American Students and Czeck Conscientiousness

March 19th, 2004 § 0 comments

today, i was talking to a professor about the divergent in-class speaking practices of students in england vs. america. in england they remain intelligently silent. in america students take as a general rule to ask a question or say something per class. is my following remark true:

In American classrooms (and possibly as a microcosm for wider academe) talk is used to dispel misconceptions. To talk in class is to expose yourself. May as well say things with conviction which your evidence allows you to conclude. Ideally this will serve as incentive for the next piece of evidence which contradicts your assertion to emerge. The louder a conviction is broadcast the more likely someone who is in possession of such evidence and whose interests are (or sense of dignity is) sufficiently perturbed will respond. This is a healthy classroom discussion.

It also helps to know that the disbursement of social activity is different in American colleges. Classes have to be more conversational because they are replacing other communication venues, such as: supervisions, tutors, meetings with the director of studies, even the pub. A classroom setting is often seen as a plebeian assembly. Besides classes are 3 to 4 hours a week. Some lecture seminars are three hours long. Or when considered from the perspective of educational economics in large classes you have to talk to ever lock eyes with a professor.


the fact that she is originaly from czekoslovakia, reminded me of an absurdism i used to assert to my friends after czeckoslovakia (in my lifetime) became two countries; you may find it humorous:

the humbled people of the independence movement of the czeck republic and slovakia arrived at the respective names of their counties out of consideration for the many people in the world who have purchased a map which lists them as one country. to minimize universal inconvenience, they drew the border in pen on the bestselling map. this line crossed through the ‘o’ and it was settled, one side “czeck” and the other “slovakia” and a convenient rule of thumb for where the border passes.

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