Darin Janssen’s Weblog

Stuck in the Past

We were asked to discuss university classes which are rooted in the past.  I have two of these classes this semester.  One is a Religious Studies class where the professor stands at the front of the class lecturing for the entire class.  He has his notes up on the smartboard to refer to, but only allows us to see two lines at a time.  At the end of each section he asks if anyone has any questions but rarely any questions are asked.  It is a daily struggle to stay awake during the class.  My other class is History.  This class consists of lectures as well.  He has thrown in some pictures, music and a couple of discussion periods but for the most part he just talks at us during the entire class.

For the most part I find education classes to be different.  Professors do not stand at the front the entire class and lecture.  They do lecture some times but there is generally half the class time spent in small group or whole class discussions.  The problem I find with some education classes are that they do not practice what they are preaching.

The professors who I find are the best at teaching are the ones who are still teaching in the school systems.  The downfall to this is they are all night classes because the professors are teaching all day.  Maybe all university professors, especially the education professors, should be teaching kids part time so they are still experiencing what is happening in schools.  This would allow them to relate their topics to what is actually happening in schools now.


February 21, 2010 - Posted by | ECMP 455, General |


  1. I’ve had this conversation many times with classmates. University profs, at least in my experience, seem to have their content knowledge, but they lack that ability to actually teach it. Just because one is an absolute expert in a field doesn’t mean that they can convey that knowledge to others. I’ve had quite a few sessional teachers over the years, and almost all are still teaching, typically at the high school level. These people know their stuff AND know how to teach. It’s quite a nice combination.

    Comment by Mike Wolf | February 21, 2010

  2. I can relate to this. I’m currently taking an economics class as one of my major approved electives. The class consists entirely of note-taking. The professor stands at the front and writes on 4 chalkboards for 50 minutes with 2 breaks to ask for any questions. No one ever asks questions because they are still 1-2 chalkboards behind in notes and totally not engaged. If only the professor would turn these notes into a podcast or post them online so I could read or listen before class and then actually discuss material in class. Dare to dream…

    Comment by mcfarljo | February 23, 2010

  3. I have never figured out why professors do not post their powerpoints on urcourses the night before class so we can print them, make notes on them during class, and actually engage the material in class. It is much easier to join in a class discussion if you are not scrambling to get the information from the slides written down. I have had a couple professors do it and I got a lot more out of the class then if they would not have posted the slides. Come to think of it, it has been the sessionals which have posted there slides.

    Comment by Darin Janssen | February 23, 2010

  4. I could not agree with you more Darin. I can’t count the number of classes I have spent completely unengaged by a professor who simply stands at the front of a classroom and delivers the information without any regard for the engagement of the students. I don’t necessarily know if this is something that we are going to change any time soon, within the realms of the university world. However, this is certainly something we, as up and coming educators must keep in mind and ensure we are always engaging our students. As well, I believe we must always be evaluating our teaching practices.

    Comment by nicolereeve | February 27, 2010

  5. I agree with you Darin. I have also had many classes where it was a lecture and I was not interested at all. I have found the same thing that the professors that I enjoy the best are the ones who are still in the school systems, but as you said the only downfall to that is they are night classes as they are busy during the day. I am not a fan of night classes at all but I would much rather sit in class at night and listen to them and get something out of the class than not be engaged in the old lecture style.

    Comment by braatebr | April 6, 2010

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