I assume I’ve complained on the site before about how much I dislike the focus on “class participation” in the English courses that I am taking. I do feel that I should clarify that I dislike this not only because I don’t want to participate, but also because I don’t want my fellow students to participate either.
My professors can not, apparently, string together more than a paragraph of class content without asking the class to answer some minor question, or checking if the kids have any questions of comments. The most unfortunate consequence of this is that the kids in these classes seem to be getting it into their head that they actually have things worth saying. They don’t. Oh, how they don’t. Must every class include twenty minutes of teenagers tripping over words, struggling to think of some interesting fact marginally related to the topic at hand? I’ve seen these foolish children sit their with their hands high, eagerly awaiting their turn to speak, only to fall to “Um”s and “Ah”s as soon as their moment arrives. These students are tedious bores and they don’t realize it. And here we are, not only giving them a chance to derail the momentum of a lecture, but actually requiring them to do it to get their full “participation” marks. Professors, listen, you can not underestimate how much more content you could fit into a class if you didn’t wait five minutes at the end of every sentence just to see if the kids might want to finish it for you. (I’m not even going to address the problem with the kids who try to be entertaining when they speak, because I can’t think about them and retain the ability to type sentences.)
Here’s what I want from a class: to go and learn things from the person who is teaching the class. Instead, I find myself in class after class in which even the professor sees the idea of lecturing as a worst case scenario. During the first day of any class a professor is likely to say something along the lines of “Don’t worry, this won’t be a class where I just stand here and lecture” and I am left thinking “Balls.”