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JCC Is it disrespectful to correct a professor?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Condition2SQ, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Never.
     
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  2. tom

    tom Chosen One star 7

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    Mar 14, 2004
    we should probably listen to him. i mean he does have a sword.
     
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  3. Dark Lady Mara

    Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 1999
    The pen is mightier than the sword... in degree of usefulness for recording proper English sentences.
     
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  4. solojones

    solojones Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    Sep 27, 2000
    I am pained by poor grammar as much as the next nerd, but I also hate people who argue with profs or teachers about things like this. Sorry. As people have pointed out, I have definitely corrected profs on factual errors (or, ok, the film prof I had who pronounced Sinese as 'sin-ee-cee' because it annoyed the crap out of me). But not pedantry and generally not in front of the class either.

    That being said, this prof also sounds like a tool. It probably wouldn't have been as big a deal if the prof had just been like, "oh whoops, yeah the although was a typo."
     
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  5. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi

    Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2002
    This falls under the 'teacher can't teach' rubric for me. If the professor can't write a decent question in plain English, his students are not getting the maximum benefit from their education. And this is a college-level class, not some lower division class where the teacher may only need a bachelor's degree in order to teach. Professors usually need a PhD.
     
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  6. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

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    Jul 13, 2008
    You... didn't take many science classes in college, did you?
     
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  7. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi

    Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Jedi Master star 6

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    Jul 31, 2002
    No, I was an English major. But, I had to take a couple social science classes and an economics class.
     
  8. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Okay, well, speaking as someone who was a science major, a sizable minority - perhaps 40% - of my instructors were non-native speakers whose sentence structure would often result in grammar similar to that in question here (I understand this is fairly common in science departments due to our country's attitude towards STEM, hence my inquiry). I object to the implication that these instructors - of whom one was my thesis advisor and, really, a pretty decent friend - were somehow "hindering" my ability to learn the material, or were not "capable of teaching" a college level course.
     
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  9. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi

    Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Jedi Master star 6

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    Jul 31, 2002
    I didn't say the teacher wasn't capable of teaching a college-level course, just that if the students can't understand what the teacher is saying (and most students eventually can 'translate' what the teacher is trying to say) (I had a Japanese lady as a teacher in one of my computer classes and I was able, after a few classes, to interpret what she meant), the students aren't getting the full benefit of the class. No disrespect to your professor friend intended.
     
  10. solojones

    solojones Chosen One star 9

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    Sep 27, 2000
    In fairness, ATC is an area that's all about communicating clearly. This is exactly the sort of prof who should be precise in his wording.


    Either that or drunk on the job.
     
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  11. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Nov 2, 2000
    I had a few fairly incompetent professors and at least one who was seriously mentally unhinged (in all seriousness; he would scream at us in a way that was genuinely frightening). I loved it when I had a good professor;when I had a bad one, I put my head down and learned the material for myself. I mean, if the prof uses bad grammar or whatever, that isn't helping you learn the material. On the other hand, a protracted argument about it isn't helping you learn the material either. If you're a college student, you have to be a self-starter, at least if you want to be successful. In my experience many professors are professors because they genuinely love their field and/or teaching and are good at both. When you get unlucky and draw one of the few who doesn't genuinely love what they're doing or isn't any good at it, there's no point to whining about it. If the guy's really bad at his job, you aren't the first person to try to correct him; all the other people didn't succeed and you won't either, so put your head down and get the education you're there to get. Sometimes, it's best just to ignore people who aren't good at their jobs; it's good training for life after college, I've found.
     
  12. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Ramza, I'd disagree. I've had some professors that definitely interfered with my ability to learn from the class. Although that's more been from accents and handwriting than structure. Still though, that's been very, very few. Vast majority have been fine though.


    The pronunciation thing, imo, falls right into pedantry as much as grammar would.
     
  13. solojones

    solojones Chosen One star 9

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    Sep 27, 2000
    But it's a dude's name. You shouldn't teach a whole class an actor's name in a wildly incorrect fashion.
     
  14. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 29, 2005
    Are you sure he wasn't just using it as an adjective? "That performance was very Gary Sinisey."
     
  15. KenKenobi

    KenKenobi Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jul 11, 2002
    Jello telling someone to be less pedantic is like Tunick telling a professor not to give a quiz written in red ink.
     
