Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thoughts on class ettiquette

We all spend atleast 20 years in our education (every generation faces an extra course of education..wonder how long our children will study). It is surprising how after so much class time some of us have some silly behaviors in class. Although each program has been more "mature" for me, I still get to see some funny/annoying things students do. The following is my list of suggestions for students, to make class a good experience for yourself and for everyone.

1. Don't show off!
Everyone is as smart as you are (we all scored almost the same on the GMAT) and although it is your right to voice your imaginative interpretation of Labor-Capital curves, all you would do is waste class-time.
Most importantly don't try to make it obvious that you read the book. Reading the relevant chapters before class is usually an excused prerequisite and most students only take a glimpse of what's coming. Now that definitely doesn't mean you are smart, so if you now what is being taught, just sit quite.

2. Expect clear answers
There is always more than one way to explain a concept. So if you don't understand the answer to your question, let the professor know. Other students are also looking for the answers to your question, so make sure the professor drills it right into your head.

3. Keep class time in mind when asking off-topic questions
It's common for you to be concerned about an issue off-topic relevant to the class. For example in a Financial statements class: "Does this work similar to the debit and credit cards that we use for our bills?" is a reasonable one. Most of the time such questions do not help anyone but you, so make sure you don't pull this "off-session" too long. 10 minute breaks are designed for exactly this purpose.

4. Raise hands rather than interrupt
Everyone has their own preference on this, but with some teaching experience myself, I strongly favor the raise-hand-ask-question method. It allows the teacher to finish what he/she is saying without being startled into a question (We all need a breather).

5. Don't type in class!

A lot of students bring in laptops to class nowadays...some type notes sincerely, others browse myspace and facebook. Although what you do in class is completely your problem, the most irritating/distracting issue with laptops is the typing sound. Laptops are best used for saving on piles of paper prints and to google for extra information online. So how about some cheap ruled double-punched sheets from Walmart.
Now, if you decide to check craigslist and ebay in class, try sitting in the last row!

6. Don't get food that smells (and looks) good
There have been days when I have survived on ramen, and someone would bring a nicely grilled egg salad sandwich (mouthwatering!) to eat during lecture. I (and I am sure others) immediately lose 15 minutes of presence. Try coffee next time...that is quite redundant

Enjoy class!

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