Keeping up in fast-paced classroom discussion

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whitneymaire
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:35 am

Keeping up in fast-paced classroom discussion

Post by whitneymaire »

Hi guys,
I'm just wondering if anyone can give me some advice and/or relate to this situation. I'm in an online college English class that only meets using Webex. The class basically consists of a conversation about the texts, and the teacher oftentimes calls on people unexpectedly in order to get everyone to speak. The only grades in the class are a midterm essay, a final essay, and class participation being the largest portion of the grade. Participation consists of making an in-depth point about the text with a page number/being ready to quote from the text on the spot. I enjoy the essays more because I can take as much time as I need to to sort out what I'm going to say...But in the classroom I really struggle with keeping up with the students talking, because for some reason this group of people seems to talk faster than normal lol. During the class I try to formulate a solid contribution, but by the time I do they've moved onto another topic. The professor then calls on me to answer a question for something completely different and I need a little time to process what is being asked of me and think about the text. Tonight that happened and I had to pause for about 4 or 5 seconds, after which she said flippantly that "Life is short, moving on" and she answered it herself. This has happened before, and it's humiliating. It's so frustrating too because I love the literature we are covering (it's a Virginia Woolf and Margaret Atwood class) and I want to be part of the conversation (and get a good grade!), but I feel like the professor isn't accommodating or helpful, and is outright rude. I'm nervous about disclosing my neurodivergence to her because in the past I have been discriminated against because of it. She told me in an email after the first class that she hopes I'll come out of my shell and be comfortable in class, which might be a nice thing to say if I was actually shy. I'm not shy in the slightest, but because of my dyspraxia and sensory processing difficulties people have told me they think I'm shy or lazy, and I'm just exhausted from it all.

Thank you for reading through this long-winded vent. If anyone has any tips or advice regarding college situations like this I would be very grateful and interested to hear!
-Whitney
Tom fod
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Re: Keeping up in fast-paced classroom discussion

Post by Tom fod »

whitneymaire wrote: Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:02 am Hi guys,
I'm just wondering if anyone can give me some advice and/or relate to this situation. I'm in an online college English class that only meets using Webex. The class basically consists of a conversation about the texts, and the teacher oftentimes calls on people unexpectedly in order to get everyone to speak. The only grades in the class are a midterm essay, a final essay, and class participation being the largest portion of the grade. Participation consists of making an in-depth point about the text with a page number/being ready to quote from the text on the spot. I enjoy the essays more because I can take as much time as I need to to sort out what I'm going to say...But in the classroom I really struggle with keeping up with the students talking, because for some reason this group of people seems to talk faster than normal lol. During the class I try to formulate a solid contribution, but by the time I do they've moved onto another topic. The professor then calls on me to answer a question for something completely different and I need a little time to process what is being asked of me and think about the text.

Tonight that happened and I had to pause for about 4 or 5 seconds, after which she said flippantly that "Life is short, moving on" and she answered it herself. This has happened before, and it's humiliating. It's so frustrating too because I love the literature we are covering (it's a Virginia Woolf and Margaret Atwood class) and I want to be part of the conversation (and get a good grade!), but I feel like the professor isn't accommodating or helpful, and is outright rude. I'm nervous about disclosing my neurodivergence to her because in the past I have been discriminated against because of it. She told me in an email after the first class that she hopes I'll come out of my shell and be comfortable in class, which might be a nice thing to say if I was actually shy. I'm not shy in the slightest, but because of my dyspraxia and sensory processing difficulties people have told me they think I'm shy or lazy, and I'm just exhausted from it all.

Thank you for reading through this long-winded vent. If anyone has any tips or advice regarding college situations like this I would be very grateful and interested to hear!
-Whitney
Hi Whitney

Apologies that no one has responded till now, Welcome to the Forum

It does indeed sound as though your professor may regrettably be ignorant of the concept of neurodiversity and I'm not sure it would be easy to convey to her that you're feeling left behind. Do you get on particularly well with any of your classmates and could they perhaps help you bridge the gap in helping open up opportunities for you to contribute?

Not sure how you're finding Webex vs being in the same room with people. A lot of us like and need time to consider how we respond and put across our point/opinion. I think, were I in your class, I'd have the same difficulty. Getting a word in edgeways and also keeping up with a group conversation over a Webex call in the middle of a stressful pandemic is not high on my list of things to want to do. Not that I have a fear of piping up or playing devils advocate.

Mindmaps may be a way to help you keep track of discussions and act as a prompt to help you make your own worthwhile contribution(s). Remember your opinion is just as valid and may even cause people to reassess how they are interpreting the text!

Hope that helps
Tom
Moderator/Administrator

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)
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