Alright, folks. I do my best to avoid rants as much as possible, but much like forgetting your keys or having someone mysteriously ruffle through your new car, they are bound to happen.
What makes a class good? That is a hard question. What makes a class bad? That is a bit easier. For one reason or another it is much more natural to pick out the bad traits of something than it is to point out the good.
During class today I came to a realization; I had been sitting there for almost two hours and I hadn’t learned a thing. It wasn’t that I was being a slacker and spacing out, it was that nothing was actually being taught. Instead, the class was simply a description of elementary concepts.
I have noticed this problem occurs frequently, in which instructors are trying to reach a deeper level of a certain act (say, communication) but end up saying nothing at all. While not always the instructors fault (this may be how the literature in a field works), it certainly does not benefit the student.
There is too much ‘what’ and not enough ‘so what.’ The only thing I liked about one of my least favorite instructors was that she always asked ‘so what?’ Too many instructors only tell you what something is and not why it is important. Most students can figure out the ‘what’ by themselves. They might not know the technical terms attached to the ideas, but the ideas themselves are simple.
A flow chart showing how people communicate is pointless unless you ask why or take the next step and ask ‘so what?’ Yes, terms are being applied to concepts. Yes, there is a model of how people communicate. Yes, this is all obvious to anyone who has ever spoken to another human being.
I’m trying not to go full on rant, but let me just say that I don’t like to pay someone to tell me that communication goes down, up, and horizontal. I don’t need examples of how a boss can tell their employee something, the employee their boss, and employees each other. I don’t need to be told that this information can vary depending on the direction. Again, anyone who has had a job is aware that the relationships, and thus communicative characteristics, can be quite different between different hierarchical levels. It is common sense.
I understand the need to restate basic assumptions before delving into argument or theory, but too often that never happens. Instead we are just left with a bare bones instruction that was in no way beneficial. And frankly, I get tired of literally paying for it.