Monday, March 01, 2010

Shite, what did he ask?

Sitting in a lecture can have the effect of some drugs on a student. Honestly, I think a “do not operate heavy machinery while attending this lecture” sign should be placed outside lecture room doors, and over the white boards as well just in case people forget.

I don’t think it’s because the lecturer’s don’t know what they’re talking about. Quite the contrary, I think a lot of the lecturers are experts in their field. They just don’t know how to teach. It’s like Sheldon teaching Penny physics. They just go on and on. I discussed this briefly two blogs ago, but my point today is another one.

So put your self in my shoes, as torn as they may be, half way through a two hour lecture, listening passively and typing out whatever the lecturer says, when all of a sudden a question is asked and immediately after it, my name!

Now, this is not one of the few lecturers that knows my name. Only one lecturer knows my name, and I’m usually paying attention in his interesting and entertaining lecture anyway, so that’s fine. This lecturer had picked up the register and picked a random name. Luckily, the brain can recall the last sentence heard even though one isn’t really listening. Most of us have experienced the typical “What did I just say?” question asked by a teacher, parent or partner. So after a brief moment to recall the question, I now had to think.

It’s like starting a car in third. But I love these moments. Especially if the answer can be reached by thought and not by memory. So, some quick thinking, assuming and making connections and I came up with a reasonable answer. And from then on I was paying attention, I was thinking and offering answers to questions and comments to statements. Learning was happening.

So kudos to the lecturer.

I have another lecturer who doesn’t bother with names, just randomly points at people when asking a question, putting you on the spot. Although with some thought and after a few experiments, the way to get out of his ‘random’ pointing came to us. I share this at the risk of other communication students reading it and using it, but to be honest, I doubt many of my peers follow my blog. In the first five to ten minutes out of the two hour lecture, remain keen: answer questions, put your hand up, ask questions and offer comments and opinions, and the lecturer will then ignore you for the rest of the lecture. What makes it more impressive, is that, when later, I felt inclined to answer another question, he told me “let’s let the others have a chance.” I didn’t complain. Please note, there is difficulty in paying attention and showing keenness in those first few minutes, especially if in this case, the lecture is at 8 in the morning.

But something surprising I must share with you, is that as a student, lectures are much more interesting and fun when I make the effort to pay attention and participate in the lecture. No, don’t laugh at me or scoff, it’s true. This of course does not mean that I will, from not on, be paying attention in all my lectures…

“That’s it for today, see you next week.”

Lecture’s over.



Shpow said...

I love having these patterns set up for teachers, it's quite fun. And there's nothing better than pulling an answer on the spot out of your ass.

karla said...

i have a teacher that points at me and gets me to pay attention..but then we ignores me if i try comment...its so bla sense ><