What should we expect out of education?

Lest we forget,  let me remind you of the math, Students Pay Teachers to Educate them. That makes them… well, in a sense at least, “The Boss”, AT the very least students are the “clients”. Teachers are in-effect service providers. Lets not forget that.

I wrote a post some time ago about how there’s a fundamental shift in the way kids are processing information. When I present Prensky’s Digital Natives to my students, some of them cant help from nodding enthusiastically – FINALLY, someone’s explaining to them why things are the way they are.

And the way things are, well – any recent MBA/BMM student will admit – they can do with improvement.

In my opinion, going by prensky’s paper, other readings, and my own experience I think these are the new “Tenets of Learning”, at least from the Undergrad Level forward. Some of them sound really old-school (Think “pre Industrial Revolution”, but I stand by them)

  • Freedom of Information – All Information should be free – why *shouldn’t* a post grad student have his computer in class, with all information at his fingertips? It then becomes the responsibility of US the TEACHERS to set the kind of killer paper that still tests them.
  • Collaboration – Right now, there is a very simple concept – MBA students call it RG (Relative grading) – its worse than “every man for himself” – under RG, its not only enough that you do well, but it is equally important that others do BADLY. We teachers are educating our “clients” for a future that is going to demand collaboration – and if we remove some institutionalised rules, we’ll see that students WANT to collaborate.
  • Apprentissage and Mentoring – You never stop being a student. And, pretty much, you never stop being a teacher. Those of you who have done even 1 guest lecture will agree – when you get their attention, and see them understand something you’re trying to explain, you want to do it again and again. and its not enough to speak to a faceless class of 100 students. work WITH a smaller group. really work with them
  • Training for Flexibility – The next 30 years are going to be very turbulent – older tools are being replaced by newer paradigms – why are we still teaching the “History of the newspaper printing industry”?
  • Live projects – Mahatma Gandhi said, “What we Learn to do, We learn by doing”. . Companies are going to emply these kids – shouldn’t they be working with them to make sure the kids have the right tools?

I may soon be in a position to effect  ACTUAL CHANGE in the way students are being taught across the country. I cant talk about it just yet (sorry, but when I can – you’ll be the FIRST to know), but before I take that step I need to do it in the same spirit that will drive the change. I need to follow my own tenets.

SO Here goes.

Help me understand stuff from your point of view – be you a student, a recent student, a teacher, an employer who will be hiring these students, or someone just interested in education in general. Please help me answer questions like

–        What should we be teaching undergrad and postgrad students ?

–        What did you LOVE about Learning ?

–        What did you HATE about studies?

–        Any anecdotes when you taught something well, or something was taught to you well?

–        How do YOU study? How do you teach?

–        What things would you like to see changed

…. Yknow. Stuff like that.

I wait with baited breath for your response.



About Tarun

Joker, smoker, midnight toker. Teacher, writer, general gadabout
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26 Responses to What should we expect out of education?

  1. Priyanka Shetty says:

    nice write-up.something that i can completely connect with. when i was a media student, i always had a problem studying the history of printing press, etc. PR was definitely a subject but to be honest I learnt and understood PR only at my first work-place. communication and people skills helped me to get that job, not the history of printing press or PR.

    the main reason i started teaching was to connect with students and learn something from then. They syllabus had hardly changed. Initially i was teaching 3rd year students at Jai hind where I had no choice but to teach them ONLY from the syllabus in the limited time given to me as it was going to be an university paper and the students and the co-ordinator was adamant i complete the portion on time and ALSO hand out notes which eventually i didn’t.

    In 2010, i was teaching 2nd year BMM students. This time I ensured I spoke to them about a regular day at a PR agency for instance, the real work that happens, played team-building games, asked them to get newspapers and understand media themselves rather than teaching them just PR tools and not explaining the applications, use of it…

    As a rule, I had to teach them from the senseless syllabus which according to me is not applicable in the practical world at all.

    I would like the education scene to completely change where more than 1 professor teaches the same subject so students gets different perspective, where students can question their teachers, a syllabus which is more practical and will help when one enters the so called dirty corporate world. With this, it’s also important, that for arena specific courses there are limited number of students and each student is given equal attention trying to help him/ her to know his/her strengths and weaknesses which will help the student to know what career he/she would want to pursue.

