Letters to the Editors

Attending lectures a ‘beneficial activity’

Dear Editors:

Re: “Why we skip” (Journal, October 20, 2006).

Congratulations to Brian Maxwell, ArtsSci ’08, for his entrepreneurial prowess in setting up lecturetally.com and exposing us to “the paradox of lectures.” Here’s the paradox: it can be argued that lectures are outdated, boring and certainly not the best way to help adults learn. This mode of information transmission focuses on the auditory sense, while depriving our other senses from engaging in the learning process. However, they are still used widely in most academic institutions today.

So, can an argument be made that going to lectures is, in fact, a beneficial activity? As adult educators and learning strategists, we argue “yes” for the following reasons (and more).

1. Information Transmission. 93 per cent of communication is non-verbal, i.e., a listener gleans a great deal of information via the speaker’s voice and body language as well as the words spoken. Therefore, simply reading the text or reading someone else’s notes deprives you of valuable cues and gestures which the lecturer imparts.

What to do? Watch your lecturer closely, read between the lines for hidden messages, ask questions, listen carefully to his/her opinions and arguments.

2. Retention and Retrieval. The more you expose yourself to new information, in any form, the greater your retention of that material. Reading over someone’s notes does not provide you with enough exposure to make retention or retrieval very easy. What to do? Good study habits include previewing the materials before going to a lecture, taking clear lecture notes and finally, reviewing those notes. It’s a 3-tiered process, not a one-off thing.

3. You know best. If you are reading someone else’s notes, how do you know that the note-taker has captured the information you need? Lecture notes are very personal; what you take down might be quite different from a classmate. And, come on guys, reading over someone else’s notes is as boring as a lecture!

What to do? Taking your own notes means you can put the lecturer’s ideas into your own words later, a learning strategy that helps with comprehension and retention.

Good luck and see you at the next lecture!

The Learning Strategies Development Team

Barbara Fretz

Linda Williams

Elspeth Christie

Liz Racine

Send politicians an SGPS welcome bag emblazoned with CFS logo

Dear Editors:

Re: Letter, “Ahmed Kayssi ‘needs to get a few things straight’ ” (Journal, October 27, 2006).

In Stevens’ letter, he justifies the SGPS executives’ absence from The Great Debate by outlining their association with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). Stevens states that “through the (CFS) ... the SGPS has been actively engaged in lobbying federal and provincial governments for increased support for post-secondary education ... ” Does this mean that the SGPS executive is willing to forfeit one-on-one time with politicians because they throw our support behind the policies of the CFS?

If that is the case, I’m sure all graduate students at Queen’s will sleep much better knowing that the CFS is out there working hard to bring our concerns to the government. Who better than an organization made up of 80 student unions—a large proportion from colleges—across Canada, which meet only four times a year, to represent the concerns of Queen’s University students to the government? I’m surprised that the minister of education, the education critic and our local MPP even bothered to show up. Apparently, their offices have yet to get the memo that Queen’s students no longer deal with them directly; we have the CFS to act as our proxy. Perhaps we can send them one of the welcome bags that all SGPS members received this year. I’m sure once they weed through the stickers, buttons and day planners emblazoned with the CFS logo, they will realize it is the CFS and not Queen’s students who shape graduate student policy on campus. Although the SGPS may not blindly oppose tuition hikes, it appears that they do blindly follow the CFS.

Next time Mr. Kayssi invites anyone to an event the he “cherishes,” I suggest you should consider attending; he tends to know what he is talking about. He has proven himself as an able student leader in the past and earned the right to express his concerns with the direction of student government now and in the future.

Mr. Stevens, don’t hide behind the CFS.

Step up to the podium and admit you missed a great opportunity.

Doug Richardson
PhD Candidate

Henry V director responds to charges of ignorance

Dear Editors:

Re: Letter, “Single Thread’s Henry V an ‘appaling show of ignorance’ ” (Journal, October 27, 2006).

As the director of Single Thread Theatre Company's Henry V, I feel it necessary to respond to Nicole’s three charges of ignorance: 1. Ignorance with respect to Shakespeares craft and intentions: The moment the pen leaves the page, the playwright's intentions are sealed. His work is entirely open to the re-interpretation of others. As far as Shakespeare's "intentions" are concerned, it is believed Henry V was written in 1599 to coincide with the Earl of Essex's invasion of Ireland.

By your logic, this would mean that the play could only be properly performed when England is invading another country with popular support. 2. Ignorance of the audience:

This production was completely re-adapted for the benefit of students at Queen’s University. Aberdeen was the hallmark of this choice.

You mention that the production "reached for a cheap laugh" by "momentarily introducing our completely unrelated Aberdeen shame" but how is it an unrelated cheap laugh to depict Aberdeen in a production which makes as its mandate the correction of the decay of the student political consciousness? Aberdeen was used to pose one simple question: what are the circumstances under which we charge the barricades: because we believe in a political cause or because we're inebriated?

3. Ignorance and immature misuse of the rights of Canadian Citizenship: You say that "Henry V is a perfect example of the fact that many Canadian-born citizens have no respect for the deep privilege it is to be Canadian". In this regard, you are absolutely right—because otherwise, Single Thread wouldn't have put Henry V on to begin with.

The flag was not burned in protest of Canada—it was burned in protest of its young Canadian-born citizens, that is to say, we, the students of Queens University, and our apathy and boredom with our nation's politics and history. The flag was burned so that we can be outraged, write an angry letter, form a committee and, dare I say, go to the voting booth.

Ultimately, the greater sin is to allow the flag to collect dust in your basement closet.

Alex Dault
ArtSci ’07 and Single Thread Theatre Company director

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