Thursday, December 5, 2013
Why We Should Let Students Entertain Themselves During Class. From Dr. Magnus.
Today in class I had a young student we shall call Billy Bob Hamstermaster with his cell phone out and ear buds in his ears. I had reached my limit, having previously warned this same class that such activities during a lecture were, and I quote, "stupid."
Being not quite as brave and daring as my namesake, I looked at my computer screen and told the class that I had been patient with the whole cell phone thing during lecture, but having ear buds in during the lecture was going too far. The next time I look up from this computer, I said, they had better be out or I am liable to turn violent. (Violent defined as physical violence not involving any weapons and most certainly not resulting in injury or death ... but I don't think my students knew that).
I looked up, swung my glance toward Billy Bob, and was relieved that the temptation toward violence was now past. He smiled at me innocently, and had even moved his cell phone aside.
Fast forward five minutes. I am swinging my gaze once again toward Billy Bob, who is seated at a table with power outlets built into it for students to charge their laptops during class. I am startled when Billy Bob jumps 6 inches out of his chair, a huge pop sounds, and a long wisp of smoke rises elegantly from the table -- all at the same time. Poor Billy Bob got so bored he stuck a paper clip in the outlet.
So, my fellow academics, I wonder if in some instances it wold be safer to allow our students the distractions of electronic devices rather than risk their injury due to attempts to entertain themselves without their assorted electronic paraphernalia.
Note: I forgot to add that today we had evaluations ... on the only day in my teaching career I threaten students with bodily harm. Alas, the sweet dream that is tenure is further slipping from my grasp.