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an inTeRlink feature article

On the High Art of Getting Grades Without Learning Anything
Archived responses
David R. Austin, Ph.D., CTRS, FALS
Indiana University

Your article was hilarious, I had a great laugh! THANKS!!
Devon Pence <d3pence*>
Marion, IN USA Indiana Wesleyan University - Saturday, December 05, 1998 at 11:15:42 (CST)

Just read your article. Enjoyed the humor.
Barbara Trevor <bdtrev01*>
Louisville, KY USA University of Louisville - Wednesday, September 30, 1998 at 12:01:31 (PDT)

I just recently graduated from therapeutic recreation in the past year and I just wanted to tell you that you are completely true and I with I would have had this advice when I was in college instead of after. It's sort of defeating the purpose, ehe?
Traci Pareti <cutlp3>
Charleston, Il USA Eastern Illinois University - Tuesday, June 30, 1998 at 16:49:03 (PDT)

Keep the book the professor used in class. Treasure it and recommend it on your webpage It truly is a great book for TR and geriatrics, but if I get this professor again, I am sure she will take my esteem for her and her judgement in texts and material for TR into consideration.
Joe <onemorehug*>
NY, NY USA CUNY - Wednesday, June 17, 1998 at 11:28:13 (PDT)

I sit in the front of all my rec classes. It paid off I'm a senior now! Thanks Dr. Austin!
Yolanda <loveyogi1*>
NYC, NY USA Lehman College - Thursday, May 21, 1998 at 16:39:05 (PDT)

Sitting front row center works well, however, the one time it did not help was in a basic art history class. It was held in a tremendous lecture room and the professor while available for conference after classs never bothered to know anyones name; it was strictly a lecture in the dark during the slide show. I hung on her ever word from the first row center seat, even in the dark we made eye contact as she paced with her wireless microphone. I laughed at her jokes that were truly funny. She was a wonderful professor. All of this meant nothing at the final exam which was a bubble sheet/scantron was given in the dark! Oh I passed, but not by much. I am sure while filling in the little circles with my number 2 pencil I missed a few spots in the dark there, and "filled in" the wrong circles. possbly, placing "Hals" in the ancient Greek period. Oh well.
Joe Mondano, CLA <onemorehug*>
NY, NY USA CUNY - Sunday, May 17, 1998 at 15:04:16 (PDT)

I find your article very interesting... I am a soon to graduate senior at SWTSU in San Marcos, TX. In the TR courses and general courses I have noticed similar trends as you described, guilty as charged. However, the curriculum at SWTSU focuses a great deal of application of theory and methods. Each semester we are immersed in community, local hospitals and schools to provide volunteer programming as seen fit by our professors. Applications such as these have personally for me have sparked interest that aids in curbing the bore of so called "stuffy lectures." In sticking to your topic though I feel that students who consistently "get grades without learning" are failing themselves in the end. By this I mean that one day they may realize "What am I supposed to be doing?" I feel that there are other implications of this topic as students progress into professionals. As this transition occurs, who is to say that these TR or even Rec. professional will take CEU's seriously or even be competent in a TR position. In effect such people will not only limit their professional development, but also put damper on the professionalism of Therapeutic Recreation. It is important for those who are TR professionals to serve as an example in an innovative career where being accepted by other multidisciplinary therapies and professionals is promoted. Not only do CEU's play an important factor in this professional development but as students there are major implications. These implications are highly noticeable when students enter the workplace through field experiences (clinicals) and internships. These two experiences expose not only the student to a TR setting but exposes other professionals to the future of TR. If the TR student is a so called "slacker" then the OT or PT that observes this behavior might shrug off the acceptance of TR in the field of rehab specifically... I am not sure if I even came close to the information you are looking for... but I have noticed your examples through out my education not only in psychology and therapeutic recreation courses but most apparent in core curriculum. If you would like further imput or clarification of my response... Please feel free to reply at my e-mail address: ohmy22*
Michael <ohmy22*>
San Marcos, TX USA Southwest Texas State University - Tuesday, April 21, 1998 at 01:01:11 (PDT)

The idea of anyone trying to skate through school on charm and underhanded strategies terrifies me
james neer <morgan*>
USA life - Thursday, March 19, 1998 at 16:36:53 (PST)

I really enjoyed this article. It was very funny, yet realistic. Thanks for the laughs! Heather
Heather Opsal <hopsal*>
Fresno, CA USA CSU, Fresno - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 20:50:06 (PST)

kaiser <ntcrew*>
bayside, ny USA HIGH SCHOOL - Monday, January 12, 1998 at 10:03:23 (PST)

