Preparing for an Unpleasant Classroom Dynamic

Preparing for an Unpleasant Classroom Dynamic
Preparing for an Unpleasant Classroom Dynamic
There are many different pieces of advice that the older and wiser will tell you about college, like how to balance work and play, how to approach professors for help, or how to deal with roommate problems. These are the age-old problems that perennially plague college students, but there is another sneaking challenge that some advice-givers will often overlook—and that’s the annoying classmates. Every single class has at least one, and given that you’ll spend much of your time as a college student in class (hopefully), you’ll want to know what to expect and how to deal with the students who can make class time nothing short of a disruptive nightmare.

The most common offender is the gratuitous question-asker. Now, curiosity in the classroom can certainly be an intellectual boon if the questions are asked judiciously, and many students undoubtedly have experienced fascinating discussions that were sparked as a result of good, solid questions. But this particular culprit will never shut up and will spew the most inane, tautological nonsense throughout the hour or so that you just want to spend learning. There are professors who can smell out this type a mile away and will shut them down accordingly, but some instructors put up with it. The best course of action is to attempt to direct the discussion yourself. Hey, if no one else is doing it, it might as well be you. Ask questions or make statements that return the professor’s lecture back to the original point. Everyone—the class and professor both—will thank you for it.

Another species of classroom annoyance is the student who personally asks you questions about the goings-on in class all the time. They ask for class notes, they ask what the professor just said two minutes ago, and they’ll even constantly harangue you about studying together after class. Try to diversify where you sit every day, since it’s remarkable how people will stick to a seat they picked on the first day of class, even though there is no seating chart. This way, you’ll avoid both the clinger and other unwanted students—the ones with body odor problems, the compulsive legs-shakers and pen-tappers, etc.

By far the most annoying student type in the classroom has to be the kid with the axe to grind. The axe grinders are differentiated from the question-askers in that, while both don’t have a whole lot of substantive things to say, the axe grinder wants to get a point—nay, a full-blown agenda—across. And she’ll do it every single opportunity she gets, no matter how wrong, nor how off-topic she is. Again, the best way to deal with this is either learn to ignore it, or find a way to direct the discussion elsewhere if the professor isn’t doing it herself. If it becomes a repeated problem, just tell the axe grinder after class that you have medical problems concentrating, and while her treatises on human nature are absolutely fascinating, you’d appreciate it if she would tone it down a bit.
http://www.onlinecolleges.net/2010/03/13/preparing-for-an-unpleasant-classroom-dynamic/

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