To think that there must be something DP can do about rubbish students in his lectures?

(90 Posts)

DP is in his second year as a mature student. Technically it's his first year on the course as last year he did a foundation degree so it's most of his peer's first years too. This year he's really struggling to keep his attention on one of his lecturers because there are quite a few twats in his classes who spend the entire time chucking stuff at one another, chatting, ignoring the lecturer, chucking things at other people, etc. Essentially acting like children. The lecturer couldn't give a shit apparently and just continues on regardless, so DP is having to spend loads of extra time on this subject (Maths) which is already a subject that he was having to spend longer on anyway (though actually enjoyed it before, whereas now he's dreading going to lectures because of the other students).

DP says that he has complained to his course leader and head of department on numerous occasions because at the end of the day, whilst they are paying a significant amount to ruin their education at the moment, he is also paying and his education is suffering because of the minority and a lecturer who doesn't care.

Is there anything he can actually do about this? Or is he stuck with them until they either drop out or grow up? I dropped out of uni because of substandard lecturers so understand a little how frustrating it is, but then this is the first chance DP has had to change his life that has actually worked thanks to badly timed misfortune in the past and he's just getting more and more frustrated and I'm left with a defeated, paranoid-he's-going-to-fail grump when I actually manage to get him to put his work down!

MrsHuxtable Thu 17-Jan-13 19:51:36

He can sit in the fron row thus avoiding most of the annoying immature students. Doubt they would go and sit in the front row and then chuck stuff. Students like that sit further back!

manicbmc Thu 17-Jan-13 19:52:43

Could he chat to other students who might also be pissed off with the behaviour so they can confront it together?

iloveeverton Thu 17-Jan-13 19:54:09

Second sitting on the front row. Any lectures on youtube or that he can download himself? Does he ever get small tutorials?

ohfunnyhoneyface Thu 17-Jan-13 19:56:37

Definitely worth pursuing- which uni is it? Is it a pure maths course or is it a unit for under grads on different courses? Might be worth complaining to their dpt instead if it's a crossover course?

It's outrageous adults behave like this.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 17-Jan-13 19:57:00

DD's lecturers post all their powerpoints and notes on the uni VLE so that students can access them. It is infuriating for your DH, but how is the lecturer able to stop students being disruptive? can't send them out, can't kick them off the course, the poor sod just has to keep going.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Thu 17-Jan-13 20:02:38

He needs to sit in the front row.

He also needs to come to terms with the fact that they may just be twats all term. He will only wind himself up and distract himself more if he lets them bother him.

I totally sympathise because I am completely the type of person who would also let this really frustrate me - so it's from bitter experience that I say he has GOT to just let it go!

If they are that disinterested they will probably just stop attending soon.

Euphemia Thu 17-Jan-13 20:03:08

He could find out who the head of teaching is in the department and complain to them. Or via his rep on the Staff-Student Liaison Committee.

Thanks for the ideas!

He does sit at the front (or as close as he can get) already, he got a bit annoyed with me for suggesting that so I got annoyed back and lectured him about growing a spine blush

He has pretty much been teaching himself from youtube! It's a wondrous thing and there are plenty of teachers and lecturers posting videos of their lessons on there smile

I will get him to round up the others who are peeved too and see if they can do something together, I think he's the only one who has complained but there are a few of them getting fed up with it. Especially the others from the Foundation Course last year as they didn't really have this problem last year.

He does get small tutorials in other subjects, I think this is his biggest class as every other subject is divided by the Engineer course, so this is the one subject where all of the Engineering students are grouped together as it isn't specialised to the type of Engineering, if that makes any sense?

wintersnight Thu 17-Jan-13 20:05:11

It might be worth complaining to the student union. If the department isn't listening and it's a real problem then they will complain on his behalf. There should also be a staff student committee he can take it too.

But the suggestions to look at the notes on the VLE and sit at the front are also good.

StillSmilingAfterAllTheseYears Thu 17-Jan-13 20:08:40

Has he said anything at the time? I would get pretty angry directly with them. I'd also write a formal letter of complaint to the Whatever Committee.

And sit at the front.

"He also needs to come to terms with the fact that they may just be twats all term. He will only wind himself up and distract himself more if he lets them bother him."

That is his problem, he cannot ignore it, he really lets these things wind him up and ultimately get him down, he was like it in school too and I used to say the same then (as I do now too!)

redexpat Thu 17-Jan-13 20:14:53

The people in charge of discipline at my uni were called deans. Does he know the names of any the ones causing disruption? He should def ask at the student union for advice. He should also ask at his department.

Really the lecturer should tell them to leave the room. One of our leturers saw someone texting, said he could see her, that it was really disrepectful and walked out.

echt Thu 17-Jan-13 20:21:14

Nowadays, students are paying for a service. Complain, complain, complain.

The lecturer should be doing something about the discipline in his lecture - slackarse.

Euphemia Thu 17-Jan-13 20:21:37

My DH is a lecturer and if students walked in late, or texted during a lecture he would suggest they might wish to apply for a job in McDonald's as they evidently weren't interested in their studies! grin

Want me to send him down to sort this lot out?!

