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Leave the rod, teach the child

  • Published at 12:04 am August 19th, 2019
Classroom
Photo: BIGSTOCK

Some teachers purposely give poor marks to students just to force them to get admitted into coaching centres run by them

Last month, a Hindi-language film, Super 30, based on the life of Anand Kumar and his educational program “Super 30,” was released worldwide. Anand Kumar has been running the program for students with poor economic backgrounds where he enrolls 30 students for each term and coaches them for the entrance examination for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

Both his style of teaching and the success rate of his students have been phenomenal since the inception of the program in 2002. Now, let’s turn our focus from Anand to the teachers and contrast their performance and approach with that of his. 

The first thing to be addressed in this regard is the “biasness” of teachers. Teachers often categorize the students based on the level of intellect of the students and consequently form some ideas about the ability of the learners.

On many occasions, I have seen many teachers behaving well with the so-called “good students” whereas the same teachers have been found to be very rude with the students branded as “bad” without any major reasons. Many teachers even behave very rudely with students who fail to manage good grades in exams.

Such biased attitudes demotivate students.

Yes, reinforcement plays a very vital role in the learning process but the teacher will have to analyze the impact of such rebuke on the students. Teachers should behave with the students in a way that will encourage them to be more attentive and excel even further.

Anand takes the help of the technique of “intrinsic motivation” to motivate students so that they don’t feel discouraged at any stage of the learning process and this is what differentiates him from our teachers.

The second point is the perspective of the teachers as far as education is concerned. Our teachers have almost successfully turned education into a commodity -- the unbridled mushrooming of coaching centres is a glaring reflection of such a mentality.

There are even allegations that some teachers purposely give poor marks to students just to force them to get admitted into coaching centres run by them. This is how a vested quarter of teachers are not only tarnishing the overall image of nation-builders but also ruining the very basis of our educational system.

In contrast, Anand also runs a coaching centre but the aim is completely different. He tutors the students, provides them study materials, lodging facilities, and food without charging a fee. He manages the money by himself and he has turned down financial help from the government and other private organizations several times.

As a teacher, he is willing to leave no stone unturned for the welfare of his students. 

Such is the height of dedication for something so sacred as teaching for Anand. The very approach to teaching followed by our educators is probably not always right and learner-friendly. Unfortunately, a significant number of our teachers still believe in the adage “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

That’s why corporal punishment is considered to be an essential part of many educational institutions. Moreover, teachers often fail to make learning more fun and interesting. The faulty teaching approach, coupled with overt number of exams, makes the learning process all the more mundane and difficult to get into. 

I can still recall the very first day of my university life when one of our teachers reprimanded one of our classmates for not being able to speak a few words before the whole class. 

She was shy since it was her first class at the university, so it was very natural for her to feel a bit nervous. But the very attitude of the university teacher frightened her to such an extent that she could not overcome her fear of giving presentations and public speaking till the last day of her university life.

On the other hand, Anand focuses more on overcoming the fear and growing self-confidence among the students. 

Why don’t we have teachers like Anand in our society? We do, of course, but the number is very meagre compared to those who would do harm for personal gain.

Under such circumstances, we need many such Anands -- who are ready to go to any length for the betterment of their students and understand the psychology of teaching -- to get our education system back on the right track. 

Md Morshedul Alam Mohabat is a journalist.