I am a first year undergraduate student studying philosophy. One of my lecturers does not speak English as their first language, and is extremely difficult to understand. I could get over this if the lecturer was any good, but unfortunately they aren't. The module is a history of philosophy one, and they don't explain anything that's going on. All they do is read a quote from the text, put the argument in premise-conclusion form (which is not at all helpful), and then move on. There are other major problems with their teaching, but I won't get into them here as it would take all day. What the philosopher is saying, the justifications for their arguments, and everything else that is crucial to actually understanding the texts, are all left out. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that I have learned almost nothing from their lectures. What should I do?
I've looked over some similar questions both on this site and others, but none of the answers to those have been helpful. Some of the same answers will probably be given for this question so I'll try and anticipate some of them:
- The problem is not me just being stupid. I got quite good results in my last semester, and I haven't had any problems like this with any of my other modules. The lecturer is definitely the problem.
- There is no textbook or other resources for the module. It's just the historical texts and the lectures, so I can't just "do the readings" and figure it out. Again, this has never previously been an issue, as other lecturers have always explained the texts well. I have tried to look at secondary literature to make up for the lecturer's inadequacies, but much of it is beyond the level of a first year, I struggle with it because I don't even have the foundations that the lectures should provide, and in any case I shouldn't have to go looking for extra material just to have a basic idea of what is going on.
- I don't know if other students in the module are having problems to the same extent as I am. I had planned to ask others in a tutorial if they were also struggling, but the opportunity didn't arise. Tutorials are fortnightly for this module, so by the time the next one comes around the semester will almost be over, and there'll be little point in it then.
I really enjoy philosophy and what we are doing now seems really interesting and I want to understand it, but if things continue as they are then I feel that I'm going to finish the semester having learnt absolutely nothing from this module.