University Prep

I just came across a funny article from the CBC. It is a short piece about how high school students feel unprepared for university. Granted, it’s not supposed to be funny but the irony in it really hits home to me. Some of the startling revelations made the students in the article include:

  • the amount of work done in high school is less than that in university
  • the quality of work done in high school is less than that in university
  • self-motivation is a big issue in university

I’m surprised they didn’t also point out that the students at university are usually older and more mature than high school students.

It’s not just the obviousness of the students’ observations that is silly, it’s also the attitudes that I’ve seen first-hand all across the two largest school districts in British Columbia. Essentially what I’ve seen in almost every single senior science or math class is a significant amount of procrastination. Seeing the Grade 12 classes, you’d think that any seatwork is completely taboo. Given 30 minutes to complete some work in class, the overwhelming number of students choose to chat and listen to music. I’m commonly told that “this is what Mr/Ms.XXX lets us do,” and I believe the kids. “I’ll do it at home, I can work better there,” is another common phrase I’ll hear. The CBC article refers to HS students wishing they could have more life skills instruction to prepare them for university. I can only imagine how many grade 12 students would pay attention or stay on-task in a life skills class! “I get this, it’s easy,” or “I’ll do the work later,” are two phrases that come to mind.

The CBC article is really helpful actually, as it gives me a chance to think about and reflect upon what I’ve seen so far in the schools. I’m hoping to have a positive effect on my students once I get my own classroom. This is one great thing about being a substitute teacher for a while, I really get to see a ton of different ways of doing things and I hope that leads me to a better understanding on how to give my students the best environment for them to succeed.

Have a look at the CBC article and let me know what you think: