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I'm sorry, are you from the past?!

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17th May 2007 | 00:02
music: The Doors / When the Music is Over / Riders on the Storm

It's an overwhelming feeling of disappointment when you greet one of the more able student in your class while walking around campus after lunch, and he casually drops the line: “By the way, I didn't understand anything you said in yesterday's lecture.”

Despite numerous attempts to coax some – nay – any sort of feedback from students during the lectures, they still find it daunting to raise their hand in class, never mind uttering something face-losing like “I'm not sure I understand, could you please explain that part again?”

When challenged they always come back with the standard “Well, Chinese students are usually rather shy…” Testicles. I'm aware that it's considered ‘embarassing’ to ‘lose-face’ in front of others, but until you're willing to admit there's something you don't understand, you're not going to learn anything new, especially seeing as you're going to be stuck in the UK for the next two years. Dammit. Get over it. Suck it up and learn.

I suggested that we – and any of his other friends who didn't understand anything I said during yesterday's lecture – can go over the slides again in tomorrow's labs (not my labs; only if they've already finished their assigned coursework and Paul doesn't mind.) Let's see if anyone else owns up…

Which somehow brings me to the final note for today. Best ever excuse for not doing your coursework in labs: “I can't log on because my password has capital letters in it, and the Caps Lock key is broken on this computer.”

“I'm sorry, are you from the past?!”


Comments {9}

From: reichsfreiherr
Date: 16th May 2007 16:17 (UTC)
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*downloads handout*
That’s really quite informative, at least in a general sense for me.

How big are your lectures though? Because speaking up in a huge lecture theatre is probably difficult not just for the owning up to not understanding factor but also due to just being able to make yourself heard. Though presumably they should come to you during office hours or similar to ask for explanations.

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Liyang HU

From: liyang
Date: 16th May 2007 16:29 (UTC)
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Classes of 20-ish. Come on, that's almost a private tutorial.

At least yesterday I'm sure I got 19 give or take. But at today's 09:00 only 13 showed up. Maybe they partied too hard last night or something. I counted 16 on the attendance sheet. Cheeky monkeys. Made them circle their own ticks and finally got 13.

And well, my office hours are... flexible... to be arranged... or something. My email address is displayed prominently though.

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From: reichsfreiherr
Date: 16th May 2007 16:55 (UTC)
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20-ish is reasonable enough, heck, in a group of 30 even you can still stick your hand up and yell something when appropriate. I know that’s what I did, me and maybe two other chaps anyway.

At least you’re not teaching a Business course because then they’d not only all sign each other in but they’d share the same coursework from somebody’s cousin who did the course about 5 years ago and got 98% for it or something stupid like that.

And e-mailing a question is so much easier anyway. You don’t even have to deal with any sort of actual personal interaction.

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mwk

From: mwk
Date: 16th May 2007 16:23 (UTC)
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I am more shaking my head that lectures come in pdfs that look very much like PowerPoint slides. Remember kiddies, real computer scientists don't use anything more than a 2H pencil.

I used to stick my hand up in lectures (which were written IN CHALK on a BLACKBOARD) all the time. But then again, I am thick me.

Maybe it was you skateboarding up and down the lecture theatre put them off...

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Liyang HU

From: liyang
Date: 16th May 2007 16:43 (UTC)
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Beamer. Heard of it? :p

(Also partially in response to imperial_artist) I suspect it's largely a language problem. Even with one year of intensive English training behind them, native speakers they are not. Which really makes me wonder how much Chinese students are going to learn here in an English-speaking university (in China.) Maybe the situation will improve in the next few years (these guys are the first guinea-pigs), and there'd better be marked improvements…

And no, skating to my *own* lectures is something I've yet to do. (Thought I have skated to Paul's labs.) Felt that would violate some invisible line of formality that'd get me fired or something. Like taking about Tienanmen or Taiwan is its own sovereign nation. Might save it for my last lecture though…

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Nic Walker

From: nic
Date: 16th May 2007 16:28 (UTC)
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Caps lock AND the two shift keys? Nice try!

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Liyang HU

From: liyang
Date: 16th May 2007 16:45 (UTC)
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And this was a CS student, not even CS with Management.

I guess I can talk about individual students now that I've censored this page in China with the above keywords… excellent.

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no goats?

Sadegh

From: ultimaj
Date: 16th May 2007 21:35 (UTC)
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dang! I guess in the digital age the "sorry, my dog/cat/goat ate my homework" doesn't work anymore. =/

Nice slides btw, beamer looks cool. Go GTL!

Theres this group in facebook called "Keep Your Fucking Hand Down in Lecture and Shut Up. No One Cares." ... maybe that was the cause? =x
But I doubt Chinese people use facebook. What replacement do they have for it there?

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Hola mardena

From: anonymous coward
Date: 31st July 2007 08:50 (UTC)
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Hola mardena!
falikotrepat

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