Technology and talking out of turn are some of the factors that hinder the educational environment at BYU-Idaho.
“The physical world in which we live often presents distractions that make it hard to pay attention,” according to the book, Looking Out/Looking In, by Ronald B. Adler & Russell F. Proctor II.
Sarah Gabbitas, a sophomore studying child development, said people continuously talking in class are distracting. She said she finds herself tuning the teacher out and tuning in on the side conversations.
Emmilie Whitlock, an adjunct professor in the communication department, said that side conversations and speaking out of turn are extremely distracting. She said talking and whispering in the back of a classroom is very disrespectful.
“I take the opportunity to educate my students very seriously,” Whitlock said. “I put a lot of time and effort into that, and so it is very disrespectful when they can’t be bothered, or they’re irritated, or they’re annoyed or they’re obviously rolling their eyes.”
Whitlock said it can be a struggle to find a balance between professionalism and fun in the classroom. She said she loves having humor in the classroom, but students need to know where to draw the line.
“During a quiz, people try to make jokes, and that’s not an appropriate time,” Whitlock said. “During tests, or during instructions, anything like that.”
External noise can present itself in many more ways than just side conversations, according to Looking Out/Looking In.
“I definitely find phones to be a distraction,” Gabbitas said.
Gabbitas said that seeing students on their phones during presentations she has given led her to feel like she did a poor job presenting.
“Cell phones are distracting, but if someone wants to rob themselves of a great education, that’s their deal,” said Bobby Jackson, a freshman studying mechanical engineering.
Cordy Branscome, a freshman majoring in general studies, said the use of phones in a classroom is not attractive.
He said people would not want to be treated by a doctor that had spent his or her classtime on Instagram.
Gabbitas said students should stop being selfish and need to be aware of the people around them trying to earn an education.
“We’re building skills and foundations for the rest of our lives,” said Quinn Riley, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering. “Treat it like work; you come prepared.”
Riley said some students have lazy attitudes. He said some students want to do enough to pass and move on with life. He said attitudes like this can hinder a classroom.
“If the information you’re seeking is really important, do everything possible to eliminate internal and external distractions that interfere with careful listening,” according to Looking Out/Looking In.
Just as there are behaviors that detract from the classroom experience, there are things one can do to enhance his or her time in the classroom.
Gabbitas said making friends with classmates is helpful.
She said friends do not keep friends from learning.
“Get enough sleep,” Riley said. “Don’t forget the Lord, and don’t lose sight of your goals.”
Whitlock said students should be proactive and figure out for themselves how they learn best. She said students that learn more from a book should read more, and those that learn by asking should ask more.
Whitlock said students should take at least 10 minutes after class to think about what they talked about in class.
“The homework I assign isn’t just because I love grading,” Whitlock said. “Let’s be honest, it’s not. It’s hopefully to help them really implement and learn and master the material.”