Case Study Three: Save me from my class!
Hassan is a new professor at the college. He is originally from the Middle East and just finished his PhD at an American university.
He is teaching a 2nd year diploma course. He started his first two-hour class with a long description of his degree and research. He then gave a 1 hour lecture on the theory related to his field. Next, he told the students to get in groups and talk about this for 20 minutes but most have taken off for coffee or maybe even left as they took their bags.
- What do you think Hassan is most concerned about?
- What do you think led to the students' disengagement?
- What pre-verbal, non-verbal, verbal, and post-verbal mismatches will likely occur throughout this encounter?
- Did either party reach the desired outcome for themselves?
Analysis for Case Study Three
- Hassan is really worried that he hasn't engaged the class. In his brief teacher training the month before he took to heart the idea that the class needed to be involved. He worked for weeks on his first lecture so that he could showcase his knowledge and set the students up with some solid information to manipulate. He had made it clear he was eligible to teach and lead them in his introduction and he had provided a chance for them to talk about the theory and get to know each other. Now he is worrying that maybe his English skills were the problem as he still had challenges pronouncing some terminology effectively.
- The students had thought Hassan was full of himself for spouting off about his peer-reviewed research papers and PhD at the start. His lecture scared them a bit which made them shut down and after an hour and twenty minutes they were ready for a washroom and coffee break. His instructions to "talk to each other" could be done while they walked. Leaving then gave them an extra few minutes before their next class.
- Pre-verbal planning was mismatched here. The students hoped for an exciting and social first class where they would get an idea how hard the course would be and what the assessments would be like. They could see that they could understand Hassan when he started but as they got grumpy with him their listening got worse. They needed a concrete task to keep them in class for the last few minutes. Hassan thought he had to convince them that he was a knowledgeable teacher via his introduction and lecture. He thought they would enjoy talking about what he had said.
The students' non-verbal slouching, texting, and eye rolling really alarmed Hassan. Consequently he started talking faster. Hassan didn't smile much as the topic was serious and in his culture deserved a certain degree of severity.
- Neither party thought through the various cultures involved: ethnic, university versus college, professor versus students, class-time versus coffee time. No one felt particularly enthusiastic after the class.