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Salient. Newspaper of the Victoria University Students' Association. Vol 42 No. 8. April 23 1979

First Student

First Student

We sit expectantly, filling the hall to the edges, strained faces focussed on the man below us. He is talking in short clipped sentences. Words are spat like bullets from his lips. Some of them are repeated with monotonour regularity... Bad..... student......fail.....bad.....essay.....bad......marks.. bad.....work.... He tells us in this manner that many of us will fail, that we are to blame, that he and the other staff are doing the work of angels. His general attitude is that we are worth—less.

Students who have had 'experience' will pass because it is 'easy', but he implyed he could pick 50% of those that will fail right [unclear: then] simply by looking at them. I sit there, growing more and more outraged. What right has this jerk to say these things. I look at the sea of faces, many older students, attentively listening to what they know to be a true summation of the attitude of lecturers in large classes such as this. Younger students, first yean.....looking bewildered, not really knowing what they have stumbled into, disoriented, bewildered, alone. Although I know that markers in the situation that these lectures are in are inevitably defensive towards students, (they know how arbitrary and invalid and unreliable their procedures of assessment are) I fail to see how they have the gall to stand up and not only state an indefensible attitude, but to justify it by evincing totally negative attitudes towards those least capable of defence - first year students in large impersonal classes, in a subject with which they have never dealt with before. The lecturer has all the time been droning on, he tells us that we will reguritate what we are fed 'in the same form and as nearly the same order as we received it'; that another problem group are those 'who think that they have something to offer psychology' and that 'you might as well face the fact that you will make no contribution towards discussion in the subject for at least three years.....so much for orientation.