Terrell Lawrence — Blog Post 3
One thing that has stood out to me in recent learning is chapter 9, “Arguments of Definition.” What I have become specifically interested in within that chapter is the “Developing a Definitional Argument” section. I think it is fascinating how developing arguments can be based on altered definitions. For example, it could be something as simple as if I was working for a fast-food restaurant. My job description may be defined as me just being a line worker. However, my definition of my job description may be different because I do more than just line work. I take out the trash, wash dishes, help with cooking the food, and also take orders. In just a simple scenario such as that one, multiple definitions can be defined based on different outlooks and perspectives.
“Some argue that human intelligence is a capacity that is measured by tests of verbal and mathematical reasoning. In other words, it is defined by IQ and SAT scores. Others define intelligence as the ability to perform specific practical tasks”. (Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz 199).
That is a prime example of people having different views on what something is and how it is defined. The overall meaning is similar, but the specific detailed definition can be perceived in different ways.
I was also very intrigued by the podcast on the history of grading. In the 3rd audio, there was a phrase mentioned called “risk aversion,” which is when someone goes with what they know to ensure a safe outcome rather than taking a risk for a better outcome. This is very true in connection to grades and how students go about their work. A student will prefer to take a safe route and go with what they already know, because they are scared of getting a bad grade. The overall objective of school is to learn what you don’t already know. So, when a student tries to be safe for a good grade, yes, they may receive that good grade, but in the end, what new information did they learn? I think that the label “grades” has in fact ruined the school system to a certain extent. Getting good grades, seemingly, becomes more important than actually learning. If students were encouraged more to take risks and to actually learn rather than have to worry about a grade, then it would benefit them more down the road. There was an example that Professor Mathias used in class that I feel supports this. He explained how if you have to do a project for your job, when you turn it in, they are not going to give you a letter grade. It is either going to be deemed acceptable or not acceptable. So, in the school system, there should be more emphasis on ensuring kids actually learn, rather than just trying to get a good grade.