January 16, 2006

Academics' frustrations

In the Times Higher on 13th Jan is a small survey of anonymous academics on the subject of what they find most frustrating about their students. Their answers?

  • Poor written English, especially punctuation.
  • Propensity to complain and to take complaints to extreme levels.
  • Plagiarism, expecially online.
  • Preoccupation with marks.
  • Failure to understand the difference between learning and being taught.
  • Students who fail through laziness, then try every available trick to get back in.
  • Students who don't attend lectures.
  • Lack of independent thinking.

In summarising the points made so briefly, I make these complaints sound somewhat more strident and bitter than they actually were in the article; most of the respondents noted that only a minority of students exhibit the behaviour that irked them, and that many of their students were bright, hard-working and reasonable.

I wonder if next week they'll ask some anonymous students what frustrates them most about their lecturers?


- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Ah, but lecturers (i believe) have to/are paid to lecture us students… but we pay them and choose to go… so in theory the anonymous students wouldn't have any grips because if they did they could just take their money elsewhere.

    I certainly have no qualms with the academics at Warwick.

    16 Jan 2006, 20:15

  2. Preoccupation with marks.

    A fair thing to complain about, and something that benefits neither students nor lecturers. But is it really fair to blame students (although I doubt that's strictly the point)?

    With a degree increasingly being regarded as a necessary (if far from sufficient) condition for getting a decent job, and more people being encouraged to take them, it's hardly any surprise that many students are more interested in getting a good mark than actually learning anything. Besides which, with all the exams and assessments, it's hard not to worry about that sort of thing.

    Not that I'm suggesting that academics themselves are to blame, but I don't think they do nearly enough (if anything) to discourage it.

    17 Jan 2006, 07:25


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