    Most of my students want to be in advertising as they think it’s cool without really knowing if they have a knack for it or not and without even understanding the industry and it’s dynamics. Internship in different sectors and preferably in different cities should be a mandatory and should be part of the course. This will help them to know and understand the industry and deal with people. Life is beyond a classroom and projects and exams and the earlier they know, it will be better for them.

    An opportunity to interact with industry professionals should also be organised by the professors/ college. This will help them in knowing the various view-points.

    Students should be encouraged to travel. Any course, any industry. Travel always helps in understanding oneself and breaks one’s myopic vision that India is beyond Bombay.

    Am sure I will come up with some more points. Will keep you posted.

    Priyanka Shetty

    PS: Sorry for the LONG response.

    • Tarun says:

      thanks so much for so many details. _ how about course materials/ what students submit? does it HAVE to be “text”?

    • harsht says:

      Don’t you think your proposals for Education have no epistemological grounding and are a bit too administrative?

      I understand the need for empiricism in Education, but you seem to suggest that empirical evidence is all that counts


  2. Undergrad- well 1st year its okay if its theory but by the end of 1st yr undergrad itself we should start making kids comfortable with case studies , presentations , self studies and the thinking process will eventually will become better…
    postgrad- should actually consist of self studies only.. class and attendance should be removed from the priority list.. but if there are industry people coming in for a lec then yes by choice students will come in coz in post grad 90 cent people know y they r doing that.

    I loved my undergrad college because in a way or the other we could speak our mind though i agree not many students took up the risk of speaking up for the obvious reasons. A teacher forgets that he is serving the society by shaping the kids in the best possible way and is not doing the job to satisfy his ego or just take it up as a salary job. Its a duty by choice. Some how in my under grad i was lucky i would say for i shared a good rapport with the heads of the department so i was on the safe zone even after being such a rebel but i did see my friends in college suffering for unjustified reasons just because they had offended the teacher in one way or the other. If not directly the ego would be shown on the internal marks. In post grad too this is the scene and there are many kids who suffer from this.

    I hate it when a lec doesn’t know how to control a class in a friendly manner and demands respect from kids by insulting them or degrading them. I hate when they put dead lines and have made classes compulsory 6 days a week and expects to submit project at unjustified times and say you need to go through this stress. I m not really opposing deadlines its the project and the learning that suffer because then the favorite words come into picture “cut-copy-paste”.

    I remember an incident when i was in 10th ,my sister had problem in writing certain letters till like 3rd or 4th standard and her teachers use to complain that she is not interested in learning and my sister would come crying home that she is insulted in class for the same by other kids. I sat with my sister like any other day and we were painting as we always did and some how while painting it clicked me that we write and paint together and the choice of letter were giving by the me to her and then her to me and from then onward she never made a mistake ever again and she developed an interest in reading too within no time. I really think if a little bit of an effort is made by the lec who are experience and knowledgeable they can really help the uninterested kids also focus in their studies by just being their and understanding the problem.

    I m not a book worm and i dont think i can ever be. I study by choice and if the topic is appealing or i know the author then u read. but i definitely prefer self studies or interactive lecturers who let u be stupid in class and dont insult u if u have a dumb question.

    There are 2 big things that can be changed here.
    -kids do more of self studies than class attending in order to get them to read and write more according to their thought process will lead them revive themselves on the creative scale.
    – encourage them to be against lectures who r their for just money and ego satisfying because teaching can not be imposed.

    • Tarun says:

      absolutely – theory is important, it is the foundation at the end of the day. And so is discipline. But i guess that unless the theory is not made relevent and applicable, and the “rewards” from learning it are not more tangible, self-discipline in studies wont arise.

  3. Bharath Iyer says:

    I was a teacher as well as a student simultaneously. Thus I learnt a lot of things from either end of the system. We need to understand that the system is still ‘old school’ for the reason that there is a HUGE generation gap between the teachers and the students. We can accredit it the fact that many of the younger generations are moving towards lucrative jobs when they could be fantastic educators (me for example!!). Now, trying to bridge the gap, I think we need to be collectively responsible as a generation of people who are willing to make that change happen!!

    I have always loved to learn rather than study. Studying was something I did because I learnt new things. My dad once told me that my brain can store more than a super-computer can and thus began the quest for knowledge. Reading and assimilating knowledge according to me is fun and thats why learnt.

