Sparknotes and Other Alternatives to Students Reading
Once again, I know blogs are not a reliable source of information, but I felt it was necessary to post on this blog, especially following other posts about the ambiguous nature of cheating and how many students don’t actually feel like they are cheating when they are. Here is the opening of the blog:
If you’ve had a book to read that you really didn’t want to read, something long and boring that you had absolutely no interest in save the fact that the subsequent report or essay due on Chapter 32 of that book is due in a week and your grade depends on it, there is a way to get around it. And it’s not cheating (at least not technically).
Personally, I want to be surprised by this attitude toward reading but I am not surprised because students have always tried to find ways to complete work without actually putting effort forth. As I read through this article, I was frustrated with the blogger’s opinion but when I reread the blog, the idea that really stands out to me is that the authors opinion is real and blunt. Students will attend to get out of working on assignments, and as one commenter on my last blog stated, cheating is for lazy students. At first, I was taken aback from this statement because I have cheated in the past because I was afraid to receive a bad grade - bringing down my GPA – but laziness probably is the biggest factor.
The article discusses the fact that students are “skipping an assignment that was designed to grow [their] intellect…But, hey if [their] intent on ignoring all of that and are really busy all week and just don’t have the time to read the book, then let’s move and look at [their] options.” Students are busy with different assignments from different teachers, but they are missing their opportunity to expand their minds. Alright, confession time, once again. I have used Sparknotes to help me read a difficult novel, but a couple times, I have only read Sparknotes rather than the novel. I know I missed out on actually experiencing the book but when reading specific novels, I would become disinterested because the professor did not introduce the novel well. I do accept blame though, if any of you want to rip me apart. I do think some teachers just hand out a novel though and say “read chapters one through twenty” without any enthusiasm, which makes it difficult for students to then express interest in the novel.
The article describes five different options for students to pursue…Sparknotes, movies, Amazon search, Google Scholar search, and misdirection (for essay writing). The author gives students many opportunities to escape reading a novel, but although we can criticize the author, what is the point? The problem isn’t the options that students have to escape working, but rather, the students individual drive to participate in the learning experience. You should read the entire article if you’re interested and let me know your opinion.
By The Unemployed Writer
February 7, 2007