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Summary of In Praise of the F Word

In the article "In Praise of the F Word,  Mary Sherry teaches basic grammar and writing in a night class for high-school graduates and high-school dropouts, who are intent on pursuing graduate-equivalent certificates for skills that should have been learned while in high school. She also speaks about how many of her students were involved in activities that they felt should have been stopped by someone and not themselves. She then discusses how some of her students were not mischievous or unmannered, just quite; these students were passed because of their manners and quietness.

Mary even brings in her children, mainly her youngest son, which she does not name. He was one of those students who sits in the back of the class but does not act up, just does not pay attention to the lecture while talking to his friends. Mary Sherry has a talk with the boy's teacher, and is shocked at what she tells her as to her answer to the dilemma. Her plan was not to move him to the front of the class as said by the mother but to just flunk him if he does not correct himself. After actually contemplating what is said by the teacher, she is entirely in agreement with her. Her son passes with an A after the little conversation she had with him, but this being only one example of the theory, is not sufficient evidence to make a case that threatening a student with flunking does not mean that it is not necessarily a bad theory. Her main argument is that flunking is a positive teaching tool. Flunking as a regular policy should carry the same effect now as it did two generations ago. Being feared by adult students more than by the young students; flunking can only work if both parents and teachers help each other in an effort to give the students a chance at having a diploma that means something more than just being handed out.

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