By Braeden Jones – March 30, 2011.
Photo by Vincenzo Ravina
Before a March lecture on Sigmund Freud, Dr. DanielBrandes, acting director of the Foundation Year Programme (FYP), waited patiently at the front of Alumni Hall as others gave announcements for societies or events. “As a class, we should try to be as quiet as we can during the morning announcements to get through them efficiently and keep the lectures on time,” he said.
However, that particular morning was been something of an ironic anomaly: the class actually remained mostly quiet for the pre-lecture announcements. But apart from this one exception the rule has become
a problem for the Foundation Year Programme, in particular during the fifth section.
Lecturers frequently noted that they were unable to get through all their planned material. According to Blake Thornley, a student who is taking both FYP and History of Science and Technology, as much as 20 minutes are being lost to lecturers being forced to wait for the room to quiet down. “It’s kind of ridiculous how much time we take out of lecture and waste,” he said. “It’s awkward if you’re one of the quiet people just sitting there waiting and looking at the professor waiting for the class to quiet down. Just the look on their face makes you feel embarrassed.”
Eyo Ewara, another FYP student, believes the onus is on the students who are making noise during those pre-lecture announcements. “It’s actually amazing to watch sometimes, how long they stand up there and no one is paying attention,” he said. “You would think there would be at least a basic level of respect in which you would quiet down and listen to what you are saying because it is absolutely for your benefit.”
Yonah Sienna is an involved member of the King’s Pride society, and has often had to pause to get the attention of the class when he makes his announcements. “It’s wonderful that societies and faculty have the opportunity to disseminate important messages at the beginning of the day when so many people are there, so it is frustrating when people are noisy,” he said. “They are just shooting themselves in the foot.”
Brandes supports the announcements as well. “We have an ideal opportunity to make announcements to the entire class because unlike many first year programs, the entire class and everyone in the program is here at once,” said Brandes at a later interview. “So it’s an ideal opportunity to alert them to things going on on campus. Students obviously have a real interest in being alerted to these events.”
Brandes added that “it is natural and unsurprising that students, as they file into lecture hall in the morning, chat amongst themselves. We have no interest in preventing that.”
However, he says that it needs to be made the standard right from the beginning of the year that at a certain time, the chatter needs to stop. “I think it would be in everyone’s interest to introduce a kind of habit at the beginning of the year where students understand that lecture begins, ideally at 9:25 in my view, and they stop chatting because morning announcements will be made…. we have a responsibility to bring about a culture from the beginning of the year on in which students simply take it for granted that at 9:25 they stop chatting.”