MooseBeTimeForCoffee Thu 17-Jan-13 20:22:18

When I was at Uni in the late 90s I got a bollocking for arriving 10 minutes late. I pointed out that I'd just spent 45 minutes in the queue for the car park!

thixotropic Thu 17-Jan-13 20:25:33

I was one of a small group of mature students. In amongst a large cohort of younger students with a few noisy disrespectful shits.

We used to shout over them to shut the Fuck up.

Worked for us.

LurcioLovesFrankie Thu 17-Jan-13 20:39:37

I spent 6 years as a lecturer and I used to regularly chuck first years out for talking! Warning, then ask them to leave, then if they didn't, stand in silence with my finest paddington stare till they got off their arses (no one made it past 30 seconds). Several of them told me, once they'd become postgrads, that they were all bloody terrified of me grin. Really I am a big softy, but they didn't seem to have worked this out. But if your lecturer hasn't worked out he can do this (or has been told by the higher-ups that attendance figures are everything and he mustn't) then I think your DP getting together with some of the other students to try to work out a strategy may be the way forward.

SpottyBagOfTumble Thu 17-Jan-13 20:42:52

Ah engineering first years! The memories.... grin

It sucks but I agree going to the dean as a group.

specialsubject Thu 17-Jan-13 20:49:40

he has a word with the lecturer, and if the lecturer won't take any action your DP gives the kiddy students hell, ideally with some backup from the other adults. Deepest voice possible, loudest voice possible and a bit of foul language. With luck it should be 'yikes, the old bloke is cross' and they will shut up or leave.

EnjoyResponsibly Thu 17-Jan-13 21:04:00

Get DP to film the disruption on his smart phone.

I would arrange a meeting with the dept head, bring others along who also agree there's a problem and lodge a formal written complaint.

Expect that there will be a plan to address the situation.

Advise the students concerned that they are in breach f their earning commitment policy or whatever those bolloxy things are you have to sign at the start of each year.

There will be consequences, such as exclusion from lectures ifvthecdusruption persists.

If the Dept head fails to act, escalate to Head of Year/Head of College etc etc.

As others have said, as a consumer your DH has paid to learn his course. This service is being disrupted. The service provider I.e. college needs to sort it.

larks35 Thu 17-Jan-13 21:15:18

Fellow students of mine used to record lectures on a dictaphone. I was mightily impressed and borrowed their recordings a couple of times when my notes weren't great. If your DH is sitting at the front perhaps he could record the lectures too? Maybe he has that facility on his phone or something.

I agree though that it is pretty unacceptable that at this stage of education, where you are adults and paying for it, disrupting the learning of others is allowed.

I teach secondary and have to deal with disruptive students. I'm not allowed to throw them out of the class without giving them "chances", by law we can't just chuck em out of school. However, if any of my year 12 or 13 students behaved as you described I can and would tell them to leave, no chances.

I can't believe a University lecturer allows his words of wisdom to be treated as such a joke by his students! If I were him, I'd tell them to leave and not come back until they have written an adequate apology to me and the other students who do want to learn. Madness

MsTakenidentity Thu 17-Jan-13 21:16:58

OP's DH could argue that he cannot hear the lecturer so needs to bring a dictaphone/small tape recorder to lectures. [Not ideal solution I know but in desperate times..etc]

MsTakenidentity Thu 17-Jan-13 21:17:51

X-post with Larks - sorry. x

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 17-Jan-13 21:30:00

Students do ask if they can record lectures on their iPods and I am always cool with that. All he lecturer is really allowed to do about twats like this is look at them and spell out expectations of behaviour etc at the beginning of term. If we glare or chuck them out, they might give us bad feedback on the NSS and then there'll be trouble hmm

Write out a hundred times: you haven't paid anything, students. You owe me and the other grown ups.. In the meantime, no you're not a customer or a consumer, and youre not paying my wages.

Sorry. Got distracted there for a moment.

larks35 Thu 17-Jan-13 21:54:15

TheOriginalSteamingNit - are you saying you are not allowed to tell misbehaving students to leave the lecture hall? What is NSS? Who gives a feck about bad feedback from a bunch of miscreants?

God, I thought I had it hard with the youngsters I deal with but I have to admit most of them do respond to warnings and do want to engage in the lesson, and they have the excuse of being kids! I could not cope with 18+ year olds misbehaving in that way. They would be out of my lecture and sod what feedback they give. (I realise as I type that I live in a deluded world where Universities aren't businesses at all but places of learning)

Adversecamber Thu 17-Jan-13 22:13:28

I know a lecturer and he gives chatting students a Paddington hard stare and will not speak until they stop. It means all the other students who want to learn also glare at them.

