn’t “move away” for college just yet.  Treasure these.  They are few and far between, and they come to work.  You will get real research from these with minimal effort on your part.
  • Get By-ers (60%): There is usually a good reason many students go to a CC, a lot of being that they are not, either emotionally, financially or academically prepared for university.  My experience has been more of the emotional-academic (although current economic events could skew the trend).  Saying that, expect entering students to not perform deep research, mostly due to being unaware of how to go about it (see my post about expectations).
  • Slackers (rest): you can lead a student to knowledge, but you can’t make them think.

Saying all of this, I am no way commenting on the students personality or likability (think Jeff Spicoli).  You will, though, want to not assume any entering skills, knowledge or abilities.  It is just easier that way.

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