Wednesday, August 30, 2006

a story with a point

Here's a story with a point to be made about teaching:


Ed was really in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was
 really annoyed. She told him "Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 140 in 4 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE."

The next morning Ed got up early and left for work. When his wife
 woke up, she looked out the window and sure enough there was a small box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway. 

Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway and
brought the box back in the house. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.

Funeral services for Ed have been scheduled for Friday.

*   *   *   *   

Sometimes, we are Ed's wife and our students are Ed.  Ed did exactly what he was told, but it wasn't what his wife wanted.  Why not?  Well, to start with, she didn't give the big picture--she gave the details.  He put the details together into a package far different from what she had envisioned.

Our students do that all the time.  They try to give us what they think we want, but we reject it (although we don't kill them . . .) because it doesn't fit our picture.

This semester, give your students the big picture as well as the details.  You don't really want to be Ed's wife, and your students REALLY don't want to be Ed.


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This is a great joke for all kinds of purposes. I've used it in two different classes this week.

In one class, I was trying to help students understand why it is legal writers have to include all the necessary information about a case when explaining a rule.

In the other class, I used it to explain why merely setting out the facts of the decided case and the client's case was not analogical reasoning and why, when engaging in analogical reasoning, they will have to think about ways that two seemingly disparate objects - a fast car and a bathroom scale - can be similar.

And I have a feeling I'll be able to find other uses for it. Thanks for posting this, Nancy!

Posted by: Hether Macfarlane | Sep 8, 2006 3:40:21 PM

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