teacher not understanding the question s/he set (1 Viewer)

sugared plum

Sep 11, 2003
okay i do tutoring, and a yr 11 student had a legal studies essay to write.
the question was:

“Rules and laws, morals and social etiquettes are needed to help maintain social cohesion. Without effective rules or laws to limit the disruptive behaviour of individuals or where society’s social values are challenged or lost, individual members of society, generally the strongest, will be allowed to lead the weakest towards uncivilised or primitive actions they might not otherwise consider.”
Discuss this statement and provide examples to justify your agreement or disagreement to it.

so, the student wrote an essay about the relationship between law and society, as the first phrase indicates, and then discussed the contradictions inherent in words like "uncivilised" and "primitive" highlighting the problems of language and the legal system, the mistaken idea that law = justice. essentially the student was "disagreeing" with the statement, arguing that the processes outlined in the quote (individuals lead weakest towards "primitive" actions/law maintaining order and "civilisation") were not necessarily true.

for the essay, which was well written and the points clearly established and supported, the student was given 6/10. the teacher's comment was, "you are meant to DISCUSS, not disagree with the statement".

what should i do??


Feb 6, 2005
Hunter Valley
Tell the student to fight it, if it's important (i.e. weighted), go to the head teacher with the question and the essay. Discuss does not imply agreeance or disagreeance in it self, and so is normally left to the student to choose THEIR position, not to mention the qualification "justify your agreement or disagreement to it." forces students to, generally, pick one side and argue it over the other, as it appears your student has done. The essay may have only been good enough for 6/10, but if the only negative comment on it essentially negates the directive aspects fo the essay question than your student has every right to ask for re-marking.

I would suggest this only if it is a weighted assessment, because it is still earlyish in the academic year and you want the teacher to be more favourably disposed to your student, which may be affected if you go over the teacher's head. If it's not an important one, still get the student to bring it up with the teacher, because you definitaly do not want this sort of miscommunication happening often.

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