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?

aldiwhore Tue 05-Mar-13 11:59:18

You were answering a question therefore YANBU.

If he didn't want your input, he shouldn't have asked the question!

MrsHoarder Tue 05-Mar-13 12:05:15

I would have thought he was trying to shame the others into making an effort rather than having a digg at you.

I feet the same thing sometimes, it feels like the lecture is a conversation between me and the lecturer as no-one else ever asks or answers a question.

SirBoobAlot Tue 05-Mar-13 12:05:43

Well... I dunno. It's great if you know the answers, and great that you're engaging, you're right in that there's no point spending all that money for you not to be. But you shouldn't really answer every question. It makes you look like a know it all, is bound to get on the lecturer's nerves, and will put other people off from answering if you are answering all the time, which in turn will have a negative affect on you, as you learn just as much from other people as from the lecturer.

Also think your retort was a bit smug, tbh.

So as frustrating as it is wink restrain yourself a little.

DeWe Tue 05-Mar-13 12:15:44

His comment to me was a dig at the ones who weren't answering. Not saying you couldn't, but hinting that the others should be.

livinginwonderland Tue 05-Mar-13 12:17:59

nobody likes a know-it-all. just because you know the answer, doesn't mean you have to shout it out and answer all the questions. i've never liked the person in class who knows everything - it's patronising and it puts you off answering because you know they'll always know the answer if you get it wrong.

yes, you're paying to learn, and i get that, but there's no need to answer every single question. that doesn't really make you learn anything.

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 12:19:48

I didn't retort SirBoob - both comments were from him.

I waited until he asked each question a second time, and in the past have not answered at all and nobody says anything until the lecturer gives in and carries on. It's excruciating.

MrsHoarder that's exactly how I feel!

Still18atheart Tue 05-Mar-13 12:22:05

It's the same at our uni! emails have been sent by lecturers.

One guy turned up ad started reading a war and peace book in non relsted lecture. Lecture got so pissed.

YANBU but sometimes when we are talking amounget ourselves its quiet and its all about the lecture. The lecturers like retorical questions. It can get annoying but most of the lecturers just ignore it. and only kick up a fuss when its louder than a certain volume

Still18atheart Tue 05-Mar-13 12:24:09

meant to say wasnt war and peace but similar type of door stopper book

Dannilion Tue 05-Mar-13 12:26:46

There's a "mature student" (not sure what age you have to be to be classed as a mature student these days, but she's 30 and I'm 23 so for arguments sake, I'll call her 'mature') who does this. It really boils mine and everyone else's piss.

She answers every question and asks about 10 more on top. Our lectures seem to consist of watching a conversation between her and the lecturer, she gives us no reason to want to engage as we're basically just waiting for her to speak. Her answers are always either textbook (so what's the point in exploring the issue?) or challenging the lecturer. People try to bring her up on it but her argument is the same as yours, I pay to be here, no one else engages etc. Which to me seems a bit smug as I've never failed a module, so I must be doing something right.

It's like she requires spoon feeding or constant reassurance that she's on the right track.

Not saying you're like that at all, but just playing devils advocate a bit.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Tue 05-Mar-13 12:29:50

I think if you've waited for the second time of asking then you've done nothing wrong, but his comment was a bit confused.

I'd ask him - would you rather I rationed myself to one answer in three? I can see that he might hope it would give the others more of a push if they couldn't rely on you answering every time.

I've had lecturers say "Does anybody know X......someone other than Isabella" but I knew it was meant constructively because some of my classmates were coasting a bit and needed a push.

KellyElly Tue 05-Mar-13 12:39:02

she gives us no reason to want to engage as we're basically just waiting for her to speak Surely you don't need a reason to engage. Everyone's an adult, just speak up!

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 12:39:03

Danni I think you too count as a mature student - over 21 qualifies I think wink - I appreciate your point but I'm really not like that. We were doing a recap of the prior class and as I said I was allowing everyone else to answer first before trying to keep things moving. In one instance he had got to the point of saying "Come on, someone, it starts with N" so I figured he really wanted to move forward. I often (shock, horror) don't know or ask for clarification when I don't understand, working on the principle that if I'm not asking I may as well just read the stuff in a textbook!

