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Alibi-ology


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In honor of exam week here at BJU beginning this Saturday, following close on the heels of students' course evaluations, I'm posting about a technique that has long been practiced by students — "alibi-ology" — the science of giving alibis. Students come up with some of the most amazing alibis to explain their performance. Some of the things below might also occur on students' course evaluations. You teachers out there may recognize some of these.

What students say when exams roll around...

When they are given an objective test:
"It doesn't let you express yourself."

When they are given an essay test:
"It's so vague. You don't know what's expected."

When they are given many minor tests:
"Why not have a few big ones? This keeps you on edge all the time."

When they are given only a few major tests:
"Too much depends on each one."

When they are given no tests:
"It's not fair. How can he possibly judge what we know?"

When every part of the subject is discussed in class:
"Oh, he just follows the book."

When they are asked to study a part of the subject by themselves:
"We never even discussed it!"

When the course is in lecture form:
"We never get a chance to say anything!"

When the course consists of informal lecture and discussion:
"He just sits there. Who wants to hear the students? He doesn´t know how to teach the course."

When detailed material is presented:
"What's the use? You forget it all after the exam anyway."

When general principles are presented:
"What did we learn? We knew that before we took the course."

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I'm hoping to read in the comments some alibis excuses reasons my readers have used or heard.

Somewhat related... I saw an interesting news story this week about two overdue books that President George Washington never returned to a library in New York City. He apparently owes the library $4,577 in fines and the two missing books. I'm sure that since he would never tell a lie, he might instead give some lame excuse about being dead for most of that time. But the books were due November 2, 1798 and he died December 14, 1799, giving him plenty of time to return said books. Any of you want to come up with an excuse for him?

quotation...

"Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties." - Charles H. Spurgeon

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Iceland goes bankrupt, then it manages to set itself on fire. This has insurance scam written all over it. Not to mention their attempting to take down the rest of Europe with them! Wonder what excuses Iceland is giving....


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11 Comments on “Alibi-ology”

  1. #1 Gayle
    on Apr 29th, 2010 at 9:55 am

    George’s excuse was he threw his last coin across the Potomac!

  2. #2 Tony
    on Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I couldn’t guess the original reason for not returning the books, but since the nation’s capital moved from New York to Philadelphia in December 1790, I’d guess that the books were lost in the move. That box marked “kitchen” was lost too – had to replace some frying pans.

  3. #3 Carrie
    on Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I think the cherry tree fell on them.

  4. #4 Tony
    on Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I looked at that news story, and it says that the name of the person that checked out the books was “President.” Are they sure it wasn’t the president of the library board, or the president of the local book club? Did Washington actually write “President” in the ledger himself, or did a librarian write it? If Washington, then wouldn’t he have signed his name instead of writing his title? Unless there’s more proof that George had those books, the evidence seems circumstantial to me.

  5. #5 Rob
    on Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    @Gayle, Tony, and Carrie – You’ve made some very good points on how this could have happened. I’m wondering, Tony, if George would have gone there himself or sent someone to fetch the books for him.

  6. #6 Jonathan
    on Apr 29th, 2010 at 11:35 am

    One excuse that my 7th grade teacher appreciated that I gave was that I had made a paper airplane out of my assignment and it got highjacked to Cuba. That’s one dated excuse.

  7. #7 Rob H
    on Apr 29th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I always like the alibi

    When a part of the subject is discussed in class that was not from the book:
    “But that was not in the book.”

  8. #8 JohnMatzko
    on Apr 29th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    In History of Civ lecture, I was once put in charge of taking written excuses about why students had been late to class and therefore had missed the quiz. There were many excuses I puzzled over. But one I remember was from a guy who wrote, “I work in a veterinary clinic, and this morning a dog came in for a Caesarian.” Without missing a beat, I wrote, “Excused.”

  9. #9 Karen M.
    on Apr 29th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    George Washington’s excuse for not taking the library books back:
    “Hey, guys, I’m trying to put shoes on my soldier’s feet!”

  10. #10 NathanatBJU
    on May 1st, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I think that his dog probably ate the library books before the date they were due….

  11. #11 Rob
    on May 3rd, 2010 at 6:51 am

    @John – Good call, John! What else are you gonna do with one like that?

    @Karen and Nathan – Those alibis sound good to me.