Thursday, December 02, 2004

class participation

Speak Up!


The semester is finally winding down and I've started to give some thought to my class participation grade in my econ class. My econ class makes me very mad. It's not that I don't like the class, but this participation issue causes me much grief. It is a significant enough portion of my grade that I am concerned by it, and frustrated that I'm limited by my own personal disposition to do anything about it.

I knew that the distance learning format was going to be a problem for me. I don't like video cameras, nor seeing myself on teevee. I have issues with how flat my face looks. It might seem superficial to some, but I can't help it. The room has rows of tables with chairs facing foward--true lecture-style. I don't know a better way to obstruct student exchange. In addition, this classroom impedes my participation because we are supposed to have to raise our hands and use microphones to amplify our voices when we talk. But the bigmouths in the class just start talking and I get left sitting there waiting my turn. It's like I'm invisible. I feel like it's part of the teacher's responsibility to maintain order in this kind of situation, or at the very least, foster equitable class participation. In the current context, the class participation grade rewards people who don't observe the rules of debate. And don't get me started about people who don't say anything even though they talk a lot. That really drives me nuts.

I realize that as a graduate student, I ought to be able to speak up. However, using that kind of attitude to justify bad classroom management is unacceptable. I'm paying to be there and I deserve to be given the opportunity to benefit from my efforts as much as anyone else there.

I also hate when my professors take words out of my mouth. I know about the Consumer Price Index and the GDP and the unemployment rate. I know a lot about it all. Let me talk!

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