I’ve become disillusioned with the manner in which classes are conducted here in India. Granted, I’ve never sat in on an engineering or computer science class at an Indian college or university, but it's safe to say that an instructor here at the company is a product of his/her intellectual and academic atmosphere.
My mates and I are sitting in class and an instructor is teaching us on subject ABC. Behind the instructor is a projected PowerPoint slide with 5 or 6 bullet-pointed sentences. Across the top of the slide is a big question: "Why ABC?" And each sentence on the slide is one facet to answering this question. Clearly then, the answers to the question are right there in front of us.
The instructor asks, "So why ABC?"
And then waits.
And waits some more.
He wants an answer!
Sir, I want to say. The answers are right there. We can see them.
But I remain silent.
The instructor continues waiting. No one answers - it seems an exercise in futility, as we would simply be reading the answers off the slide.
Finally the instructor speaks. Turning around to glance at the slide, he simply ticks off the answers on the slide, which were there in front of us the entire time.
The ludicrous and gratuitous simplicity of the situation begs the question: why does the instructor ask us such simple questions with very obvious answers? If he is testing our ability to think critically, then there is no need to do so with the answers right there in front of us.
This is the way in which classes are taught everyday at my company. And again, while I haven't been to an Indian university, the instructors at the front of the class and my Indian counterparts all around me - indeed, all of us - are products of their academic and intellectual environments. Therefore I feel it's safe to assume that this is how classes are taught at Indian universities as well. If you ask simple questions that require no thought or foresight at all to answer, then you are robbing your students of two things:
- The spirit of inquiry and the thirst for knowledge, which have guided and advanced our species over the past 3000 years, and
- The ability to think critically, which as a software engineer working for a global IT services company is crucial to say the least.
Sir, I want to say. You need to focus on the rest of your audience too. They’re just as important. Pay them some attention as well - it will enrich their learning experience.
When it comes to Indian methods of teaching, the word ineffective automatically comes to mind, but it doesn't do justice to the system. It barely scratches the surface.
Hmm. That's a little better.
Not conducive to the pursuit of knowledge.
I like that one best.