To think being engaged in class is a good thing

(80 Posts)
ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 11:57:04

I'm back at university as a mature student and yesterday had a bit of a run in with one of our lecturers. I should probably caveat this with a yes, I know I'm keen and there to learn, but what's the point in shelling out £27,000 for a degree and not being engaged!

In the lecture yesterday it seemed like most of the class were asleep/playing on their mobiles/chatting/looking out of the window. Now that's their look out but I'm there to learn. The lecturer asked questions, and each time I waited until he had asked it a second time (allowing others to answer) before responding. On the third question he said "others can answer too" and then followed it up with "and if they don't know I can tell them the answer".

AIBU to think that his comment was ridiculous? I wasn't being a smug know-it-all, and even if I was I'm entitled to give the answers to the questions he asked! How has being engaged and paying attention become a bad thing?

Zipbangboom Tue 05-Mar-13 13:34:51

When are you getting married?

No, I do see that about one-word answers, but those sound to be easy questions designed to encourage people to speak up. To state the obvious - he asked the easy questions to see if anyone except you knew the answer, not because he doesn't know it himself.

I don't think he was being rude ... but I wasn't there, so it may be there was something in his tone that isn't coming across on the page.

I do see that it is obviously not a fun situation for you. It probably isn't for him, either.

Fakebook Tue 05-Mar-13 13:40:59

When I was at university we had a "mature" student studying with us and she used to do this. We had 5 other mature students who were really lovely intelligent men/women and who never felt the need to keep talking/answering questions in the main lecture theatre.
This woman used to ask for clarification about 5 times in a lecture, asking stupid questions and then having arguments with the lecturer about random things. She annoyed us and the lecturers.

My lecturer for two of my modules used to tell me that he can tell I'm understanding the work he teaches us and am engaged in lectures because I am always making notes and looking through the text book during lectures. You really Don't have to keep asking questions or answering every question to show you're engaged, the lecturers can tell who is learning and who is not. Give the others a chance too or ask for clarification at the end of the lecture.

I totally don't get the argument; it puts others off, we don't feel like engaging

Isn't this a reason to push you to engage more? If the "know it all" bothers you so much why don't you all join in more to make it equal? (providing you have a contribution to make)

It should be, sleeping, but often it isn't. And the lecturer has to work out how to deal with that. I would bet he's pretty fed up with the rest of the class, especially as the OP says there are other classes where everyone engages properly.

If it'd been me I'd have got the OP to stay behind a moment and said to her, look, you are doing really well but I have a problem with the others, can you help me out by not replying unless I call on you for the next class, and we'll see if we can't get them talking. But maybe he was a bit impatient or didn't realize he'd upset the OP.

MajaBiene Tue 05-Mar-13 13:50:38

I would let the awkward silences happen OP - the lecturer knows the answers, you know the answers, stop contributing. It's not like answering those closed questions is helping you further your understanding.

EnjoyResponsibly Tue 05-Mar-13 14:08:04

Fuck me, this is everything that's wrong about education in this country.

If you know the answer why shouldn't you reply. It does show you are engaged.

What happened to championing the acquisition if knowledge, celebrating achievement and wanting to learn more?

How on earth can knowing the answer and saying it when asked be deemed, except by the smallest of minds, as being patronising or being a know all.

If the lecturer can't get his students motivated he should be reassessing his skills. And if his students can't be arsed they should find a course that matches their abilities/interest.

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 14:08:48

I've come to that conclusion, Maja but I honestly thought I was helping to keep things moving - particularly as he's asked each question twice and the rest of the class don't care. I've taught when not one person responded to questions and I found it horrid being at the front waiting for a response, and not wanting to give in to the silence.

I'd have had no issue with a quiet word, or even a jokey one LRD, it was the snipe (and it was aggressive, I had a couple of emails from classmates about it today - I wasn't overreacting) and the sarcastic comment I have an issue with. It's not very professional.

Sadly, those closed questions are about all we get - we don't seem to be encouraged to discuss or reason things through. All our classes are taught as 3 hour lectures, with no tutorials, seminars or one-on-ones at all!

This woman used to ask for clarification about 5 times in a lecture, asking stupid questions and then having arguments with the lecturer about random things. She annoyed us and the lecturers.

I'm certainly not one of these - I let go when I know what he's going on about and I disagree with him (he mispronounces a number of anatomical words and it grates on me but he doesn't need an argument about such things) - I only answer asked questions, take copious notes, read around the subject and ask for clarification when any lecturer has lost me. I see no fault in that.

I'm really not trying to say he was right - I think he mishandled it, and I said so in my first post. I also think the snippy comments about mature students are pretty rude.