    However, the older way of scoring marks by mugging up was not my cup of tea and eventually ended up just around the mid 80s in terms of percentage while others would manage 90s and above. Somehow, it did not make sense to me to score marks and be stupid at the same time! Either I know it or I dont know it is how I saw it.

    Education must be by choice. As a faculty at one of the elite institutes in India, I discovered that when students were connected to the topic of study, they did drive a lot of value out of the whole interaction.

    There is no such thing as a stupid question is what some facilitators need to understand. Some students come from different backgrounds which do not allow them access to facilities like many other. That needs to be kept in mind before complaining to them.

    According to me, skills can be learnt at any time of life, what needs to learnt early in life is the attitude!! A proper attitude can make or break a person. So, that needs to be in place even before education commences.

    Another thing is communication. We live in a tech savvy world which thrives on information. Imagine having a sim card that doesnt catch signal properly, the customer promptly changes to another sim card. Human beings are like that too. So I strong believe that communication skills must be honed at the earliest for the betterment of the system as a whole.

    Well this is my take. Sorry if I went a little overboard 😀

    • Tarun says:

      youve got so many points!

      1. There IS an inner drive – where does it come from? is it born in only some of us? or do all of us have it – we just dont know what to be driven “towards”?

      2. There are NO stupid questions – only insecure teachers. Richard Feynman won his Noble prize because he wondered why a spinning plate wobbled. Imagine asking that of a teacher here – how many will say “I dont know, but im gonna try and get back to you on this” and RESPECT the question.

      3. How would you use the “technology” students are currently using to collaborate/ transmit information to teach them? any ideas?

  4. Tarun

    Thanks for this. I have been thinking about a few of these issues for a while, as I have been involved in learning (academic – attending a course on political science) & Professional (First job et al.) and just a solitary guest lecture (about my masters thesis on Anti war art). To answer your questions

    What we should be teaching – Teach effectively. The single biggest problem I feel our education system has is that it tends to encourage learning by rote. I studied in a premier engineering college, and apart from a few dynamic teachers, most of them just asked us to mug up things. In some subjects, in which I did well, I practically did not know anything. Yes, I can tell you how to go about designing a turbine, but if you twist the problem a little, I would have been pretty clueless. I much rather preferred a prof, who wrote a problem on the board, walked out of class and asked us to use ‘whatever’ we can, to solve the problem. Two hours later, he walked in, he explained the solution to us, and asked us to grade ourselves.

    It was a problem that he was consulting with the industry, and he threw it open to us. No one even had the guts to even give ourselves 1 mark. But he earned our respect and ensured that we learned as the course progressed.

    Coming to what should be taught, I feel what needs to be taught is

    1. Social sciences. Why, is again I will share an anecdote with you.

    I work for a respected research agency and design & conduct research to help clients grow their business/solve their problems. A certain client wanted us to segment the data by religion, as he wanted to create campaigns specifically designed towards certain communities. This I felt was an atrocious thing to do, however, the client refused to see anything wrong with it. The point I am making is not whether I took the right / wrong call, the problem is such simple questions don’t even arise in the minds of most of us. Changing the way we think, can change a lot of things. It is more important for the education system to teach us to be human beings with a broader outlook and not just a myopic vision of things. After all, we only make up the society and mirror it.

    2. Ethics: Yes, at the risk of sounding like a HR professional, ethics need to be taught. By this, I mean that we need to be asking ourselves a few questions before we do something, with regards to our work and our lives in general. Otherwise please expect us to become Radia’s and Raja’s.

    How do I study – Find someone who knows about the subject more than me or find someone who is interested in the same subject. Read. Have a point of view. Be willing to defend it.

    On more practical terms, I prefer to read from multiple sources than just one, as it avoids boredom of reading the same style (in terms of language & style of writing) over and over again. More so, learn from peers.

    How do I teach – Just one proper experience, talking for about 45 mins about my thesis in front of 3rd year political science students. The topic I thought could be a bit pakau for a few students, so I decided to contextualise it for them, by starting about discussing Mumbai (then took the 26/11 angle to start a discussion on the event as a war on India, then finally getting into anti war art). Two things stood out.

