Classroom Manners

It’s always helpful to know what your professors and instructors are thinking. Gaining insight into your professors’ perceptions can help you shine in the classroom. It can help you achieve better grades and build your reputation as a committed student with strong potential for success.

Here are a few tips to improve your professors’ perceptions of you and help you avoid frustrating behaviour. These are small things, but everything you do, large or small, contributes to people’s opinions of you. It’s the same in the workplace, the classroom, or anywhere else.

1] When a professor asks you to raise your hand, raise it high to make it clear what you are doing. So if a professor says something like, “Please raise your hand if you have ever taken a philosophy course,” stick you hand right up so it’s easy for the professor to see and for her to count you. Many students when asked to raise their hand lift it about three centimetres off the table. Some barely manage a finger twitch. It makes it impossible for professors to count how many people are answering affirmatively, and it’s frustrating. Don’t make the professor have to waste class time coaxing you “No, REALLY raise your hand.”

2] If you contribute a comment or question to the class discussion and your professor says, “Pardon me?” answer again, but LOUDER. It’s surprising how many students repeat their answer at the exact volume the professor couldn’t hear the first time. If someone can’t hear you, speak up.

3] When the professor says, “Let’s get started,” she doesn’t mean “Let’s get started after you finish your text message and conversation about the Oscars, and then loudly unwrap your snack.” You should be ready to start the instant the professor is ready. It’s just good classroom manners.

Whatever context you’re in, you’ll appear more sophisticated, committed, eager and polished if you work hard to maintain a high standard of behaviour and etiquette.

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