We all receive our first graded homework submissions at different times, but I’d guess that for many of us, week 2 brings in the first batch. We know what’s coming. Despite our good advice and warnings, there will be students who do not submit their work. There will be students who do the work poorly. There will be students who have excuses about why they do not have their work to submit. There will be students who turn in something, but which does not fit the assignment requirements.
How do you respond to this? How should we respond? As an undergraduate, the majority of my professors didn’t say anything. They did not lecture us with the importance of turning in our assignments. They did not berate us. They did not try to teach us that it was important to submit assignments. I think our professors believed that we students knew the score: we knew what we were supposed to do and why we were supposed to do it. If we didn’t turn in our work, we knew the consequences.
Maybe that was right: maybe we students did know the score. Maybe we accepted the necessity and value in submitting work on time. Perhaps we had been trained properly.
But I wonder: are all students properly educated in behavior like submitting homework on time? Should they be? If a student doesn’t turn in their work, should this be interpreted as a lack of knowledge, rather than a sign of poor practice? Maybe the “knowledge” is deeper than simply accepting a fact about a world, but having the belief about a due date and responsibility to be deeply connected and rooted into a much larger social framework. But it is that larger social framework that needs addressing. Do we address it?