Saturday, July 21, 2007

why most students hate reading

It's been my observation for the past 26 years of teaching that students today hate the idea of reading. It is therefore a big mistake to assume that students actually read any assigned reading given by the teacher. In college,for instance, teachers would assign selections to be read at home in preparation for the discussion that will happen in the class the following meeting. This would often turn out into one futile exercise because in a class of say, 40, a teacher would be lucky to have two or three students who read and understood the assigned selection to be read. Chances are, no discussion involving majority of the students will happen because nobody bothered to read the assignment. The teacher then could not expect any class discussion to happen. Frustrated, she makes the students read the selection silently. This method of making the students read the articles silently can be tricky. Students who do not like to read will always find a way to avoid reading even when the teacher is around. Why? Why do some students just hate reading?

The onset of modern technology has made life faster and easier for us. Everything can happen so fast that any activity that requires much time and attention will be deemed boring and laborious. This is what is happening now with reading. It is therefore one challenge a teacher must face--- to make students appreciate reading. How do we do this? Aren't students in college hard to teach the habit of reading?

It is really hard to make students develop appreciation for reading, especially students in college who have already their own set of fixed habits in which reading is unfortunately not one of them. Is it too late then or do we have a hopeless situation? The answer depends on the teacher's initiative and creativity. A good teacher should be able to make this happen.


Mississippi Lit Prof said...

The disdain for reading seems to have really taken hold over the past five years. I've been teaching college freshmen writing courses since 1994. In the past it did not take such cajoling to get college students to read. They did it out of fear of the consequences of getting a bad grade.

But today, that fear isn't enough. Maybe it's a function of my teaching now at a small college with not much of a reputation in the middle of rural Mississippi. But there has to be SOMETHING I can do besides break out the reading quizzes.

We value all life forms said...

Hello, Mississipi. At the end of the day, the real challenge is for teachers to be able to make students APPRECIATE reading so they will do it without much coaxing or cajoling. But how do we make our students truly APPRECIATE reading requires much creativity on the part of the teacher.