Class facilitation is a cop out

One of the most difficult things for me to accept is that class facilitations are more helpful to the students than harmful. While I understand it forces students to take ownership of their education, it comes off as more of a cop out than anything.

This assignment style requires a student or a group of students to read, learn and lead a class discussion on a topic that has not been discussed in class. This puts pressure on students to teach themselves an entire section of the class and, on top of that, grasp the concepts well enough to be able to teach their peers — for a grade. I’ve heard the argument that if you can teach it, you’ve mastered it, but I’ve also been in classes where the students didn’t master it and you’re still forced to educate yourselves.

The argument of “I’m not paying to teach or paying to have my peers teach me” has been used a lot, but seriously, I’m not paying to have someone who is opening the textbook for the first time read part of a chapter and present for 15-20 minutes on something they have minimal knowledge on.

Perhaps if I were a student planning to go into education, this would be a viable learning opportunity. However, out of my three years at Truman State University, I don’t think class facilitation has given me any monumental education values.

Class facilitations also have no clear-cut way to present the material. Am I expected to lecture students during whatever trivial time the instructor has allowed?

I have come across one professor in my three years who properly utilizes class facilitations. Rather than attempting to teach the concepts, you quite honestly led a class discussion. Rather than having to write out definitions and pretend to be the teacher, you did an activity, and you were able to have discourse within the classroom. A class facilitation should never be students lecturing, but rather it should be students engaging others in a conversation.

If you are going to do a class facilitation assignment, style it in a way that is actually beneficial and informative for everyone.

I understand students get bored. I understand that part of the job of a professor is getting students involved and out of their comfort zone. But don’t discount my education because you want to keep class interesting.