Prejudgment and demotivation

Mar 30, 2015 • Derek Howard

I grew up going to French language schools in Ontario. I had generally been a good student in languages and science alike. However, after arriving at a new high school I very rapidly lost all interest in my French course following repeated comments from the teacher about my inherent scientific leanings, how I was so very English and how these things didn’t help me analyze our French texts. I had never had similar comments before, had not struggled with French in the past and had been speaking French at home with my French-Canadian mother since I was young.I can’t help but think that having this teacher pushed me away from any interest I had in those language classes.

The teacher should not have made any comments about my inherent nature and predisposition for a topic, particularly given that it was based on my very English name and abilities in other subjects. To help motivate me afterwards, the teacher would have had to first stop making similar comments and then assess the actual work I did without preconceived notions. He could have complimented the aspects of my work that he did approve while showing which parts may have seemed too analytical for his taste, instead of dismissing it as too scientific.