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Advice needed

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Tao_of_Xero, May 4, 2005.

  1. Tao_of_Xero

    Tao_of_Xero IncGamers Member

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    Advice needed

    I have an issue I need some help with. I was required by the program of study I'm in to take a sociology class. The professor of this class is apparently not used to being confronted or challenged over her assertions and then I magically appear and request that she do things such as give facts and quote her sources, when she's spewing information for which I have evidence to the contrary. Shortly after the first time I requested she provide some proof of her statements she basically threw a hissy fit and yelled and swore at the entire class. I consulted my mentor (a colleague of hers) about this situation, in case any of the other students filed a complaint. A number of the other students --myself included-- complained about the course amongst ourselves because it's a sociology course with no facts. Everything is based on opinions of less than credible sources (magazine articles instead of journal articles...we're a nitpicky bunch).

    Today in class, she was openly hostile toward me, attempted to engage me in a struggle for power (which she of course lost by initiating it) then proceeded to say that "People have told me my class sucks, the book sucks and I suck, etc." and that classes based on fact are constructs of the patriarchy, were as opinon/experience based courses are the "female" way to do things. In other words she was unable to effectively teach her course because 3/4 of the people in it were male.

    So, if you were in my position would you:
    1. File a complaint against her? and
    2.Ask for a refund from the university? or
    3. Just let it go and chalk it up to a learning experience/whack job professor?

    I've dealt with instructors that didn't like me before, but never one that was openly hostile toward me and I am a bit perplexed about my course of action.
     
  2. Garbad_the_Weak

    Garbad_the_Weak IncGamers Member

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    Make sure you don't lose money/a grade on it, then forget it.

    Garbad
     
  3. blu3l1ghtn1ng

    blu3l1ghtn1ng IncGamers Member

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    First of all, who the hell goes to university nowadays. Its all about dropping out!!!

    I kid, I make joke. No, ummmm you should report her. Obviously other people must feel the same way.
     
  4. Stevinator

    Stevinator IncGamers Member

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    Appeal to a higher standard.

    Go to her, tell her you're not trying to attack her, that you don't want your difference of opinion to come between the objective, which is to learn from this class. let her know that you're interested in understanding what women have gone through, don't admit fault...don't say taht you're wrong, just let her know that you feel you've been close-minded and you're willing to hear her viewpoint, and theat you mean no disrespect when you question her ideas in class, you were just trying to add to the discussion.

    Make a valid attempt to hear out her claims--however outlandish--about whatever her rant is on that day. again you don't have to admit fault, just let her vent to you about the system. let her know when you agree with her if you do about anything...focus on those agreements, and if you don't agree, let her know that you understand that point she's trying to make.

    at the end of the day, she'll respect you for hearing her out. She'll respect you more for not collapsing and merely accepting what she says...as long as you do it carefully. treat learning from her like a labor negotiation.


    Often people respond in kind to how you respond to them. when someone feels strongly about something they can get very caught up in winning. to reason with these people--especially those who have real power over you, like professors, the best thing to do is to let them get their ideas out there. you don't have to agree, but you should grant them the intellectual respect of letting them get their point out there. If they ask what you think, let them know you're just not sure you agree, but that you DO agree on x, y and z.

    if you quickly attack someone before they get their point out there, they'll think you're being a jerk and close minded etc. they're more likely to fight with you if you fight with them. try to word your arguements as not attacking them personally but merely trying to understand the ideas being presented.

    you may find, if you handle this professor well that' you'll learn a lot about interpersonal relations/sociology than you think...though for different reasons than you thoguht. :)
     
  5. gismo

    gismo IncGamers Member

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    Take it as a learning experience. You need to know how to deal with different types of people in the real world. You can learn how she formulates her arguments which will help you when discussing with people who has the same mindset as her. Challenging yourself against her view points will strengthen your argument skills. Plus, you might get her to start backing herself up with more concrete info. Teachers can learn from their students just as the students learn from them.

    Now don't try and embarrass her in front of the class. Challenging arguments is one thing but to totally embarrass or discredit a professor is not a good thing. Do that privately in her office if you wish to take that route. I would only suggest filing a complaint against her if you feel that you are not being graded fairly compared to the rest of the class.