    1. I was able to get much more of their attention, after “what I do for a living came up”. The fact that I was an MBA and working in the corporate world ensured that I got heard (sad, but true). Lesson learnt: Need to know how to connect to the students, at any level possible.

    2. Especially while dealing with subjects like Political Science & History (and other supposedly not so professional areas), it is important to impress upon students, WHY are we doing all this. The whole tangible benefit thing needs to come into play. Now, teaching people about Political Science is great, but if in a class of 90% mumbaikars are not aware of the history of Mumbai, or why Kamla Mills in Lower Parel are not mills anymore, and how the composition of the city has changed, the subject becomes abstract.

    3. Encouraging field trips: Yes, as someone so correctly mentioned above, we need to travel more and speak to people who are unlike us. To use a done to death term, see the “real” India. From a professional point of view, I have learned more about market research by going on the field, rather than sitting in my chair.

    Things I loved about studying – Knowing that there are so many interesting things happening, which affect me directly or indirectly is reason enough to study.

    Things I hate about studying – The maddening desire to get grades, that too at a PG level, is just moronness. If you are still chasing grades at 24…..

    Things I loved about teaching – Seeing students defending their viewpoints staunchly and putting me under pressure.

    Things I hate about teaching – The fact that some students were plain disinterested and were unnecessarily pushed into the class to listen to me.

    One more thing I dislike is the “I know it all” kind of attitude some teachers have.

    Hope this helps in some way.

    • harsht says:

      I see that you have been upto stuff 🙂
      But grades – Perhaps in undergraduate, grading is important, very important as a very young adult needs to be checked. Higher degrees should ideally be self selected cohorts, so grading is much more symbolic – more a record of what you have been upto. This is how they do it in the US. When I do a course paper, I am not concerned about whether I get an A ( which I usually would) , but will the professor think I am not as smart or as dedicated as I should be – get the difference? When I am not ready I take an incomplete instead of submitting something trashy- and that is not discouraged.

      But when I taught you guys in India , where the cohort is not a self selected one to a fair extent – My objective was to make learning and grades show a high correlation – and I would say for most part it was achieved. The assignments moved from more theoretical to extremely applied. (Remember the TGI PPTs that people made, I thought many of them were such interesting use of the data that even yr current Boss was quite impressed by and with polish ). I thought most people who scored well had also learnt more than others. And that is where I used my discretion in grading. If all teachers graded like that automatically the race for grades would also be a race for learning

      In sum, we need grading as a record of what you did and how you did, but we need more correlation between learning and grades. Someone who scores high should feel he has learnt more

  5. Anu says:

    When I started to do my Bachelors in Mass Media, I was informed that I’d learn Public Relations as a part of my course. I’d always had specific interest in the subject.I did learn PR theory, however, I only saw a press release 6 months after I had studied the subject. Also I saw the Press release because I took up an internship and not because of my course structure. When I took a lecture on Pr for a bunch of 14 students from the SY, I realized they paid attention only when I taught them a PR campaign and its working with a soft copy of a press release, a full fledged press kit, a media docket and corresponding coverage from the said press kit.

    I am convinced that people only interact in a class and truly take in from a class when you give them substantial material to look, feel and then understand. A simple lecture with a lot of supplementary examples that students can relate with also works. Every time I’ve carried a newspaper and demonstrated things like white space, rules, column sizes, it has worked much better than simply standing before a class and explaining the same through words.

    I think with the students going through several changes and getting information easily, the way we educate them needs to be democratic, fully practical, but theory shouldn’t be left out. Also let’s not make them study for a 100 or an A+ or what have you, let them study to gain information they can later use in a career.

  6. harsht says:

    I don’t disagree with much of this post. But one major disagreement with some comments and the way a part of the argument is shaping.

    I find your saying history of newspapers/printing press is meaningless to be taught today to be problematic. This dismissive tone towards historical analysis needs to change.

    Let me take a related example. You may say that we should teach our students “how to do marketing using Facebook” but not make them read Personal Influence and other first studies on Word of Mouth done in the 1940s ( Katz, Lazarfield etc) . Those studies led to the development of the ‘idea’ that personal influence mediates the flow of messages between mass media and consumers, particularly the decision process. And they talked about how networks ‘influence’ communication.