Can you talk to a course tutor about this? It really doesn't seem great and if other students managed to rise out of their torpor to email you it must have come across as very rude.

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 14:30:01

Sorry, I'm being very defensive about this (as you can tell) - I was trying to agree with you, and am grateful that you've made me look at other angles!

I will arrange to go to see someone about it, once I've calmed down properly. It doesn't help that my MH isn't in the best place right now, so being publicly humiliated like that feels like the worst thing in the world today.

LaQueen Tue 05-Mar-13 14:31:52

If you want to answer the questions, then go right ahead.

I was never remotely bothered about answering the lecturer's questions - certainly didn't mean I didn't know the answer though wink

Most students I ever knew, endured the lectures, employing the minimum of effort...but, then pulled the rabbit out of the bag when writing coursework, or sitting the exam.

Of course you're being defensive! Why wouldn't you be. I think it's reasonable. I am arguing devil's advocate but it does sound as if something's not right.

LaQueen Tue 05-Mar-13 14:35:13

Oh, hang on - was this in the actual lecture hall? Not a tutorial?

I can never really remember any lecturers asking questions in the lecture hall. They lectured. We just sat and listened, and made notes (or not, as the case may be).

I'd have taken a slightly dim view, of an over zealous student trying to debate with the lecturer in the lecture would have made the lecture over run, for a start.

She's not in an Arts subject, though.

CheeseStrawWars Tue 05-Mar-13 14:44:59

My take is - the rest of the class are sitting there bored. He thinks his lecture is boring them. Maybe it is. He feels angry, and defensive and criticised that people think he (and his lecture, that he's worked hard on) are boring.

You've thought "hmm, he needs me to help him move this along."

You have the answers to his questions off pat. He thinks he's boring you too, as you know it all already. And perhaps feels a little patronised by you 'helping' him out.

I am not saying any of what I am imagining may be going on in his head is professional or right, but what he said to you is all about him, and what's in his head.

I wouldn't bother answering any questions of the "one word answer" variety for him. Let him stew in his own juice and save questions for when you want something clarified. Work out what you need from him as your lecturer to get you through the course, and don't worry about what he needs from you.

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 14:45:56

I think you probably went to a more traditional educational establishment, LaQueen wink

LaQueen Tue 05-Mar-13 14:47:55

Ah, I see you're doing a science Fox - I hear you have to actually work at those kinda degrees, and make an effort, and they're really quite hard.

As you were... wink

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 14:53:39

But they're either right or wrong, so in that sense easier!

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Tue 05-Mar-13 14:55:56

Laqueen I would agree with you. No question in lectures unless the lecturer call for them of course.
If nobody answer his questions then I would do it to get the lecture going again, but will let it long enough so somebody else answer. Nothing wrong with that. If you are always the only one answering I can see that being a bit irritating though...

If you don't understand the lecture you do additional work on your own, on line, ask for tutorials or go to the lecturer after the class (not everyday and every class just if you really can't make it out on your own after having researched it).
His is not teaching he is reading IYSWIM.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Tue 05-Mar-13 15:02:17

I am in science BTW, asking question during a lecture is a bit like asking question during a conference speech and not waiting for the question part (a bit rude)

MrTumblesCrackWhore Tue 05-Mar-13 15:02:26

It may be the case he was misdirecting his annoyance at the rest of the students at you. He was probably feeling irritated that no one else was engaging with the lecture and the fact you were the only person answering questions highlighted this to him even more.

StuntGirl Tue 05-Mar-13 15:03:25

I don't see a problem with your approach fox. I was of the slightly lazy variety when I was at uni. If I went back now, with all the higher costs and trying to fit it in around my 'mature' lifestyle you can bet your bottom dollar I'd be far more engaged and active this time round.

Is your tutor approachable enough to speak to? I suspect cheese and LRD are pretty close to the mark. Ignore the simpe questions, let the lecturer and the other students stew for a bit and get involved when you need further clarification or he asks a more open question.

Musomathsci Tue 05-Mar-13 15:10:18

Sounds like the lecturer is the one with the problem here - asking such simplistic questions - what's the point? Perhaps the other students can't be arsed to answer such banal questions.

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 15:12:11

I think I'm probably wrong in calling them lectures then - though that's what they're referred to at university. Questions on clarification are encouraged, though seemingly only from other students. It is a bit like being in class pre sixth form.

It's effectively a slide show, some extra information (often wrong from this lecturer, but that's by the by) and some interaction. Not the lectures I had the first time round with someone presenting at the front and us seeking clarification in tutorials or home study.

op yanbu. pathetic that people on here are calling you a know it all hmm how old are you guys? I'd be pissed off if I had to hear every question asked 3 times too

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