The wisdom of seventh graders: Contributions to class discussion


(In the continuing sporadic series on the wisdom of seventh grade students.)

My friend the seventh grade teacher once had to deal with a class that had gotten out of hand by assigning the students a short essay in which they had to address three questions:

  • How am I contributing to class?
  • How am I detracting from class?
  • How can I contribute more while detracting less?

One of the more disruptive students answered the questions thus:

  • How am I contributing to class?
    "I tell jokes."
  • How am I detracting from class?
    "Sometimes I talk out of turn."
  • How can I contribute more while detracting less?
    "Tell better jokes."
Comments (5)
  1. Anonymous says:

    You know, two of the best Project Managers I’ve ever worked with on software projects spent a few years each as middle school teachers.  It’s not an accident.  The skill set has a huge overlap. :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    You mean an uncanny ability to describe hard work as "fun?"

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always thought that working 5 years in a day care center was great preparation for tech support. And for being a manager at Msft…

  4. Anonymous says:

    The teacher should have read your blog posts on asking specific enough questions. :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    The student receives 1/2 credit for understanding that telling better jokes will indeed contribute more, but that he would detract less if he contributed fewer.  

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