Famous Quotes

“I’m concerned that adding ‘artificial intelligence’ to smartphones will add ‘artificial intelligence’ to smart students.” –Professor Phil Jones

Share this article

How to handle the ‘dominating’ student.

They think it’s ok to not raise their hand when they have a question, and instead, blurt out their own opinions, experiences, and ‘wisdom’; they ask too many questions, not allowing for others in the class to do the same; they interrupt the flow of the lecture. Basically, ‘they’ rule the class…your class! Who are these students? What’s a professor to do? What’s are students supposed to do? This has been a question I get asked all the time, and with another recent inquiry via the blog, I thought now is a good time to post something about it.

As a professor, it is your responsibility to the other students in your class to stop this in the early stages. Each student in the class is paying to learn primarily from your experience and knowledge. I say, ‘primarily’, because some students do have backgrounds and experiences that can enhance what you’re talking about; enhance, not dominate.

Here’s what I do that has worked for me in the past:

Hand out an ‘Anonymous index card’ at week 2, the middle of the semester, and near the end of the semester. The card has 3 simple questions on it: What am I doing in class that is working? What am I doing in class that is not working? Do you have any suggestion(s)?

When you hand out the card to everyone, even the student that is dominating the class knows that everyone is having input on how the class is managed and they’re not the only person who’s concerns you care about. If you end up needing to talk to this student about their classroom behaviour, they will know it’s not just a concern with you, but with others in the class.

On the card, you’ll most likely see a comment like, ‘You’re letting (name) dominate the class with their own questions and comments, so it would be appreciated if you could elaborate on his/her comments outside of class because it’s interfering with MY learning in class. Thank you!’

 Once you know this is a concern with a student, or multiple students, you can then address it.

Trust me, you will know in the first or second class that you have this kind of student (I’ll just use my own name, ‘Phil’) in your class. When you see the pattern start, acknowledge their experience and insight in a positive way in class (that’s what they want), “Thanks, great comment”, “Thanks for sharing” and then asking the others in the class what they think, “Anne, what about you?” and go around the room. This way ‘Phil’ will see you want opinions from everyone, not just him. Another tip is to say to Phil “you’ve got a lot of great ideas and questions, so why don’t we talk during my office hours, then we don’t end up having our own conversation in class and ignore everyone else, plus I have to make sure I get through all this material. See me at the end of class ok and we’ll set it up?” The best way is to avoid it getting to this stage, so the index card helps, especially when you do it throughout the course.

Lastly, you shouldn’t put the onus on the student to deal with this situation. Some don’t want to cause problems and some simply don’t trust that their name as the complainant won’t be exposed to that person, because, if it is, it will become a bigger problem for you. It’s your class, so manage it.




Share this article

Famous Quotes

“Learn how the brain works and you’ll learn how to teach.”

–Professor Phil Jones

Share this article

Interesting thought about Pirates.

I was just thinking…when Pirates were in college back in 1650, were they told to raise their hook if they wanted to ask a question?–Professor Phil Jones

Share this article

Professor appreciation

Compliment from a student in the year 1991: “I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot; thanks sir!”

Compliment from a student in the year 2017: “You’re the sh*t sir!”

–Professor Phil Jones

Share this article

Set ‘S-M-A-R-T-E-R’ goals

When I was in college, we learned about setting goals and were taught the acronym ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based). In fact, even today, we still teach that concept. Well, I’m creating a new acronym that should be used instead that I am now teaching my students: ‘SMARTER‘ (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Based, Economical, and Rewarding). Since goals are directly linked to your habits and, more often than not, requires changing your current habits in order to achieve your goal, you need to add ‘economical’ and ‘rewarding’ to the current mix.









–Professor Phil Jones


Your goal must be ‘economical’ (meaning, are you willing to pay the price in order to achieve it?)  Setting a goal means that you WILL be sacrificing something in order to achieve it. Spending less time with family and friends? Spending money for products, services or memberships necessary to achieve the goal? Time commitment? Not doing other leisure activities?

Your daily habits dictate how you spend your time from the moment you wake up in the morning until the time you go to sleep at the end of your day.  If you have set a goal, then you will most likely need to alter those daily habits in order to achieve your goal. According to the research done by MIT’s neuroscience guru, Ann Graybiel, if you want to successfully change those habits, there MUST be a reward at the end. Giving yourself a reward once you have achieved the goal is a huge motivator and must be part of the equation; it will keep your eye on the prize at the end of the journey (a book that I highly recommend that expands on Graybiel’s research is ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg).

If more people thought about the sacrifices they will be making before they start their goal and also think about the reward they’ll get once completed, it will result in more people achieving their goals. Bottom line, if you aren’t willing to ‘pay the price’ and give yourself a reward at the end, you won’t achieve any of the goals you set. Don’t just be smart when setting your goals, be smarter!

Share this article

Advice, tips, and favourite quotes I gave to my graduates.

handling pressures of collegeThis year, I was asked to give a talk to my graduating students at their graduation dinner. If you ever get asked, and wonder what you will say, simply give them some of your favourite quotes, advice, and tips that you have learned since the time you graduated. Here were mine:

  1. The best scenario in life is knowing that you know, the next best scenario is knowing that you don’t know, and the worst scenario is not knowing that you don’t know (unknown, but my father told me this one.)

    “Give yourself a ‘Life Sentence’. It has to include a noun (you), an adjective (one word that you want to be known for), and a verb (what you are doing).”–Professor Phil Jones

  2. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans (John Lennon)
  3. Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.” (John Wooden)

    “Read Youtube comments; it will ensure that you will have a laugh every day.”–Professor Phil Jones

  4. Remember those that help you during your life; and remember those that don’t, especially when you win the lottery.
  5. Buy a lottery ticket once in a while (the majority of my students don’t buy them).
  6. Add value to your employer or client…then multiply that value by 3 times; it will make you invaluable to an organization. (Jenniffer Alvarenga).
  7. Try to avoid booking a dental or medical appointment on a Friday. If things don’t go well, it will be hard tracking down the doctor; they’ll be away at their cottage.
  8. Make your bed every morning; it will make you feel organized as you start your day.
  9. Your ‘word’ is everything, so use it wisely.
  10. Read…a lot.
  11. Drink water…a lot.
  12. Did you know that ‘Drake’ is a male duck, and not just a Rapper? It’s true, look it up on your ‘smartphone’.
  13. Never give away your ‘Coca Cola’ secret ingredient; that way no one can steal your ideas.
  14. Listen to the song ‘Time’ by Pink Floyd.

I finished off the speech with: “People will only remember how you made them feel…so I hope that I, along with your fellow professors in attendance here tonight, made you feel a little smarter, a little more motivated to learn, and a little more important. Enjoy your graduation day.”

Share this article

Famous Quotes: Grading System

“Who was the ‘genius’ that thought up the grading system that’s currently used in schools? A-B-C-D…F…what happened to the letter E? I wonder how many students would be passing if there was a letter grade E?”  –Professor Phil Jones

Share this article

Famous quotes: ‘Plagiarism’

Plagiarism. The word itself will never be copied because it’s too hard to spell…or was that the idea?    –Professor Phil Jones

Share this article

My summer project: ‘Led Zeppelin Tree Trunk Drum Set’.


Drum Set Design: Phil Jones. Chainsaw Artist: Peter Van Adrichem/Fleetwood Studio. Thanks to Cam at ‘Tree Climbers’ for the stumps!
Side configuration








Here's what it looks like covered in snow; kind of like ice cream cones?

Winter in Canada!


Share this article