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Opinion

Start of classes brings the ʻsilent bell effectʼ

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February 4, 2010

There are five minutes left in class, and the instructor is trying to wrap up his final points of whatever topic is at hand. Suddenly, before the professor can even say anything or excuse anyone to go, half the class is already “stand-sitting” from their chairs.

What the hell happened from point A to point B? Anyone who has ever sat in a classroom, from middle school all the way up until college level knows what the “silent bell effect” is.

If, however, for some reason, you’re a little out of the loop, let me help explain. Basically, it’s a chain reaction of students falling out of attention with their instructor. While professor monotone is giving his wrap up on his lecture, some inconsiderate gentleman or lady decides to call it quits and starts messing with papers on their desk, and shoving crap in their backpack.

This then triggers the people all around to do the same, and within ten seconds it seems the whole classroom is packed up and half way out the door. I call it the “silent bell effect” because it’s amazing how it all happens simultaneously as if a bell goes off in the classroom telling students “get out, get out now!” Now, as a student who has had a professor or two that is rather hard to listen to, I can empathize with desiring to get up and out of the classroom.

However, I empathize even more so with a professor feeling disrespected because people are so damn inconsiderate, they can’t give you the full time to finish up the lecture you prepared for class.

Hypothetically, if I ever ended up being a professor, I would kind of fl ip out about the “silent bell effect.” I’d be tempted to have an air horn in my bag and every time people start packing up…”BLAM!” That’s the air horn going off, not me throwing a book at the student.

Seriously, we pay how much to go to school here, and we can’t sit through the last few minutes of our classes? Worries you might miss Sportscenter?

I’m not up on my high horse though, because I was apart of the phenomenon all through middle and high school. It wasn’t until a certain professor pointed out how incredibly distracting students packing up was, and not to mention, a slap in the face while they’re trying to teach. Ever since, just being around people that have their whole upper body plunged inside their backpack and things while the professor is trying to finish up annoys the hell out of me.

Now, as for almost anything, there are at least two sides to the issue. Take this example. If the president of the United States gave his State of the Union address off of Power Point, pretty much
everyone that heard/saw the address would be like “what the hell was that?”

Sometimes, I believe the professor is to blame for putting students into a comatose state. No offense to those few professors out there, but why go through so much schooling, money, and time in your own lives, and then come to class, and act absolutely miserable. Do you think that puts us, the students, into a state of mind in which we’re psyched to learn about some new material? Personally, I come to class in hopes that my teacher will elaborate on what he/she has in Power Point and provide relevant examples that make sense.

To be honest, arrogant, careless, and miserable professors/ teachers are the architects of the “silent bell effect.”

On the other hand, students often times don’t do their part.

There was a wonderful column written last semester by Ms. Kirsten Blake about how students are drones in some classes. It can be really pathetic sitting in class when a professor is asking a rather simple question, and though many people know the answer and even mutter it under their breath, everyone just sits quietly, staring at one spot on the ground or ceiling. These are often times the same students that are packing up in the middle of lecture, because God forbid, they should have to stay the whole class time.

In the end, I guess, we’re all to blame for this spectacle known only as the “silent bell effect.” Next time you’re sitting in class, watch for it.