Wednesday, September 12, 2007

University Classrooms

This is s snapshot from the video “Prangstgrup – Reach! A Lecture Musical Prank!” on YouTube. The video is quite amusing and highly recommended. Question for thought: what would you do if you were the lecturer?

This is probably an American university classroom. Did you notice how the students are seated? This is quite a large lecture room and most of the students are seated towards the front. Most of the seats in the front rows are in fact occupied; most of the seats in the back rows are not.

In contrast, our Hong Kong classrooms are usually the opposite. The students tend to stay away from the front rows. It is almost as if our students are afraid of the lecturer. More likely, they are afraid of being called on to answer questions. What is your experience and what do you think is the reason for the difference?


Anonymous said...

My experience is also that HK students tend to sit farther away at the back. In fact, those few who really concentrate during the lecture, who give responses (not necessarily verbal ones, actually more by body language) like to sit in front. When I taught chemistry, I liked to give the analogy that students are very unlike electrons in that they prefer a higher energy state (higher potential energy w.r.t. the lecturer), while electrons fill up the orbits with the lowest energy states first.

As to why students prefer to stay as far away as possible, I believe most are not excited about learning, and they don't want to get involved, as if screaming, "Leave me alone!" They are inert elements!

StephenC said...

It is sad there are so many "inert" students. It is also a challenge to teachers to find ways to motivate them.