    You might want to have a discussion with her in her office. Most professors are open to private discussions to solve differences.
     
  6. IDupedInMyPants

    IDupedInMyPants Banned

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    I think the lack of any meaningful detail and the lack of any fault whatsoever on your part are sure signs that you're making stuff up. I'd advise getting over whatever grudge you've got against her. Isn't the semester just about over anyway?
     
  7. {KOW}Spazed

    {KOW}Spazed Banned

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    Whatever her little "Women teach this way" "Men teach that way" thing is is BS and makes me think she has a little penis envy. Rally your class and go to the higher ups. Don't lose a grade because she can't teach.
     
  8. 5Ws

    5Ws Banned

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    I wouldn't give any advice at this point, I only heard one side of the story.
    She CANNOT be completely at fault here. She did not become a university professor by doing these things to her students, that much I'm sure.
    From the way you describe it, you seem to be rather full of yourself. I do not think you should EVER challenge a professor, you are NOT her colleague, you are just some kid trying to learn something from her, there should only be a discussion, never a challenge.
    I don't know what kind of conversation between you and her started this whole thing, but I do know, if I was a professor, and I see some kid who thinks he knows everything, and comes up to my face and questions my knowledge/authority/credibility, I would be pissed as well.
     
  9. IDupedInMyPants

    IDupedInMyPants Banned

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    Especially when that kid is saying "I WANT TO SEE UR SOURCES" as if there isn't at least one required class text. Check your bookbag before you start a fight next time you come up with a question like that, Tao.

    Edit:
    If I were to venture a guess, I'd say she was probably on the chapter on feminist sociology and Mr. Knowitall decided she meant "women are smarter than men" instead of the actual branch of sociology dedicated to studying relations between races and genders.
     
  10. {KOW}Spazed

    {KOW}Spazed Banned

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    No, if she is spouting things off in class and he has his own sources that say otherwise why shouldn't she be challenged? I had a history teacher who said the Holocaust was made up, he was a teacher, was I right in challenging that?
     
  11. IDupedInMyPants

    IDupedInMyPants Banned

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    He thinks journal articles are credible sources and apparently feels that text books are not. Case closed.
     
  12. Moosashi

    Moosashi IncGamers Member

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    I would never squander an opportunity to match wits with a feminist sociologist by whining to the administration. Now's your chance to formulate a strong, but respectful argument. You should take it...unless you're afraid you might learn a thing or two.
     
  13. Fallen Creation

    Fallen Creation IncGamers Member

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    I'm assuming "journal articles" is referring to scientific journals, which are credible. Nowhere did he mention textbooks at all.
     
  14. Module88

    Module88 IncGamers Member

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    4. Kick her in the ovaries.
     
  15. Tao_of_Xero

    Tao_of_Xero IncGamers Member

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    First of all, I never meant to imply that I was without culpability here. I am however baffled by her recent change in attitude as our relationship prior to this incident had always been very amicable. Secondly our 'textbook' consists solely of articles she selected, with no mention of where they were obtained from, were they peer reviewed,etc.This has been one of the biggest bones of contention among my classmates. The matter of debate in the class that spawned the original argument, was statistics concerning a study of substance abuse prevalence by race. This was a matter of some importance to me as it concerned a paper I'm writing in another class and the information she was giving ran contradictory to everything I had read.

    I admit, when I first posted I was still steaming over her outburst and obviously didn't give both sides of the story. As for "meaningful detail" without all of you having been there, it's nearly impossible for me to relate every detail that may have lead up to this that could be considered "meaningful." For the duration of the class, we've butted heads, but it has up until the last couple of weeks been friendly in nature.

    And just to clarify, I'm not "some kid" nor do I claim to know everything (but thanks for the stereotypical assumptions :thumbsup: ) I was unaware that my educational background was relevant to the question I asked, but for those interested:

    1997 BA Andrews University
    1999 MA Western Michigan University
    Currently dividing my time between the University of Michigan and Western.
    I am currently employed by the State of Michigan as a youth counselor in juvenile corrections and prior to all of this served seven years in the Marine Corps.
     
