To think that there must be something DP can do about rubbish students in his lectures?

(90 Posts)

DP is in his second year as a mature student. Technically it's his first year on the course as last year he did a foundation degree so it's most of his peer's first years too. This year he's really struggling to keep his attention on one of his lecturers because there are quite a few twats in his classes who spend the entire time chucking stuff at one another, chatting, ignoring the lecturer, chucking things at other people, etc. Essentially acting like children. The lecturer couldn't give a shit apparently and just continues on regardless, so DP is having to spend loads of extra time on this subject (Maths) which is already a subject that he was having to spend longer on anyway (though actually enjoyed it before, whereas now he's dreading going to lectures because of the other students).

DP says that he has complained to his course leader and head of department on numerous occasions because at the end of the day, whilst they are paying a significant amount to ruin their education at the moment, he is also paying and his education is suffering because of the minority and a lecturer who doesn't care.

Is there anything he can actually do about this? Or is he stuck with them until they either drop out or grow up? I dropped out of uni because of substandard lecturers so understand a little how frustrating it is, but then this is the first chance DP has had to change his life that has actually worked thanks to badly timed misfortune in the past and he's just getting more and more frustrated and I'm left with a defeated, paranoid-he's-going-to-fail grump when I actually manage to get him to put his work down!

Anna1976 Fri 18-Jan-13 00:04:25

also - it's proctors (or deans) who deal with disciplinary matters. Not every university will force students to sign a disciplinary code, but most will have something in their statutes & ordinances somewhere about student behaviour. However, that is a level of escalation that seems pointless - save it for academic misconduct. Far better to go and have weekly one on one sessions with the lecturer, and let the idiots be hoist with their own petard.

He should film it, and threaten to put it on Youtube tagged as the name of the university and course for starters. He is paying a fortune, and not getting what he is paying for.

MatureUniStudent Fri 18-Jan-13 00:16:01

I'd get my audience by a formal complaint. smile

georgettemagritte Fri 18-Jan-13 00:42:38

I wouldn't make a formal complaint about the lecturer or in the lecture feedback - chances are that will just alienate the lecturer and if your DH wants additional support s/he might be less willing to give it. The lecturer may have been told (this is not uncommon nowadays) not to discipline students by his/her department or managers. There is often not much individuals can do if students are disruptive and the lecturer will be as annoyed by it as your DH is! Could he and any other students who feel the same have a not-too-confrontational word with the disruptive ones before lectures? Peer pressure - from a few people, not just one - often works better than anything else. (Sometimes attempted 'discipline' by the lecturer can backfire, and students tend to fear disapproval from other members of the class more.)

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Fri 18-Jan-13 00:53:51

This is because teachers in schools aren't meant to shout at or send out pupils any more, you know. Because if you were really interesting and engaging and cooool then they'd all love you and hang rapt on your every word.
Yeah, bollocks.

It was like this in 2004. Finals in a fortnight, last lectures with the merest hints on what it was worth revising.... Some cunt in a pashmina growling her 20 a day voice to her mates about her "crazy weekend, guys".

Do you not need a job after this then? A 2:1 to get that job?
Whatever, fuckers.

<omg, my iPhone tried to autocorrect that to fuckersnail. Mumsnet win>

ICBINEG Fri 18-Jan-13 01:09:12

hmmm I am naturally suspicious of anyone who thinks they are learning anything in lectures...

Does the lecturer put the notes up before hand? Is there actually anything to be gained by being in the lecture?

JustAHolyFool Fri 18-Jan-13 01:17:33

I'm on a PGCE and idiots chat all through our lectures and tutorials too.

I essentially tell them to STFU and they do. For one lesson. Then they start again.

Basically they are thick. It's mad.

MaMattoo Fri 18-Jan-13 01:20:51

Ask your do to send a written complaint up the hierarchy, that will give the lecturer 'teeth' to deal with this. Lecturer-module leader - program leader- head of studies/department- dean of school/faculty.

My 248 student class is silent, on time and very disciplined as I pick on the disrupters and ask them to leave. If they resist I stop the lecture and stare them out of the room. The other students often support this. We learn to handle disruptive behaviour when he do a MA in higher Ed. the lecturer sounds like a wimp to me.

VLE is an option, dictaphone is an option, lecture notes can be obtained from the lecturer. Queries can be raised in seminars and tutorials.

