The American River Current

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  • J

    Jim SnokeOct 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    As an college instructor of 43 years, I can tell you that I have used physical demonstrations, including grappling with “unruly” students in Sociology classes — having set up the demonstration in advance with the student, and without the knowledge of the rest of the class — and after “physically throwing the student out of the room in front of his very surprised classmates, returning to the room with the student smiling. The class was then asked to describe, in detail, what they saw. The accounts varied, and in a class in social problems, this was instructive — especially in a discussion about American jurisprudence and its dependency on eye-witness evidence. I did this kind of demonstration for many years in my Sociology classes, but one thing I did not have was a video backup — something that anyone could review if eye-witness accounts failed to produce agreement.

    My issue with this is very much like the film, Rashomon, by the inspiring Japanese director Akiro Kurosawa. In the film, the audience is presented with “eye-witness” accounts from a bandit, a wife, a samurai, and a wood-cutter. The accounts are dramatically different, and the audience is left on its own to decide which, if any, of the accounts is the “truth”. The solution to the Rashomon dilemma is knowable, however. Either one of the accounts is true, and therefore the others are false — or they are all false. In professor Stockdale’s case, the video data are much clearer — because it is the only account that gives any degree of accuracy.

    After the initial take-down — the one that caused the injury — the injured student’s head is against the floor, and no one, not professor Stockdale or anyone else in the room, could see the cut above his eye. He continued to keep his head against the floor, while the two of them wrestled, and then — after getting up — the student continued to wrestle as if he had sustained no injury at all. Should professor Stockdale have intervened? Intervened in what? The real question is: “Did the students learn anything from the demonstration”? If the answer is “yes”, then professor Stockdale’s choice of a demonstration as a learning device was instructive. If the answer is “no”, then perhaps he should ask the class to do some calesthenics before such a demonstration so that they may be awake while it is going on. Suggesting that this classroom demonstration is somehow negligence on the part of professor Stockdale, and that it is grounds for job termination, is relegating a teaching moment to the level of reality television. Only someone who is not a teacher, and who watches too much television, would escalate this situation to that level. There is a difference in this case of a classroom demonstration, and while students and administrators may not be able to see it, it is, nevertheless, there.

  • A

    Antonio Maldonado VegaOct 18, 2013 at 12:36 am

    I have mixed feelings about the situation. I am currently taking Professor Stockdale for my Speech 300 class. Also just to be clear, I was not in the class that this occurred nor do I know any specifics of the events aside from what has been covered in this Article and the video shown above.

    Taking Professor Stockdale’s class, I have learned a lot. His methods of teaching are like no other teachers I have ever seen. He makes his students think, and not recite what you learn from a text book. He is an incredibly knowledgeable man who tries to teach his students what they can do to better their speech, and provides true, honest, and genuine feedback.

    I quickly found myself fond of the professor and am often listening to every word at the edge of my seat almost every class.

    But, I think that his trust in his students lead to a downfall such as this. I think he trusted his student to show the move in a manner where no one would get hurt, but the stunt obviously did not go as planned. Now, there are a few things I think we can all agree on:

    1. He shouldn’t have let this happen. I have experience in student government and working with the school first hand, and I can already see the school thinking a few things. They fear law suits like the plague, and they fear the bad press that will fall upon the school.

    2. He should have intervened. I understand he trusted those students to perform this exercise, and I very much so believe to teach the class and to make a point in a way that you would almost never see anywhere- not because it’s bad, but because it’s against the rules. However, it backfired. Once he saw the student’s injury he should have stopped to see if the student was okay.

    3. Disciplinary actions should be taken. As much as I wish there was no action to be taken to him, what he did was irresponsible. Times have changed, and assuming everyone was okay I feel like this situation would have been blown off a couple decades ago. But now we react to every little thing. If the student said he was okay, why not take his word for it? He is an adult that knows if he is injured or not. I also believe that Stockdale would be able to identify when a student needs aid, but this would simply be my opinion and would only matter if he does have some medical background (which I wouldn’t doubt). Nevertheless, students need to be protected. Even from themselves as we see in this video. It was their choice, but Stockdale should have at least taken proper precautions to make sure it would be safe. But should he be fired?

    Now, in an age where we just want to produce students to join the workforce and simply learn facts and recite them on paper, Stockdale makes us think and become independent thinkers. Being fired will most likely be an option that the school will be looking at but you would, in my opinion, be sending away a truly incredible professor from our campus.

    More investigation needs to be done, but as long as the students are okay and don’t need any medical attention, I wish it was a no harm no foul type situation. I look forward to hearing more feedback and information on the matter.

    *also ignore grammatical errors. It is 12:30 am and I am tired.

  • D

    Daniel AkersOct 17, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Nothing should happen to stockdale. There was no altercation it was a demonstration. This is just the repoter manipulating his words to get more people to read his article. This article doesn’t mention that the student was drinking before class which is why there’s so much blood if anybody gets in trouble the reporter and the person video recording should be on the receiving end. If there was any issues stockdale would have stoped it.

  • J

    J. EvolaOct 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I’m laugh at the clueless idiots who think this was an “altercation”. Doesn’t KCRA have some homeless person who won a scratcher to report on? There were two jackasses who rolled around on the floor for a minute. Great journalism!

  • K

    Karen ThomasOct 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    As prior Editor-in-chief and web editor of the Current, I must say I’m surprised to see this story sensationalized in the header. It was not an altercation that occurred in the classroom, it was an exercise on the topic of trust. I’ve taken professor Stockdale’s classes since my first semester at Arc, mainly because he thinks and teaches outside the box. He gives us real-world examples, tells shocking stories from his own life, and draws out of his students honest communications, many of which surprise the students that they were able to open up and be real in such a manner. After two and a half years of being a journalism major I changed my major to communications, because I realized I don’t want to report what happened today, I want to help shape tomorrow. Also, taking a class called race and gender in the media taught but an obviously bigoted instructor was more than I could handle. The story of what happened in Stockdale’s class was not well reported, and a follow up story that corrects the misnomer should be a priority for the staff of the Current. The best instructor at American River College may have his job at stake, and I’m pretty sure KCRA is here because of the word altercation in your header.

  • J

    Joelene C. RodriguezOct 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    What is not stated in this article that is important to note is that these two disruptions to the class (along with another, a female) were uninvited FORMER Stockdale students who descended on the classroom and hijacked the bulk of the class session. This hijacking included vulgar, disrespectful, and incendiary verbal assaults on several of the actual classmates — some of his words could’ve caused a real fight if the actual students hadn’t had their wits about them. The whole scene was a fiasco and a debacle and should never have been allowed to occur. Oh, it was also not mentioned that this bleeding student admitted to have been drinking before he arrived. And this entire scene went on for almost an hour – about 59 minutes too long.

  • S

    Sam PinnegarOct 17, 2013 at 9:18 am

    As a wrestler myself I understand the importance of mats and soft ground to wrestle on. I also know that injury is part of the sport. If the students who got injured is a wrestler he would understand that wrestling on linoleum is a risk. I do not feel that Professor Stockdale should have any disciplinary action taken against him because the campus need more teachers like him who allow the students to use their passions as a spring board for learning.

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Professor watches as student spills blood during classroom altercation