Simple doesn’t mean stupid

In my English class, we have weekly assignments called “morphemes”. A morpheme is “the smallest meaningful unit in the grammar of a language”. I am basically given ten of them, such as “bib” (which means “book”) and “dict” (which means “speak”), and I have to find ten words that contain the morphemes and write a sentence for each word.

These are just about the simplest, most straight-forward assignments I have received in a very long time. And I am extremely glad that my teacher assigns them.

It isn’t that I am lazy, so I just want an easy assignment.  However, for some reason, I feel like my high school teachers believe that if they do not have incredibly intricate and long assignments, I will learn absolutely nothing. One of my teachers is always saying that he’s “giving [his students] a hard time” so that we can “learn how to do what [we’ve] been taught not to do: think”. I’m sorry, but what does that even mean? I don’t understand why many teachers tend to assume that students come to their classes with the intention of doing the minimal amount of learning and thinking. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I know that if I have to be at school for eight hours a day, I’m not going to waste that time. I actually try.

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So you really don’t need to try and force the learning out of me by assigning the most elaborate assignment in the history of the universe. Just because an assignment is longer and more complicated, that does not mean that it is any more helpful. The morphemes, although they are quite short assignments, are actually easier to absorb than anything else I’ve done all year. They are so similar to the vocab lists and sentences I did all the time in elementary school that it feels almost effortless and enjoyable. I know that if there is anything that I am going to remember by the end of the year, it will be these simple, weekly morpheme assignments.

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– Karen

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