Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quizzes and Paternalism

So, at this time of semester I give quizzes every class drilling the rules of inference and equivalences needed to do natural deduction proofs. It is the same quiz day after day after day. When a student asked why I do this, I was honest and said that it is because they don't know how to study and that I have found that the repeated quizzes forces them to learn something they need to know. By giving the quizzes, they acquire a knowledge of these basic moves and the grades on the homeworks and quizzes go up. It is a purely paternalistic move. I treat them like children and they learn, but it is first order learning, not the higher level learning -- learning how to learn. They are adults, albeit young ones who behave in predictably self-defeating ways. By removing some autonomy, I can help them help themselves in ways they wouldn't otherwise. Is there a problem with paternalism in cases like this or as a teacher am I expected to be metaphorically paternal?