Figuring It Out

Some students don’t get it.

  • They show up late
  • They’re all talk
  • They’re disrespectful
  • They expect immediate results
  • They have big egos
  • They don’t take care of business
  • They have a sense of entitlement
  • They expect compliments
  • They don’t work
  • They don’t care

This isn’t news to teachers; There have always been and always will be students like this.

Side note: I’ve actually heard colleagues comment that the number of students who don’t “get it” has been increasing over the years. Is this in fact a growing trend? Why?

This discussion isn’t for students; it’s for teachers. To what extent can we help them figure it out?

First of all, what does “figuring it out” entail? Easily put, it means taking care of all the issues listed above! That’s enough to make most teachers happy! But on another level, it could also mean finding and accepting one’s place in the tradition, respecting the old-school while carving out a path for one’s self, discovering individuality, embracing it and devoting oneself to cultivating it through music.

Figuring it out, especially on a deep level, has to come from individual effort. For that reason, it’s understandable that some teachers won’t address this issue. From their perspective, figuring it out is far above and beyond their call of duty, and may or may not happen regardless of what they say and teach. “Students have to figure it out on their own and at their own pace.”

Some teachers make it their primary mission and try to force their students to figure it out. From another angle, institutions create the illusion that students with decent grades (or a degree!) have figured things out. But any teacher from that scene can attest that this isn’t always the case.

I think most teachers are inclined to nudge their students. Nudging could range from subtle hints to dropping the hammer. If it works at all, it would only solve some of the issues listed above and may be only temporarily.

Nudging may not get them closer to figuring things out, but this is up for discussion!

How much should we nudge students? Should we nudge them at all?

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