Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Standard Deviants - English Composition|
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
The Standard Deviants' modern approach to learning and understanding makes difficult subjects accessible and even enjoyable. Recommended by over 500 educators and professors, the Standard Deviants DVD is the ultimate way t... more »
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Too hip for its own good?
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 12/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As impressive as this program is in its combining integrity with entertainment, it did not get good reviews when I test-drove selections from it for a class of college freshmen. The information--about constructing a thesis, organizing and revising a paper, citing sources correctly--is exactly what most students need. And it's presented with lots of arresting visual dynamics, fast-paced actions, inside humor (from Citizen Kane to Dan Quayle). But my students sensed that they were being talked down to, that a truly complex and laborious exercise was being misrepresented as a mere "snap." They saw more Sesame Street than MTV in the presentation and therefore rejected it. All teachers and parents have likely experienced such paradoxical reactions from young people when you invade their "unique, pop-culture territory." They may actually prefer that you maintain your stodgy role--it gives them greater security about their own. This video, therefore, is likely to trigger defensive reactions such as those I witnessed, giving Holden Caulfieds every opportunity to label a well-intended presentation as "phony."In conclusion, the video might be useful at high school levels or for adults welcoming a change of pace in their approach to learning. Or perhaps advanced college students who are "truly" sophisticated would be able to extract the wheat while getting a chuckle at the chaff."
Mike Vaughan | 05/13/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I teach a Composition II course offered through a local university to personnel at a nearby military installation. My students are generally non-traditional, and many of them had the first composition course years ago. I thought this video would provide them with a good refresher.Just a few minutes into my first viewing, I began to worry. As the bubbly narrator chirps about English Composition, cartoon characters dash across the screen to the "BOING" and "CRASH" of Saturday morning sound effects. Squeaky-voiced puppets occassionaly appear to yelp some unintelligble point about writing, or something. The actual information is great, but I found myself cringing as we cut away to yet another hopelessly lame bit of comic relief. The humor in Sesame Street is much more sophisticated than this. After two-plus hours of slide whistles and bad jokes, I had to have an aspirin. Still, I decided to try it on my students. Oh, how they wished they'd brought some rotten vegetables to class that day. Not one of the muscles in the human face required for smiling even twitched in my entire class for an hour. There was, however, a great deal of moaning, head shaking and eye rolling. I think one student began to drool a bit, and another did not blink for over twenty minutes. Imagine Hee-Haw without the laugh track, then think of something less funny. It was agonizing, and I doubt I will show them the remainder of the video. If the dumb comic bits were edited out, this program would run about 90 minutes, and would be a great refresher for my students. As it is, the helpful information is dumbed-down by the overdone fluff. I have seen other Standard Deviants videos on Shakespeare's plays, and they were not so inane. Perhaps a class of traditional college Freshmen would react more positivly to this video. My older students were insulted."
Great video for beginners and/or review
Ladylaz | 06/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I use this video in entry level composition courses I teach soley to traditional students, as well as those I teach soley to adult/returning student (non-traditional) groups. It plays well to both audiences, despite the 'MTV-generation' demeanor of the Deviants. (Perhaps this is because many adult students have children of their own who resemble the 'stars'?)In any case, this is the only video I have seen which makes the process seem accessible and allays fears, as well as teaches the basics. I recommend it without hestiation to anyone interested in English Comp."
In Between The Corny Humor Is Some Good Information
G. J Wiener | Westchester, NY USA | 02/19/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This Standard Deviant's English Composition Video is most definitely a mixed bag. Some good information is provided to help high school and college students express themselves better. Many good points do exist illustrating thesis statements, supporting paragraphs, proper use of quotations, and transitional sentences among other things. However there are two very notable drawbacks.One is that the humor is way overdone. The purpose of this video is to educate young minds on writing properly as opposed to jamming as many cutesy sight gags into the video as possible. Although a few of these gags are a bit clever, the over use of humor is quite distracting from the task at hand especially when the narrators switch in rapid fire motion in synch with these special effects.The other issue is that this video is way too long at two hours and six minutes. Many of the ideas illustrated are indeed important. However, the video tries to do a bit too much and its sometimes hard to determine which is most important. This video definitely must be viewed in small doses and in multiple viewings to determine the key points and then retain them. This is a slightly annoying task but certainly worthy of the effort. In spite of all the details, much of the information has some relevance.Again, this video most certainly passes the test. However, there are some flaws which can hamper its overall effectiveness."