    Similarly talking about the history of newspapers, think of what the advent of the penny press did for news. And now the proliferation of free online news is analogous to that. And various newspapers introducing pay walls is in a way the same battle that some newspapers fought to stand out from the penny press.

    If I historicize media then there are three revolutions that are talked about , the invention of writing, the invention of the printing press and the invention of the electric telegraph. The digital revolution is really a subset of the third one.

    Granovetter’s weak ties theory is what Linkedin is based on. And granovetter himself was perhaps inspired by early work in Networks (1930s – 1940s). Facebook has a lot of learning from Millgram’s small world experiments done in the 1960s.

    As we think of how business models for new media will evolve, i think studying what factors and processes shaped the development of the advertiser supported model is informative.

    Do we want our students to be people who will create the newer conventions of tomorrow, or who will merely run the FB pages , the surveys and do telephone coordination with agencies? Unfortunately if too many empiricists define education, we will not achieve much more

    • Tarun says:

      I agree with you – my point is not that we should NOT teach the past – but explain WHY that past is relevent to the present. Take the points you yourself mentioned – how many teachers actually make those links in India? Honestly.

      If someone got inspired from “When old media was new” and started teaching “history” not as dates but as a “story” – the students would listen. they would care. they would understand the relevance.

      How ideas and information are transmitted in any socio-industrial environment is crucial to understand – but how many students learn that from their teachers? and how many are simply given notes for an exam?

      • harsht says:

        This teaching history of the press is what some people at India’s leading communication school accused one fairly through professor of. Her argument was how politics and economics affect the growth and transformation of media as an industry, using Indian press as a case study.

        But our students don’t read, they judge before they read, they misinterpret before they even give the historical perspective a chance.

        Part of this happens because enough other ‘flashy professors’ dismiss the historical analysis as irrelevant past.

        So as academics we should be responsible when we talk about the relevance of history or the lack thereof. It is one of those easy targets for empiricists to jump on.

        Good to know we are on the same page about how history has to be taught!

  7. i too am impressed with your recent post and so i wish to share my opinion based on it. i am a student studying in bangalore which would be my 7th institution. i believe that the sum experience i have gained through travel in my past life, have in a way fashioned my senses over various aspects and subjects.

    i am doing my BBM (1st year) and going through various progressive changes each day. one may even go as far as to say that i am still in my metamorphosis stage and unlike the above people who have posted their views on this subject, i have very little experience and exposure to comment in an appropriate manner. even so, i wish to elucidate on what i believe the education system SHOULD be!

    i did my high school in dubai, dubai modern high school. i owe my school for educating and instilling the right etiquette and mannerisms in me. having followed the indian system of education (ISC) in my school, which i feel has drilled my mind and beaten the fundamentals of my subjects deep within my subconscious, i do feel that it could be re-engineered to make learning more practical and fun rather than the usual bulk of theoretical spoon feeding that we are dosed with.
    i would like to substantiate on practical learning by saying that it could be done by providing the right infrastructure, facilities and technology for learning. although this becomes a thing to brag about and is that which is also being implemented (at a really slow rate though), it really does bring about the right sense of learning, atleast to begin with.
    for example, the use of smart boards and projectors in each class made learning not just easy but enjoyable. my english classes were the best. instead of the usual translations and interpretations given by the teacher. the teacher asked us on our opinions. the class was an open forum to debate and literature which was usually a subject for people to take lightly was seriously considered and studied compiled with intensive research. the ideology was always to go “beyond” the text than limiting oneself only to it.
    my sir would, on several occasions ask us to bring our laptops as it made learning far more dynamic (although we did misuse this freedom on several occasions :P) and at times would bring even art for our interpretations as a source of additional information even though it wasn’t syllabus related. this was informative, productive and at the same time something different. the time wasted diminished to major extent.

    this is to a brief extent on how learning was at high school for me. there were so many times when my parents and i have sat with our family friends who have sons/daughters studying in a international curriculum and how they would keep talking about how unsystematic and theory based the indian education system is in comparison to international system. since they always spoke on general guidelines i wouldn’t protest as it was to a large extent, true after hearing their stories of what education was like for their kids. the opportunities and the system devised was indeed fascinating. i really do wish that our system could adopt similar changes for better opportunities of growth and well being.

