In Praise of The F Word by Mary Sherry

Mary Sherry's In Praise of The F Word is not what you might think it is about. The whole entire thing the title there is definitely a trick to get you involved in the story and in that way it's effective. 

What this piece actually is about is not about profanity. It is about the need and sort of moral the obligation of teachers in the present age to use failing grades that F word being fail or flunk. As a means of motivating children and actually ending up doing a better service for them. And not just children but for people all the way up through the educational system. 

Mary Sherry works with adult learners both who did and did not graduate from high school. She's sort of constantly been you know stunned by their lack of preparation. Knowing that many of them were just sort of passed along from one grade to the next, to the next, to the next or passed from one college course to the next, to the next, to the next, to the next. Not because they were actually you know prepared to pass or because it should have passed but just because it was easier to for the teachers to pass them than to fail them. 

For any number of reasons for bureaucratic reasons, for you know reasons of kindness, for reasons I'm not wanting to have to deal with their emails you know like any of these sort of things are why teachers maybe will pass people who don't deserve to pass. 

Sherry though thinks that that's terrible and thinks that teachers are actually doing a horrible disservice to people who they pass even though they should fail because in truth letting them pass means that they aren't getting the skills. It's setting them up for failure in the future even if it's a nicer short-term benefit. 

The argument in here it's like it's very clear even from me just talking about this that the argument is at the foreground like sherry is making a case. She is trying to persuade you that failing grades are important and good.

It says they will also discover that they have been cheated by our educational system. All of this sort of stuff there are many ways to do this to be an effective teacher much to do a teaching style. 

However a style alone won't do it there is another way to show who holds the winning hand in the classroom that has to reveal the trump card of failure that failing students is the way to get it done right. 

She uses an example of when her own son was a high school senior who was just screwing off in class and went and talked to his teacher Mrs. Stifter which of course is a perfect name for a mean teacher. 

Mrs. Stifler looked at me steely-eyed over her classes. I don't move seniors talking about relocating the classroom. She said I flunked them I was flustered. Our son's academic life flashed before my eyes you know. But, of course, the result of this was that when the child when the student was told like you're going to fail of course he straightened up his act. He stopped screwing off in class and he made the class a priority and ultimately got an A.

Sherry says I know one example doesn't make a case and this is a key thing I want to point out. I know one example doesn't make a case. One example is an anecdote right that's an anecdotal example it's just one example. 

So that's one the thing you want to keep in mind and watch out for in your own writing is to make sure that you're not over-relying on anecdotal examples oh this happened to me kind of examples or I heard about this one time kind of examples. 

It's more important to look at the big picture and Sherry, of course, acknowledges that. She does make a good case though insane most kids don't put school first on their list unless they perceive something is at stake. 

They have to have a healthy fear of failure that if not passing if not moving along is a real threat rather than just a false empty threat people will work harder. You know and that's when something that you know you can witness all through academia. Students just blowing off class, not showing up, not doing their work, etc until they get to that moment where it's like you're going to fail and then all of a sudden the work gets done. 

You know but it'd be one thing if that sort of failure were real from the very beginning. 


It says it would mean facing the tough reality that passing kids who haven't learned the material lot might say no grief for the short term dooms them to long term and literacy. 

You know that's basically I you know what we're doing now is that we're doing children when we let them pass even if they shouldn't and this goes for college students as well. Regarding failing more people it says this is a policy that worked in the past and can work today that if teachers are more willing to just say. I don't know you're a nice boy Johnny but you're gonna fail then maybe Johnny would have worked a little bit harder.

In Praise of The F Word. Thanks for Reading.
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