I do not mean the sort of fragility provoked by a class dealing with the representation of human-rights abuses, or the sort of fragility they undoubtedly feel as they read a nonfiction piece about a Chilean mental institution. I mean the fragility I witness when a student misses an assignment because he simply forgot to check the syllabus, or when a student speaking aloud in class for the first time starts shaking, or when a student who is handed back an incomplete paper with a C on it immediately tears up.
I am talking about the fragility that follows their separation from the structured patterns of high school and middle school, as they are thrown into a world where the future is unknown. There are no more good-job-dinosaur-with-a-thumb-up stickers for simply getting a task done in college. That lack of consistent positive reinforcement often discourages and upsets them, especially in a writing class…
Popescu works in the field of comparative literature where their academics privilege different approaches than political scientists but the central takeaway is the same. Failure is a part of learning and college students need to learn that. Take proactive measures after a first major setback to prevent compounding errors.
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