Isabella I think it would have been fine if he'd said something like that, but the venom and then the I can tell them took me aback somewhat.

It made me think they don't want me to be engaged/involved sad

cheeseandchive Tue 05-Mar-13 12:46:47

Dannilion, some people learn by asking questions and not learning by rote, I'm one of them, and sometimes 'challenging the lecturer' can be just trying to understand an opposing argument of point of view. Maybe that's how it is for her.

I'm a mature student and know my approach to uni is different because of the sacrifices I made to get there. I worked full time while doing distance A-levels, gave up a paid job I loved to then go and now pay for the privilege of learning about a subject I care about and will only get one shot at. I'm going to squeeze every penny out of it!

Do see how it can be frustrating when it disrupts the entire lecture though, people do need to be sensitive and that's what consultation hours are for!


WowOoo Tue 05-Mar-13 12:50:31

Sounds like he's as frustrated as you are with everyone else.
What a shame.

You could ask him. If he told me to let others speak or not to comment as much, I'd be annoyed though.

whiteflame Tue 05-Mar-13 12:51:56

I don't think you should worry about being seen as a know it all. Lecturer asked, you gave others a chance, and then answered. I think it is really sad that people think someone knowing the answers is a reason to sneer at them.

PS I am a lecturer, and would be very happy that someone was answering!


I am a mature student too. There are a couple of seminars where the other students say NOTHING and stare at their book when asked a question like the fucking lottery numbers are about to appear. My rule is wait until the silence gets uncomfortable - if no one says anything, I will chip in (I always have something to say!)

I much prefer the seminars where the class is engaged, discussions are going etc. Then I can shut up. But I am not going so stay silent just because every one else can't be arsed to engage and get something out of the lecture that they are paying to attend.

And to those who are complaining about mature students engaging on their course - why don't YOU try speaking instead, then the annoying mature students won't have a chance to bang on with their opinions and knowledge and research and all that boring shit.

CrystalQueen Tue 05-Mar-13 13:04:20

My old tutor told me he was always glad when I was in a lecture he was giving, because that way someone would answer his questions. OP, YANBU

It doesn't sound as if he handled it very well, but you've got two separate issues IMO.

One is - the other students are distracting you playing on phones and so on, and this is unfair on you. You could talk to the lecturer or your course tutor about that and say you feel a bit as if you're the only one listening, or you could accept the other students are being a bit silly.

Second thing is - you think classes are for answering the question, and you're fed up the lecturer isn't letting you do it every time because there's an awkward silence otherwise. Thing is, you may think the other students are ignoring the lecturer, but they probably know you're going to answer if they do that. So they need that awkward pause. It's really tough if you're someone who hates silences, but you've got to give them a chance. Otherwise, the lecturer has two options - they can pick on individuals, or they can tell the class 'look, screaming is answering all my questions, why can't you?'. Neither of those approaches is going to make you feel great and probably won't make the other students feel better.

So, basically, I'd say if you possibly can put up with the uncomfortable silence for a bit longer, try it. Then go with option one and complain if nothing is changing.

Answering a question every time is not going to help you learn in the long run - you need the discussion to start up, with other people participating.

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 13:14:29

LRD I'm really not bothered if the others don't want to pay attention, it's their call tbh, and I'm happy for them to do so. I mentioned it in my OP to set the scene.

I'm really not answering every question in my lectures, it sometimes feels like I'm the only one asking for clarification, but there are far more involved people in different modules. This particular lecture was about renal physiology, so there isn't a huge amount of room for discussion! But yes, I agree, I shouldn't be answering each time, others should be, but I really shouldn't be criticised publicly for answering when nobody else is.

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 13:15:30

Also I'm not fed up that the lecturer isn't "letting me answer" all the questions - I was participating in a class and got a mouthful for my troubles.

