Does anyone else think undergraduate students are becoming more and more demanding, petulant and rude? I'm finding that as the years pass some of them increasingly seem to think that their courses and teachers should be perfect, while they do not have to complete the required work to get a degree. I et the feeling, judging by my first years this year that universities are becoming more like secondary schools: students feeling they hold all the cards and can treat their teachers like dirt. Of course, some students are fabulous, but I just get the feeling things are moving that way.
Is anyone else sensing this?
The discussion on the 'advice for those entering an academic career' between Gibson and Wali inspired me to write this.
Actually, Eska, I agree with you there. I do around 3 hours of lecturing a week and have done so for the past 2 years now. I work really hard to make the lectures as interesting, informative and interactive as possible - I pull out all the stops with power point putting animations in my slides to try and describe some difficult concepts. And what do I get? Comments along the lines of "do we have to know this? Is this going to be in the exam? Peasucker's [to hide my name] going off one one again!" This list goes on. Some of them even lean back in their chairs, loll their heads back and pretend to be asleep. I didn't realise how irritating this could be when I was a student. And it makes me really mad, it makes my blood boil - it's bloody rude. I've confronted the rude one's in the lecture and asked them straight out: how they would like me to deliver the lectures? Do they want even more interaction? A bit of role play? They just stare at the floor in return, not able to offer any constructive feedback. I've basically told them that they are doing a degree and, as such cannot be spoon fed, have to read around and think for themselves - as independent thinkers, independent learners. God knows what would happen if I asked my supervisors to write one of my chapters for me. I only hope they don't try and do a PhD.
I do think that we are increasingly getting to a point where some students think that they basically only have to pay for their degree. Could this be because, in the Government trying to increase the number of people going into HE, we are now getting an increasing number who just aren't suited and/or don't have the right attitude? Could it be because of the suggested dumbing down of A levels?
Of course, the vast majority are interested and do tell me how much they enjoy my lectures and recognise the hard work I put in, but the increasing minority...
Eska, don't forget to click my post as helpful please :-)
I completely agree with you. I'm a first year PhD and I have taken on demonstrating, in lab classes god forbid for about 6 hours per week. And all I can say is the students are horrible. I remember that myself or any other of my classmates were never quite so rude, demanding and just plain horrible but then again, I did my undergraduate at a different uni, so many is a different uni thing...
These students would pester you for the stupidest thing, I had 3rd years that didnt know how to use a micropipette :-s and others that would yell at me (not joking) for not telling them the answer. They are like children and they had the nerve to tell me "in the real world we wouldn't have to do it like this" I felt like saying well in the REAL world, if you can't do this basic task, you won't even be good enough to put our dirty schott bottles through the dishwasher!!!! And they can't even follow clear but instructions on how to write a lab report. They wanted a good example of one. They beg to be spoon fed, like they don't want to think for themselves, probably too hard for them.
Grrr! I'm glad someone else feels the same!
Yeah, it's good to know other people feel that way too. I have a group of first years some of whom don't do the work I ask of them and saying things like 'well, why should I bring something in as requested you know what one looks like' and pulling faces. I realy could throttle them at times, especially because they are draining my energy away from teaching and there are some excellent students in the group. If I were teaching in a school I would be tempted to throw them out into the corridor so the head could have word; or better still send 'em for the slipper! (which is whatt happened at my junior school). I've put so much into helping them with their essays, and sessions are planned out to equip them with the necessary skills, far more guidance than I ever got. Ungrateful little b*****s; they make me feel like a sargeant major, I thinkk I'll start the next session byy saying 'right you 'orrible lot' and make 'em do a hundred press ups.
I gave you both stars; thanks for the commaraderie.
Couldn't agree more! To be fair, my students are quite good in class and tend to be reasonably polite, but they cannot seem to do anything without first consulting one of us by email. The last assignment we set them involved doing a lit review and by third year, we expected them to be able to do a lit search. We even showed them how to do a lit search in class. Yet we got emails asking us to write a step by step guide for them on how to find relevant literature and what to do once they had done the lit search (write the lit review perhaps?!) and all sorts of questions that we had already answered or were completely ridiculous. And we have to find all their readings for them and put them up on blackboard so that they don't have to go to the library and they don't have to use the library website to search for and download the journal articles (all of which they have access to) for themselves. Even better, my pal had to write her class a step-by-step guide to how to purchase the course textbook from Amazon.com! It made me laugh anyway, I only thought my lot were bad! KB
Hi Kean Bean, My group are having a problem with using the library too. I set them homework of going to the library and acquiring 3 pieces of literature which are relevant to their chosen essay topics, and then we'd disucss how to approach books in the session. My first years last year ad no prolem with it, but only two out of 25 managed it this year!!!! I mean arts undergraduates who can't use a blooming library. And they behave as if I'e asked them to invent time travel, and as if being able to use the library has no relevance to doing a degree...
