Author Topic: "You might explain that..."  (Read 8083 times)

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Mental Magpie

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"You might explain that..."
« on: October 24, 2012, 09:14:21 PM »
This did happen at work but I can see it happening anywhere, so I put it in this folder.

There is a gentleman, I'll call him Bernie, training with me who once worked in this field and has now returned.  It has been long enough since he last worked in this field that he has to attend basic training again.  I don't know how long he worked in the field, but it was long enough for him to obtain a good chunk of experience.  It seems, because of this, he thinks he needs to let the rest of the class know how much he knows.  Honestly, I will say, he doesn't do it all that often, but when he does, it's obvious what he's trying to do.

Today, our instructor mentioned N.E.W.T.* two or three times in the course of 1-2 minutes.  It was easy enough from context to figure out what he meant though I can see where it wouldn't necessarily be obvious.  Bernie raised his hand and when the instructor acknowledged him, he said, "You might explain what N.E.W.T. means."  Those were his exact words, and he gestured around to the rest of the class.

I was immediately taken aback by his tone and the way he presumed to tell the instructor what he might do.  Honestly, I felt it quite rude, but the instructor didn't miss a beat.

Bernie did it again about an hour later, using the exact same phrasing and gesturing.  "You might explain what a tent* is."

Does anyone else find this rude and presumptive?


ETA: *Not actual terms.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 09:51:58 PM by Mental Magpie »
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gramma dishes

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 09:33:42 PM »
Yes, I do, and I doubt if either the instructor and/or any of your classmates are in the least bit impressed. 

On the other hand, maybe HE didn't know what N.E.W.T. meant and rather than admit it, he tried to imply that everyone else needed to know.  Did it not occur to him that if they couldn't figure it out they were quite capable of asking for themselves?

And yes, his manner of phrasing comes very close to being insulting to the instructor by implying that the instructor isn't providing necessary information without Bernie's prompting.

Sharnita

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2012, 09:53:51 PM »
I think he didn't know and assumed everyone else was where he was.  While the wording and tone are a bit obnoxious it does let the instructor know where this student's gaps are.

doodlemor

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2012, 10:20:03 PM »
Best of luck at your new job, MM.

Yes, the guy is rude.  The instructor has probably dealt capably with this type of behavior before, and rude guy is likely to get his comeuppance sooner or later. 

Something about your new job brings out the delusions of macho in some men.  Perhaps that is part of his *act.*

Surianne

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2012, 11:09:21 PM »
I think he didn't know and assumed everyone else was where he was.  While the wording and tone are a bit obnoxious it does let the instructor know where this student's gaps are.

I agree.  The phrasing is a bit odd, but it just seems to me like he doesn't know what X thing is and is asking the instructor to define the term.  It would be more clear if he phrased it as a question, but if the instructor understands what he means and isn't bothered, I wouldn't worry about it.  I don't see it as rude or presumptive, just strange phrasing.

violinp

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 01:12:27 AM »
I think he didn't know and assumed everyone else was where he was.  While the wording and tone are a bit obnoxious it does let the instructor know where this student's gaps are.

I agree.  The phrasing is a bit odd, but it just seems to me like he doesn't know what X thing is and is asking the instructor to define the term.  It would be more clear if he phrased it as a question, but if the instructor understands what he means and isn't bothered, I wouldn't worry about it.  I don't see it as rude or presumptive, just strange phrasing.

But he's implying that he's speaking for the whole class, when in fact he is not. That's pretty presumptive to me.
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Ceallach

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 01:20:18 AM »
I think he didn't know and assumed everyone else was where he was.  While the wording and tone are a bit obnoxious it does let the instructor know where this student's gaps are.

I agree.  The phrasing is a bit odd, but it just seems to me like he doesn't know what X thing is and is asking the instructor to define the term.  It would be more clear if he phrased it as a question, but if the instructor understands what he means and isn't bothered, I wouldn't worry about it.  I don't see it as rude or presumptive, just strange phrasing.

But he's implying that he's speaking for the whole class, when in fact he is not. That's pretty presumptive to me.

I agree.   And I know exactly the type the OP describes as I've been there - it's irritating! 