BertieBotts Thu 17-Jan-13 22:16:46

At my uni you don't get marked on attendance at lectures, so they shouldn't even have to be there if they're not interested in listening. Our lecturers did politely ask people to shut up or leave.

nevermindthecrocodiles Thu 17-Jan-13 22:17:10

I graduated in 2011 and this kind of behaviour was the bane of my life - why do people bloody bother going to uni in the first place if they don't want to learn?! I found the best tactic was to sit front row, then find out what time each individual lecturer could be found in their office, and go for weekly catch up sessions (if they were happy with that) with nice biscuits/chocolate/coffee as a thank you. Found if you were genuinely interested in the subject and the lecturer and wager to learn they'd go out of their way to help you.

nevermindthecrocodiles Thu 17-Jan-13 22:18:08

* eager* to learn, sorry!

iworemyfringelikerogermcguinns Thu 17-Jan-13 22:23:52

Before escalating it, could your DH speak to the lecturer immediately before the lecture and ask him to request appropriate behaviour? That way it's fresh in their mind and the lecturer is under more pressure to act on it right away, especially as the request has come from an adult learner face to face.Other lecturers in my University have stopped lectures and (I'm now a tutor) I've asked a disruptive student to leave a lesson and have received the full support of my line manager.

As a recent mature student, he should just loudly ask them himself to be quiet please (no aggro, just be firm and Dad-like!) and as someone else suggested, get other oldies onside first. I couldn't care less if they think I'm a wanker; learning is my priority, not being one of their mates. MAture students are meant to be boring swots!

Email the lecturer again, cc-ed to the course co-ordinator/ DH's advisor of studies / HoD / Head of School/ Faculty, advising that his feedback will be negative if this matter is not resolved speedily before he needs to make a formal complaint. He should ask them how they intend to deal with the issue. He could also state that he will challenge grades from the course (this will need to go to the external examiner and they will want to avoid this) as course content is not being delivered in an effective manner. The uni will probably have a student code of conduct (search its website?) stating who should deal with it and how.There may also be a class rep who should raise the issue or a University-wide Student Council with a mature student rep.

QueenStromba Thu 17-Jan-13 22:26:36

He could do what I did and get so annoyed by it that he loses it and shouts at them during the lecture. There was a big group of silly girls in my year at uni who mostly did the other course choice to me (the one perceived to be the easier choice). There was one block though where the opposing choice was really unpopular which lead to a load of these girls being on my course even though they really didn't give a crap about the subject material. After a couple of weeks of them chatting in lectures and nobody really doing anything about it they happened to sit right in front of me one day and I got so pissed off with them that I shouted at them - something along the lines of if they wanted to chat about hair and makeup then they should do it somewhere else rather than in the lecture hall where some people were actually interested and wanted to learn something. The lecturer just paused and continued on the lecture and the girls actually shut up for the rest of the course.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 17-Jan-13 22:36:05

NSS is the national subnet survey: it matters a lot, and consequently we are made to spend a lot of time cosseting them. And sending them out or otherwise 'treating them like children' as they commented last time, doesn't go down well!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 17-Jan-13 22:36:23

Student, not subnet!

Anna1976 Thu 17-Jan-13 22:45:36

Lecturers usually have far too much material to get through and have to grimly keep going in order to have covered it all, no matter what the students are like. This lecturer probably does give a shit, but just can't do anything about it. I'd have been shouting like Malcolm Tucker at some of the entitled little horrors in my lectures, and kicking them out, if i'd been allowed, but all that (or milder behaviour) results in is allegations of bullying and a bunch of smug little arses who take their successful bullying allegation to the next level of torment through the rest of the course. HR and professors will come down on lecturers like a ton of bricks, if lecturers try to enforce discipline anywhere other than the well-trodden bureaucratic pathway of plagiarism.

Getting your DP to film the disruption and take it to the dean sounds like it could be quite effective, but it might also mean his smartphone gets smashed and someone attempts to sue him for filming without consent.

He could probably request to see the lecturer in order to clarify areas of content that have been obscured by the others' behaviour. He will probably discover the lecturer hates these students as much as he does...

LessMissAbs Thu 17-Jan-13 22:49:23

Some lecturers are very academic and just don't expect to have to deal with behavioural issues at university level. 15 years ago you just didn't get this, before access to higher education was widened. Now students complain if you give them any excuse; some complain in advance and make small issues into larger ones just in case they fail their exams. They will take your words and twist them around to make into a complaint if you are not very careful about what you say to them. Unfortunately higher education has been dumbed down and this sort of thing is the result.

That said, your DP ought to work out that there are a number of people in the department he can speak to, after having tried to discuss the matter with his fellow students.

It may also be the subject - it doesn't happen in my subject, and perhaps it doesn't happen in Maths either and the lecturer just doesn't have to deal with this sort of behaviour usually.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 17-Jan-13 22:52:34

What anna says is spot on, unfortunately.

But we bloody love committed students who want to talk to us and who show some manners. He should go and see the lecturer during office hours if possible, because I bet he's as frustrated by the entitled little so and sos if not more, and probably powerless to do much about it.

Anna1976 Thu 17-Jan-13 22:54:51

nevermindthecrocodiles, you sound like the kind of student i'd have absolutely loved smile - I would always rather help a student individually on a weekly basis (up to some theoretical limit of students that was never reached) than deal with an angry self-righteous person complaining about being an unsatisfied customer because the course content is not being delivered in an effective manner.

Universities are explicitly not in loco parentis. These people are adults. Other than politely saying "if you aren't interested in listening, please leave" there is really not a lot a lecturer can do if adults choose to be disruptive.

