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Saturday, December 3, 2022

The Editorial Board shares tips for being a thoughtful participant in the classroom

Talking, notifications and inappropriate tangents distract others and take away from the learning experience

With over a year of school exclusively over Zoom, some of us developed some chaotic habits during the “school day.” Whether it was loudly eating a bowl of cereal during discussion or scrolling through Instagram, it probably worked out alright from behind a computer other than that one time you accidentally unmuted yourself. But now that we’re completely back in person this quarter, it’s time to uphold an ever-so-slightly elevated level of decorum. Having been college students pre-pandemic, the members of the Editorial Board wanted to share a non-exhaustive list of suggestions for being conscientious classmates during this never-ending transition. 

 

  1. This one seems straightforward — don’t talk to others during class. It’s distracting. It’s not like you’re muted like when school was via Zoom; more likely than not, everyone, including your classmates and instructors, can hear you. If you absolutely need to communicate during lecture, send your peers a text or write them a note a la middle school.
  2. And on that note, keep your phone on silent. 
  3. Some instructors are still extending the flexibility that they added to syllabi during COVID-19, including recording lectures (which should be required in any case). For courses that don’t require attendance or participation, you should be present if you are choosing to attend. And as we’ve noted in previous editorials, college is an inequitably stressful experience, but to get your money’s worth, it’s probably a good idea to attend and be engaged in class (while prioritizing your physical and mental health, of course).
  4. There may not be such a thing as a dumb question (according to many instructors, at least), but there is such a thing as an appropriate question. If you’re in a large lecture and your question involves a lengthy tangent before getting to a point unrelated to the topic at hand, maybe it’s best to keep your comment for office hours or after class. Being a student is for your own educational growth, but it’s important that you respect the time of your classmates and instructors.
  5. In general, be respectful when talking about your instructors. Members of the Editorial Board have seen students make some particularly harsh comments about TAs who may not have control over what classes they are teaching. Treat people with the grace you would expect for yourself if you were thrown into an unexpected situation. If you do have concerns with teaching skills, raise them in a respectful manner in a non-disruptive setting.

 

Obviously, this is a list of suggestions and there are circumstances that may mean one or more of these shouldn’t be followed. But we encourage students, especially those who only returned to in-person school after beginning college, to consider the above. It has taken and will continue to take some adjustments to be comfortably back in the classroom, but together we can make it work. Go Ags!

 

Written by: The Editorial Board