Monday, July 12, 2004

Spent part of the day typing up Civics Tutor's comments into the system. Some comments came easily, others I saved until tomorrow which is the actual deadline. Comments are almost like fortune cookie slips, except that the fortunes aren't doled out at random. Each student deserves some thought and must be encouraged in the right way and reminded diplomatically where to buck up. There is, however, one common denominator and that is the lack of enthusiasm in joining in a discussion. So basically everyone got a note about that.

This reticence is not unique to A2 and it's not unique to this time period either. It has been the GP tutor's lament, probably ever since GP was introduced as a subject at the 'A' Levels, and it's a phenomenon that's likely to stay until GP is scrapped for something else. Now, THAT could be a long time away.

It's probably a cultural thing, though again, it's not unique to this region either. It was quite this way at York U during most of my tutorials there as well. It was a situation that I hadn't expected when I got there. While I thought the whole tutorial would be scrambling to say something, a pattern emerged that there would only be a small number of contributors and always the same people. I had classmates who were Irish (I think I caught the interest of an Irish lass, but she never made her intentions clear), Greek (I took an interest in a Greek miss, but she made her intentions quite clear), Austrian, Yugoslav, Black, Carribean, Italian, Iranian, Israeli, Korean, Indian... oh, and a couple of Anglo-Saxon whites too. Regardless, tutorials generally were quiet affairs with mainly the tutor talking and just some occasional comments from the group; that is to say one or two members of the group.

In some tutorials, it was me and a couple of others. I must have been quite an irritating Hermione Granger type, only I was never as smart nor did I try to be. Where I could, I was just trying to live up to the culture of my expectations. There were other tutorials I completely froze up in. Like that course in Women's Studies that was mostly populated with working, part-time studying mothers who were vocal and spoke from painful personal experience. You just had to respect what they said. Besides, I didn't spend too much time on my readings for this course 'cos I was in one of my lazy periods. I was in 4th year taking a 2nd year course and it was easy to underestimate.

Hmm... applying hindsight, it was usually in the tutorials that had the best looking, eligible females that I might have participated most in. It's not the best way to win dates, though, given the low desireability of the know-it-all type, but it's a male instinct to flaunt whatever is available just to gain some attention. Ah. I think I have found my problem. No one in my CT seems remotely interested in each other in that way. The males and the females go their separate ways and there isn't enough er... chemistry to sustain discussion, intelligent or otherwise. It's bad when there is only one active couple in the group because they cut themselves off from the others, but when everyone is either a potential mate or a potential rival for an eligible mate, that's when discussions just might start getting interesting. That's why heavily male populated groups don't do well -- all rivals, no potential mates -- so they are either apathetic or self-destructive. I'm not sure what happens to heavily female populated groups though. I don't know of any to form a case-study.

So that's it. The best motivation for impressive results is the interest in getting the attention of the hunks or the babes (note the plural) in the group. I'm sorry, folks, my hands are tied.

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