I went to one of those pretentious private schools in NYC. It was the kind of school that if it were a teen movie, we'd be the evil asshole rich kids that the main characters would end up defeating with the power of heart and/or street smarts. That said, the students tended to be either ridiculously smart, ruthless, or rich in order to study there (the school did have standards and those very nice financial aid packages).
The thing is, it was one of those schools where if you start doing really poorly they bounce your ass out of there. Yet you still have people who don't want to learn or can't learn.
There were kids who were claiming mental handicapped (or had a mental handicap) of some sort ranging from dyslexia to other mental problems that I wouldn't know about and frankly wouldn't want or be able to find out about. But the thing is, some of these kids were geniuses when it came to say... Writing but absolute rubbish everywhere else. But since the school had requirements (mostly mandated by the State), they found themselves in courses they didn't want to be in, couldn't care less about, and frankly just wanted to get out of the way as quickly as possible. Of course they didn't do well there
. So I guess my point is that sometimes it may not be that they don't want to learn but they just have disdain for the class/ subject material itself.
Then again, I knew some kids who had got a doctor's note that claimed they had some sort of mental problem so that they could get extra time on tests (like an extra hour or so, split up) so that they could effectively get A's on the course but have no marks on their record due to non-disclosure requirements. Course I don't know for sure cuz I wasn't privy to that info either but with the person being a straight - A student competing in multiple science competitions, it was weird for the person to get extra time on physics exams.
But I think you'll always have students in your class who just refuse to learn because either they look down on the teacher, the textbook, the subject, or the classmates. For whatever reason, they think the class is a joke and thus don't give anyone respect. However, they do care about their own ass which is why they get ticked off or surprised when bad grades start rolling around and instead of blaming themselves, they blame anything else. I was like that at one point with an economics class in College until I got my head out of my ass and realized it was my fault for not doing the proper amount of work (although I still maintain that the professor was not a good teacher).
Senior slump in America is a great example of students choosing not to learn. Specifically, Senior slump (for non Americans) refers to when the students have already been accepted by certain colleges. At this point, there's no reason to study hard because as long as one doesn't screw up entirely, they can do whatever they want. As I recall, in my high school this amounted to kids not going to class (which was possible due to the school's different type of scheduling and location which I won't go into cuz it's not really relevant). Sometimes this was to go to a college orientation to be wooed by colleges and to party/ goof off. This was deemed "Okay" because they had earned the break (ignoring the Summer break of course) and so there was no incentive to learn in class.
End result was that the teachers couldn't really teach the Seniors anything because there were classes where attendance was 50% and a lot of students who showed up often didn't even bring pens/pencils or a notebook. Twas ridiculous really and it really bugged me a lot. Course not all students were like that but the concept stuck with me. Sure you can get teachers who are bad at teaching and teachers where its hard to get good grades or learn from and if most students are not learning then yes, perhaps the teacher is bad. But that sort of situation is really only applicable with someone who is new at teaching or a bad administration which can't identify poor teachers.
Peh, that's my mini-rant (I could go on a full one about my old high school but I'd rather not) and I've heard my High School is better about that kind of stuff. Sort of.
Edit: Oh and
Amicitia wrote:In the U.S., a fixed curriculum is strictly enforced, and students who want to go to a university need to take specific courses. Most colleges enforce that students need to take calculus, and most students who aren't interested in that sort of stuff opt to take the AP class, since they'll have to take it sometime, and the AP test does not require a rigorous knowledge of calculus.
I think I should clarify this statement for others (because I read it one way and then realized you meant another) in that Colleges in the US tend to have a core which requires courses such as Freshman Writing, History, Calculus, so on and so forth. Students in High School often take AP courses which, given high scores, may opt them out of the class depending on your major and how important that class is. Also in High School, most states mandate certain years of History, English, and Math taught although these can be circumvented to some degree and with some skill depending on your school, money, or effort. Finally, while AP courses such as the Calculus exam is quite easy to get a 4/5 in order to opt out of a College level course, in general, the amount of effort to get that sort of score is equivalent to showing up to class, paying relative attention, and (depending on your teacher's teaching level) gain grades ranging from B to A+.
"I may or may not be a raptor. There is no way of knowing until entering a box that I happen to be in and then letting me sunder the delicious human flesh from your body in reptile fury."