The NSS is only for final yr students so it does not apply in this case - again lecturer is a wimp, go past him/her and email/write to director of studies/head of school etc, they Nd their contact details should be in the programme handbook. Don't waste time talking or meeting-emails help people FYI issue and act on it.


* I am naturally suspicious of anyone who thinks they are learning anything in lectures*

I remember stuff from lectures. I remember one of my first crystallography lectures as an eighteen year old over twenty years ago. The lecturer told us that beer bubbles were tetrakaidecahedron shaped. Whether they are or not I'm not sure but it caught my attention. I learned plenty of other things in lectures that stuck with me.

echt Fri 18-Jan-13 03:49:09

I don't see why the OP's chap should have to rely on recordings or notes.

When I was at uni there were no notes supplied by the lecturer, you either turned up and made your own, copied your mates' or missed out. The act of writing notes is learning in itself as the student expresses their understanding of what they've heard by turning it into their own words.

I love seeing the faces of students of mine (upper secondary) who ask for my PowerPoint notes for a lesson. in my class we listen, talk, think and learn. You have to be there. There are no notes, unless you want to make your own. If my lessons could be reduced to a set of notes I'd phone them, go home and we'd all be happy. It would be called distance learning.

sashh Fri 18-Jan-13 04:28:30

I've been there. two things can work, but also mark you as a troublemaker.

1) Everytime there is a distraction stop the lecturer and say, "sorry I didn't get that last bit, someone was talking"

2) Actually address the student, "Will you shut up, I'm trying to learn here"

ALso do not be scared to put something in writing to the dean, and actually making an appointment to discuss it.

I actually ended up finishing my degree at a different uni, but with £20 000 in my pocket due to various issues with the first uni.

Thanks again for all of the replies, I'll show dp the thread tonight smile

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 18-Jan-13 07:50:17

Of course NSS is an issue: they don't forget everything that happens in the first year! And it isn't because teachers in schools aren't allowed to send out: they are. But some eighteen year olds get to university and get a bit carried away and behave badly, and it is really difficult for a lecturer to strike a balance between treating them as adults - which is after all what you want from them, androgogy not pedagogy etc - and getting them to behave. In most cases a stare or a raising of the eeybrows does it, but obviously not in this case.

OPs Dp would make a prat of himself and probably alienate both lecturer and students if he stands up and proclaims at them. And I don't think it will really help just to wait until the end and then mention it on feedback. I think he should go and talk to the lecturer, also use an iPod to record, ask any questions he has, and maybe say to the lecturer that he finds those students behaviour very difficult: knowing that actually other students don't like this behaviour might make him (the lecturer) feel more able to sort this out.

cuillereasoupe Fri 18-Jan-13 07:56:04

Could he (and a gaggle of other like-minded students) not just have a stern word with the troublemakers before the class starts? Something along the lines of "Look we need to do well in this class. If you're just going to piss about and disrupt it for everyone else then can you just not come?"

SamuelWestsMistress Fri 18-Jan-13 08:05:50

I remember being in a lecture with rather a dull lecturer who didn't want to stop a group of students who were pissing about. Like your DH there was one mature student who had enough of this, stood up, asked the lecturer politely if he'd mind pausing for one moment. He then walked over to the group and gave them an utter bollocking basically told them to shut the fuck up or get out, then thanked the lecturer, sat back down and we all carried on!

No problems again!

MadBusLady Fri 18-Jan-13 08:08:44

Agree with echt on the totally non-magical properties of bloody powerpoint slides, for anything except showing, say, a series of graphs. Why do we run the world like this now as if they are bottomless carpet bags of knowledge? Why not just write out some bullet points on half a page of A4 and have done with it?


Just to say I sympathise really. It's horrible. Most of my education was beset by these horrors and getting away from it at university was bliss (more tutorials than lectures in my subject). I never found any adequate solutions, but I'm afraid I do think he will look like a tit if he stands up and proclaims. sad These people just have no boundaries. They don't care about anyone's opinion except their mates'. That's why they're behaving like that in the first place.

Yfronts Fri 18-Jan-13 08:27:30

can he turn round and say'can you be quiet or leave' to the students.