To be honest, in these type of situations you sometimes just have to let the person be their annoying, pompous self and presume that everybody else can see straight through his behaviour just as well as you can - anything you say or do to address it can simply bring you down to their level, and it's unlikely they'll change their behaviour.   Let them be the disruptive one who is patronising everybody, and just silently laugh or roll your eyes on the inside.   ;D   
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Mental Magpie

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 01:24:10 AM »
Unfortunately, Bernie is going to the same facility that I am going to, so I will have dealings with him in the future.  That being said, I certainly don't plan on saying anything about it, I just wanted to know what E-Hellions thought about it.  At least I get to see how he is here before we get to where we're going.
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sweetonsno

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 02:52:21 AM »
I'm an instructor. Based on my current student population (quite a few non-native speakers), I would probably assume that the particular phrasing was the way they had learned to ask for clarification. I'd probably answer it exactly the same way I would answer the question if it was phrased differently, say, "What's a NEWT?"

If the student asked several similar questions, I would probably offer a general reminder that students should complete the required reading before class and take notes if they had trouble with concepts or vocabulary.

Students will speak for the class for a couple of reasons:

1.) They actually know that other students are lost. This might be that a neighbor asked them for clarification. It might be that they overheard classmates trying to figure something out. It could be that students have approached them outside of class time. In some cultures, asking for clarification is frowned upon greatly. I've dealt with students from that type of culture, and I was so glad when one of my class members stayed late to tell me how lost some students were.

2.) They're embarrassed that they don't know the answer and want to make it seem like they're asking for the benefit of others. It's unfortunate, but there you go.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 03:21:54 AM »
'Say Bernie, I noticed you have had to ask a lot of questions in  class lately.  I guess a lot has changed since you were last in this field. If you read texts X, Y and Z it will really bring you back up to speed.'

Too PA?

ETA:  I agree, he is rude and presumptive.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 03:24:04 AM by Miss Unleaded »

wallaby

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 03:55:24 AM »
I'm an instructor. Based on my current student population (quite a few non-native speakers), I would probably assume that the particular phrasing was the way they had learned to ask for clarification. I'd probably answer it exactly the same way I would answer the question if it was phrased differently, say, "What's a NEWT?"

If the student asked several similar questions, I would probably offer a general reminder that students should complete the required reading before class and take notes if they had trouble with concepts or vocabulary.

Students will speak for the class for a couple of reasons:

1.) They actually know that other students are lost. This might be that a neighbor asked them for clarification. It might be that they overheard classmates trying to figure something out. It could be that students have approached them outside of class time. In some cultures, asking for clarification is frowned upon greatly. I've dealt with students from that type of culture, and I was so glad when one of my class members stayed late to tell me how lost some students were.

2.) They're embarrassed that they don't know the answer and want to make it seem like they're asking for the benefit of others. It's unfortunate, but there you go.

POD. I also don't think it was rude or presumptive for him to ask the instructor to provide clarification. If his voice was dripping with sarcasm (or snarky, etc) then yes, potentially he was rude to the instructor, but I'm not seeing how he was potentially rude to you or your classmates. He raised his hand and waited to be called on. He asked a question pertinent to the immediate material. The instructor answered and moved along. I would assume the instructor has seen this type of student many times and is capable of dealing with him if it becomes necessary.

IDriveADodgeStratus

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 07:55:39 AM »
Love that type, they think everyone else is In the Dark and its their job to enlighten them! I agree it's irritating, I'd just roll my eyes inwardly and go on. 

RingTailedLemur

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2012, 08:03:14 AM »
Love that type, they think everyone else is In the Dark and its their job to enlighten them! I agree it's irritating, I'd just roll my eyes inwardly and go on.

OTOH, people who don't understand are usually encouraged to speak up because the chances are at least one other person is wondering the same thing but isn't brave enough to say so.

While his wording/tone may have left something to be desired, I don't see anything wrong with the sentiment (assuming he really did want to know what the term meant).
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 10:54:25 AM by RingTailedLemur »

Mental Magpie

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2012, 08:57:47 AM »
He was born and raised in Colorado (I sat near him the first day; we talked about it).  Let me also clarify that I do not think he was rude to us but to the instructor to presume to tell him what he might or might not explain.  Now, this is just a personal opinion, but I think the reason the instructor didn't miss a beat is because he is a Corrections Officer and is used to dealing with all sorts of people; I have nothing to substantiate that, but that's what I think.  Bernie tone and facial expression were not of curiosity, I can tell you that much despite maybe not being able to directly explain it.  It wasn't so much sarcasm or snarky as it was "na-na-na-boo-boo, I already know, but just in case all you rookies don't..." without being overtly so.
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Zilla

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Re: "You might explain that..."
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2012, 09:01:52 AM »
I can see looking at it in the worst possible light that it would seem rude and that he is condescending.  But given with his previous experience, I would just smirk internally and ignore.  And who knows, maybe there were some students that didn't know.  Or maybe there was a detail that was unknown to the term and the student thought they knew the entire term and turned out to learn something new after all.