ImperialBlether Thu 17-Jan-13 22:59:00

I think he needs to stand up and say, "Excuse me, but I can't take any more" to the lecturer, then turn to the students and say in a really loud (and yes, deep) voice, "Would you lot just shut up and behave like adults? I'm paying £9000 for this course and I am NOT going to put up with this disruption. Either grow up or get out."

Then sit back down and say, "Please, carry on" to the lecturer.

Anna1976 Thu 17-Jan-13 23:06:39

Imperial - if it worked, that would probably be great. But if it didn't work, it could cause a riot and make the rest of the course complete hell for all concerned. Depends whether the OP's DP is the sort of person who could face down a raging elephant, or the entitled little so and so's will find something to pick on and torment him for the rest of the year. It's times like this you need a gruff deep voice, biker tattoos on your gigantic biceps, and a Daniel Craig icy stare...

DrCoconut Thu 17-Jan-13 23:07:01

I am not allowed to kick anyone out of my classes. I'm not allowed to shout or threaten or anything else. The worst I can do is get the head of department in to have a word with problem students (without being too specific as that is targeting them) and they usually don't listen to him, not for long anyway. What they do, as has already been mentioned is give bad feedback about lecturers who cross them. The NSS is feared as any complaints or allegations made on there are in the public domain and damage control cannot be used at all. Basically our jobs depend, among other things, on a good NSS outcome, get bad feedback and you will be pushed out. Two observations over a few years - it often improves after the first assessment results as the twats students with character realise they need to sort themselves out, and peer pressure helps, the more classmates let them know they're not impressed the better. Many quite boisterous groups fall into a kind of self disciplining system after a while.

cumfy Thu 17-Jan-13 23:18:06

Surely it can't be more than 15% of the class who are like this.

I'd try and get everyone together to complain.

I'd contact the student rep to bring it up pronto.

Maths is by far the most important subject in engineering and he'll be needing all the theory for the coming years subjects.

pamish Thu 17-Jan-13 23:24:54

From teaching in FE, which includes some 18+ people - at the beginning of the year we would draw up a group contract re acceptable behaviours, based on their own lists of Do's + Don't's - contents nudged by teachers. eg We don't need silence in some lessons but in others we will. Then when they started pissing about expressing their individuality, we could throw it at them. Hopefully it's not too late in the year to do this - stating that their pissing about is making it impossible for others to learn, is the way to go. They know what Selfish means.

The drop-out rate at HE is high. It's been steady at an average of 20+% for years - a horrible waste of money and ambition and hope. At the places which take on 'non-traditional' students, dropout rate is as high as 47%. At Cambridge it's <0.5%. The Uni's have to take on anyone who can pay, and many kids are helped through their Level 3 (pre-uni) courses as the schools and colleges are paid by results too. At Level 4 it comes unstuck. The annoying kids in the class are more likely struggling to keep up and will disappear, but that's no comfort to those who will eventually complete. There will be a disciplinary code for students and they will have all signed it. Dig it out and discreetly ask the lecturer to use it, say you will back them up. S/he will be hating the little buggers too.

ImperialBlether Thu 17-Jan-13 23:32:33

You don't sign a disciplinary code for a course at university, do you?

The teacher is really the one to handle this, though.

My daughter said there was one boy who was always late to her class - he would prance in and make his mates laugh and the lesson would always be disrupted. One day he did it and the lecturer just shouted "Get out!" The boy scuttled out and wasn't late again.

It's positive attention they're wanting. They want everyone to think they are great. If your husband stands up and tells them they are immature, that would do it, I think. They don't want to think that of themselves - they are fresh away from home and feel they're adults. They need to be told they're not acting like it.

Anna, if he's quite a bit older, I don't think they'd tackle him. They certainly wouldn't riot. How could they?

VenusRising Thu 17-Jan-13 23:41:12

Engineers eh?
When I was in uni the engineers were second only to the agriculture students for disruptive behaviour.

The engineers DID set fire to a bin and throw it in to the lecture hall though, so in my personal opinion they were the worst, I didn't mind the sheep though.

What has all this got to do with your DH failing his exams?
That's not a logical train of thought.

Fwiw I never went to the lectures if they were this bad. I got a full curriculum description and studied whenever I felt like it.

I covered the entire maths course in two weeks before the exam, and I did well.

Make sure your DH attends every tutorial, and tells the lecturer he can't come to the lectures anymore, as they are too rowdy. He should get a full set of past examination papers, and have a go, if he finds parts difficult, have a chat with the lecturer.

Lectures are much overrated, especially with engineers.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Thu 17-Jan-13 23:45:25

there'll be a student council. talk to them.

pamish Thu 17-Jan-13 23:49:39

@ImpBlether, here's an example from Westminster: - Charter, Code of Conduct, Disciplinary Procedures. They will all have similar.

MatureUniStudent Thu 17-Jan-13 23:54:49

oh much sympathy. My lot play angry birds, text with the accompanying beeps and fb throughout. I use my dictaphone and record the lectures, sit at the front, touch type throughout and make myself unpopular (but the smartest in the lecture hall) by saying shush. Lecturers are assessed and are terrified of negative feed back. I'd negatively feed back how bad the lecturer is at controlling the students. But I'd also be going to the Chancellor with my furiousness at being disrupted from learning. There tends to be a complaint process that the Student Union will help you with. File a complaint and they have to do something. Tell the Chancellor - it's your education.

