Case Study: Independent Genius or Interdependent Success? Review Zach’s situation (see case study below). Then come up with a recommendation for Zach’s study habits. What 3-5 things can he do to master the material in his math class more effectively? How might he link up with students like Aaliyah who seem to be successful in math? What resources are available to help him more effectively than studying does at 3:00 am? Be specific—what can he do to practice interdependence in his math classes at Cerritos College? Who can he link up with, where can he go for assistance, what will help him know the material more effectively and receive better grades?
Instructors: Hand out Zach Aguilar’s story in class and ask students to complete the recommendation activity for the next class session. In groups of 3-4 students, have them compile a group recommendation for Zack of at least 3 steps he should take to seek assistance from campus and class resources. Give them 10 minutes. Then have groups share the results with the class, asking for specifics whenever possible. Write these on the board and have students take notes. This becomes the strategy for building upon study skills outside of class for the rest of the semester.
Imagine this situation:
Zach Aguilar spent all night on Monday cramming for the algebra test, reading over the textbook, trying out the problems that he had been assigned for homework—many of which he had gotten wrong—and trying to figure out his class notes. Finally, at 3:30, he rolled into bed, exhausted. When the test was returned on the following Monday, he saw a big C at the top of the page—his best grade of the semester, but still a let down.
He glanced over at the student sitting next to him, Aaliyah Saqr. He struggled to pull a C in math, while she breezed in and got an A merely by sitting down. She never seems to sweat the tests, and when the professor calls on her, she’s always got the right answer. Meanwhile, he freaks out over pop quizzes and mutters wrong answers when called upon.
Zack really hates Aaliyah’s easy success. But maybe it’s not her, he thinks. Maybe, he worries, he’s just not cut out to be a college student.