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Why does he stay?

  1. Apr 9, 2006 #1

    Math Is Hard

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    We have a young man in our bio class who is in my lab group. He is from a foreign country and seems to understand very little English. He is not able to help us too much with our labs unless we tell him precisely what to do (but he does always offer to help). He received less than 30% on both of our tests so far, and also did very poorly on the term paper, and has flunked all but one of the quizzes. The deadline to withdraw has passed, and I can't figure out why he is sticking with the class.

    The teacher called me aside recently and asked me if he was truly participating in the labs because she thinks it's not fair if he gets credit for our work. She mentioned that she noticed that he doesn't seem to know what is going on in class. I responded honestly when I said that I thought he was "trying" because he offers to help and he does things when we ask him to. It was a real quandary for me when I had to give her an answer. He's a nice kid, but he is obviously in way over his head because of the language barrier.

    I don't think he'll be able to save himself even with the help of our group lab grades. The only thing I can figure is that staying in the class allows him to continue with a student Visa, possibly. It's very odd. If my grades were that low, I would have bailed ASAP!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2006 #2
    I'm sure he knows that he won't make it, but still, the kid has determination!
     
  4. Apr 9, 2006 #3
    What country is he from?
     
  5. Apr 9, 2006 #4

    Chi Meson

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    For some people, failure is better than quitting.

    Edit: That's assuming the best attribute for the guy.

    THe other possibiltiy is that he is so incapable that he couldn't even do the paperwork for withdrawing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2006
  6. Apr 9, 2006 #5
    I was talking to a woman tonight who said that the student visa was the most common method for non-Mexican illegal aliens to gain entry to the country. He may have some minimum time he needs to stay enrolled before he can sort of disappear from the school and not be checked on. She seemed to know a fair amount about it so I'll ask her why he might be sticking with a class he's failing. My own thought is that it may be the closest he can come to socializing with his language problem.
     
  7. Apr 9, 2006 #6

    Moonbear

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    It's not uncommon that students who are failing just keep sticking with it. Most that I've seen do that fall into one of a few categories. Some really have never failed anything before, maybe came from a high school where they just coasted without needing to study so never picked up good study skills, so are mostly in shock and just can't accept it, so keep desperately hoping for a miracle on the final exam. Others have outside pressures on their academic choices, like parents who are pushing them to take classes they really aren't prepared for, so just keep going to class to prolong the inevitable of their parents finding out. A last group may realize they are going to fail and will have to retake the course, but keep showing up figuring it'll be that much more they know for next year when they retake it.

    The ones who really don't care stop going to class mid-semester.

    In this person's case, he may not have been able to drop the course without going below full-time student status, which would have compromised his visa status (for some, financial aid hinges on maintaining a full-time credit load too).

    Sometimes an instructor has to take the tough stance of pulling the student aside and showing them that they are past the point of no return, let them know that even if they got an A on the final, they're still not going to pass the course with their current grade, and suggest that even if it's too late to drop the course, they should focus their effort on their remaining courses to get higher grades in those (too often, students start focusing on the class they're failing and start to slip in the classes they were passing, and they really need to focus on getting the highest grade possible in the ones they are passing than wasting time salvaging the one they're already failing...if they can pull another course from a C to a B or a B to an A, it'll do a lot more to offset the appearance of that F on their transcript).
     
  8. Apr 9, 2006 #7

    Astronuc

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    I agree with Moonbear, and I would add it is pretty much up to the instructor/professor to take this kid aside and find out what's going on. One has to wonder if this kid really knows what's going on. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Apr 9, 2006 #8
    I think your reason for why this student is staying is correct. Perhaps he just does not care about school and he is just in there to stay in your country. Also, it is possible that he is just very demotivated because the language barrier is too high, he does not feel well when it comes to making contact to others, he feels very alone ?

    Hasn't your teacher had any indepth discussion with this kid ?

    marlon
     
  10. Apr 9, 2006 #9

    Moonbear

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    That concerns me too, that the instructor has gone to other students asking about his participation, but may not be addressing the problem directly to the student in question. I don't feel it's appropriate to discuss another student with his classmates. If she's not sure how much he's participating, then she's not doing a very good job of watching the lab groups while they are working. When I taught labs, it was always clear who was working and who was sitting around goofing off while their group did the work for them.
     