Fingers crossed also, the next lecturer can keep control.

Anna1976 Thu 17-Jan-13 23:55:45

sorry Imperial smile wasn't meaning a literal riot, just an escalation in bad behaviour to a point that is impossible to control and impossibe to teach over. I have seen this happen both as a student and a lecturer, where mature students took it upon themselves to impose order as the oldest person in the room by decades...what they discovered was that youth doesn't respect age automatically... and in a few cases the mature student became the focus of all future bad behaviour (which at least made it easier to sort out because it was specifically about treatment of one person rather than general disruptiveness - harder for the disruptive students to complain they were being targeted).

Anna1976 Thu 17-Jan-13 23:58:53

matureunistudent - while the Chancellor might listen politely (if you could actually get an audience with him/her), it's the VC who matters...

Anna1976 Fri 18-Jan-13 00:04:25

also - it's proctors (or deans) who deal with disciplinary matters. Not every university will force students to sign a disciplinary code, but most will have something in their statutes & ordinances somewhere about student behaviour. However, that is a level of escalation that seems pointless - save it for academic misconduct. Far better to go and have weekly one on one sessions with the lecturer, and let the idiots be hoist with their own petard.

He should film it, and threaten to put it on Youtube tagged as the name of the university and course for starters. He is paying a fortune, and not getting what he is paying for.

MatureUniStudent Fri 18-Jan-13 00:16:01

I'd get my audience by a formal complaint. smile

georgettemagritte Fri 18-Jan-13 00:42:38

I wouldn't make a formal complaint about the lecturer or in the lecture feedback - chances are that will just alienate the lecturer and if your DH wants additional support s/he might be less willing to give it. The lecturer may have been told (this is not uncommon nowadays) not to discipline students by his/her department or managers. There is often not much individuals can do if students are disruptive and the lecturer will be as annoyed by it as your DH is! Could he and any other students who feel the same have a not-too-confrontational word with the disruptive ones before lectures? Peer pressure - from a few people, not just one - often works better than anything else. (Sometimes attempted 'discipline' by the lecturer can backfire, and students tend to fear disapproval from other members of the class more.)

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Fri 18-Jan-13 00:53:51

This is because teachers in schools aren't meant to shout at or send out pupils any more, you know. Because if you were really interesting and engaging and cooool then they'd all love you and hang rapt on your every word.
Yeah, bollocks.

It was like this in 2004. Finals in a fortnight, last lectures with the merest hints on what it was worth revising.... Some cunt in a pashmina growling her 20 a day voice to her mates about her "crazy weekend, guys".

Do you not need a job after this then? A 2:1 to get that job?
Whatever, fuckers.

<omg, my iPhone tried to autocorrect that to fuckersnail. Mumsnet win>

ICBINEG Fri 18-Jan-13 01:09:12

hmmm I am naturally suspicious of anyone who thinks they are learning anything in lectures...

Does the lecturer put the notes up before hand? Is there actually anything to be gained by being in the lecture?

JustAHolyFool Fri 18-Jan-13 01:17:33

I'm on a PGCE and idiots chat all through our lectures and tutorials too.

I essentially tell them to STFU and they do. For one lesson. Then they start again.

Basically they are thick. It's mad.

MaMattoo Fri 18-Jan-13 01:20:51

Ask your do to send a written complaint up the hierarchy, that will give the lecturer 'teeth' to deal with this. Lecturer-module leader - program leader- head of studies/department- dean of school/faculty.

My 248 student class is silent, on time and very disciplined as I pick on the disrupters and ask them to leave. If they resist I stop the lecture and stare them out of the room. The other students often support this. We learn to handle disruptive behaviour when he do a MA in higher Ed. the lecturer sounds like a wimp to me.

VLE is an option, dictaphone is an option, lecture notes can be obtained from the lecturer. Queries can be raised in seminars and tutorials.

The NSS is only for final yr students so it does not apply in this case - again lecturer is a wimp, go past him/her and email/write to director of studies/head of school etc, they Nd their contact details should be in the programme handbook. Don't waste time talking or meeting-emails help people FYI issue and act on it.


* I am naturally suspicious of anyone who thinks they are learning anything in lectures*

I remember stuff from lectures. I remember one of my first crystallography lectures as an eighteen year old over twenty years ago. The lecturer told us that beer bubbles were tetrakaidecahedron shaped. Whether they are or not I'm not sure but it caught my attention. I learned plenty of other things in lectures that stuck with me.

echt Fri 18-Jan-13 03:49:09

I don't see why the OP's chap should have to rely on recordings or notes.

When I was at uni there were no notes supplied by the lecturer, you either turned up and made your own, copied your mates' or missed out. The act of writing notes is learning in itself as the student expresses their understanding of what they've heard by turning it into their own words.

