Tall, Dark, and Mysterious

4/6/2005

Confession

File under: Those Who Can't, Know Thyself. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 1:14 pm.

Whenever a student asks me about some basic concept that they should have known years ago, I make a point of putting it on the test.

Question: if you knew that your teacher was doing that, would you be more, or less, inclined to ask her questions? I don’t want to discourage students from asking stupid questions about basic material (except in the fantasyland “because no one will have stupid questions about basic material!” sense), so if the latter: am I going to need to stop doing this soon? Does it make a difference that I only do this with the students who have never caught on to any of the actual math I’ve taught, or is there a nontrivial chance that this trick will be the one thing they learn from my course?