  11. Apr 9, 2006 #10

    Math Is Hard

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    It seems at one time we asked him why he was taking this class and I think he said his intention was to transfer to a 4-year university ( this is a community college class) but he seems so woefully underprepared in English I can't imagine how he will swing it. In my experience, professors don't typically counsel the students (I've been in classes with as many as 200 students and the teachers don't even know our names), but our class is pretty small and I think the teacher might be getting ready to have a talk with him. I think she said something to me because she was worried that the others in our group might feel uncomfortable and demotivated about him getting a free ride off of our work.

    I don't think he has a job, so I assume he has to maintain full-time student status to stay in the country. I think it's possible he might just be obeying his parents' wishes by staying enrolled. I don't want to be too specific about where he is from, but he is an Asian student. Maybe his parents just want him to have the experience of being a college student in America.
     
  12. Apr 10, 2006 #11

    DaveC426913

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    Well, there's your answer. He's getting his $*#....!#@'ed regularly.
     
  13. Apr 10, 2006 #12

    BobG

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    If he's here on a student visa, not only does he need to stay enrolled to remain in the country, but he probably can't have a job (unless its specified in his visa). It hasn't been completely unheard of for a person to come to the US on a student visa and work under the table until they can marry a US citizen (in fact, I think that's what my soon to be ex-son-in-law did, since they're getting divorced after just three years of marriage).

    Of course, the key is to not get kicked out of school for failing too many classes. Flunking out means his visa is terminated. Most likely case is that he'll change to an easier major unless the this is the one killer course he has to get over (General Chemistry seems to be the killer course for a lot of nursing students - in that class, a few of the nursing students would literally break out in tears when they got their tests back, since they were headed for yet a third attempt at passing the class).
     
  14. Apr 10, 2006 #13

    Math Is Hard

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    Wow! Dave!! :surprised Do you kiss your grandmother with that mouth? :rofl:
     
  15. Apr 10, 2006 #14

    arildno

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    Good for him, that's probably why he hasn't had the time to learn English yet.
     
  16. Apr 10, 2006 #15

    Astronuc

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    If he has trouble in a community college, he won't survive a 4 year college, particularly at upper levels.

    I think the teacher is asking MIH as this guys peer to be sure that the student is pulling his weight and not just getting by on other's work.

    When I was teaching, I could pretty much tell who was doing work and who tended to copy.

    For small classes, I would be relatively easy for a teacher to know each student by mid-semester. If a student had a problem, I would talk to them to see if he (usually) or she (rarely) needed extra help. At a four year university, one usually has an academic advisor, and if a student had a problem, I could go to the advisor (usually with the student's knowledge) and we could arrange a tutor, if I didn't to the tutoring myself.
     
  17. Apr 10, 2006 #16

    Math Is Hard

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    I didn't know that. I thought that as long as the student is enrolled, everything was hunky dory. He might have a problem, then.

    This is actually a very simple bio class for non-science majors. Everyone is required to do a science with lab, no matter what their major is, and this is probably one of the easiest ones. The teacher gives loads and loads of extra credit opportunities.

    I took that last fall and there were a lot of pre-nursing people in the class. There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Honestly, though, some of those people really, really should not become nurses. They could be very dangerous.
     
  18. Apr 10, 2006 #17

    Math Is Hard

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    I wonder if he could find a tutor who speaks his language? That might be helpful for him.

    Part of the lab assignment is to read the lab instructions before coming to class in order to prepare for it. I can't figure out if he does not understand the lab assignments or if he is just not reading them. He keeps asking me questions about the procedures we are doing when they are clearly spelled out in the instructions. I get tired of referring him back to the lab instructions. It's disruptive when we are trying to work if I have to stop and explain things. Our labs tend to run late anyway, and this makes them take even longer. (It's a night class and many of us are coming straight from work, so we are tired already). I feel like my patience is growing a little thin, and I am becoming grouchy with him. I really don't like the snappish tone that I am developing.:frown:
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2006
  19. Apr 10, 2006 #18
    Just tell him that he is in the way, and if he wants what is best for the group, he will stay silent and not in teh way.
     
  20. Apr 10, 2006 #19
    It's an unreasonable drain on you since you are there as a student trying to grasp the subject yourself. Between this and the other disruptive group you talked about before, I don't think your teacher is really competent.
     
  21. Apr 10, 2006 #20

    -Job-

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    My interpretation is that this guy is not in there because he wants to, or by his efforts, but because of someone else (parents). Hence, if he fails he doesn't care, so he doesn't care to drop the course either.
     
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