Douglas A. Bernstein of the University of South Florida and has over 40 years of classroom experience. He thought he had seen it all, but he continues to be surprised till this day by some of his students’ antics and excuses in the classroom.
In his ‘Taxonomy of Teacher Complaints’ or TTC as he calls it, Bernstein states that a lack of motivation and respect, irresponsible learning behavior, dependency, academic dishonesty and an overdeveloped sense of entitlement in students are a teacher’s worst nightmare. Over the years, he has had students who never turned in any assignments or kept up with any of the reading but expected to receive at least a B grade just for showing up in class (although that meant texting, sleeping or chatting with classmates instead of actually paying attention).
Bernstein’s talk was the APS-David Myers Distinguished Lecture on the Science and Craft of Teaching Psychology given each year by a psychological scientist at the APS Convention. While Bernstein applauds these types of students as having “chutzpah”, he likens it to a scenario in which someone might kill their parents and plead for mercy on the grounds of being an orphan. Bernstein continues to be amazed at how some students can be quite bold and irresponsible at the same time and shows the audience several examples of how students exhibit these types of behavior – on the website, FunnyExamAnswers.com, in response to a college level physics exam question that asked the student to explain what hard water is, the student responded – ice. Whilst the audience broke out into laughter, Bernstein continued to discuss the dozens of other pet peeves that teachers have in the classroom.
Is it the teacher or parents who are to blame when a student simply does not care? Bernstein states that there are four types of parenting styles – authoritarian, permissive-neglectful, permissive-indulgent and authoritative – the latter being the best type of parenting style. Interestingly enough, teaching styles and practices corresponds with parenting styles and both greatly affect a student’s behavior. A teacher’s style interacts with the students individual characteristics and can bring out the best or worst in them, depending on how they have been brought up by their parents.
A teacher’s role is to encourage, support and motivate the student and bring out their very best -doesn’t the same ring true for parents?