  16. garublador

    garublador IncGamers Member

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    I know it's too late, but I would have just let it go, sucked up and gotten a good grade. It really doesn't matter which one of you is "right." What matters is you're in the class to learn the material you're presented. After you show that you understand the material it's up to you to do whatever you please with it. You're perfectly free to not believe it or forget it. Causing problems with a professor like that won't accomplish anything. If it's really that big of a problem, drop the class and take something equivalent from a different professor. If that isn't an option, quit whining and let her teach how she wants.
     
  17. Stevinator

    Stevinator IncGamers Member

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    I'm not even sure the material presented matters that much. I only have a BS in Sales, but I have to say, the most important things I learned from college were not the stuff I read, but the hoops they made me jump through. I had one class where my prof put us in groups, gave us this customer's budget, and sent us off to find enough money in the budget to close the sale. we stayed up all night trying to find enough for our solution. you wanna know something? There was no way to cut (given the rules he gave us) enough to make room in their budget. it wasn't possible. The answer was to have that guy go to his boss and ask for a larger budget. We got so wrapped up in the numbers we forgot to close the sale. I learned more from sneaky things like that, that my profs did to me than i ever learned from books.

    Think of this as just another hoop.

    Sociology: the study of the individuals, groups and institutions and their relations that make up human society. (linky)

    I think this is a great opportunity to see how individuals(prof & you), groups(class) and institutions(university) relate. Don't you?
     
  18. 5Ws

    5Ws Banned

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    This just proves my point, might as well just tell us "I'm better than you", instead of listing all those things. And why did I mistaken you as "some kid"? Cuz the way you are holding a grudge against her, and the one-sided story, you sound just like a freshman in college!
    So what if you have a BA, or MA, or Ph.D for that matter? She is your professor, you are stilling learning things from her, so give her a little respect, and try to find out what YOU have done wrong in this situation.
     
  19. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    Believe it or not, 5Ws, there are professors out there who don't know how to teach, grade school teachers who don't know how to handle kids, and for that matter law enforcement officers who don't know how to properly enforce the law. A piece of paper certifying your status is not a guarantee that you know how to do whatever it is you're certified to do.

    I'm sorry, but I don't think there is anything wrong with challenging a professor. I challenged my professors all the time in college (and in most cases lost), and learned more that way than I ever did by sitting back and picking my nose in class like everyone else around me. Asking questions to understand where information comes from is very important, in my opinion, and should never be supressed. Challenging someone to a debate, regardless of their status, provides you and everyone spectating with an opportunity to listen to different sides of an issue and explore different possibilities, and often gives rise to issues that might never get raised during the course of a normal lecture.

    Sorry if I'm a bit off-topic here, but 5Ws, I think your attitude is actually very counter-productive. I can guarantee you that you will not excel in college by sitting in the back of the class scribbling furiously all day long and never opening your mouth. You'll learn by trying to defend your theories against someone with a lot more knowledge than you and more experience in the field, and you'll gain their respect by sharing your ideas with them and showing that you have enough confidence in what you've learned to apply it in a debate.

    So in summary, I think it's the other way around--a professor who expects his or her students to shut up, sit down, and take their word as gospel is the one who is arrogant, not the student who questions it. The professor who sees a kid who thinks he knows everything and engages them in a debate to show them the fallacy of their positions is a good professor, not the one that gets pissed and starts screaming because they feel threatened. Professors are humans too, not some advanced form of superior intellect not to ever be questioned.
     
  20. 5Ws

    5Ws Banned

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    Believe it or not, DC, most of the professors are qualified, most of the grade school teachers do know how to handle kids, most of the officers do enforce the law properly. Now from the extremely one-sided complaint I cannot tell what kind of teacher she is, therefore, I assume she is your average professor.

    Is "challenge" the appropriate attitude? Maybe it's my Asian heritage, but I have learned to respect my elders and my superiors. Yes, it's ok to discuss things, it's ok to ask questions, it's ok to doubt, but is it ok to be openly "challenging" someone? If you, through your in-class question, had reflected a tone of arrogance and know-it-all-ism, instead of a tone of honesty and humble discussion, do you think the professor would not be offended?

    Same argument applies rather well here. I have not even slightly hinted the idea of sitting back, and accepting all things out of the professor's mouth as the truth. My attitude is not counter-productive, it is rather the same as yours, except that I pay a lot more attention to respecting and not offending my professor. Because as you said, they are human as well.
     

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