Friday, July 2, 2010

Finding their way

Those of us who work the Welcome Back table at the beginning of each quarter have learned to accept that we will have a surprising number of students ask questions such as "What floor is Room 212 on?" And the vast majority of those who ask ARE native speakers of English. They tend to be young (although not all of them are) and somehow have not grasped that in the U.S., at least, *most* buildings have the 100s on the first floor, 200s on the second floor, and so on.

As I said, they are young, but they are still adults, which means they've probably had the opportunity to be in multi-story buildings before. So why have they not made this connection before they reached adulthood? Is it a lack of ability to observe? Difficulty with critical thinking? Insecurity when going to a new place?

There is probably a combination of these elements at work in most of these students, which is yet another indication of the failure of their prior education to prepare them for what would come after high school. If they can just manage to find the right room on the right floor, maybe they will be able to overcome that past and move upward.

As long as there is someone available to point them in the direction of the elevator.