Wednesday, October 03, 2007

11 out of 19?

Eleven of my nineteen pronunciation class students have turned in their homework thus far (the deadline was 8PM today). That's better than I expected, but still not the 100% turn-in rate I'd been hoping for, especially since the students had two whole weeks to make their recordings.

I already know what I'm going to hear on Friday (this is a Fridays-only class): "Oh, I had a problem with my microphone!" or "Oh, something was wrong with my computer!" or "Oh, I didn't have any recording equipment!" That last one is a real winner, because I had asked my students two weeks ago whether anyone would be unable to make voice recordings at home. Not a single hand was raised.

Given the way things work in Korean culture, there's a chance that no one raised a hand because it would have seemed somehow shameful. I try to avoid heaping shame on my students in such cases: it doesn't make any sense to berate a student for not having recording equipment or other multimedia doodads, so I try to pose the question in the least shame-inducing way possible. But I also make clear that I don't want to hear last-minute whining about faulty equipment or an inability to record. Telling me, one day before the homework is due, that there's a problem is simply inexcusable.

My face-saving verbal contortions on behalf of my students are actually too much in the way of charity: these days, every single student has a cell phone, and all recent cell phones include some sort of voice recording capacity. I've had students email me their weirdly formatted cell phone voice files before; it's no big deal. I have to use the Korean "Gom [Bear] Player" to hear those audio files, but once Gom Player is downloaded (I downloaded it a few semesters back and have slapped in some codecs as needed), there's no problem. In other words, no student can claim to be without recording equipment.

Well, I'm sure more emails will trickle in over the course of tomorrow. I wonder if I'll see homework from all nineteen students, though.


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