I will not be writing out nice handouts for them on how to use the library, I think as undergraduates they should be able to go there and find out for themselves. But yeah, they're little ninnys, lightweights etc etc. No-one ever gave me guidance on how too approach a book or on how to wrte an essay. rrrrrhhhhhaaarrrr.
I have definitely seen this. I am expected to take calls at home from students to support them (althought they are postgrads!), they are also given everything. Our uni library doesn't have loads, but they also have access to senate house but they refuse to go over there and demand the pdfs are supplied to them. My other half also teaches a foundation year course and is constantly being told that he basically needs to treat them like secondary school kids - one to one support, loads of extra tuition to get everyone through the exams.
I think there has been an over focus on types of learning. We are constantly being told not to do old style lectures in the PGCHE or whatever it is teaching qualification. You have to do group tasks etc and get them all interacting, which is fine, but the course my other half teaches on, its gone the wrong way and students are now complaining that the more dominant members of the group just talk about themselves for the whole lecture in a 'debate' and everyone else just gets bored - and they actually WANT old style lectures.
I think the problem will only get worse with tuition fees. Mandelson's plans include universities having to tell students how many lectures they get per week for their money - so is a course that has 10 lecutres a week better than a course that has 3? Will we have to start giving valuations to lectures i.e. tuesday's lecture will be worth £50 and wednesday's will be £400.
I was helping a postgrad last week and I said he would need to find a reference that supported his point. and he said "how do I do that" so I said "just search it on google" and he then said again "how do I do that" I mean, how do you search for something on google??? He didn't even know!
How strange... I am not a teacher, but I was thinking exactly the same thing on the way home last night.
I was waiting at the bus stop when I heard a group of students complaining about their seminar leader, saying things like 'They don't know what they're talking about!', 'They haven't got a clue', or 'He/She is only a postgrad'.
This really pi*ses me off when I hear that. They don't realise how bloody rude they are, and they don't even care if other members of staff at the university hear them saying things like this.
I know that you will always get the arrogant, know-it-all sh*ts in every generation, but come on (!), the ones that were complaining were complete dumb ars*s! :-s
Has anyone else noticed students saying things like that?
I met a student in the uni lift once. I hadn't yet lectured the group, and I don't think she knew really who I was, but recognised me. She just started slating all the lecturers, saying the course was boring, she had done it ALL before. and I realised it was a thursday and she should have been in a lecture, and she said "oh i couldn't be bothered to get up for it" and I thought, if that were me and I had been caught out, I would have blamed the traffic or something! needless to say, I went and told everyone in the department!
I don't know if undergraduates are any more rude but think they are more demanding. When I worked in an academic dept pre PhD it was generally accepted that the students had got more demanding and expected more since they had to pay tuition fees. I guess they see it as something they're buying so they want to demand as much as they can for their money.
What bugs me the most is the way student expect all groups to be exactly the same and start moaning that their friend in the other seminar group got to do xyz or got more help than they got and blah blah blah moan moan moan! They don't seem to understand that the tutors plan their own seminars rather than working off a centrally agreed crib sheet and everyone has slightly different styles etc. This especially bugs me as we get very little guidance on what we're actually meant to be covering in seminars as tutors but that's another thread as it isn't really the students fault.
mandelson did say that students are now 'consumers'. I can understand it from their point of view, I know when I did my undergrad I was angry when the lecturers went on strike and we got all our marks late and I was thinking "what am I paying for! :-s " but now I am on the other side it seems like an impossible situation. I don't think mandelson understands how a university is run and that people to research AND teaching, not just the latter.
Part of the problem though is that school does not prepare students for uni. At school they expect everything to be handed to them, to be as rude as they like, and still expect teachers to do their bidding, and expect uni to be the same. I used to have a very part time job in the uni library, basically I was there to answer their questions about researching etc on a Saturday. I had loads of students who did not have the first idea how to start planning their work, no idea about making a plan, and we quite unable to master the library bookshelves, let alone the journals, and had to be shown how to use the search facilities. They also came in on Saturday afternoon for help on essays that were due in on the Monday which they had yet to even start. Part of it might be a fear of failure, because they may never have experienced it, and they might be using bravado to cover it up (I'm being generous here :-) ) but as for them not shutting up, pick out the ringleader and just ask them if they think they are making the best use of their time/ the facilities, and how do they think they might improve on their learning experience without disrupting the learning of everyone else, which is what they appear to be doing at the moment!
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