PREPARING STUDENTS FOR THE WORKPLACE. The idea of teaching students to read instruction manuals is part of a long tradition in American education. Some fifty years ago, I was told by a friend who was a teacher in a medium-sized city in Wisconsin that the English courses for the students who were not going on to college were devoted to teaching them to follow instructions. I also had a friend, Bob Clipner, who had been a very successful high school teacher and, at the time I knew him, was taking at master’s degree at Harvard and teaching part time at a local high school as part of the program. He marveled at how uncomfortable his students were at doing any work that gave them scope for creativity. He said that one day when the class reacted to an assignment requiring thought by misbehaving, he had handed out as punishment work sheets requiring the copying of sentences and inserting the correct form of “to/too/two”. He said that the class relaxed immediately and did the assignment happily.

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