Amphitrite Tue 05-Mar-13 13:15:54

This is why I loved my OU courses - we were all mature students with opinions. No tumbleweed in our seminars. I really do feel for you OP. In your shoes I would probably have a chat with the lecturer and say, look, what do you want to be happening here? Do you want me to hold back even if others don't answer? His comment sounds rude, but perhaps he didn't mean it to.
Personally, I think his questioning style sounds undeveloped, as a secondary teacher I would not be standing at the front of the class asking closed questions but using specific questioning techniques to try to develop student discussion and it has often struck me that third-level lecturers could do with a bit of that too.

Ah, fair enough - I would be really distracted by them faffing about.

I honestly don't think he meant to criticize you, but rather to get the others to wake up. Could you talk to him about it? I bet he will be able to tell you exactly what he meant, rather than you guessing on here.

Excuse me for asking, I may be showing my ignorance - but are you sure there's not room for discussion or you going quiet a bit? It's just, you say there's not room for discussion, and you also said in your OP that the lecturer said he could answer questions - is it possible he is trying to suggest that you're not getting the answers perfect? I would think that wouldn't matter if you're answering one question in every ten or so (because obviously students don't always phrase things just right). But maybe if you're slightly off each time, he's in a tricky situation. Because if the rest of the class don't follow what is going on and don't know the answer, they might need a more detailed explanation than you're capable of giving in your reply, and he can't tell what exactly it is they need, because now you've replied, the 'student answer' is out there.

I am not criticizing you at all - I do think it doesn't sound like a perfectly managed class, I'm just thinking through what the lecturer may be struggling with here.

I mean ... it's a different subject, but what I've had happen is this:

Say that one engaged student always answers. She is keen and about 95% right in what she says. The other students don't quite follow. I would myself explain things in a different way from the keen student, as I have a hunch that the 5% she's not quite getting - which might only be a matter of how she phrases her answer and what she assumes is obvious and doesn't need saying - may be the problem for all the rest of the class.

So, I'd hope another student would answer, even if they're wrong or can only provide a guess, because that will help me to see where the problem is. If nothing else, there might come a point where I'd rather have silence and give the keen student a warning she's not to try to answer, because then I can wait, get everyone's attention, and give my thorough explanation.

I think often, if a class of students hear one keen student's response, they're sometimes likely to switch off and think 'well, she gets it, but we don't, never mind'. Whereas if no-one understands and there's a silence, they all recognize they've got to listen to a proper explanation.

So, it might not really be 'about' you at all, just about the lecturer's sense of how the class as a whole is coping.

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 13:34:04

I'm sure there probably is room for discussion, but the questions yesterday were:

"Can anybody tell me the functional unit within the kidney?"
"Come on, somebody it begins with N"

"How many nephrons are in each kidney?"

"What do we mean by active transport?"
"You guys know this, we've done it before"

They're one word answers for the most part - you can't really discuss the name of a body part beyond what it's actually called (or the root of the name maybe) but he really did ask very closed questions with simple direct answers.

Now I'm not arrogant enough to think that I'm getting the answers to everything perfect, but there's not really anywhere else you can go with these. I'm also of the opinion that a "no" or "not quite" is a reasonable response from a lecturer, rather than telling me, quite rudely, not to answer and that he was there to provide answers to the questions he'd asked, which does beg the question as to why he asked in the first place!

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

LaQueen Tue 05-Mar-13 15:22:35

Screaming are there upwards of 100 of you in a lecture hall? Or just a dozen, or so in a smaller room, having a tutorial?

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 15:25:52

There are 56 of us on the course. We are always taught as a whole group. But they aren't the lectures of old with someone talking to us for an hour or two, they are more interactive than that.

So normally there are 15-20 of us in a lecture hall!

ArtemisatBrauron Tue 05-Mar-13 15:29:19

I was a lecturer at a university for 3 years before I left this summer to go into teaching and I'd never have responded like that to you - he should be glad someone actually cares and is listening/responding to him. Nothing worse than the dreaded wall of silence after you've asked a question!
I'd ask him after your next lecture if he feels you respond too much and explain that you are just interested in the topic and feel like the silence is awkward when no one else answers.
He may explain that he is adopting one of the pedagogical models suggested above (trying to get others to answer/worried they don't understand you etc) or he may be rude and thus out himself as a massive twat. Either way, you'll have peace of mind!