    having finished high school from dubai, i expected my undergrad to be even better with broader scope and spectrum for learning. all my expectations were led to disappointment. the classes are dull, undisciplined and methods of teaching are backward. infact the word “backward” would be an improvement. the only practical way of studying comes through by being part of the fest team which fortunately i am a part of. while other students just rot in the classes.
    emphasis on attendance is fine but the atmosphere created dosent motivate one to attend and hence we always have a bulk of students who fall short of it. i at this point only speak prior to my college. some students have just come as the trend says that they should without having the slightest bit of idea on what they would want and benefit out of their degree.
    the orientation program is an illusion devised to give us a false sense of hope and comfort.
    some of the teachers recruited are horribly bad. i have seen my marketing teacher read on when to say what through the register having little or no idea to what she might be saying. sometimes it feels that she herself is learning for the first time. and if one is to ask for a doubt, she would reply – ” go research it yourself or ask your doubt tomorrow ” rather than explaining or justifying it.
    the usual ways of getting good marks are “sucking up” to our teachers or mugging their notes while writing the paper. the assignments, projects or case studies given in class are considered as an obligation. also, at times the date of submission given by our professors is impractical.
    i only speak in regard to a commerce college and i have got a similar feedback from my friends studying in different colleges. speaking of feedback, the feedback forms given by our colleges are utterly useless and probably thrown in the bins as nothing changes!
    i am sure my elder brother could substantiate even further when it comes to the culture prevailing in engineering colleges.

    i honestly believe that the indian education system for the undergrad program, has to revamp itself. we must have students and not stupids passing out.
    this would be my experience and opinion so far…..

  8. coke says:

    Hi Tarun,
    This article continues where the last article left off, and you’ve managed to define the scope of the teaching paradigm here.

    I’m a Teaching Assistant, and my experience interacting with teachers and students, tells me that it is the old school of teachers which holds back the classroom from making any real “progress”. When students profess their keenness to know more and apply concepts to real life cases, it is up to the teachers to rise to the challenge rather than shrug their shoulders and cower under the guise of “starting with the basics”. A study of a current issue like WikiLeaks would teach students more about concepts like Information politics and Information needs than a dozen of Wilson’s papers; I’ve watched certain teachers brush off the suggestion because it involved too much work (to evaluate, perhaps?) while others have gladly hunted for ways to update the syllabus and incorporate this and other examples in their teaching.

    Teachers need to be more open to suggestions, and to the idea of “catering” to their students. The question they need to ask themselves is not “Are my students listening to me”, but, “Am I listening to them?”

    Hope this helps!

    • harsht says:

      Well the problem many teachers would have using case studies of newer examples is uncertainty. Let me explain:

      I think the latest uprisings in middle east show great examples of how ‘revolutions are being tweeted’. And then when I get a chance to do a detailed analysis – Who are the people tweeting, What was old media’s role ( say AL Jazeera, the FAX machine) the original claim feels hollow.

      Establishing cause and effect or any good explanatory mechanisms in social sciences is very hard and takes time. Many good academics would not jump into emerging case studies for that reason!

      Having said that, If faculties have active programs of research related to what they teach, they will always add value beyond what the book says.

  9. M says:

    Okay, so I do a BA at Jai Hind College, and at some time it hit me that really all we were doing was being fed info, all over again. I don’t know if it’s the college or the students, but for us, assignments aren’t mandatory. Profs have a very lax view about it. I haven’t done a single assignment in two years. (Though my Xavierite friends are always knee-deep in them.)

    I had ONE literature prof this year who was absolutely brilliant, she stretched our boundaries of thought to an absolute. She was the kind who made us want to work and it was evident that she loved what she was doing. The rest just sound very bored.
    She stayed for a year, she has already left the faculty because she can’t stand the repressive system.

    Sorry the thoughts here are so scattered, I’m just sharing. I’ll come back with more.

  10. Aamod says:

    Great article!
    I am engineer and I have mugged up tons and tons of information over my 4 years of graduation. Sadly, I have not used that information even once. The question which bothered me that time was, why need to mug up information which is easily available in books or over the internet. Why can’t we have open book exams? Or for that matter try and change the concept of asking bookish knowledge and ask more application based question. Probably the reason many students still fear maths as a subject?

