Reading this blog http://classteaching.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/learning-with-mr-clarke-circa-1985/ reminded me of when I went to school. Those days seem to be simple and not many "politically correct" rules were used. For example if a teacher thought that one student was saying or doing a "dumb" thing, the teacher was free to say so. Now of course you can't say to a student in front of the class: "that is a dumb thing!" We are now using the so called Pygmalion or Rosenthal effect where greater expectations are supposed to enhance the behavior and performance of the student. So instead of saying "that is a dumb thing to say"; we say "that is a great idea but have you consider ....this or that".. It looks like greater expectations are in some way paradoxically working against improved performance because we are not emphasizing "hard work" as a necessary investment in improving oneself. The need to have a "carrot and a stick", a pull and a push, incentives and coercion in order to balance the needs with the outcomes in the educational process.
Do you think that in some ways we should have some punitive measures along the way during the course, so we don't have to wait until the failing grade is given?
Like in the days when a list of the top and bottom students was posted in the classroom?