Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Cornell Professor Admonishes Rude Students

This video of a Cornell professor telling off students who interrupt his lecture with exaggeratedly loud yawns has been making the rounds on the academic websites. Everybody dumps on the professor for raising his voice to the students but I think that he was right. We coddle the students so much nowadays that they keep behaving like overgrown, spoiled babies in the classroom and everywhere else. On the one hand, we are expected to prepare them for the real word, for being successful in the workplace. On the other hand, however, we have to placate, entertain and keep them constantly happy and engaged. Sometimes, it's just frustrating to see how immature some students are. As much as this annoying childishness is their own fault, we are partly to blame too because of how rarely we do what the brave Professor Talbert has done.


Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg said...

I seriously dislike people yelling, but I completely understand where the professor is coming from. When someone is giving a lecture, no matter what the quality, it's respectful to listen quietly or not show up at all. Period. Is courtesy completely a thing of the past in this country?

I found it appalling how many of the comments on the video say it was the professor's fault that the kid yawned because the lecture was boring. Excuse me? Does the concept of taking responsibility for one's actions mean anything anymore?

Pagan Topologist said...

I just had a colleague this morning tell me that he had once called campus security several years ago to remove a student who was popping gum so loudly that it was disrupting his class. This happened more than twenty years ago. The student had repeatedly ignored his requests to stop being loud and disruptive.

I once walked out of a large lecture class when students would not stop talking while I was lecturing. This got me a reprimand from my department chair, who told me that I was required to be in class for the alotted time, no matter how disruptive the students were. But the students in this class were much more polite for the rest of the term.

I do not know how to handle this sort of thing.

Clarissa said...

The problem is that there are no legitimate (in the eyes of the administration) ways of handling either rude behavior on the part of the students or even plagiarism. In most cases, it makes no sense to address cases of plagiarism to the administration because they will blame the teacher for making trouble. We are trying to keep this from the students as much as we can, of course, but that's the sad reality.

Pagan Topologist said...

At my institution, undergrads are very difficult to convict of academic dishonesty, but grad students are easy to prosecute and convict. The standards are very different for the two categories of students. I have seen many undergrads who were in my opinion unjustly acquitted and several grad students who were (again, in my opinion) unjustly convicted.

Anonymous said...

I don't get what all the fuss is about. I'm English, so maybe it's a cultural thing.

But c'mon, you're at university. You're adults now, people. I'm at school and I guarantee that if a kid did overly loud yawns then they would get some serious yelling at. I don't think it's too much to ask for a professor to get some respect in his classes.