I love seeing the faces of students of mine (upper secondary) who ask for my PowerPoint notes for a lesson. in my class we listen, talk, think and learn. You have to be there. There are no notes, unless you want to make your own. If my lessons could be reduced to a set of notes I'd phone them, go home and we'd all be happy. It would be called distance learning.

sashh Fri 18-Jan-13 04:28:30

I've been there. two things can work, but also mark you as a troublemaker.

1) Everytime there is a distraction stop the lecturer and say, "sorry I didn't get that last bit, someone was talking"

2) Actually address the student, "Will you shut up, I'm trying to learn here"

ALso do not be scared to put something in writing to the dean, and actually making an appointment to discuss it.

I actually ended up finishing my degree at a different uni, but with £20 000 in my pocket due to various issues with the first uni.

Thanks again for all of the replies, I'll show dp the thread tonight smile

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 18-Jan-13 07:50:17

Of course NSS is an issue: they don't forget everything that happens in the first year! And it isn't because teachers in schools aren't allowed to send out: they are. But some eighteen year olds get to university and get a bit carried away and behave badly, and it is really difficult for a lecturer to strike a balance between treating them as adults - which is after all what you want from them, androgogy not pedagogy etc - and getting them to behave. In most cases a stare or a raising of the eeybrows does it, but obviously not in this case.

OPs Dp would make a prat of himself and probably alienate both lecturer and students if he stands up and proclaims at them. And I don't think it will really help just to wait until the end and then mention it on feedback. I think he should go and talk to the lecturer, also use an iPod to record, ask any questions he has, and maybe say to the lecturer that he finds those students behaviour very difficult: knowing that actually other students don't like this behaviour might make him (the lecturer) feel more able to sort this out.

cuillereasoupe Fri 18-Jan-13 07:56:04

Could he (and a gaggle of other like-minded students) not just have a stern word with the troublemakers before the class starts? Something along the lines of "Look we need to do well in this class. If you're just going to piss about and disrupt it for everyone else then can you just not come?"

SamuelWestsMistress Fri 18-Jan-13 08:05:50

I remember being in a lecture with rather a dull lecturer who didn't want to stop a group of students who were pissing about. Like your DH there was one mature student who had enough of this, stood up, asked the lecturer politely if he'd mind pausing for one moment. He then walked over to the group and gave them an utter bollocking basically told them to shut the fuck up or get out, then thanked the lecturer, sat back down and we all carried on!

No problems again!

MadBusLady Fri 18-Jan-13 08:08:44

Agree with echt on the totally non-magical properties of bloody powerpoint slides, for anything except showing, say, a series of graphs. Why do we run the world like this now as if they are bottomless carpet bags of knowledge? Why not just write out some bullet points on half a page of A4 and have done with it?


Just to say I sympathise really. It's horrible. Most of my education was beset by these horrors and getting away from it at university was bliss (more tutorials than lectures in my subject). I never found any adequate solutions, but I'm afraid I do think he will look like a tit if he stands up and proclaims. sad These people just have no boundaries. They don't care about anyone's opinion except their mates'. That's why they're behaving like that in the first place.

Yfronts Fri 18-Jan-13 08:27:30

can he turn round and say'can you be quiet or leave' to the students.

Yfronts Fri 18-Jan-13 08:28:02

talk to the tutor and ask him to ask the chatty ones to be quiet

ICBINEG Fri 18-Jan-13 09:03:16

echt well yes obviously it would be good to do student engaging stuff in lectures...and the odd amusing fact may get remembered in spite of the style, but most education research labels the conventional lecture (where you copy your notes on the board and the students copy it into their notes) as being a fairly spectacular waste of time and effort...

Sandie79 Fri 18-Jan-13 09:26:41

I second the idea of having a quiet word with the students himself. If he gets stroppy with them I'd say they'll just dig their heels in, but if he can act nice as pie, be earnest, and play up that as an older student he and his family have had to make a lot of sacrifices to be here and he feels like he's struggling a bit in this subject and its really hard to concentrate with noise: would they mind trying to keep it down in class as any distraction is really hard for him. Really milk it, while remaining reasonable and friendly, and try and make them feel guilty. As a group they may not care what people think, and if challenged they'll stick together, but appealing to people on an individual level like that is one of the few things that can make them change their behaviour.

I was never one of the super-loud ones, far too much of a nerd, but there were definitely lectures I did a bit of whispering in and if someone had said something like that I would have been mortified. If that doesn't work, then yes, there should presumably be a student union rep in the class so maybe use them as first port of call?

BanghamTheDirtyScone Fri 18-Jan-13 09:37:36

I don't know if it would work but my instinct would be for him to actually shout at them himself.

Especially if they are younger?

Bit different but we lived in a house a few years ago, moved in when ds1 was a year old. Students would roll past at 2am every morning, pissed, singing and fighting from time to time.

I lay there trembling and getting very angry for months. One night a couple of eejits were pushing each other about in a shopping trolley.

I leaned out the window and yelled at them to 'Piss off home you little wankers' - much to my own surprise, and to theirs, as they got out the trolley and scarpered grin

I found immediately that my anger and stress disappeared. I had used my feelings to good effect, it had terrified them, I was back in control.

Sometimes a shock is what these people need. But I understand if it doesn't seem appropriate to your poor dp.

Best of luck whatever he does.

