The number of these rebels may be much bigger than you think.
Three students from Anhui Normal University (AHNU) established ltaoke.com in June. The website quickly attracted 2,000 registered members in three months.
On the website, students share their experiences of skipping classes and even post ads to look for someone to stand in for them to attend courses.
It’s embarrassing for universities to see this shameful behavior discussed.
However, it’s good for schools and teachers to know via the website the reasons why students skip classes, according to Professor Xiao Haitao from the Institute of Higher Education at Shenzhen University.
Xiao pointed out that some students skip classes because of laziness. Others play truant because the teaching is truly dissatisfactory.
“Universities can seek improvements to give a radical cure to the class-skipping problem,” said Xiao.
Chen Yang, 21, thinks that he is “forced” to skip some courses because of the poor teaching.
The senior, majoring in English at Yangtze University, thinks that he’s wasting time in the classroom when the teacher reads the textbook word for word or hands him outdated reading materials.
“These teachers don’t put enough effort into preparing their classes. I won’t respect the class if they don’t respect my time,” said Chen.
He would rather skip classes to study in the library, watch online videos of Harvard or Yale lectures, or sit in on other courses he is interested in.
Chen draws a clear line between himself and those who skip classes in order to get more sleep or fool around on campus.
He emphasized: “I skip classes with a clear goal, which is to probe into areas I’m interested in and broaden my horizon.”
Li Sicen, president of the National Taiwan University (NTU), seems to be on Chen’s side. On September 5, the first day of NTU’s freshmen orientation, Li claimed that he supported those students who skip classes for good reasons, according to the United Daily News.
Skipping class to tour around Europe is a “good” reason. Li said the student became more devoted to his major area of study after coming back from the trip.
However, Professor Xiao warns students that Li is not giving permission for students to skip classes. Xiao suggests that Li was just showing his understanding of truancy in a limited number of cases.
In Professor Pan Cuiqiong’s opinion, students tend to jump to the conclusion that a certain course is boring and useless.
“To clear students’ misunderstanding, teachers should use materials closely related to students’ lives and adopt interactive teaching methods,” said Pan.
Pan teaches linguistics at Yangtze University. It’s a course deemed “boring” by some students. But Pan’s classes always have a full house.
Pan engages students in discussions about popular American TV dramas such as Gossip Girl (instead of the old-fashioned Friends).
She will use US President Barack Obama’s speeches to illustrate how useful the course can be: You can be elected president if you know the art of language.
Besides offering teachers more training, schools also need to give students different optional courses and ensure that they can attend the courses they are interested in, according to Professor Xiao.
Many Chinese students have the experience of being kicked out of an optional course because its size is limited. They are then forced to choose courses they dislike and are likely to skip them.
We may learn from Sydney University in Australia. There aren’t any problems with numbers ― if a course is popular then there will be more than one class per week.