Lethargy in Large Lecture Halls

Topics: Classroom, Lecture hall, Educational facilities Pages: 8 (3105 words) Published: April 2, 2006
Lethargy in Large Lecture Halls
Many problems exist within education today, more specifically post secondary education. One of the larger problems in many students' and professors' minds is the problem of the environment they are expected to learn/teach in. Different individuals have different styles of learning and the passive environment of the large lecture hall certainly doesn't cater to all of these. Jeffery DeShell, an assistant professor of creative writing at CU Boulder, expresses in an interview that, though he doesn't teach in the large lecture setting himself, that he is extremely familiar with the problem that exists within this setting. He remembers struggling through some of his undergraduate course work specifically because of the anonymity the classroom created between himself and his professors. We see a great focus on amount of material covered, but little attention is paid to the retention of this information. Sleep deprived students enter the classroom and without interaction of some sort, they find themselves dozing, daydreaming and completely losing sight of any information that is covered that day. Instead of soaking in information in the classroom, students tend to cram and rigorously study to do well on an exam. This method of learning is not only stressful, but extremely ineffective (Hoogendyke). As a result, the hundred level courses that are supposedly producing well rounded individuals out of college are being forgotten and lost many years later. What can be done about this? Well not a lot can be done to completely remedy the problem, but there are many simple solutions that will further education and develop better learning environments for students today. A complete revamping of the educational system seems impractical, but what about small changes in the large classroom that could turn it into something more like a small classroom? This prevalent problem that plagues Universities of today and has for many years, is not one we are stuck with. It is a problem, that given careful planning and a little practical problem solving, could be lessened and moved towards resolution. Straight out of high school and entering a much larger and less intimate environment such as the lecture hall, college freshmen may find the transition intimidating and hard to handle. They may find themselves not speaking up in class and unable to bring themselves to healthy interaction. Jeffery DeShell states that in freshmen level classes students seem less willing or more intimidated to become actively involved in discussion. As one in 200 the student is likely to feel little to no relationship with his or her professor and vise versa. To eliminate some of these barriers that can tend to cause a portion of the lecture hall problems, a professor can take a few moments before class to learn his or her students' names. This not only establishes a relationship between the student and the professor, but also makes the student more comfortable in the class and more likely to participate in discussion (McGraw 1). Where as the professor has the ability to break down hindering social barriers in his or her classroom, the student is still responsible for his or her education. Any given student has the power to actively learn in this environment, but it takes willpower. A student who is truly devoted to his or her education will take the necessary measures of academic rigor to assure that education. It is important for students to stay away from friends in the classroom. Near by friends can present temptations towards breezy frivolous goofing around and failure to pay attention. These tendencies obviously harm education. The student should also get to know his or her professors by making use of their office hours. Even if professors make attempts to learn their students' names, students can always develop deeper relationships with them. These relationships can be beneficial as a professor can be a...

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DeShell, Jeffery. Assistant Professor of English, Colorado University. Personal interview. 16 Sept. 2005.
"Engaging a Large Lecture Class." The McGraw Center. 06 Oct. 2005 .
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Hoogendyke, Nicholas L. Personal interview. 02 Nov. 2005.
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