Yfronts Fri 18-Jan-13 08:28:02

talk to the tutor and ask him to ask the chatty ones to be quiet

ICBINEG Fri 18-Jan-13 09:03:16

echt well yes obviously it would be good to do student engaging stuff in lectures...and the odd amusing fact may get remembered in spite of the style, but most education research labels the conventional lecture (where you copy your notes on the board and the students copy it into their notes) as being a fairly spectacular waste of time and effort...

Sandie79 Fri 18-Jan-13 09:26:41

I second the idea of having a quiet word with the students himself. If he gets stroppy with them I'd say they'll just dig their heels in, but if he can act nice as pie, be earnest, and play up that as an older student he and his family have had to make a lot of sacrifices to be here and he feels like he's struggling a bit in this subject and its really hard to concentrate with noise: would they mind trying to keep it down in class as any distraction is really hard for him. Really milk it, while remaining reasonable and friendly, and try and make them feel guilty. As a group they may not care what people think, and if challenged they'll stick together, but appealing to people on an individual level like that is one of the few things that can make them change their behaviour.

I was never one of the super-loud ones, far too much of a nerd, but there were definitely lectures I did a bit of whispering in and if someone had said something like that I would have been mortified. If that doesn't work, then yes, there should presumably be a student union rep in the class so maybe use them as first port of call?

BanghamTheDirtyScone Fri 18-Jan-13 09:37:36

I don't know if it would work but my instinct would be for him to actually shout at them himself.

Especially if they are younger?

Bit different but we lived in a house a few years ago, moved in when ds1 was a year old. Students would roll past at 2am every morning, pissed, singing and fighting from time to time.

I lay there trembling and getting very angry for months. One night a couple of eejits were pushing each other about in a shopping trolley.

I leaned out the window and yelled at them to 'Piss off home you little wankers' - much to my own surprise, and to theirs, as they got out the trolley and scarpered grin

I found immediately that my anger and stress disappeared. I had used my feelings to good effect, it had terrified them, I was back in control.

Sometimes a shock is what these people need. But I understand if it doesn't seem appropriate to your poor dp.

Best of luck whatever he does.

BanghamTheDirtyScone Fri 18-Jan-13 09:39:43

Oh and I had already done the polite, 'erm, please could you be a little quieter' thing for all that time and just got laughed at.

Polite neighbours don't scare students. Angry-as-fuck women really do smile

Maybe you could go along and do it for him - they will be scared of you more than him, it reminds them of their own mums I think.

MrsGeologist Fri 18-Jan-13 10:13:09

Students on my old course would heckle the lecturers. Yes. Heckle.
It was awful, just a few students who were, to put it bluntly, thick as mince, and thought they were the the dogs bollocks would ruin it for the other 100+ students. Couldn't even escape in tutorials, because they were in my tutor group.

I study at the OU now. Much less distraction, in fact, I don't even know my fellow students. Bliss.

Gosh everyone in my lectures is quiet.
We sit quite close to the back and everyone's either asleep or paying attention (or in my case....reading and doodling and piping up with slightly irrelevant comments....). My biggest lecture is 150ish people and 3/4 years together (languages, so not a v. popular course), then my next biggest is about 20 people, and it's the same thing, maybe five people speak up properly and the rest keep quiet but don't make trouble. Thing is the lecturer does get us to call out answers to exercises she takes us through etc, it's not like we could be plonked in front of a video for an hour. Don't think anyone would dare to chuck stuff or be rude.

Re: us paying a fortune.....well, most of us aren't really. Yeah, some of us have paid upfront. My friend's been working since he could and is pretty rich, has three cars, buying his own house next year and renting it out, and he paid the full £13k for this year in Sept. But most of us haven't. Otoh that's not a good excuse for having us suck it up and suffer through bad lectures.

Can't think of a solution but am pretty surprised reading about the behaviour you describe, it's not usual, so maybe the lecturer just isn't used to dealing with it and there aren't the appropriate measures in place to deal with it anyway, and these days we're more and more prevented from using any initiative....

I used to record lectures anyway when I was in Uni about a million years ago. When there was a lot of dense material it helped to go over the lecture again to deal with with the inevitable lapses in concentration where you missed bits. So that might help.

I would raise it with the HoD/ Faculty Head but in a way that doesn't blame the lecturer as you don't know what constraints have been put on them them by departmental policy (and it never pays to make an enemy of someone whose help you might need later wink).

You may well find that some of this silliness dies down in the second year when people start realising that things are getting serious and that the exam results can affect your final degree.

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