Things you just don't get

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by tiecollector, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    Exactly this. And it's why higher ed, as an educational system, is going to flounder now that things like Khan Academy, Open MIT, etc. are expanding into "hard" disciplines. Those people are more focused on teaching and presenting the material rather than research. The only thing college will be good for is checking off that "Candidate A has a degree" on a resume/job application.
     


  2. L'Incandescent

    L'Incandescent Senior member

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    Anyone who uses their active research agenda as an excuse for poor teaching is really full of shit. There's no reason why a person can't do well in both halves of the job. I am very productive in the area of research, and I nonetheless manage to teach my classes well (as evidenced by all the standard measures). The single most important quality that good teachers have is that they can establish a rapport with their students. To do that, you have to actually care about them and their education. You can't fake that. If professors are bad at teaching, it's very often because they simply can't be bothered to care. (I say "very often" because there are some people who just can't get the knack of teaching despite real effort. But I think they're the exceptions.)
     


  3. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    I lived in one while in grad school. The house was built with the basement designed as a rental, and had lots of nice space including my own private entrance and driveway. A woman and her daughter owned the place and they left me alone. Rent was cheap which was a huge plus for such a nice place.

    The place worked out well for me, but I get what Piob is saying. I wouldn't rent out space in my house.
     


  4. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    On a long overnight international flight today, a man and woman felt privileged to walk up and down the aisles with their infant. I could understand trying to get the baby to sleep, but the guy tended to pace up and down the aisle even when the lady was holding the baby while seated. Even worse, this morning, the dude had the nerve to be walking up and down the aisle while brushing his teeth. This was in business class, but even if it had been in coach, I thought he was uncouth and annoying. The flight attendants seemed to give the couple a pass, I presume because of the infant, but still...
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012


  5. Neo_Version 7

    Neo_Version 7 Senior member

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    ^ Yeah, babies ruin everything.
     


  6. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    That's certainly a large part of it.

    But I think there's more to it for the sciences especially. The culture of research fights against effective teachers becoming professors at good schools. People go to grad school, and survive it, because they're passionate about research. Even our classes in grad school are viewed as either annoying hoops to jump, or primers for skills we need in the lab. And we don't tend to take nearly as many classes as the humanities types, which takes us even farther outside the student/teacher mentality. We're often told to put as little effort in teaching in grad school as possible.

    Those few that decide to go into academics do so because they care about having freedom over their research more than anything else. Teaching gets in the way the whole time. Everything is about the game of research, and teaching doesn't fit into that. It's just a whole culture fighting against effective teaching. I really wouldn't encourage a child of mine to push to attend a large research university for undergrad if they want to get into the sciences.

    You also get a not negligible fraction of scientists with extremely poor people skills and/or empathy.
     


  7. L'Incandescent

    L'Incandescent Senior member

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    I think the academy really attracts people like that.

    What you say about the attitude toward teaching in the sciences is distressing. I don't like to think of education entirely in terms of the consumer model, but sometimes it's helpful: kids are paying lots of money, and often going deeply into debt, for the opportunity to attend university. To regard the students with the kind of contempt (or at best indifference, I guess) that you've described is just unconscionable. Moreover, it strikes me as very bad for the continued health of the sciences. (None of this is to suggest that we in the humanities are perfect in this regard, of course. But I don't recognize the kind of attitude you're describing in my own training, or in the training of my colleagues.)
     


  8. blahman

    blahman Senior member

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    What is wrong with starting a sentence with 'While'?

    "While the gibopas were protussing over the wertchers, the huttler yuiled into the hirotter."


    I'm not surprised by that at all. Most students have been taught over 12 years of primary and secondary education that the difference between effect and affect is that they are a noun and a verb respectively. 'Effect' as a verb is not common enough in everyday usage for people to pick-up on naturally so it has become a sort of an amusing little fun fact.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012


  9. L'Incandescent

    L'Incandescent Senior member

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    I should have written that more clearly. :embar:

    I wasn't surprised that they weren't familiar with "effect" as a verb and "affect" as a noun. That's why it occurred to me to explain the passage. What I discovered in the course of explaining it, though, was that they hadn't even been taught the difference between the two words as they are commonly used.
     


  10. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    Maybe I should qualify myself by saying that this experience typifies R1 research universities. It is most likely not reflective of the rest of the universe.

    I don't think it's a good thing either, but it's seemingly a natural product of the system. We are essentially trained to be elite researchers...and then teach on the side. The teaching is (I suppose) designed to keep science professors involved in the university community, but it does have certain consequences.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012


  11. Big Pun

    Big Pun Senior member

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    Why would someone key a complete stranger's $1000 car? Besides to be a fucking asshole?
     


  12. Liam O

    Liam O Senior member

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    Dunno whether I want a pea coat or a leather jacket for next winter. Its a stupid thing to be this paralyzed over but its the first actual choice I'm making in like three months.
     


  13. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    The thing with this, though, is there are a lot of good opportunities simply not found in less research intensive schools, which is the paradox of a research university. It's very very hard to get into a graduate program (be it masters, phd, or health sciences) without any research experience, and if you are looking for employment research experience is also crucial. So you either have to suck it up and make the most out of shitty (really, nonexistent) teaching to capitalize elsewhere, or settle across the board. It's quite asinine, really, to think that both groups of people couldn't be selected for in a science faculty (good research + good teaching), but it's wanting that "#1 program in chemistry!!!" according to the USNWR.

    It reminds me of the same issue medical schools face: they want a generation of doctors that are more humane, but they still want to shoot up the [absolutely awful] USNWR. Of course, the students who spend all day studying to ace every course/exam they take are probably not the most social of people (from my experiences strictly), and will be naturally offputting because they can't connect with others.
     


  14. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    Well, that's a mixed bag too. A lab with a bunch of postdocs and PhD students is not going to devote a whole lot of time and energy to undergrads, most of whom are grossly unqualified to do anything in the lab. Some professors will find time and energy to develop projects for the undergrads, some labs and fields are more suitable for novice researchers (synthetic chemistry is much more suitable than experimental physical chemistry). My grad lab (experimental PChem) was horrible for undergrads, it was a 6 month learning curve to do anything useful. Our undergrads showed up and did scut work or watched us work. I felt bad for them, but had too much work to really do anything for them. They also didn't know enough of the material to really understand what we were doing.

    I got excellent undergrad research experience at a smaller school with no graduate program. The professors were actually in the labs, and the undergrads ran projects on their own. We got to actually develop projects and run experiments or more less independently. I even got to help write some papers and got authorship. I really like the idea of those smaller schools that still do research, looking back on it.

    That can happen at the bigger universities, but I think a lot of people are seriously misled about how open those options are to undergrads. They see all the shiny labs and cool research, but aren't really aware that 99.5% of the work is done by grad students and postdocs.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012


  15. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I was just talking to this retired director at my company. He said that he teaches some college courses now and he can't believe how little students do. Even if he holds their hands through material they refuse to do any reading and they must be in a coma during classes because even if he tells them exactly what is on a test they still flop. I am not far out of school, 4 years now, but I remember how many lazy people there were. It was always me and the foreign students that would ruin the curve for the rest of the class.
     


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