Patient to Patient

I’ve discovered that I passionately object to a particular teaching method that my professors use.

One hour into the two and a half hour class, my teacher declares that the time has come for “discussion.” This means that my professor sits down, and one or two of my fellow classmates mumbles through an outline of the readings for that week. The rest of us, frightened that we might lose precious “participation points,” respond with almost completely unfounded theories and half-hearted assertions which we make up in the moment.

This is extremely frustrating to me.

I am paying someone with reasonable expertise in the field to pass on their knowledge to me. I expect them to assign me readings which will give me insight into what the professor plans to talk about in class. But I am paying this money to have knowledge imparted to me, not to take part in arranged “discussions” with people nearly as clueless as I am!

I have the same beef with “presentations” about that week’s topic. It is clearly an attempt to have members of the class teach the class. Participation is great, but not when the professor isn’t the primary participant. It’s like going to the doctor and being put in a room with another patient to discuss our symptoms and experiences while the doctor sits in the corner and nods.

That’s not what I paid for!

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