The Daily Illini

Have respect for your teachers in class

By Jason Schwartz, Columnist

Talking during lecture, discretely playing on our phones in class, these are both things that almost every college student has done, whether they would like to admit it or not.

These indiscretions can be overlooked when you think about it in the context of an individual making a personal decision to not learn while in class. But that is a narrow-minded way of looking at it.

Yes, it is true that those who don’t pay attention during class time are hurting themselves and statistically get worse grades. However, the damage is much greater than that than that. Students seated around those who are talking become distracted from the content being taught by the professor and more annoyed at their “peers” who won’t shut their mouths.

Unfortunately, the professor at the front of the classroom, who is distributing all this useful information, is also impacted by this. Kate Ditewig-Morris, a business communication teacher and director of the internship program for the Communication department at the University, helped give a teacher’s perspective on disruptions in class.

“Absolutely, teachers notice distracted kids in class! I get irritated when I notice a student looking down at his or her lap and giggle out of nowhere,” Ditewig-Morris said.

Ditewig-Morris noted that in an active discussion class such as her own, talking is much less prevalent than technological distractions. That is why she implemented a no laptop policy for her class to try and minimize distractions. Still, Ditewig-Morris notices the occasional cellphone in class and offered up her view.

“Unplug from your devices while you are in class; it hurts your studies. Additionally, it is rude and distracting to the teacher who put in so much time to construct the lesson plan,” Ditewig-Morris said.

While you may think you are being sneaky hiding your phone under your desk, it is still quite noticeable, and distracting, to your teachers. Americans spend a ridiculous 4.7 hours per day on our phone — we should use our classes as a time to unplug and accomplish what we came to this university to do: learn.

Pat Gill, who is the professor for a lecture course titled Popular Media and Culture, amongst other courses, shares similar sentiments to Ditewig-Morris when it comes to student distractions.

Gill, who teaches both discussion and lecture courses, notices a big difference in the amount of talking in each type of class.

“In my discussions, I never have any problems (with talking), but in lecture there’s always a group that won’t keep their mouths shut,” Gill states.

Gill mentions that students may be more inclined to talk because they feel they are more hidden, or because they know they will not be called upon in a lecture. She explains that while the talking doesn’t impact her so much, as she is too focused on delivering the content, she feels for the students around the talkers.

“Be respectful to the students around you; the information being taught is important so don’t ruin it for them just because you feel the need to socialize in class.”

The point here is that no matter what you are doing that is distracting you in class, it inevitably disturbs those around you as well. Whether it is your fellow students, or the professor who put in the effort to teach the lesson, your actions have a greater impact than just on your grades.

If you don’t want to learn, at the very least have some respect for the teachers and avoid talking or texting for 50 minutes at a time.

Jason in a senior in LAS.

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