Well, Dr. Austin... I was wondering if you could add another item to your list? That would be: Always respond if you see your Prof has an article posted on the Internet. Be sure to tell him how witty and entertaining it was! That should be worth some brownie points, don't you think?!?!? Mary Beth (from your R562 class, remember?!?!)
Mary Beth O'Brien <meobrien*>
Bloomington, IN USA Indiana University - Sunday, November 30, 1997 at 16:27:56 (PST)

All of the above is so true. I go to a school where everyone is issued a laptop computer, and so we all bring these to classes. My recomendation to anyone with a lap top is if you are going to play games, or surf the net, remember to sit at the back of the class to ensure that your prof doesn't know what you are doing. It is also important not to laugh out loud at e-mail's from your friends as this will most definitely give away that you aren't paying attention. Here's to an education!
Heather <032460w*>
Wolfville , NS canada Acadia University - Saturday, November 22, 1997 at 09:13:12 (PST)

Dr. Austin, This was a great reading I plan on showing this to my TR professors, I'm sure they will get a kick out of it!
Jen Smith <mujms32*>
Macomb, IL USA Western IL University - Thursday, September 18, 1997 at 17:24:52 (PDT)

Dr. Austin - That was pretty entertaining reading and of course I would never do any of those tactics in my Social Psychology class because I like the professor, and we sit in a circle. Have a good day, :) Maria
Maria Martino <mmartino*>
Bloomington, IN USA Indiana University - Monday, September 15, 1997 at 19:43:12 (PDT)

I did find the comments cute but I do think we need to take education seriously. We cheat ourselves, our profession, and our clients when we are not keeping up with our education.
Lesa Shippelhoute <Lesa*>
USA Private consultant - Sunday, July 27, 1997 at 22:19:30 (PDT)

While at Kingsborough Community College's TR program I had a professor who was once a coach. He was a great guy, who with coach's style during class would pace the width of the front of the classroom. I kept an eye on him and it was like watching a tennis match. Nevertheless his strategy worked I stayed awake he never lost my attention and he was able to easily pick out those who were either asleep or in deep hypnosis by the end of class. He had my respect from day one. What a guy!
Joe Mondano <jmondano*>
Brooklyn, NY USA Brooklyn College - Tuesday, June 03, 1997 at 05:19:54 (PDT)

I always considered it a priviledge to come to a state college. I'm excited about TR. Some students do the stuf you mentioned in the article, but it doesn't discourge me. I'm glad it get to come to class and study at Northwest. I even wrote a letter to the federal government taking them for the pell grant money. Leanna Heller, TR student at Northwest
leanna heller
maryville, mo USA northwest missouri state u. - Wednesday, February 19, 1997 at 07:37:13 (PST)

Very interesting...reminds me of my undergra...did my BS in 31/2 years because I was so adept at looking like I was paying attention. However, my students are just the opposite!Everyone looks down at community colleges and the students there. My students are most often adults,non traditional students, working, raising families PAYING THEIR OWN TUITION or struggling with financial aid. Most of my students are very motivated and all get jobs in recreation. I have been told they are better than most BS grads. I also think most of them would pass the CTRS test even though they only have an Associates degree. My faculty are all practioners and have many years of professional as well as teaching experience. the synergy between the students desiring to learn and the committed teachers excited to teach is phnomenal. I rarely have anyone sleep in class and if I do it is because they worked a double shift, sat up with a sick baby and still felt they had to come to class. BTW We are using one of your texts this semester. Theanks alot. Prof. Robin Wexler, CTRS
Robin Wexler <sffm06a*>
NY USA Professor at Suffolk County Community College - Saturday, February 08, 1997 at 18:29:01 (PST)

Hi Charlie Dixon,Sorry to have appeared to be such a stiff re: Dr. David Austin's article. I know it was to have been taken tongue-in-cheek, but it rankled me anyway, and after receiving your message and re-reading the article, I realized that the reason it bothered me so was because I actually had a professor very much like the one described in Dr. Austin's article. He really was terrible. I'm really not such a stick in the mud.Thanks for listening. Best wishes, Bonnie Sheldon
Bonnie Sheldon <robert.sheldon*>
Lakeville , CT USA - Wednesday, January 15, 1997 at 15:26:20 (PST)

Love it...will share with students! How are you...and Happy Holidays!
Karen Wenzel <karenwenze*>
Littleton, CO USA RMMSC/UNC - Saturday, December 21, 1996 at 18:03:31 (PST)

