I’m interested in the relationship between the content of the Mel Levine’s “The Myth of Laziness” and the nature of this assignment. Levine first goes into the details of the disorder he calls “output failure” which entails an inability to produce work at an acceptable rate and level of quality. Levine states that this incapacity is caused by “specific shortcomings in areas of the mind that control essential aspects of memory, language, attention, motor function, and other processes required for mastery of school subjects” (2). The reading then examines the numerous advantages and subtle shortcomings of Roberta Chan, a high school student who excels in her studies in the fields of math and the sciences yet has difficulty in the less direct field of writing due to issues with creativity resulting from her unbalanced brain structure. The primary symptom of Chan’s condition is being unable to work without frustration if specific instructions are not included.
Today’s assignment includes reading two excerpts from “The Myth of Laziness” and writing a short response based on these readings. But, can you tell me anything more specific about the assignment? After perusing both the syllabus and several of the most recent emails, I could find nothing more in the way of particularity. I found this to be hypocritical; a distinguished establishment at a fine university issuing an assignment which recapitulates the struggles of a student who’s faulty “brain wiring” limits her creative abilities to the earthbound realm while her success in her additional studies would have her end up in the rarefied atmosphere; the catalyst of the manifestation of this limitation, a deficiency of guidance. Of course, students with this type of problem wouldn’t elect to be part of an organization whose rigor can be swept away only by so much creativity-driven effort but let’s explore the topic anyway.
What could have led to this oversight or could it possibly have been deliberate? For hypothetical purposes, let’s say that a student with Roberta Chan’s exact issue is currently a tutor at the Plangere Writing Center due to a misevaluation of his or her own strengths and weaknesses; how would he or she react, first, to the insufficient instructions of today’s assignment and second, to the accurate and thorough analysis of his or her exact problem within Levine’s writing. Would he or she recognize the condition as their own as it is being described before them or would he or she fail to make the connection like a chimpanzee who is looking at a mirror and instead of realizing that it is looking at itself, it signs to its trainer that the subject that it is viewing should behave less threateningly. If a successful recognition is made by the student, does that leave him or her in a position modify their approach in order to successfully complete the creativity-driven assignment or will they only be able to witness the problem that they now recognize as their own unfold and be powerless to prevent it from recurring. If we knew the answer to that question then we would be much better equipped to point the “Roberta Chans” of the world in the right direction.