It's late Saturday night, and I just finished my homework for the week. For the last few semesters, there is at least one class that I completely slack off in. I refer to it as my "back burner" class. Now that I'm finishing the uppest of my upper division courses, I put all of my focus into the more challenging classes and hardly pay attention to the "back burner" classes.
Here is how my classes have gone for the past three semesters:
Front burner: PSYCH 201 - Development of the Lifespan
Back burner: CHILD 320 - Adolescent Development
Front burner: MATH 221C - Social Science Statistics
Back burner: FAML 430 - Something to do with families... and communities... and I don't even remember.
Winter 2017 (current):
Front burner: FAML 445 - Practicum
Back burner: FDREL 200 - The Eternal Family
Waaaaaaay back burner: PSYCH 302 - Research Methods
Last week in Sunday School, I was talking to my class about the difference between acting and being acted upon. I gave several scenarios and had the kids identify which scenario is acting and which is being acted upon.
One of the scenarios I gave was, "Memorizing what you need to know just long enough to take the test." I viewed this as being acted upon, since the motivation is to simply pass the test and move on. Some of my kids disagreed with me, saying, "But you chose to study!" My argument was that, in this scenario, you are being acted upon because you are not taking any action beyond getting the grade. You're being acted upon by the the need to pass the class.
Another scenario was , "Internalizing what you learn by applying to to your life." I viewed this as the alternative to memorizing what you need to know just long enough to take the test. In this scenario, you are acting because you are taking the initiative to make your education personal, which will result in long-term learning. You are going beyond the grade.
I had to confess to my Sunday school kids that I have spent a lot of my life memorizing what I needed to know for the test - being acted upon - but in those areas where I have acted, I have been truly blessed with wisdom.
After that lesson, I realized that, in my front burner classes, I am acting, and in my back burner classes, I'm being acted upon.
Today I had to take a test for Research Methods, my waaaaay back burner class, and as I read through the questions, I thought, "Have I even been reading the right textbook for this class?"
Fortunately I got a 'B.'