The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Rudeness in class remains a problem

In recent years, students have become more rude in the classroom. The question is why. Paying attention in class has become harder for students due to new technology.

Students cannot seem to break away from their technology for even an hour-long course. Students are constantly text messaging with their cell phones or BlackBerries. Students are even listening to music on their iPods while in class. Wireless technology has made it possible for students to go online with their laptops. But is technology to blame, or the students themselves?

“I worry about what people look at on their laptops,” said Dr. Clementine Oliver, history professor.

Professors are not stupid, they can see and hear everything students are doing. It does not matter how large the classroom is.

“Talking in class drives me crazy,” Oliver said. “Any text messaging (or) phones vibrating ? I can hear it.” Oliver has a course with over 100 students in it, and yet she can still hear everything.

“In the past the most advanced technology that students had was a pager,” said Dr. Jerry Shaw, psychology professor.

Although students may be bored in class, they may not realize how rude they are being to their professors. It is not only the technology and not paying attention in class that is making students rude. Walking to class late right in front of the professor while they are lecturing is rude, as is walking out of class early, or packing up their belongings while the professor is still lecturing.

“Interruptions (in the classroom)

have increased in the past 10 years,” Shaw said. He has been a professor at CSUN for more than 30 years.

“Skipping class, coming in late ? when I was a student we just didn’t do these things,” Shaw said. “I’m lucky if 60 percent of the students are there.” According to Shaw, when he was a college student, many of his peers were protesting against the war, but that did not keep them from attending class.

Shaw cannot determine why students have changed so much over the years. He did, however, offer some theories.

“There are fewer consequences for behaving this way,” Shaw said. Professors are not taking control of their classrooms. Students making the transition from all the rules of high school are taking advantage of the freedom in college.

“Professors are always agonizing about what to do about students,” Shaw said. “The responsibility does fall on the professor but also with the students.”

“I take a proactive approach to potential discipline issues in my classes,” said Lori Baker-Schena, public relations professor. “On the first day of class, without fail, I set ground rules for electronics and student behavior. My students know that cell phones, iPods and other electronic devices are not allowed in class.”

Shaw said he believes that because there are no repercussions for the behavior of students in class, they will continue to do whatever they want.

“I think that in most classes people don’t pay attention, but there is always a small handful that is a little rude to the professor,” said a junior linguistics major who wanted to remain anonymous. “It’s college (and) we’re considered adults, so I don’t think students’ grades should be lowered. Students’ grades shouldn’t be affected because of their rudeness.”

Students use the excuse that they are adults and can do whatever they want, but it does not justify being rude to their professors, who are adults as well.

A part of students’ grades in Baker-Schena’s classes depends on them following the rules in her syllabus. “It is a teacher’s responsibility to control the class,” Baker-Schena said.

Students should have learned manners from their parents. By the time they reach their late teens to early 20s, it is a little late to learn how to act in the classroom.

Shaw suggests that there is a generation and cultural gap between students and their professors. With such a diverse campus, Shaw wonders where students learned their manners from. Professors just don’t understand why students do what they do in classes. Professors have not come to a conclusion about consequences for students.

“In the psychology department, we have class rules posted in all the class rooms, but students don’t follow any of the rules,” Shaw said. “There are little to no consequences for not following these rules.”

“Most professors don’t care if you’re late as long as you respect them,” said the linguistics major. “Certain professors think attendance is more important than the material being covered.”

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