    I maybe wrong, but surely would love to see a change in the education system.
    As an MBA aspirant I hope to see more application based studies ahead of me instead of more mugging.

  11. siddhant says:

    well if you have a computer which has access to the internet and you test people allowing them to use it…other kinds of issues arise…it becomes about who can browse better and whether the information is reliable. The library was always open to us as children and we could have read and studied anything from it (and we did) but the school and the teachers guide us to what are the basics, which is why in school we receive knowledge and not search for it ourselves. The door is wide open for cheating as well. For example, the teacher asks the students to write about republic day and it’s significance. The students look for people who wrote said essay and ….ctrl+a…ctrl+c….ctrl+v…done…where’s the challenge in that?

  12. Dhaval Rawal says:

    Finished engineering 3 years back and been working in the IT industry since.

    What i would have wanted to learn is the “process of learning”. How to approach something completely new, internalize it, be a practitioner and then a master.

    What students need today is a thought process more than anything else. The events in our environment should invoke specific questions. A marketing grad should question and figure how “Singh Is King” was the biggest hit of 2007, a finance grad should read through and question the Shara Group.

    IT has been decent there, with every new product/technology out in the market you will have a energetic bunch who will toy with it to come up with apps that stretch from lame to awesome.

    My vote – Make your students, student for life.

  13. The whole “students are teacher’s clients” intrigued me for a while because as a student, you get penalized for not doing work that’s ordered at you by someone you pay.

    The educational experience that has made the most difference to my life has been the one where in class, the focus is not on how much I get on exams and where that will take me, rather the sharing and grasping of information. I think that more than just the teacher, it’s a school’s decision to enforce teachers to set that tone. However, schools too (there are exceptions), react to rankings based on marks of their own students, instead of integrity of their teachers and the variety of education they provide.

    No doubt the education system needs a complete overhaul, and the focus needs to shift from quantifiable education to ‘qualifiable’, which agreed, is way more abstract and in general, the higher ups of the education industry are playing with students’ futures if they try something new. But clearly there’s a problem with the current system. There’s really no harm in a slow slide in of something different.

  14. Hi Tarun,

    Very well written post. Its about time this is being talked about. I believe you have covered most thing I wanted to say. So I’d only give inputs on the things that haven’t already been covered.

    There are two aspects to teaching I believe:

    Subjects/ Concepts
    Presentation/ Way of teaching

    I think to begin with, students should be able to choose the subjects they like, instead of a fixed syllabus. To ensure their progress we could guide them into taking one practical and a theoretical subject. I suggest this simply because 16-18 is NOT the age when you exactly know what you want from life, and hence having a guide always helps.

    Why can’t we have subjects like:
    – Working in teams rather than ‘making a project from Wikipedia’
    – Dealing with pressure rather than completing project for ‘marks’
    – Or simply how to deal with extra sexual attention at work and in college instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.

    I was a BMM student and we had subjects like photography, creative writing and exams for the same, which was utterly ridiculous.

    I teach young kids (4-8 year olds) about value based education. It is a pity that they have to come to a
    class’ to learn something that they should be getting from their families.

    Mentoring, being their friend, etc. are tried and tested ways of teaching. However, it is extremely for a teacher to maintain his/ her teachers status and respect. Back in college we had professor who were down right boring, and professors who were a lot of fun, but then it never went to a point where we could hold them to a level of respect, as they were way to casual for a professor.

    Even while teaching young kids and pre-teens, I ensure that I maintain a balance between a friend and a teacher.

    Lastly, I would like to add that we are imparting education, not just making them literate, and we have the responsibility for their holistic development. And even if you are teaching an adult in a B school, he/ she still looks up to you, simply because you are educating him/ her.

    What I have said maybe very idealistic and intangible, but I figured since tangible methods have already been spoken about, we should focus on the other aspect as well.

    I hope this helps.


  15. Rrrrohini says:

    I want each one of my teachers to get down to the human core of things. Please note that I say human core and not human “side” as people might call it. Every subject holds it’s relevance because it is affecting people. I’m tired of teachers and students and bosses taking that simple fact for granted. Can we please trace that path? Can we wade through all the technique and processes and articulate why anything matters to our existence? Everything else is routine and training. The “technique” lies in empathizing with the human condition. That is learning and inspiration and value and the most abused term in management schools, “ROI”.

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