Question what you’re being taught, educate yourself

Feb. 29, 2016

Abbie Stillman
astillma@uccs.edu

Students embrace “Hunger Games” parking to get to class, only to have other students talk more than their professor.

While this can be annoying, there are times when challenging the teacher is appropriate.

When you’re a freshman, you take a course that helps teach you how to be a good college student. It offers you study tips, time management skills and tips for controlling your mental and emotional health.

One of my favorite lessons from this course is to challenge what you’re being taught.

Challenging the teacher is beneficial for all students. It forces the professor to look into other possibilities. There are classes that I enjoy simply because the conversation provoked by the challenger opens the class to new ideas.

The professor isn’t always right.

Clarifying other viewpoints on the topic being discussed is not wasting time or being childish. If anything, someone else was probably considering your point as well.

Professors want you to learn to think critically, to think outside the box and to generate your own wisdom. Challenging the professor, asking questions and offering alternative possibilities is one of the best ways to do that.

A good professor should encourage that habit and encourage you to continue.

But being able to recognize the appropriate moment to say something can be important too.

There are scenarios when students who enjoy expressing their opinion become overzealous. In these situations, it is rude to keep up the banter. It’s unfair to your peers who have attended class to learn.

This is not high school where everyone loves wasting time to the end of class.

College is where you learn what you’re interested in and take advantage of the opportunity to select your own courses.

When students decide to make the classroom an all-about-them experience and talk about topics unrelated to the discussion, that’s when we have a problem.

Don’t interrupt the professor or other students, but let your thoughts be heard if you think it is worth it.

There are some professors who, when given a good idea, may even consider alternative assignments. These professors tend to be my favorite because they are the ones who push you to think more independently and creatively.

Allowing your students that type of freedom to truly discover what they can come up with is a great way to guide them to learn more independently. In some situations, this is when students find what they are passionate about and choose to further explore their options.

So question the teacher. Listen to them, but challenge their lessons and dig ‘till you really learn something that is beneficial to your education.