Friday, 26 May 2006

A bad dream

After a lesson which I thought I was exceptionally inspirational, delivered a number of "deep" insights into the subject matter I was teaching, a student put up his hand and said that he did not understand what I was saying.

I said,

I teach the whole class the same thing. You have all heard what I have said. The rest of the class understood and you did not. Then don't ask me. Ask your parent.

In today's point of view, I was utterly insensitive.

However, that was what an "information" shovelling model had made me. I thought if I delivered an information rich, logically arranged "brilliant" lesson, I have done my job.

Understanding was a task for the students. They needed to understand the concepts. They needed to be able to recite every words I have said. They needed to study hard in order to pass examinations with questions set to ask tricky and minute details of what I have said in class. It did not matter if any student developed any coherent understanding. It mattered only if the students were able to guess correct answers during examinations and tests.

In fact, my performance was measured by the number of distinctions and credits during the public examinations my students have. My job was to make them tough enough to get good marks. Who cared how they felt.

The scene changed suddenly.

I was in front of a judge, being accused of insulting and damaging the psychological well being of my students. The judge found me guilty as charged. The judge was definitely very angry. He said he was going to set the maximum penalty....


My wife woke me up. I was having a bad dream!

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