Spoonfed

I really don’t understand the culture we have of teachers making us write notes in class. I mean, he could simply send notes to students by a second’s click through email. Instead, I’ve seen most teachers waste precious time dictating definitions, sentences, paragraphs and even punctuation. The same time, ladies and gentlemen, which could have been used for doing something productive. I mean, how gullible can we students get? Its like we’re used to being hand-fed everything. Have we developed such immaturity that we need to be dictated each line of text?

From my own experience, I’ve found most teachers wasting more than half the class dictating notes to students. The same time which could have been used to provide meaningful learning on a more practical approach. Here, we forget to question if writing line by line of notes being dictated sitting on a bench is the best way to go. I am a student of BIM which contains subjects – most of which are to be studied practically for the BIM program to fulfill its objective. But what I see are teachers with poor English and Communication skills dictating words that they “mugged up” right before class. Its like listening to a man preaching things he doesn’t even know. Now, I don’t want to stereotype my teachers as being unable to teach. There have been many teachers in my life (even during my diploma) who have inspired me apart from teaching. But the former thought still stands.

The basic reason I think to the problem is the pressure of marks put up on the students and teachers. Some teachers would prefer their student getting aces in subjects without knowing about the subject, to getting moderate marks. Then comes the “deadly” task of finishing the syllabus in time. I’ve noticed some teachers explain themselves by saying that they have to finish the course in time and thus, they don’t have time to show the practical implementation of what they have taught. You can see the irony when you notice the same teachers wasting time dictating lines and punctuation in class.

And before you start nagging on me about just criticizing the teachers, I’d like to say that this is the student’s fault too. Hey, we do have to look at it from different perspectives, don’t we? I notice most students have become “used to” the trend of being spoon-fed with dictated notes. They’ve become so ADDICTED to the concept that it’s the only way they can study. The problem with that is that – 1) It makes them lazy, 2) They stop doing personal research and experimentation and 3) They just mug it all up. Note that the things I have pointed out are all based on personal experience and years of study of friends’ behaviors.

From what I see, the teaching and learning process is never one-directional. The teacher may learn from the student as much as (or even more than) what the student learns from the teacher; and vice-versa. But wasting time, dictating notes in class won’t certainly enhance the teaching learning process, will it? Look at it from my point of view. I notice that many of my classmates have programs mugged up rather than understood. From where I see it, this is because the teachers are more dedicated to making the student write sample programs in class hours without explaining what each part of the program does. A student may fluently write a simple program to calculate a factorial of a number to complex programs of database access, serialization and networking, but may fail to describe what is happening in the code. He will write what he mugged up at an earlier date. This is creating a generation of Information technology where most people in the I.T. department are just using predefined programs. I mean, where’s being creative?

I see that I can talk about this on and on all night. But hey, I think I’ve said enough to make you think about it. And if I haven’t, I don’t think talking about it more will change your mind in any way. I hope this article did not offend the teachers in any way (although I wouldn’t mind if it did, because I see it as one of the only ways you’ll improve). So, here’s the end of my article, with hope. Hope that “something will change”. And to be honest I do not care if its the students, the teachers or the social concept of learning in general. Anything counts. But I do hope that something will change that enhances how students are made to learn in my country.

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2 comments

  1. Writing notes is how people learn. Yes, it should be augmented by interactive sorts of activities, but it’s a well-known fact that writing things down, particularly paraphrased in your own words, helps you remember it. And it’s much more dependable to have everyone writing the information down than to trust them to read already-written notes. Besides which, it’s the student’s responsibility to make sure they have the notes that contain the best information for themselves.

    Also, the problems that you cited aren’t going to be solved by eliminating or reducing the notes that students take. The benefits of that way of teaching are real, and far outweigh issues of time for things that we can easily be expected to do on our own time. As far as I know, there’s no substitution for teaching by dictation.

    1. I agree with your point that writing notes is a great way of learning..
      But there is a way..
      Requires effort though..

      “The notes that contain the best information for themselves” can be sent through email and students can write them in their own words when they want it..
      I’m not against students taking notes.. I’m against teachers dictating them word by word..
      The students can well jot down pointers during lectures..
      What I poit out here is that Dictation wastes precious time which could be used for further practical explanations..
      I’d rather understand what something is inside a class than write an ambiguous definition of it written by someone else .
      hey.. maybe thats just me

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