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Fri Fun Facts: Following Directions

My Friday Fun Facts for today are about following directions. How many times have you looked at some directions and then realized that you read too much into them? I attended a lunch meeting the other day and wondered why they weren’t providing lunch. I showed up with my own bag lunch and lo and behold lunch was served. I verified the email and the email was clear. I just missed it.

I have been marking blogs and paper proposals this week and I am finding that the first error or misstep that many students hit against is following directions. Directions stated in the syllabus and announced in class. Now, there is a marked difference between the stakes involved with my attendance at a meeting on campus and lunch versus students’ marks. Clearly marks are more important. But, this grading experience is making me listen and read more closely than usual!

I have found a few things work best:

1. The directions need to be clear.

2. Include an example of a good or strong assignment. However, do not expect that is a fool-proof solution.

3. Be patient. Some will argue that they were~ being more thorough, did not understand, never read the syllabus, wanted to do the assignment their own way, etc.

4. Learn from each section of the class and augment as needed the next time around!

5. I want to emphasize patience. As some students do not realize that the assignment guidelines apply to them. This can include the topics and due dates.

Directions and marking offer me teachable moments. Back to grading…

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