In her blog post “Paper Worksheets are Frustrating,” Alice Keeler points out a major problem with paper worksheets: the feedback arrives too late to be of much help to the student, creating plenty of frustration. I think worksheets also cause (expose?) laziness in many teachers. Those paper worksheets are just too tempting when you aren’t feeling creative. And even if you don’t have an old worksheet in your files, it’s too tempting to find one online. I know because my daughter, a 6th gader, in one week brought home one worksheet from 1986 and another that was downloaded from a website.
It didn’t take much detective work to figure out the first worksheet was from 1986. The copywrite was printed at the bottom of the page. It seems like you’d be ashamed enough to use a little white out to cover your tracks.
It took a little more work to track down the downloaded worksheet. My daughter, a bright kid who is good at the “game of school” and is motivated by grades, asked for help with a language arts worksheet. The question she was having trouble with was poorly worded and baffled me, an experienced English teacher. I can’t remember the topic, but I remember that I suspected it was downloaded. I Googled the question and quickly found the worksheet AND THE KEY! Now that is lazy teaching. (That’s actually not true–it’s not teaching at all.) My daughter, God bless her, refused to use the key because she considered it cheating. I took the position that the teacher was cheating her and was asking for it. But she didn’t buy my argument and finished the worksheet on her own.
I don’t remember how she did on either worksheet. I bet she doesn’t remember either.