Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No Worksheets, Please!

To be honest, most worksheets  that we get in school are not well designed. They can often be tedious and repetitive, contain stupid questions, and even be impossible to complete.

Many worksheets that I have done are very repetitive: they are repetitive to the point that you would literally have to repeat the same line over and over again! For example, once there was a math worksheet about the four different transformations of the graphs of functions. These transformations shall be named as A, B, C and D in this post for convenience. Anyway, the purpose of the worksheet was for us to understand the differences between A, B, C and D, and guess what it asked us to do? Well, I would list the steps in point form for simplicity:
  1.  Investigate A. 
  2.  Investigate B
  3.  Compare A and B. 
  4.  Investigate C
  5.  Compare A, B and C
  6.  Investigate D
  7.  Compare A, B, C and D
Doesn't this just look stupid? Why didn't the worksheet ask us to investigate A, B C and D, and then compare them all at once? Instead, I had to repeatedly write down the characteristics of A, B and C (especially A)!

Another common problems among worksheets is stupidity. Often, worksheets would ask us to explain things that are so self-evident that even three-year-olds could understand without difficulty. For example, once there was a math worksheet that asked us to calculate the unit prices of several different bottles of ketchup, and these were the questions that it asked:
  1. Calculate the unit price of each item.
  2. Which bottle of ketchup has the lowest unit price? Explain.
Really, we are asked to explain why one numerical value is greater or less than another? It's like asking to explain why 5 is greater than 3! Urgh.

Impossibility to be completed
Furthermore, sometimes worksheets are impossible to be completed! For example, today in summer school I got a worksheet with one of the questions being "Using your text book, define physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and for each type of abuse, write down the effects that it can have on a child."

While there is nothing wrong with the question itself, it cannot be completed because the text book only contains information about physical abuse! And how can we answer the whole question if the text book doesn't include enough information?

No Worksheets, Please!
Most of the worksheets in school are just designed horribly. Yet, despite the obvious flaws that can be seen in the worksheets, many teachers still give them out to students without modifying the content. As a result, students get bombarded with long, boring, and meaningless work almost everyday, and I do not believe that this should continue. I think that if teachers want to give out worksheets, they should screen them over and modify the contents so that the worksheets do not have any of the qualities that have been mentioned in this post. Otherwise, I believe that teachers should just stop giving students worksheets.