BanghamTheDirtyScone Fri 18-Jan-13 09:39:43

Oh and I had already done the polite, 'erm, please could you be a little quieter' thing for all that time and just got laughed at.

Polite neighbours don't scare students. Angry-as-fuck women really do smile

Maybe you could go along and do it for him - they will be scared of you more than him, it reminds them of their own mums I think.

MrsGeologist Fri 18-Jan-13 10:13:09

Students on my old course would heckle the lecturers. Yes. Heckle.
It was awful, just a few students who were, to put it bluntly, thick as mince, and thought they were the the dogs bollocks would ruin it for the other 100+ students. Couldn't even escape in tutorials, because they were in my tutor group.

I study at the OU now. Much less distraction, in fact, I don't even know my fellow students. Bliss.

Gosh everyone in my lectures is quiet.
We sit quite close to the back and everyone's either asleep or paying attention (or in my case....reading and doodling and piping up with slightly irrelevant comments....). My biggest lecture is 150ish people and 3/4 years together (languages, so not a v. popular course), then my next biggest is about 20 people, and it's the same thing, maybe five people speak up properly and the rest keep quiet but don't make trouble. Thing is the lecturer does get us to call out answers to exercises she takes us through etc, it's not like we could be plonked in front of a video for an hour. Don't think anyone would dare to chuck stuff or be rude.

Re: us paying a fortune.....well, most of us aren't really. Yeah, some of us have paid upfront. My friend's been working since he could and is pretty rich, has three cars, buying his own house next year and renting it out, and he paid the full £13k for this year in Sept. But most of us haven't. Otoh that's not a good excuse for having us suck it up and suffer through bad lectures.

Can't think of a solution but am pretty surprised reading about the behaviour you describe, it's not usual, so maybe the lecturer just isn't used to dealing with it and there aren't the appropriate measures in place to deal with it anyway, and these days we're more and more prevented from using any initiative....

I used to record lectures anyway when I was in Uni about a million years ago. When there was a lot of dense material it helped to go over the lecture again to deal with with the inevitable lapses in concentration where you missed bits. So that might help.

I would raise it with the HoD/ Faculty Head but in a way that doesn't blame the lecturer as you don't know what constraints have been put on them them by departmental policy (and it never pays to make an enemy of someone whose help you might need later wink).

You may well find that some of this silliness dies down in the second year when people start realising that things are getting serious and that the exam results can affect your final degree.

quoteunquote Fri 18-Jan-13 11:40:40

I have a funny story,

DS1, went off to uni a couple of years ago, He is autistic and dyslexic, so finds other humans behaviour challenging as they are not logical , a couple of weeks in , he phoned me, to tell me a little shocked that people were not paying attention in lectures, he found it very distracting and upsetting, he really couldn't understand why anyone would do such a thing.

So we chatted about some of the things he might do to improve the situation, the sorts of things suggested on this thread, I also knew he was well liked by his fellow students, his personality is such, most people really like him immediately (despite him being really odd), so I suggested that he could have a chat with students but not in class, that were misbehaving and explain to them how it effects him, appeal to their better nature, worth a shot,

a couple of days later in one of the lectures which had the disruption problems, paper chucking and smart alec remarks started, so DS1 who was sat at the front remembering our conversation,

He stood up, turned round and announced, 'Anyone who is talking, throwing thing and spoiling the lesson can come outside and discuss it with me', total silence, so he said, "OK then, but if anyone wants to, let me know and we will go outside', sat down the tutor thanked him,nice quiet lesson,

The thing is DS1 is 6' 8'', and built like a brick shit house, he does a lot of sport, he had no idea that it sounded like he was inviting them all outside for a fight,

he was so pleased with response he repeated it in all his classes when people were being disruptive,

It was only when his friends who had realised his intention was just that have a chat with everyone, he is so fluffy and would never start a fight, told him, he realised it sound like he was going to beat them all up.

But no one disrupts in any of the lectures he attends anymore.

MadBusLady Fri 18-Jan-13 11:42:45

grin That is excellent quote.

megandraper Fri 18-Jan-13 11:44:16

The lecturers are pretty hamstrung - no power to do anything about it.

Syrupent Fri 18-Jan-13 11:58:51

LOL at PGCE students being disruptive! They won't find it so funny when they are the teacher in front of a disruptive class!

Fakebook Fri 18-Jan-13 12:04:06

If the lecturer isn't doing anything then he needs to talk to his tutor. If even then nothing is done he should confront the "twats" and tell them to shut up. I did it a few times when I was in university. I'd just turn around and say "can you shut up, some of us are trying to listen". It embarrasses them and there will be others getting annoyed by them too, so you get a few smiles and nods from fellow students.

He has nothing to lose. Tell him to grow a pair and confront them.

GrendelsMum Fri 18-Jan-13 12:53:33

This is entirely inappropriate, and if the lecturer does not have support for dealing with behavioural issues, the University needs to pull themselves together and make sure that students can learn.

I suggest he takes this up the University hierarchy in all directions, both via the Students' Union and via the Department / Faculty. As people have said, he needs to go in to meetings expecting that a strategy will be put in place to deal with this within a very clear timeline. It's not a case of complaining about the lecturer, its a case of complaining about the University procedures.

