Tuesday, March 13, 2007

vocabulary words

Now please bear in mind that I did not choose the textbook which I am about to lampoon. It's a standard "all of our classes use this book and we've always used this book and so the department sticks with it for this class" so I use it. Such is life and who am I to dictate otherwise? It allows me to complain to the students about it as much as they do. (All textbooks are to a certain extent awful.)

I'm prepping for this morning's class, which includes looking over what the kids have to read for homework. (insert theme music) "yes, yes, yes - OK, OK, got it, got it, that will be fun to explain, oh yeah, I should remember to tell them that - effluents?

I don't pretend to be a wordsmith, but given that each of us has a vocabulary of several thousand words... this one is clear in context but new to me. Who the ^&(*%$& do the textbook authors think are their readers?

At any rate, this will give me an extra 30 seconds of class material.

1 comment:

Bartleby said...

Well, with as much attention as such workaday environmental matters as wastewater treatment have gotten for several decades now, I'm guessing that "effluent" won't be a new term to most of your students. I could be wrong, of course. I can't think, offhand, of a single plainer word that means the same thing, at least all by itself.

But don't get me started on textbooks. Back when I was an undergraduate studying physics -- and yes, that would have been when the one-room schoolhouse was heated with a woodstove, and we didn't call it "physics" anyway, we called it "ye olde natural philosophie" -- back in the day, I was saying, a physics textbook was large blocks of words, with the occasional simple line drawing, and more-frequent lines of mathematics. My students now try to learn from a "textbook" that's broken up by boxed-off features, thousands of photos, three or four typefaces, garish colors ... it's a "book" prepared for people who grew up on MTV. It's impossible to read the accursed thing; you can't hold your eyes still on one place on the page for more than a second or so. O tempora, O mores!