I enjoyed the article, but what about the students who can'tsit still in class or just enjoy arguing with the professor'spoint of view on any issue. I don't know about learning, butI always enjoyed Dr. Austin's classes because he always enjoyed hearing his student's comments no matter how far fetched they were. Above and beyond all the TR theory, themost important thing I learned as student at IU was tolisten and appreciate the thoughts of others, reflect on them, and utilize the knowledge you gained in future situations.
Brad Wardlaw <FBWARDLAW3*>
St. Petersburg, FL USA Sunrise of Northshore - Tuesday, December 10, 1996 at 18:44:55 (PST)

Does calling attention to the drivel of other profs count? I get stimulated responding to questions about the Austin vs. Peterson models!! And good old Temple solved the problem of consulting wrist watches... they installed cloks high on the front wall, right above the prof's head. But I trick 'em! I never stand fron-and-center!!
john shank <jshank*>
USA temple - Friday, November 15, 1996 at 14:05:58 (PST)

My following message is a bit jumbled and i apoligize for that. it has been a long seven weeks working in the mental health field. so please fogive my mistakes and i hope you get hte jist of what i was writing.
m richter <mr7204*>
USA brockport. suny - Tuesday, October 29, 1996 at 17:05:48 (PST)

This article is very intersting, and i have participates in all the litems listed in the artcle. it is unthinkable that if you so all that you will find that you learn alot. trying to remeberwhat the article told you to so tricks you into learning what the profs has intended. if this in not making any sense it will once you have moved on from being a student,to an intern. i say moveing on from student because when your and intern your doing the real stuff. pay atteintion to all that your professors say, if it sosn't seem like they are not making sense or that you will never yse the information being given you will, trst me on that one. like i said early i tried to just slide by, but most good professors will get throught your thick head and you will be suprised what you learn by just listening. good luck on classes mine are over in 6 weeks, and i can't wait to see you rout htere in the professional world.
mary richter <mr7204*>
brockport, nny USA SUNY Brockport - Tuesday, October 29, 1996 at 17:02:35 (PST)

As the saying goes "many a truthful word spoken in jest." This article may be on a humorous notebut it is acurate in its content. It is sad to realize that the majority of undergrade classes only require theregurgition of text book material (hopefully not the same with Ms, PhD). Some of the best teachers that I have had over here promoted a high levelof self education, not only for classroom material, but, also in local, national, and world happenings. Their influence on me (as far as learning goes) goes beyond the classroom. The ability of independant thought in some ways seems to be stifled in the regurgitation process (although easier to make good grades). I have had class that I could have slept thoughand gotten good grades, maybe I did. The hardest part for me is that I am a foriegn student and that I am paying a lot of money for some of these classes and I'm not learning a thing.Give me a challange thats what I'm paying for.
Rod Adnitt <banzaii*>
USA - Friday, October 11, 1996 at 10:27:33 (PDT)

This article was very amusing and at the same time interesting. I really wish that some of these ideas worked but unfortunately most of our professors have been in thesame seats that we are in right now. However it would be a great experience to try them out.
Mandy Nixon <Mandes*>
Va. Beach, VA USA Virginia Wesleyan College - Friday, October 11, 1996 at 07:56:13 (PDT)

This article was very interesting. It is not often that we can see what we look like as students in a professor's eyes. This list was obviously developed over years of experience, teaching TR professionals. And all this time we thought we had the prof's fooled! Yes, I must admit to one or two of the listed ways of obtaining an education without learning anything. I think the only thing I would add to the list is that our prof's were quite adamant that we also learn in group situations. This is ideal for a student who spent the first part of the class sleeping or daydreaming. Group work helps to get everyone back on track and to the task at hand, without anyone having to ask the professor what he/she was just talking about. I saw many students learn this way. What are friends for right? My last thought..I remember on one occasion when the entire class had misinterpreted instructions regarding a homework assignment. When we arrived in on the Monday morning we soon realized, as the panic set in, that we had not done what the prof had asked. Instead of explaining this to the professor at the beginning of class however, we all chickened out and let the professor proceed with class. It was almost time for the class to finish when I spoke up and said we hadn't done the reading assignment and hadn't a clue what the prof was talking about. Can you imagine how she felt? Anyway..the lesson to learn here is to NOT be afraid of the professor, they are human too. We never had a problem telling her about things after this day! Anyway, thanks for the humour Dr. Austin, it was refreshing and much appreciated. Awake and learning,M. Wingfield (P.S. A strong cappuccino or latte helps too!)
M. Wingfield <mwingfield*>
Kelowna, BC CANADA - Wednesday, August 14, 1996 at 21:16:40 (PDT)


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