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