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What do Students Want?
Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Hug Day, Rose Day, Valentine’s Day, Beer Day & even Teacher’s Day – we have so many days dedicated to people and different elements of life, that sometimes it difficult to keep track. Isn’t it?
Well in all fairness, I think, we students deserve a day dedicated to ourselves as well. Don’t you think so? After all, we constitute a major chunk of today’s population and are the future of the country! It wouldn’t hurt to show a little TLC towards the student community worldwide!
So imagine my surprise, when Facebook informed that today is World Student’s Day!! Yay, we DO have a day dedicated to us as well. Somewhere out there, there is an Almighty, I think. Or maybe a sympathetic soul in UNESCO, who decided that lesser mortals like us also deserve to be acknowledged!
Jokes aside, UNESCO announced October 15 as World Students Day in 2010 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr. A.P. J Abdul Kalam. And there cannot be a better day to celebrate it: Dr. Kalam was one of the pioneers in education and has done so much to popularize education in India. So much was his love for students and focus on promoting education that he passed away while giving a lecture at IIM Shillong. He would have it no other way, I’m sure.
Dr. Kalam always propagated that educationalists and teachers should reach out to students in a way that suits the students and not the other way round. Till date, students have to adhere to the rules, teaching methodology, curriculum pattern, exam mode that is designed by academic institutions. There is no other option available to the students. That is rather sad… every student has a unique way to study or even perform well academically. It is rather unfair to treat the capabilities of every student with the same yardstick; it may or may not bring out the best in every student.
So CollegeDekho spoke to some students pursuing higher education in India on what do students really want? You will be surprised at the student needs that emerged from this exercise. We don’t know if this holds true for you too or not, but it’s worth a read. Who knows, maybe you can convince your institution to implement some these in your college as well.
Teachers who don’t preach / lecture all the time, but make class interesting and fun:
Monologue lectures are boring. Students wished that classrooms were made interactive & fun. Instead of reading from the book only and drawing on the board, students want more alternative types of teaching like role-playing games, quizzes, classroom exercises etc. that will not only educate them but keep them hooked onto what is happening in class and more importantly, look forward to he next class! Do-able, isn’t it?
Teachers who are passionate:
Now this is a doppelganger situation. Teachers wish that students were passionate about the subjects, and students wish the same for teachers! Students believe that the mannerisms of a teacher speak volumes about their interest on the subject. Whether a teacher is just teaching or making an earnest effort to educate has a direct impact on the student’s interest in the subject. And that is contagious. A teacher who is knowledgeable and is passionate about the subjects can go to great lengths to teach and keep the students involved.
Teachers who can admit to making mistakes:
So nobody is perfect and correct all the time. Knowledge is infinite and every day new discoveries are being made, be it in the field of science or history. Education is logic and with new discoveries, the equation of logic keeps changing. Therefore, it is not surprising that students who do proper research and use their brains are more updated about a certain topic. But what irks students is when teachers are stubborn and are not open to the views of the students or for that matter, an alternative possibility even. Students believe that it’s a two-way road; if teachers can correct a student, then sometimes, students should be allowed to do that as well. Besides, it builds a bond between teachers and students.
Teachers who respect students:
True, a teacher is the source of your successful career and that’s a huge responsibility, but it really helps break the ice with students when a teacher respects their point of view and is willing to consider that as an option. Even if they are wrong, students wished that there were more teachers who proved their theories or perspectives wrong with valid proof or logic, instead of just shunning them altogether. Students say that every time a teacher discards their point of view, they lose out on their self-confidence fractionally, which impacts them when they are facing external factors like a job interview or when they have to make an argument in a professional environment.
Teachers who challenge students:
(Image courtesy - Tumblr)
Everybody likes a challenge. Not only is it exciting, but also it motivates a student to do a proper groundwork, which further contributes to their knowledge base. Most students feel that every class should be like a battlefield or a video game, where at every step, one is required to rattle their brains and come up with something extraordinary to survive. Not only does it make the subject interesting, but students end up learning way more than that is prescribed in the curriculum.
Teachers who give space to students:
Students don’t like to be monitored all the time. Just like any hard working professional, students expect some lax in assignments. While sticking to tight assignment deadlines are understandable, students wish that once in a while teachers cut them some slack, just so that they can reboot themselves and come back in form, which they will eventually do, once they see that they are lagging behind in the class. This is debatable, but it’s worth a shot. Teachers, are you listening?
Teachers who contribute to overall development/ speak up:
This came from a particular segment of students – who are not so vocal in class. In the rat race to outperform each other, in a competitive environment created by the teachers, these students, who are usually shy or not outspoken really wish that teachers create an atmosphere where every activity, every task, every group exercise enables the introvert students to speak up, open up and participate. After all, there is no place for runners-up in the job industry, is there? So the grooming begins right here. I agree with them. Don’t you?
Teachers who can relate to students/ be their friends:
A student actually asked if I’ve seen the Hindi movie “Taare Zameen Par”. When I asked why, he said that he feels like Ishaan Avasthi, the protagonist in the film. Sometimes, it was difficult for him to follow what was being taught in class. And he was shy to always be the one to ask the same question twice in class or request his fellow classmates to explain to him. What he really wished was that the teacher understood his shortcoming, and instead of shunning him, treated him with respect and spoke to him in a language that he understood. Completely reasonable, I think. What about you?
On World Student's Day, I think students should really speak up on what they really want, because after all, isn’t their future at stake here? Since teachers exist because of students, and honestly speaking, students are charged through the roof for their education, it is only fair for educational institutes and teachers really consider what students want!
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