Focussing on the process and not the product

There are times I make assumptions about what students (particularly undergraduate first year students) know. Today I needed to take a detour from my lecture and spend time explaining some basics of assignment-writing.

Although the information is in their handbook and was explained to them in Week 1 of the course, I had to take time to explain to students how to double-space their assignment, the importance of creating a header with suitable information such as their identification number (how else will I know whose assignment I’m marking?) and I had to explain the difference between a References list and a Bibliography (plus explain that a Bibliography should be in alphabetical order).

Part of me wonders why this wasn’t drummed into them in secondary school but it’s easy to blame someone else. I realised that while explaining the assignment itself is important (the what, if you will), taking time to go over some of these processes (the howis equally important.

So while it’s important to have the goal in mind (product), a good teacher must also remember to build strong foundations (process) along the way.

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