  16. solojones

    solojones Chosen One star 9

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    Sep 27, 2000
    Positive, Havac :p

    Actually in that case I wasn't a student anyway, I was the TA. And I tried to correct him by simply repeating what he said as if I were affirming it, but pronouncing the name correctly. He didn't take the hint. Oh well, I tried.
     
  17. Jedi_Reject_Jesse

    Jedi_Reject_Jesse Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 26, 2004
    On a serious note, if you're paying for college, and you are there to get an education, a professor's mistake should be brought to light. It is their duty to provide you with the service they are being paid to provide - anything less is a severe lack in the school's - and the professor's - integrity. If I were a teacher, and I made a mistake, I would be insulted if it wasn't brought to my attention.
     
  18. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Aug 20, 2003
    Yeah but they're not getting paid enough.
     
  19. SithLordDarthRichie

    SithLordDarthRichie CR Emeritus: London star 8

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    Oct 3, 2003
    It is wrong to allow someone to spread falsities as truth, especially if they have influence over a number of people. If such a thing is occurring, it should be corrected.

    With regards to grammar, given how poorly most people these days seem to understand how to spell or speak or structure english properly I would hope a teacher would welcome someone with such a good grasp of the subject to notice incorrect usage. Clearly everyone else wasn't smart enough to see there was a problem. We seem to have reached a point now where such things are no longer seen as important enough by teachers or students to warrent serious discussion or alteration, that is sad.

    I have corrected teachers/lecturers myself when they have said something I know to be wrong, I don't care if I undermine or embarrass them I care about the right knowledge being given out to those in the class who whould be learning it. I would encourage everyone to do the same thing, plenty of people think they are an authority because they have a fancy degree but if they are wrong they should be challenged. Even so-called experts can be wrong.
     
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  20. harpua

    harpua Chosen One star 9

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    Mar 12, 2005
    I wouldn't say that it's fair to assume that those who didn't mention it, didn't notice it. It could be that they had good enough social skills to know that making a big deal over something so small would be kind of stupid.
     
  21. Point Given

    Point Given Mod of Literature and Community star 6 Staff Member Manager

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    Dec 12, 2006

    The self-righteous is strong in you.
     
  22. SithLordDarthRichie

    SithLordDarthRichie CR Emeritus: London star 8

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    Oct 3, 2003
    I do, and would also expect others to, criticise a man such as The Pope were he to use his influence over many millions of people to deliver false information or attempt to set them along a path that is not beneficial to them. Just because he is a man of high status does not mean he is beyond criticism and should not be called out on something he says that is wrong. Many who would not question what they hear because of a person's position or because they lack the knowledge to do so would likely blindly follow such a person's words, that is dangerous and therefore it is up to others to speak out.


    That depends on what you consider small, some would consider allowing such things to pass in what is likely more than one class with many people in it to be a big deal. If no-one speaks out, the problem is not that likely to go away. Then it may well seep into other places when those who were not aware of any error incorperate it into their way of instructing others, thus creating a wide-reaching problem. Stopping things as early as possible is a good way to deal with such possible outcomes.



    Either way, in a free society if you feel you have a greivance with the way someone does something you are perfectly entitled to air it. Whether you do it in public or private is to be considered of course, but no-one should be discouraged from speaking their mind.
     
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  23. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Richie, I could see that applying if we were talking, like, a fundamental misunderstanding of the basics of air traffic control.

    This is a minor, decipherable grammar issue on one examination. Don't make Everest out of the anthill.
     
  24. SithLordDarthRichie

    SithLordDarthRichie CR Emeritus: London star 8

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2003
    It's the principle, if he thinks there is not a problem and he is an academic responsible for the learning of many then such things should be brought to his attention. I'm not saying embarrass the guy in public but mentioning you think it an error is perfectly acceptable, and the professor did appear open to referring the problem elsewhere for a more informed opinion which would benefit him and his teaching in future. That should then be the end of the matter.
    Even if you know what someone means, how they say it is important.

    EDIT: I agree that in regards to the OP such an issue was minor and could easily be overlooked/ignored. But in regards to the overall question of whether it is disrespectful and/or wrong to correct a professor, I say no so long as you do it the right way.
     
  25. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Jul 20, 2002
    It's not wrong to correct someone who's wrong, professor or no. But -- and I say this as someone who is creeoily pedantic about grammar -- if you can figure out what he's saying, it's not worth your time or his trying to correct him.