Can students Go math 5th grade questions from their seats during lectures, eat a sandwich in class, or answer the phone? German professors give admonitions.
Student asleep in lecture
There are no written rules of conduct in German universities, but there is an established etiquette to which most students adhere. What do first-year students need to know not to overstep the bounds of what is acceptable?
About knowledge and thirst
Let’s say that few people would think of ordering a pizza in the lecture hall or eating a hamburger during a seminar. “First, it’s disrespectful to the professor and the students, who aren’t eating at that time, and second, it might distract their attention. So it’s better to wait for a break and go to the cafeteria,” advises Horst Hanisch, seminar leader for business etiquette from the German Adolf Knigge Society.
Chewing gum is taboo in class
The same applies to chewing gum: it is more than indecent to chew loudly, blow bubbles or answer a teacher’s questions while holding it in your mouth.
Water and soft drinks are another matter. It is not forbidden to quench your thirst during the classes, but it is worth considering that many plastic bottles tend to make a specific crackling sound while drinking, and carbonated water can spurt out of the bottle when the cap is unscrewed. It’s important not to get your neighbors wet, says the Bonn expert.
Talking on cell phones during class is taboo. “Some lecturers warn about it before they start and even ask not to use dictaphones to record the lecture. That’s every lecturer’s right. But if there is no such stipulation, it is not forbidden to record lectures with audio or video equipment,” stresses Horst Hanisch.
Susanne Preuschoff, who works in the International Student Office at the University of Cologne, adds: “Sometimes I have to remind students that taking a smartphone picture of a fellow student dozing off during a lecture and posting the picture on Facebook without their knowledge is not allowed. This is not just a breach of etiquette, but also of privacy law.
Laptops are no surprise to anyone at German universities. They are an effective substitute for taking handwritten notes. This way you can not only write down the main points, but also quickly find on the Internet the meaning of obscure terms and additional information. But sitting in headphones and watching movies, you can fall out of favor with the teacher.
The same applies to smartphones: they should be used in exceptional cases, warns Horst Hanisch. “That said, you have to remember that the incoming phone ring tone can embarrass you, so it’s better to set your smartphone to vibrate mode,” advises the etiquette seminar leader. He doesn’t rule out the need for some students to be reachable due to urgent problems. An urgent call, however, is best answered by walking out of the classroom.
The etiquette expert advises, by the way, that those who are late should also draw as little attention to themselves as possible. They should enter the audience as quietly as possible, neglecting gre vocab greetings or apologies. It is better to take an empty seat at the edge and get to work.
Would you be so kind as to slow down!”
If you want to ask a question or make a comment during a lecture, you should raise your hand and wait for the professor to give you the floor. Under no circumstances should you interrupt the speaker or shout from your seat.
“I judge from my experience and want to point out that a lecturer can only be pleased with a question by which it is clear that the student is reflecting on the information. Requests to repeat what was said because the student didn’t have time to take notes, or clarifying questions are best refrained from,” recommends Horst Hanisch.
Preference should be given to constructive questions, which can enliven the discussion of the topic. Before asking them, it’s worth thinking about whether the answers will be interesting and useful to the rest of the audience. “A timely and intelligent question can draw the student’s attention and be remembered by the professor, just as much as a question that is inappropriate and distracting,” Suzanne Proishoff emphasizes, for her part.