Hi, Everyone!

My experience this year, my first at the University of Minnesota, has been
more similar to what Elvis has described.  On the first day of class I
arrived 15 minutes early for my 8:00 (yes, that's am!) and found a hallway of
waiting students (they lock the classroom doors here.)  By 7:57 there were no
seats left, and by 8:05 I realized that I had more students than I had
seats.  On that first day I complimented these highly motivated freshman
psychology students, and they have been coming early or on time ever since.
When occasionally late, they apologize.

The classroom is long and narrow.  I have trouble seeing the students in the
back.  One day while I was lecturing (an activity I try to avoid as much as
possible), a student sitting halfway to the back  raised his hand.  When I
called on him, he turned to the back of the room and  asked two students to
be quiet and told them he thought they should apologize.  Rather than
condemnation, he received kudos from his classmates.  I had not even realized
that there was a conversation buzzing back there.

My students this semester send e-mails to explain their absences, are
attentive in class, and do not ask about leaving early, etc.  A colleague
told me how impressed she was because she actually heard my students
discussing course content as they waited for me in the hall.

I raised this issue in my freshman seminar this am.  They told me about the
"horror stories" they had heard about college--teachers who locked students
out at 8 am, teachers whose intent was to flunk out as many students as they
could, etc.  They commented that this was not their own experience within the
General College--that faculty seemed genuinely concerned about them.  Could
that be part of the explanation for their mature behavior?  Initially, they
understood in advance that the expectations would be high, and they rose to
the occasion.  Then they learned that classroom participation benefitted
them, and although I am not one who locks the door, and they are now fully
aware of that, they continue to arrive early more often than not.

As you can imagine, I am enjoying my teaching immensely this semester!

And yes, for those of you who are interested, I am compiling a list of the
novels you suggested for my cultural diversity class, as well as the books
they selected.  Their oral and written reports are due next week.

Jeanne Higbee

Elvis G Clark wrote:

> Thanks to all those people on the Listserv who continue to share
> their expertise and opinions with all of us.  I have been
> sandbagging quietly in the background for some time now, but I
> still enjoy hearing what is happening around the country.
> The subject of student behavior mentioned by Daryl Stephens has
> been a topic of faculty lounge discussion many times this
> semester.  However, several of the instructors here at Mineral Area
> College have expresssed amazement at the postive behavior from
> students this semester.
> As a group, students this semester have demonstrated better
> manners and a better work ethic than students from recent
> semesters. They are more conscientious about completing
> assignments and more responsive in class. One colleague
> mentioned just today that "the level of sophistication is higher"  in
> his public speaking classes this semester.  He also commented
> that his "old German upbringing" caused him to fear talking about
> his pleasure because talking about it might jinx the situation.
> I can only hope this positive behavior is the trend for the remainder
> of the school year and beyond.
> Elvis Clark
> Mineral Area College
> > .
> > Date:    Mon, 1 Nov 1999 13:41:57 -0500
> > From:    Daryl Stephens <[log in to unmask]>
> > Subject: Student behavior in classes
> >
> > Recently several of my colleagues and I had noticed that there
> > seems to be
> > a great deal more immature behavior than usual among our
> > students this
> > semester --mostly talking in class and coming in late or leaving
> > early.
> > At our state developmental conference last week, I talked to
> > instructors
> > from several points in the state, and they had noticed the same
> > problems--actually having to ask students to be quiet or leave the
> > room if
> > they were going to have non-content-related conversations during
> > class.
> >
> > Is this a problem nationwide this year?  (I think this year's college
> > freshmen are the group that were in fourth grade the last year I taught
> > fifth grade in another state, and I remember that bunch being less
> > well-behaved than most groups.)
> >
> >
> > Daryl Stephens  <[log in to unmask]>
> > Assistant Professor (math)
> > Division of Developmental Studies
> > East Tennessee State University
> > Box 70620, Johnson City, TN 37614
> > Office phone (423) 439-4676   Fax:  (423) 439-7446
> > .*************************************************************
> >
> Elvis Clark
> Mineral Area College
> P.O. Box 1000
> Park Hills, MO 63601-1000
> Phone: (573) 518-2180 ex 2180
> e-mail:[log in to unmask]
> fax: (573)