Mary Sherry's article, In Praise of the F Word

Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・MLA ・2 Sources

This essay explores the similarities in Mary Sherry's article, In Praise of the F Word, and Kurt Wiesenfeld's, Making the Grade. Both authors specific their frustrations at students failing to put efforts to achieve the grades they deserve and teachers' tendency of awarding undeserving grades to students. Wiesenfeld exclaims that college students fail to put in effort in their assignments and classwork while expecting better grades for the sake of their sanity. Sherry has the same opinion and states that the young learners lack understanding of the function of effort in achieving better grades. Additionally, both writers categorical their frustrations through examples of their past experiences with students and teachers. Sherry, for example, acknowledges the function of fear of failure in motivating students to work hard. Wiesenfeld, on the other hand, recognizes that students’ grades should reflect the input they make. Evidently, both authors agree that it is the role of teachers and students to revive the value of grades to eliminate illiterate graduates in the job market. 

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Sherry explains that teachers have an active role in determining students' grades, adding that her experience while teaching the adult literacy class elicits discoveries. She believes that teachers must rediscover ways to catch their students' attention. Attention drawing activities such as asking students to tell their unpleasant experiences is an icebreaker especially to students lacking concentration. She states, “… before a teacher can expect students to concentrate, he has to get their attention, no matter what distractions may be at hand.” She believes that the style of teaching holds the success or failure card of a student (4).

In Wiesenfeld’s article, Making the Grade, he asserts that the superior grades awarded to students are not a reflection of personal effort. Most students fail to give sufficient reasons for seeking better grades than they deserve. To most, better grades are a means to an end, a trade for something better. He recalls incidences when students approach him to amend their grade, some giving reasons such as "fear of flunking out, their life will come to an end, and fear of losing their scholarship." Wiesenfeld blames the students for their poor grades, further insisting that students should take their studies seriously if they intend to pass his class (6).

Equally, the authors utilize rhetorical appeals to interact efficiently with the reader. Sherry, in her article, uses her position as a tutor to push for the need for efforts in studies. She regrets that some young adult students move from one level of studies to another without actual qualification (7). Wiesenfeld gives examples in the employment realm where grades matter. He states that if students fail to attain the grade they deserve, his engineering students will likely offer lousy advice in infrastructure construction (10).

Both authors make valid arguments on the need for teachers and students to do more to help the students attain the grades they deserve. In her case, Sherry insists on the importance of adopting an efficient teaching style that fosters the needs of the students. Thus, the teaching style should accommodate the learners' needs, such as concentration, to increase the chances for better grades. Besides, the technique should provide room for the learner to make an effort to attain the grades they deserve. Wiesenfeld appreciates learners' efforts insisting that they hold the fate of their final mark. Learners who ordinarily fail to make an effort do not earn better grades. Both arguments are valid.

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Works Cited

Sherry, Mary. "In Praise Of The F Word." Newsweek, 1991,

Wiesenfeld, Kurt. "My Turn: Making The Grade." Leachlegacy.Ece.Gatech.Edu, 1996,

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