Littleturkish Tue 05-Mar-13 15:34:09

Blimey- it shocks me how crap lecturers are during tutorials. We have to do all singing and all dancing lessons for A Level, they get to uni and just get spoken at and asked closed questions repeatedly until they answer. Does anyone successfully learn that way?

Universities are designed for teenagers- if that lesson was observed by ofsted, it would fail.

Sorry- bitter A Level and secondary teacher rant.

'Universities are designed for teenagers'?!


Did you mean that?

Tanith Tue 05-Mar-13 15:49:59

I agree with EnjoyResponsibly.

Not quite the same age group, but when my DS was at infant school, he was actively discouraged from answering the questions the teacher asked, or simply ignored. He eventually stopped putting his hand up and assumed the teacher didn't like him very much.

He got a bursary to a prep school where they commented again and again: "he knows the answers but never ever puts his hand up. He needs to answer more in class". It took them months to get him to interact in class.

Very strange that some teachers seem to want to stifle learning.

crashdoll Tue 05-Mar-13 15:59:42

LittleTurkish As an adult at university, one is meant to take responsibility for their ownlearning. Lecturers are for pointers in the direction of relevant reading, not for sitting there and being taught in the same way as you are at school. Seminars and tutorials are for debate, group work and bouncing ideas off one another. So many university students expect to be spoon fed. Many of my fellow students complain that they aren't learning anything and they are the ones who don't do much reading.

LaQueen Tue 05-Mar-13 16:51:14

Littleturkish when I went to university, I didn't expect to be taught anymore. I fully expected to be in charge of my own learning (such as it was, I wasn't what you'd call diligent).

The lecturers basically lectured at us - pointed us to the right books, waffled through a few questions in tutorials (attendence wasn't enforced)...then we did what we wanted with that information.

Back then, the vast majority of under graduates were fine with that approach.

You'd already proved with O Levels/A Levels, that you were quick, that you were clever, and that you had a good brain.

Littleturkish Tue 05-Mar-13 16:55:36

LRD- No, I didn't really tbh.

I think I'm just cross.

And actually, when I think back to my university learning, I enjoyed the lectures where I sat and listened and researched for myself. I'm just feeling sorry for myself after the hours and hours of planning we now have to do for sixth formers to make it 'fun' and 'engaging' and then a year later they go off to uni and OF COURSE they now sit there disengaged annoying mature students. But there is never any focus on university tutors to make their lessons engaging, no observations and ridiculous 'outstanding progress every 20 minutes'. Definitely just pregnant and grumpy today.

I don't think it's right that they do this- I actually think we're doing students a massive disservice by spoonfeeding them and making their learning so teacher led- and then totally not preparing them for HE.

Hulababy Tue 05-Mar-13 17:06:27

Different degrees have different approaches. Different tutors have different approaches.

In neither of my degree courses did I have a sit down and listen type lecture, and there was never 100+ students in the room. We had 50+ at times but there was always interaction between tutor and students; then smaller groups where we discussed in more detail.

Regardless - I think the OP is getting a rough deal from people on here.

The people at fault are the other students (for being disengaged, chatting and using mobiles) and the tutor (asking questions he doesn't want answers from; not challenging students who are not listening/engaging) not the OP.

It must be a very frustrating situation when no one else is engaged in the lesson, them just sat there passive or even doing other stuff. It would drive me mad. I'm not one to put myself forward in these situations, but if everyone else was sat ignoring the tutor even I'd be wanting to answer him and speak up.

The other students just sound rude tbh.

Sorry, but that is not true. There is focus on university lecturers, and they do get assessed for teaching quality, and loads of them work really hard to make classes and lectures interesting. I've just spent the weekend with my brother and SIL (both lecturers) who have just finished a training course to help them be better teachers, and we talked for ages about this. I'm only learning myself, but before I was allowed to teach I got some brilliant training that really helped me think about what would be the best way to do things.