I haven't had a chance to read again, we've had a really hectic day, DP knows about the thread (and I've just read out quote's story, to which he said "Yeah, but I'm not going to do that!" grin) and I'll set him on reading it in the morning smile

One thing I have noticed reoccurring is the mature student thing and (logical) assumptions that he is quite a bit older than the students, he's actually 24 but classed as a mature student grin so the Mum/Dad scenario won't work so well with us unfortunately grin Though it's given me a great mental image of going in with my best Super Nanny voice that I use on my charges to tell them all off wink

Thank you all for taking the time to reply, sorry I've not responded properly, I have had a tiring couple of days! I will read the thread properly tomorrow smile

quoteunquote Fri 18-Jan-13 21:21:09


I'm usually quite good at explaining the "way things are ' to the autistic brain, and pre thinking how DS might misinterpret a statement, so I usually have thought out the endless possibilities of how the information might be misused, but I didn't see that one coming.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Fri 18-Jan-13 21:44:21

quoteunquote grin that was so funny i laughed till my eyes watered. he sounds wonderful!

TheCollieDog Fri 18-Jan-13 22:03:34

Speaking as a lecturer ... second, third, fourth the sitting in the front row.

Thing is, they're adults and it's not school. It's NOT a "lesson". As a lecturer, I'm not there to discipline everyone else's PFBs. (It's parents who enable such bad behaviour, a lot of the time, quite frankly). No-one has to go to university, and it might be a good thing if rather fewer entitled children did not attend.

The Department & lecturer may well care a lot, but may be driven by the bods from on high who are now using the NSS (National Student Satisfaction survey) as another stick to beat lecturers with. They are talking about connecting the unthoughtful responses of entitled PFBs to determine lecturers' pay.

And these little twats that your DH has to put up with may well say that they are "humiliated" if anyone calls them on their twattish disrespectful behaviour.

My technique is to pause mid-sentence, sometimes mid-word until the talkers notice, then ask them politely if they'd like to share their observations with us al;.

But it wastes so much time.

TheCollieDog Fri 18-Jan-13 22:10:09

Oh, and he MUST ask the permission of the lecturer to record ANYTHING. And unless he has a certified disability for which recording the lecture is an agreed "reasonable accommodation" the lecturer is perfectly within her rights to refuse. Intellectual property.

TheCollieDog Fri 18-Jan-13 22:21:50

Email the lecturer again, cc-ed to the course co-ordinator/ DH's advisor of studies / HoD / Head of School/ Faculty, advising that his feedback will be negative if this matter is not resolved speedily before he needs to make a formal complaint. He should ask them how they intend to deal with the issue. He could also state that he will challenge grades from the course (this will need to go to the external examiner and they will want to avoid this) as course content is not being delivered in an effective manner.

Don't do this. It's seeking to blame the wrong person. As others have said, and as I know myself, lecturers hate disruptive behaviour, but we're increasingly powerless to do anything about it.

And actually, we shouldn't have to.

But threatening the lecturer on this way is not the way to resolve the matter. It amounts to a kind of bullying.

There should be a staff/student committee where the issue can be raised, and maybe a friendly approach by several students to the lecturer, asking if there's any way tey can help, would also be a good strategy.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 18-Jan-13 22:40:56

Likes colliedogs post.... Bang on

I work part time as a lecturer whilst doing a PhD. I would never hesitate to demand a student leave, after I'd given them a warning in front of the whole lecture theatre. It's simply not fair on the other students and I would feel that the students who are actually interested in the lecture would think I didn't care if I didn't do anything. Yes, it's tough for lecturers with the National Student Survey, but I reckon getting bad reviews from 3 dafties who feel "humiliated" isn't as bad as getting them from 100 good students who think you don't give a toss.

If your DH hasn't had any luck with talking to lecturer/head of department, is there a Students' Representative Council or, possibly even better, a Mature Students' Association at the uni who could take up his case? Good luck!

FairPhyllis Sun 20-Jan-13 11:06:12

I teach in a university - please don't assume the lecturer doesn't give a shit. Depending on the university's policies, they may have very limited options for dealing with disruptive behaviour.

My personal feeling about student behaviour is that while I will do what I reasonably can to make lectures a productive environment, I am not there to be crowd control. It's not school, and I am not a teacher. Lecturers are damned whatever they do - they are not trained or supported in dealing with disruptive behaviour, yet they are expected to act like teachers by students and pander to a growing consumer attitude towards higher education.

Going to the academic/pastoral tutor, head of faculty, student council etc are options that are all open to him. However I think the quickest and most effective way (and possibly most personally satisfying way) of resolving the problem is for your DH to bollock these people in lecture. Don't underestimate how much older a 24 yr old seems to 18 yr olds.

I also agree with colliedog's advice not to get threatening. It will just put people's backs up and mean that this gets sorted out less efficiently.

And don't back down and rely on tutorials/online notes to fill in the gaps - the lectures are a vital resource of the course - your DH deserves to get the most out of everything that is on offer. Does the lecturer hold regular office hours? Because if they do I would be turning up there every week, or making an appointment, to go over the material covered in the lectures.

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