As my students were scanning a list of potential research paper topics, one of the boys came up with a bright idea.
At least he thought it was a bright idea.
As he read a topic prompt — "Should the government be allowed to wire tap without permission?" — he paused for a moment.
"No, the government should not be allowed to wire tap without permission because that is an invasion of privacy," he stated. "My paper's done."
Of course, I shifted into teacher mode and explained that information in research papers needs to be documented. There needs to be some evidence that supports the writer's thesis.
My students knew that, but they're always trying to be funny. It worked. I smiled.
Then I considered how one-sentence responses to research paper prompts would sound.
With thanks to Midway College, www.midway.edu/library/topics, for a list of potential research paper topics, I offer these responses ... some serious, some in line with my students' thoughts.
Topic: Why are there so many wars in Africa?
Response: Perhaps because people fight when they are hungry and oppressed.
Topic: Should it be illegal to use animals for sports and entertainment?
Response: Does that mean I can't toss a Frisbee to my dog in our backyard?
Topic: Should state or federal government officials put laws into place to prevent bullying?
Response: They wouldn't have to consider laws on bullying if some parents would set a better example.
Topic: Should DDT be re-approved for use in the wake of recent bedbug outbreaks across the country?
Response: Isn't there another way to get rid of those critters?
Topic: Exams often do little more than measure a person's ability to take exams. Should exams be outlawed in favor of another form of assessment?
Response: My students would say: YES!!!!
Topic: How can four different generations work together in the workplace?
Response: I'll answer that after I find my reading glasses. Now, where did I put them?
Topic: Are fast-food restaurants to blame for obesity? When is it an individual's responsibility?
Response: Most fast-food restaurants offer salads as an option. That option just needs to be selected.
Topic: Have cell phones changed us socially?
Response: Have you tried to have a conversation with a teenager lately?
Topic: Should church arson be considered a hate crime?
Response: Under what other category could it be placed?
Topic: Is breaking the law for a cause justifiable?
Response: Only if you're Robin Hood.
Topic: Should college athletes be paid?
Response: Are college musicians paid?
Topic: What are the latest ways to steal identity and money?
Response: How am I supposed to know? I'm not a criminal.
However, grading 20 or so research papers does make me feel like I'm off my rocker. Ah, maybe I left my reading glasses by the rocker ....
Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to email@example.com.