I'm sure there are duff lecturers out there, and it may well be the OP's is one of them - but please don't assume everyone is like that just based on one example.

I don't know if other people who're not still students are better teachers and take less time, but those 'hours and hours' of preparation - yes, that's what I did too!

I get that you're angry - sorry - I'm angry too though.

Gah. I mean, obviously people who're not still students are better teachers, but I don't know if they take less time because of it. My supervisors seem to spend ages.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 05-Mar-13 17:15:56

My take on this is that the others think they are too cool to answer, or they don't bother because they know you will. Lecturer is probably exasperated with them.

When I was at University you could always spot the mature students - they were more keen (and I'm not backward in coming forward myself). At the time we used to slightly take the piss. Now of course, I see that maybe they were more anxious and maybe education meant more to them - they had possibly sacrificed other things to be there, and have thought about what they were doing

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 05-Mar-13 17:17:08

I agree with your post too


hackmum Tue 05-Mar-13 17:36:02

Well, obviously his approach is all wrong. He can tell people aren't listening to him, so he tries to grab their attention by asking questions. Then the only person to answer is the one who obviously is listening. He gets annoyed because he really wants one of the others to stop pratting about on their phones and answer the question.

But what he needs to do is find a new way of getting their attention. Fire questions at them individually. Confiscate their mobile phones. Give the lecture naked. All of the above.

Littleturkish Tue 05-Mar-13 18:16:46

You know what, LRD- even as I was typing that I was thinking, I bet that's not even true anymore.

And my father was a lecturer at university- so I appreciate there is then the added pressure of research and publishing.

I've totally talked myself round.

What I think is really needed is an overhaul at KS5 to better prepare students for HE. The entire structure of the KS5 A Level courses need to be more closely aligned to the expectations of HE. When I did A Levels we would have mini lectures and then tutorials for parts of the course, with reading and research expectations each week. Now, that would never be entertained, and parents would object to the lack of 'teaching time'.

Blimey, I sound whiney.

I'm going to go and look at the wine bottles and imagine a time when I'll be allowed to drink again.

You're being very nice and I was being very chippy. blush Sorry!

I don't think you sound whiny, but it's really interesting that the same sort of objections you've got sound to be what a lot of people who're grown-up university teachers say about undergraduate degrees. I know a lot of students' parents get angry that they don't have enough 'contact hours'.

But then, the OP is describing a course that really does sound as if it doesn't give the students much time for proper questioning and discussing.

LadyPessaryPam Tue 05-Mar-13 18:30:56

OP stop answering his questions, let it get really uncomfortable, sit on your hands if you have to but do not help out.

Littleturkish Tue 05-Mar-13 18:44:48

LRD- you were probably thinking the same thing as me- split them into small groups with a selection of different topics, get them to pose the questions, rotate tables, get new tables and then new students answer the questions posed by the previous group.

Regroup- discuss answers.

10 minute activity, each table feeds back, everyone speaks, everyone is engaged, breaks the awful question-silence-question-silence habit they've gotten into.

Christ- make the students present- we would do that when I was a student and had tutorials.

Hearing about bad lessons makes my eyes itch.

Yes! That's what I would do. I feel a bit sorry for the lecturer though, if most of his class refuse to answer very basic questions. Maybe they are taking the piss a bit.

Or just tell them they're required to answer at least one question per session and if they don't volunteer they'll get called on towards the end.

When I had lecturers who lectured 'at' us without breaks for questions, they'd make it interesting by varying the way they described things and getting a little bit off the wall. We got told the average concentration span is about 10-15 minutes - after that you need a shock to keep you interested. But then, if the class were paying enough attention to email the OP afterwards, they can't have been totally oblivious.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 05-Mar-13 18:56:28

OP, going on what the lecturer said to you, I think you are being over sensitive.

Asking how being engaged and paying attention is now a bad thing is taking it over the top.

The lecturer just wanted other people to answer questions. You are over thinking and taking it far too personally.

