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Attending Class

  1. Oct 22, 2009 #1
    Started uni this year. I'm going to every single class, but I feel that I don't learn anything while in my classes (it's generally been like this all through school).

    At the end of the day after spending anywhere from 4-8 hours sitting in front of a lecturer I rush home in a panic to try to actually learn what was introduced in class today. It mostly seems that I'm being introduced to ideas, which is great. But if that's all I get out of a lecture I'm better off staying home and reading the table of contents of my textbook.

    Does anyone else feel this way? Is success possible without going to class (assuming an individual is capable of learning without instruction)? The concepts are easy enough to understand, but I feel that I could have so much more free time if I just woke up, jumped on my books, introduced the material to myself and learned it simultaneously rather than riding the bus for an hour, shuffling into a room, and listening to a guy talk for an hour while writing down cliff notes of topics that should be understood rather than memorized.

    Let me know how you guys feel about this stuff. Has anyone done it and achieved success? It's not a question of motivation, I want to learn these things and am motivated to do so. I just think I can do it faster and more efficiently on my own.
     
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  3. Oct 22, 2009 #2

    Monocerotis

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    1) What are you studying ?
    2) Where do you go to university ?
    3) Are you paying attention, or are you just sitting in the lecture letting the material just pass beyond you ?

    Aside from that, there is a positive correlation between attendance and GPA.
     
  4. Oct 22, 2009 #3
    Yup...that is the case a good number of times, but there can be advantages to listening to the professor's understanding of the material --- the grasp you have on the material from self-study can also become sturdier by doing the work assigned in class.

    The problem I see with the academic system is that it is mostly based on competition through grades and GPA (though there are a good number of students who aren't in it all for grades and a job). If the academic system were more liberally placed, in which students learn not for the sake of a job or GPA but for an understanding of the material...sort of like philosophers of the past...it'd be good stuff...but that is not how society functions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  5. Oct 22, 2009 #4

    Physics and Biochemistry
    Canadian University
    I pay attention, and leave with what I feel is a really good understanding of what the profs have taught and talked about. I can do all of their examples before they write down the solutions on the blackboard, but when I go home and open the textbook it explains the topic in much greater detail and I feel like I have been missing out on a full understanding of the topics covered and basically relearn the material.

    Of course if one attends the class they are more likely to do well, but have you ever felt that attending a class is actually keeping you from doing well in that class? Like sometimes the prof goes too slowly, or other kids ask stupid questions and waste time. Then you're still responsible for the whole section even though it wasn't entirely covered in class because of distractions.
     
  6. Oct 22, 2009 #5

    Monocerotis

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    http://whinesisters.com/images/uploads/eyebrowDwayne_Johnson.jpg
     
  7. Oct 22, 2009 #6

    Office_Shredder

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    You'd still be responsible for the whole section even if you didn't attend class. Unless you're so pressed for time that you need an extra hour in your 168 hour week you probably didn't lose a whole lot.

    Have you tried reading the material before going to class? That way you can ask questions that will be pertinent to you (since you already know what you don't understand)
     
  8. Oct 22, 2009 #7

    Monocerotis

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    heed Office_Shredder's advice.
     
  9. Oct 23, 2009 #8
    Reading ahead really is the best way to avoid this problem.
     
  10. Oct 23, 2009 #9

    George Jones

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    I got a lot from the lectures in many (though not all) of the courses that I took. But different people learn differently; it's not one size fits all.
     
  11. Oct 23, 2009 #10

    Moonbear

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    First, it is entirely possible that your learning style is such that you don't gain as much from lectures as other people do, and are going to do more of your learning from written material in the book. Though, keep in mind that if ALL you are doing is attending lecture (not necessarily listening to it) and reading the book, unless you are still in some very low level classes that you can skate by with prior knowledge, you're soon going to dig yourself into an academic hole. Much of university IS self-directed learning.

    Lectures serve a few purposes, and it is not to spoon-feed you every detail of information that you could read for yourself in a book. Lectures are meant to organize information, highlight the most important points, provide clarification of the most commonly confused or misunderstood points, offer students an opportunity to ask questions to get clarification of difficult topics, and familiarize the students with the lecturer's style of questioning. If you really listen carefully during lectures, you will also discover that it's a lot easier to study for exams because you will have a lot of hints of what things are likely to be emphasized and tested on exams.

    If you think lecture is being interrupted by a lot of "stupid" questions, why aren't you asking more thought-provoking questions? Personally, I love it when my lectures end up being more of a Q&A session than a true lecture. Then at least I know my students have their minds in the classroom and not someplace else, that they have come in prepared, and instead of talking at them about things they already understood from reading the book, I can more productively use class time to answer the questions they have about the things they didn't fully understand just by reading the book.

    Of course, I still have to cock my head sideways and be puzzled when students miss some questions on my exam that I have beaten them over the head with hints that I think it's important...I had one question on a fairly simple concept that I asked them about in every single lecture leading up to this exam, asked them on a pop quiz, asked them in the lab, reviewed it when they missed it on the quiz, asked it on a homework assignment, and then put it on the exam, and some still looked at it like it was the first time they'd ever seen that information. I don't know where their minds are during lecture, but I guarantee they aren't really listening when they are there. Learning doesn't occur by osmosis. Just sitting in a seat in a room where someone is talking about a particular subject does not do anything if you don't think about it and question it and try to make connections as you are listening.
     
  12. Oct 23, 2009 #11
    I agree that sometimes professors choose to go way too slow near the begining and speed up near the end (particularly after midterms).

    You don't need to know more material than what is taught in the class but you shoud be very proficient in what professor is teaching. As times passes amount of load increases significantly and you cannot learn everything in depth. So best thing is to do attend classes.
     
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