tatjna (tatjna) wrote,
tatjna
tatjna

Don't you hate it when your Mum was right?

Yesterday was the first time in my university career that I've walked out of a lecture half way through. I was disgusted. This dude was standing up the front reading from a text at note-taking speed. Students were dutifully writing what he said down (or typing it in), word for word. Every now and then he'd stop and say "Did you get that?" and then carry on. The topic was Durkheim's theory of anomie.

Anomie in a nutshell: As societies progress, they move from mechanical solidarity (rigid values, repetitive memes, defined roles) to organic solidarity (plurality of values, changing memes, specialisation). This creates uncertainty within a populace due to basically, the goalposts shifting. If the goalposts shift really fast, you get an 'unanchored' population that doesn't know where the boundaries for values and roles are, things get messy, and this is called anomie. Anomie can be considered as a 'cause' for a bunch of societal ills, including crime.

By the end of the first hour, he'd got to the difference between a mechanical society and an organic one. I left.


For this lecture, we had three readings. One was anomie from a historic perspective, one was anomie from a social perspective, and the third was anomie from the perspective of juvenile delinquency. I read them all, and went into the lecture thinking that it would expand on this and perhaps contextualise it around some modern issues of crime, perhaps critique it, have some discussion of the concepts.

What I was not expecting was for it to take an hour for the lecturer to read us the first two paragraphs from one of the readings.

He did not help himself by stopping to illustrate a point and going "If we were to go down to the town hall, would we see the mayor sitting there on his little throne, making decisions?"

Wellington's mayor is a woman. I pointed this out and he brushed it off. Given my slight niggle the other day about these ancient theories we are reading and how they erase the existence of women, this dude doing the same thing? *GRR*

Anyway, yes. I talked to the student rep and she's going to let me know if he did this for the rest of the lecture. If so, I need to decide what to do.

The thing is, I do the readings. I learn the basic stuff, and in lectures I don't take notes. The exception for this was the climate change course where I had to take in a lot of facts really fast, but for the most part, the only stuff I write down is when an idea dawns based on discussion in class for a connection I hadn't previously made. The rest of the time I'm listening to the lecturer, thinking about what they are saying, interacting if that's called for, and trying to expand on what I got from the readings.

When the lecturer is talking at a rate of one word every five seconds, I can't stay interested. Especially when they are not saying anything new, or anything that expects me to think. I spent half an hour posting to Twitter about how crap it was, because while I consider myself pretty disciplined, I can't stay engaged in that situation.

OK, I get that some people like to have the course readings read to them and to take lots and lots of notes. But is it fair for the lecturer to pander to these people and these people only? In every other lecture I've been in, the copious note-takers have been expected to keep up with the pace of the lecture, not the lecture slowed down to the pace of the note-takers.

I can honestly say I learned nothing yesterday. I don't want to waste two hours every week trying to stay awake while some crusty dude stands up the front and reads slowly to me out of a book I've already read. I want to learn, be stimulated, discuss, be challenged, and think.

OMG did I just say I want to think? Fuck, what's wrong with me?

Luckily for me, the tutor is a lot more interested, and therefore a lot more interesting. But meanwhile, I paid $700 for this course and I expect a certain standard of tuition. The people I talked to were equally confused by his style. I found myself getting angry at him for letting me down so badly, and part of why I left was because I feared I might end up tearing him a new one in front of everyone over it.

Thing is, the guy's just got back from a research sabbatical, this is the first time he's run the course in several years. I wouldn't like to be told how much I suck on my first run out after a long break. But OH.MY.GOD. he sucked. I need to work out how to address this. The way I see it I have several options:

1. Do nothing, find out which lectures he'll be giving and save my time by not going to them. I probably don't need them to pass the course.
2. Give him another chance or two, if he doesn't get into the groove, GOTO 1.
3. The direct approach. Talk to him and let him know my expectations. I fear upsetting him given that he'll be marking some of my papers.
4. The indirect approach. Talk to the tutor or class rep, find out if others are dissatisfied, and take it from there.
5. Muddle through, give feedback at the end of the course, and hope things improve for the next lot.


Any advice from those with experience appreciated. I guess I should count myself lucky that I've only struck this on the very last paper of my degree, eh?

Meanwhile in other news, Dr Wheel is going to Defcon. He only found out yesterday and he flies out tomorrow. I have the envies. I'm not really into Defcon (are you kidding I'd be mincemeat in 5 seconds) but The Crystal Method will be playing and for that I have the envies. Also because it's summer in Las Vegas and today it's 8 degrees, raining and blowing a southerly in Wellington.

Anyway, he'll be away for all of next week and weekend. Traditionally I think I'm supposed to get 'The Girls' around and we are supposed to drink wine and complain about our men or something. Given that I dislike wine, really like Dr Wheel quite a lot, and don't have anyone in my life that I'd define as The Girls, I might need to come up with some other idea. Hookers and blow maybe?

Finally, what's your favourite old wives' cold remedy? I am not an old wife and the only tale I can think of right now is "Don't pull faces cos if the wind changes you'll be stuck like that." My Mum was an old wife but she was eminently sensible and she'd say "Eat right, get enough exercise and sleep and you'll reduce the likelihood of getting sick in the first place." Thanks Mum.

So, what's yours?
Tags: lecturers that are actually taxiderimies, omg so bored right now, study
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