Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Things not to say at the start of the first class of the semester...

...unless you are really hoping to reduce class numbers.

ScaryLecturer: "You are all here because you get turned on by language."

ScaryLecturer: "This course is going to be really hard, there will be more work than in most first-year courses, and it will probably not be anything like what you are expecting."

ScaryLecturer: "Basically, this semester will be an exercise in brainwashing you into seeing things from my perspective."

A German professor I once had, in Germany, to a class of third-year Germans: "If your English is not good enough that you can read a paper by Chomsky in less than an hour and understand it fully, you should drop out now and go take remedial English lessons." (Three students walked out. Hell, I don't think even Chomsky understands his own papers fully).

An English teacher I had at high school: "Hands up who hates reading. Well, so do I. But I passed English right through to university level anyway and so can you."

I'd love to hear about things you have heard (or said and later regretted!) that caused students to flee a class in droves.

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Muriel said...

I've got an example. No one fled from the course, it just wasn't an option, but if I could have ...

Anayway, first class in physics in my second year of 'classes préparatoires'. Our teacher explains :
I do not want anyone interrupting me during class. If there's something ou don't understand, don't raise your hand to ask, I will not answer any questions during class. Continue taking notes. If the next day you still don't understand, then you can eventually come to me.

We had physics everyday for at least 2H, sometimes 4. It's just peachy when you don't get something at the very beginning of the class and you copy 2H worth of notes that you don't get...

StyleyGeek said...

That sounds like a really nervous teacher, who maybe was scared they wouldn't be able to answer any questions people might ask. You'd think someone during this person's teacher training might have mentioned this was not exactly sound pedagogical practice!

Lucy said...

I switched chemistry lectures after the gnomish lecturer yelled at people who sneezed (in the middle of cold and flu season) for disturbing his lecture (he'd gone to the trouble of preparing a fascinating presentation and it was just plain rude and inconsiderate to make a noise and interrupt what he was saying!)