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.