Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lecturers and lectures

What makes a lecturer good and what makes a lecturer bad? What are the criteria we should use if we were to rate a lecturer?

Whether the lecturer...

  1. Makes us sleep?
  2. Drones on and on with monotonous accent?
  3. Explain the fact like the textbook?
  4. Gets thunderous applause after a lecture?
  5. Get a lot of questions down the stage after the lecture?
  6. Looks vivacious?
  7. Makes us interested in reading more about the stuff?
  8. Makes us understand the points?
  9. Knows what he / she wants us to understand, at all?
  10. Prepare good lecture notes?
Well, from the way medicine course is run, we have to learn cross-discipline in the same semester. So there will be cases like we learn physiology in this week but cram in anatomy in the other week. In that context, we are all priviledged to be taught by a lot of famous professors, doctors, researchers in the University of Melbourne. But the thing is, is famous equal to good? Is it that people at the pinnacle of the research career would certainly make a good lecturer?

I doubt so. There was a saying that the more smart or knowledgeable one is, the worse one tends to perform when it comes to explaining and teaching. Well, it’s a rather generalized claim, but I shall say that in some people I have met it’s rather true. I am not sure whether it’s because a smart person can’t explain things in a way so that not-so-smart people like us can understand... I hypothesized that when you are very knowledgeable, that means you must be a rather good learner and therefore you don’t know what it takes to make sense in not-as-smart people.

Always quite true, you know... many teachers/lecturers etc, when it comes to very hard questions they can answer any question in the world you could throw to them; but explain stuff they cannot. Errmm.

Well, to me, lecture hours mean struggling hours. I hate the feeling of not knowing stuff when a person is telling things that I am supposed to learn, and I am there hardly grappling any idea presented on the screen.

Note: Just for the record, I am highly motivated by the anatomy lecture I had today. It’s about the posterior abdominal wall and its related musles like psoas major, psoas minor, illiacus, quadratus lumborum, erector spinae and lattisimus dorsum. Just how good is she? Hmm... imagine having a silent lecture hall for the full hour, making me understand and remembering an anatomy lecture without the need to revise at home, and getting an applaud from the students for every single lecture. She is absolutely fantastic. The other lectures, like the physiology lecture by Professor Trefor Morgan today are also rather clear and concise, but by comparison he just appeared less lively and his monotonous voice can drive the most alert people to their slumberland. :D


Wei Liang said...

Quote: I hate the feeling of not knowing stuff when a person is telling things that I am supposed to learn, and I am there hardly grappling any idea presented on the screen.

Same case happens to me. When I don't understand, then I can hardly proceed to another subtopic. So, I tend to waste much time on understanding. Well, I really dunno should it be this way of learning.

Jimmy Tseng said...

You are so right... Trefor Morgan, while clear, is BORING as hell! Jenny Hayes... She's just awesome! Nothing could change that... Someday, when I win the Nobel Prize... (2037) I'll be just as good a lecturer as her~~

jasmine said...

it's frustrating not understanding what is being taught!! when that happens, i switch off and attend to my own thoughts first.i don't think that's a very good learning strategy..but i can't help it..

Anonymous said...

If you like Norm's style, then you'll dislike Jenny's. But most asian students love Jenny because she is like a high school teacher, telling you what the main points are and then repeating them at least 3 times in a lecture, unlike Norm who is obsessed with PRINCIPLES, and he can talk about the principles for one whole hour without really telling you what the names of the structures are.

Anonymous said...

just read before hand or you end up hanging knowing nothing after the lecture!

Jimmy Tseng said...

Well... I liked Norm's lectures... yet I like Jenny's lectures.... Am I just weird? Or just cool?

youngyew said...

Wei Liang: Thanks for your comments! Nice to see you here... eerm, despite my laments, if we can cope with the speed of the course, then I still think by all means we should try to understand the current topic.

Jimmy: Haha... Well, I will check it out at 2037 then.

Jasmine: Thanks for your comment.. and what a blog with genuine feeling you have over there! Anyway, is there any time at all, that you don't understand things in your studies? I think it must be rather rare for you..

Anonymous: Thanks for your patronage! :D To be honest, I don't really see the point of the generalization. I thought Norm's rather good, but Jenny's even more wonderful. And why "asian"? Is there any different learning methods preferred by a particular race? I thought it's rather universal when it comes to the clearness of conveying message, and rather individual when it comes to the preferred method of learning. May I know where did the race come into the picture?

Errmm... and I could actually understand Norm talking only principles but not specific details. Because he is not meant to teach details, he was only teaching us the principles of bones, muscles, joints etc in the last semester. So I wouldn't see him as someone obsessed with principles just because of no specific names in the lecture.

Anonymous: Yeahh... I agree. If I could afford to pre-read, I would have understood more in the lecture.