OutOfCheeseError Tue 05-Mar-13 19:22:01

I think the lecturer was a bit rude to you, however you strongly give the impression on here that you have no respect for him, criticising his pronunciation (!) and claiming that his slides are incorrect, and it wouldn't surprise me if he is picking up on that and responding, perhaps subconsciously.

SlowlorisIncognito Tue 05-Mar-13 19:31:07

A lecturer making a comment like that would put me off answering in lectures. I don't really like offering answers to questions in large lecture situations anyway, as I worry about getting it wrong (yes, I know that is a bit ridiculous), especially when it's a mix of courses, and there are people I don't know well in the room or it's an unfamiliar lecturer and I'm not sure if they want people to just shout the answer or put our hands up or what?

To some extent I do like it when lecturers engage the class, but it has to be apropriate, and I do find it difficult when people- e.g. my stats lecturer last year- ask questions, get a few wrong answers and then the right one, then doesn't explain, as surely this shows people in the lecture hall don't understand? I don't see what purpose it is serving?

I do, however, make an effort to engage in situations, e.g. labs, workshops, tutorials, where it's apropriate and hope I'm not seen as a know it all- I'm often the first person to break if there's an uncomfortable silence in our tutorial!

ScreamingFoxtrots Tue 05-Mar-13 19:42:18

I have a tendency towards being over sensitive, so appreciate that point.

To the pp who said I don't respect him - I want to. I really do. I was taught by him on a previous course and loved his teaching style. I don't criticise him for his pronunciation errors - even if most of the class now think hyaline cartilage is "hayline" cartilage. Pronunciation errors in anatomy and physiology can make things plain wrong. Also, his slides have spoken about metatarsals in the hand - I don't think he seriously thinks this is the case, but he's not checking his slides before he presents.

I've calmed down a lot and am now of the opinion that we're on the same side. We both want interactive, inclusive lectures. I need to sit on my hands and he probably needs to push the rest of the crowd. I need to be a little less sensitive (as does he) and we can work together to make the learning experience worthwhile for everyone.

poppypebble Tue 05-Mar-13 20:25:46

Littleturkish, I teach A Level History and we do have 2 periods a week of guided research which leads to a 3,500 word essay. That isn't spoonfed at all. When Ofsted aren't there I teach the way that will get my students through the exam and I'm afraid that isn't always entertaining. There is only so much fun that can be had with 16th century Privy Councillors, and most of that with the Earl of Essex. smile

We regularly discuss our 'Ferris Bueller' moments in the staffroom, where you stand there going 'anyone, anyone' as the silence drags. I do tell my sixth-formers that it is going to be excruciating in a seminar if they just sit there in silence - and that there is no place to hide at university. That said, I don't think anyone but the lecturer ever spoke in a lecture when I was at university. If you had questions you stayed behind or went to office hours.

HollaAtMeBaby Tue 05-Mar-13 20:34:15

YANBU and for those who say "nobody likes a know-it-all" and "you shouldn't answer every question" - bollocks. If nobody else has the brains or the guts to speak up, you go for it, OP! You made it clear you were waiting for others to answer and they didn't. Maybe they haven't had the benefit of a good education (I went to the sort of schools that have small class sizes and high standards, and if you tried to hide or tune out you'd be put on the spot and made to answer a question), maybe they're lazy or hungover or bored or shy or just plain thick, but none of that is your concern. Make the most of your time in university - you'll get out what you put in and so will your classmates.

cumfy Tue 05-Mar-13 20:56:14

In your position I'd be more concerned that the class is holding you back (rather than question etiquette).

Are you still really happy with your choice of uni ?
How is it you're apparently lumbered with these less able classmates ?

LadyIsabellaWrotham Wed 06-Mar-13 16:10:16

We used to have a blind lecturer who would call out questions to class member names at random. We dreaded it but it kept us on our toes grin

piprabbit Wed 06-Mar-13 16:17:09

Can you talk to him? Ask him how you should handle it next time, that you feel a bit embarrassed to be the only one answering but feel it's rude to ignore him.

TBH he should have been a bit more challenging to the other students to try and get them answering.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now