In my classes last week, I discussed the importance of accepting constructive criticism.  I showed all three classes a segment of a video which we have in our collection, The Worst of American Idol:  Seasons 1 through 4.   In this video are various scenes of the very worst singers and performers that showed up for the tryouts that the American Idol judges conducted in various cities around the United States.  Many of these people, rather than using their natural singing voice, are obviously trying to mimic some style of singing they have heard but have either misheard or have misinterpreted what they heard.  In any case, the end result is hilarious most times but sometimes sadly pathetic.  What stands out in most of the bad performer’s situations, however, is not so much their bad singing, but rather their self delusion from their misplaced over-confidence or their claims that many (always a vague number) people (usually family and friends) have told them that they were very talented.

All of these performances end with very brutal reviews from the American Idol judges, even Paula Abdul, who is normally such a sweetheart with flawed performers as she tries to see something good in everyone.  Inevitably, upon receiving these harsh reviews, the delusional bad performers respond with defensive comments, with shock, or with argumentative and personal attacks against the judges.  After showing the videos to my students, I discussed the importance of being humble enough to accept constructive criticism, especially from someone who is experienced and knows what they are talking about.  This was my way of softening the blow from the markings and comments that will be on their first paper.  I am trying to head off any situations where a student’s pride might get in the way, keeping him or her from really seeing, accepting, and responding to the comments and error markings from my grading. 

While I do not expect any argumentative or indignant responses from my students when they see their graded papers, it never hurts to broach the subject early.  The reason I do so is because I did have an occasional student in the past at West Point who was a victim of self-delusion or group-insanity (when people who should have known better had told the person he or she was much better than the evidence would suggest).  I have even been confronted by a parent of a student at an English Department open house, something all academic departments would have every fall at West Point during the parent visitation weekend.  The parent visitation weekend was, for most parents, their first opportunity to see their sons and daughters since dropping them off for “beast barracks” (cadet basic training) during the summer.  This weekend also afforded parents the opportunity to meet the instructors and professors that were teaching their children.  Most of the visits by parents, with the young cadet leading the way, would be pleasant, jovial, and encouraging encounters. 

More on this tomorrow.  I pray that you will walk today and every day in joyful fellowship with our Infinitely Loving God.

 


Comments

07/27/2016 12:39am

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07/30/2016 3:04pm

Blindness is not to be a proneness for everyone. Because this is to much big los our personality. If the human being has no eyes. He will become to the blindness categorize.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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