If We Were Strolling Together, Uncategorized

If We Were Strolling Together (1)

I think best when I am walking around. I think free when I am talking aloud. Unless I hear myself saying it out loud, I am not sure about what I am thinking. So as I take a Stroll around the lawn, if you were with me, I would be telling you about this today.In a series of lectures that I am attending, I realized something very very important. The importance of good Teachers! Good Teachers make all the Difference. I am Biologist because my biology teacher was good (well, I have to take a second here to also tell you how amazing my Chemistry teacher wasย and how it is because of her that I can claim to ‘think’ at all). Teachers are such a huge influence!

“You can’t stop a teacher when they want to do something. They just do it.” – J.D. Salinger

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” – Mark Van Doren

“The average teacher explains complexity; the gifted teacher reveals simplicity.” – Robert Brault

All of these acclaimed authors talk about the importance of teachers…And rightly so. From identifying the strengths of a student and encouraging them to do better to realizing the weaknesses and helping them get over it, teachers have huge roles to play. And it hurts when some people stand in front of a class and fail miserably at it. Today I am on the other side; I am sitting in a class…fortunately I am familiar with what is being taught. And I am not a student either! But what is being taught is not CORRECT! And I know that because I know what IS. In the interest of the students who are here to learn, do I challenge what is being said in class? Or in the interest of mutual respect, do I keep shut?

I am upset because I want to challenge the opinion and I want to tell the person that it’s not right to claim things that are not mentioned anywhere in the literature. It is one thing to speculate about things but it has to be mentioned as an opinion and not as the ‘Word of God‘ or ‘Discovery of the Century‘! I am upset because these students will walk out of this class and walk out with ‘wrong’ information…And that just isn’t ‘right’, right?

When I leave a classroom, I want to leave with two thoughts in my head. One thought is about the subject, about the information that was given to me through a lecture. The other more important thought is to think how amazing the subject itself is and to want to know more. I think the second thought is more important because if you have that, you are inspired enough to read/listen/learn about it. It is the same as teaching how to fish and feeding a man for lifetime.

‘Inspiration’ is the start of Curiosity and later,ย toย Careers and Successes and Recognition

At this point, I would have asked you who inspired you the most in your life and which teacher you would remember forever for his/her contribution to your life. What would you have said?

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15 thoughts on “If We Were Strolling Together (1)”

  1. very honest blog. most of us fear to challenge the teacher or for that matter the boss! And the tragedy is how little teachers are paid! Some of them made us what we are today! but their salaries make me shudder.

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  2. Nice post! โ˜บ. I would like to mention here my high school teacher, Mrs.Rajahree who taught Geography and English to us. She made the classes very very interesting. There was something about the way she taught. Can’t decide whether it was because of her beautiful handwriting on the black board or the examples that she reffered to(which mostly were from her school days). I liked her the most .
    I make it a point to wish her on birthday even todate. And, to see her reply back, makes my day.โ˜บ

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  3. A paean to pedagogy this post is, Ash. A reacher’s task is to really assist in discovery as rightly conveyed by Mark Van Doren. Real learning is enabled when the master’s knowledge sparkles at the touchstone of student’s curiosity and exploratory keenness. I remember many of my teachers, in particular the master who taught English in high school, a couple of learned Jesuit fathers during my undergraduate days in college and a few English professors including an erudite lady in my postgraduate class. They were simply outstanding in their erudition and dedication to teaching. The most fitting tribute that I can pay to their memory (as they are no more) is through my own dedication to teaching which I have taken up as visiting faculty in two management institutes. As to errors in teaching, I feel a broader view must be taken considering the fact that it is not intentional and students will get to figure out corrections sooner or later, as all learning is a dynamic journey. The atom, thought to be indivisible at one point of time, was not actually so later. Even ‘god particle’ can divide further into no one knows to what extent…

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      1. Thanks for the comment Raj! Yes, errors while teaching could be unintentional. However, when the answer is right there under your nose, a google search away, a teacher’s responsibility is to look for it before he walks up to the podium to talk about it.
        I take pride in studying Science which is so dynamic that it can metamorphose into anything in a matter of time and in which any theory holds good only until it is proven wrong! Humility is in accepting that one can be wrong, not in asserting that you are right. An honest ‘I don’t know’ is any day better than a made up answer as that only leads the students to believe that the teacher wasn’t good enough when they finally figure out the right answers themselves. Having said that, I am happy to know that you visit management institutes as a professor. Teaching is always a service higher than any other. Cheers.

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  4. I view teaching and learning very differently. I homeschool my kids instead of sending them to school. The way we do it is called unschooling. It veers of the path of teacher and student dramatically. In our lives my children learn, they seek knowledge and I support them in that. I don’t teach them, or even guide them, but rather support them in their learning endeavours, facilitate where it’s needed, but never teach. Our learning life is more a collaboration.

    But I also know of your teacher who gave the wrong answer! Many parents do this…some to save face, some because they have no real connection with their children, or desire to achieve real connection. Perhaps the teacher had some of this? In this situation, based upon our lives and way of learning, I wouldn’t say anything. If the students are REAL students, they will question everything! If they have learnt passivity ( one of the issues with formal schooling in my country ) then perhaps they will go on believing and not questioning until someone points out the error.

    I think fondly of many of my teachers from my own schooling, and occasionally embarrassment as I remember the trials a room full of silly girls gave them! I also,see them as products of the system. I feel sorry for them as I know the limitations the government puts upon them in terms of scope and the one dimensional way they expect children to learn. Even in higher learning, our ways of teaching are so unimaginative!

    I’m glad to read you never lost your spark!

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    1. Thanks for the wonderful response… Unschooling sounds great! It’s honest and supportive, from what you describe. But yes formal schooling has issues that need to be dealt with,.especially this issue might be a tricky one as it’s so specific to the teacher.

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  5. I completely agree on the power of a teacher to impact life choices in their students. My English teachers were wonderful, my math and science teachers never touched the nerve that would have excited me about their subjects. On the topic of inaccuracies, I tend to speak up when I hear something that I believe is incorrect, but it depends on many many factors. Good luck to you whatever you decide. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. I’m sure you took the paths that your teachers inspired you to take. And yes, I decided to speak up as well ๐Ÿ™‚ I wouldn’t have lived with those students walking out with the wrong concepts!

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