Dr. Pankaj Jain, Amity Jaipur: A Teacher’s “Student – Perspective”

After working four years in management education as a lecturer, I decided to

enroll myself for a residential faculty development programme at a prestigious B-school.

There were two reasons behind this decision. First, I wanted to improve my research

and pedagogical skills and second was to re-look at the management education from the

student perspective once again. This was like a real life role reversal situation where I

can understand learning and other institutional processes from student point of view. It

generally happens that we accept out believes without examining them properly. On the

other hand the ideas and believes of others are often subjected to critical evaluation. This

FDP allowed me not only to be aware of my own believes & perceptions, which I acquired

as a teacher, but also critically examine them from students’ point of view. I would share

one experience that may be helpful to you.

In the introductory class of a subject, I felt that faculty has not gone through the

reading carefully which he assigned to us for the first class. I listened to him another 10-15

minutes and it was clear to me that he actually did not read it properly. I simply could not

believe this. It happened in India’s one of the top B-school. I looked at the faces of other

fellow students and observed that few of us were actually puzzled. I could not hold for long

and I interrupted him couple of times. He appeared to be offended so I did not intervene

further. After the class I also came to know that some of the participants also have not gone

through the assigned reading. I discussed this matter with some other fellow participants.

We agreed that we need to come prepared and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. We

increased the levels of our questions and then it never happened again with that faculty. In

fact that particular faculty gave us some of “wow” learning experiences.

After some time, in an informal talk with programme coordinator I came to know

that this faculty development programme doesn’t enjoy a good reputation among faculty

members as most of the participants do not put enough efforts to come up to expectations.

As there are no formal evaluations for this programme so neither there is any pressure for

scoring nor any fears of failure. Many participants come from typical government schools

on government funds. So if one actually does not want to put much effort, one can’t be

forced to do so.

On connecting the dots, I realized that it may be possible that teacher may have read

it in past but did not bother to go through again as he did not expect much from the class.

He was not 100% wrong, not many students were prepared for that class and those who

actually read it did not dare/bother to question him except me. On reflecting back on my

four years of “teaching experience” I could recall many classes which I took without being

prepared for the same. I liked to believe in past that it went well. I couldn’t be more wrong.

There must have been some students who came prepared and looking for an enriching

experience, they must have sensed it that I was not 100% prepare and it must have

disappointed them. Just because I was not interrupted or corrected, doesn’t mean I did a

good job. Considering the fact that students do not enjoy the luxury of no evaluation, no

fear of failure, there exist strong possibility that they will not bother/ dare to challenge a

teacher in the very first introductory class. Perhaps I too would have behaved differently,

if there were similar evaluations pressure on me too.

This incident made me realized that as a student we do not necessarily get what we paid

for, how much a teacher will deliver depends a lot on how much students can bargain

collectively. Just as students do not treat all teachers in same manner, teachers also treat

different classes differently. In some of the classes teachers are more involved compared

to other classes. It has implications for both parties. Forming stereotypes for classes &

students should be avoided by teachers and on the other hand students should also take

collective responsibility of their learning.

Dr. Pankaj Jain

Amity Business School

Amity University Rajasthan

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