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02/21/2018

How to Talk to Professors

Want to tell a teacher that will not come? Sending email to professor! However, that business correspondence is not turned into an epistolary novel, it is necessary to know simple rules.

How to email professor about research

Red tape at universities in Germany today can be solved with the help of the Internet. One after the other German universities launching their own online platforms, where students can find schedules, lecture materials and share with classmates the thoughts about homework.

And questions favorite (and sometimes not) teachers students ask a professor by email.

Correspondence, though not as formalized as paper, but certain rules still comply. To denote norms of behavior on the Internet is even a special word coined: “netice” (“Netikette”, or network etiquette).

How to write an email to a professor asking a question

Student forums were clogged with questions: “How correctly to write: “Mr. Schmidt” or “Professor Doctor Schmidt”?”, “Do you think you will not be offended if the teacher “Hello”?”. “And my Professor wrote to me “hi, K.” and signed “P.”, – says student of German, who is now studying at University in the UK. – In Germany, teachers would get an aneurysm!”. Jokes-jokes, but the truth is, in the ironic words of a student there.

Some staff of German universities, tired of familiarity on the part of students, refuse to answer letters without befitting their status of treatment. So, Professor of law, University of Giessen, Professor Martin Gutzeit clearly indicated on their page on the University’s website: “Please note that emails starting with “Hi”, “Hallo”, will remain unanswered.”

Know your professor

“I’m always afraid to cross the boundary between “dry” letter and love message. The more we have, the critics, the specificity is quite informal communication: all “you” call each other (“dear”, “honey”). Not sure I can handle as to the Professor” – shares his doubts about Mary from the University of Augsburg. The girl is right: linguists believe that the style of communication between students and teachers varies from faculty to faculty. And that is considered quite normal in the Humanities, may not understand mathematics students.

Lecturer in German studies at the University of Bonn, Jan Seifert devoted an entire study to the analysis of student messages. The bad professor closely examined nearly 600 emails. “Communication mistakes in the emails of students was less than expected. But there are mistakes, and sometimes very impressive,” he says and read your favorite example.

“Good Evening. You have received a message from my friend that today my train broke down? Because of this jalopy I found myself in the woods. I hope you for me today, not really bored 😉 if you want I’ll do help. Although in reality I was not sick. Greetings.” It is a real message that the student made all imaginable mistakes. Speaking design alternate with wrong punctuation and typographical errors are combined with inappropriate “smiley”.

The list of common mistakes in student letters lead to improper forms of greeting and farewell. In addition, often in the same letter, the young people mix official style with vernacular words. Foreigners, says Seifert, is usually written quite politely and use adequate language. “The only unusual structure, which I noticed in the letters of the students, the phrase before the signature “Your response is very important to me.” I can’t understand is the “blueprint” of, or your textbooks, is that an option?” – he is perplexed.

The Golden rule of Internet communication is the measure of all: neutral handling, the short phrase “in the case of” no slang and overly stilted phrases.

The adjective “dear” sounds solid, emphasizes the distance between teacher and student and great for first letter. When student and teacher have developed friendly relations, you can navigate to the address “dear, dear”. The expressions “good morning”, “good afternoon” and “good evening” better watch out. It is unknown when the recipient prefers email. Wish a nice evening for Breakfast can be quite inappropriate.

Man in bed with laptop

Telling the teacher about the disease, you should not indulge in the “disgusting” details of your well-being.

Another difficulty with academic degrees and titles. While “doctor” is abbreviated to Dr., “Professor” are usually written completely. If the teacher a few scientists and academic titles, use the title of the highest academic degrees. “Often, students forget to write the words “Herr” and “Frau” in front of a degree, says Jan Seifert. – By the way, if the first letter of the title are specified, the following could be omitted”.

How to deal with a professor who hates you

“The day I receive about two dozen emails from students, says a teacher of linguistics from Ruhr University Bochum Kleppin Karin. Mostly students ask questions about exams, homework, presentations, asking them to recommend additional literature”. Unlike some colleagues, she was not offended by “hi” in the beginning of the message and smiles when he sees six exclamation marks after the word “question” in the subject from students from China.

“There are a lot of books on netiquette, but even in them there are errors and inconsistencies. So, now you know how to talk to professors and we must learn to correctly assess the situation and the relationship with the teacher,” says Jan Seifert. And the main thing – to send the letter only in really necessary cases. The theme of the course work, it is desirable to discuss in a personal meeting, and in the details of his night with diarrhea of associate Professor is better not to dedicate. Don’t be surprised the following message to the Professor of German, too, had to read!

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