Don't pee on an electric fence!

Who knew there was an international symbol for this?

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” ~ Will Rogers.

A friend shared this on Facebook, and it got me thinking.  Just change “men” to “students” and you have my classroom in a nutshell.  I may have a student or two who learns by reading, but those who read to get their information don’t usually end up in developmental English classes in college.

There are a few students who get it through lecture and demonstration, which are passive teaching methods.  Only one person is actively engaged during a lecture – the lecturer.  But most of my students are doers – athletes, dancers, musicians, scientists, artists – and they need to pee on that electric fence themselves before the concept becomes real.  The impact on their academic success strengthens this analogy – hence their placement in remedial college English.

My challenge is to find ways to use those strengths to help them understand the abstract skills of academic reading and writing.  One can’t always pee on the fence, you know?

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