Research, Dev, Share

An Effect of instructors/lecturers

Posted in Learning by Khang Vo on January 4, 2010

I intended to write this blog long time ago, especially the time I went to RMIT Melbourne.

A few hours ago, I read the blog of Ngon Pham, and I decided to write about the effects of instructors/lecturers to students’ mind, both good and bad effects.

To start, I want to tell some of my experience when I learnt in Melbourne.

At the beginning of every courses, the lecturers come and say: “I and you will learn together, I know something, but do not know many things, you will know and may have more experience than me so please teach me if you can”. What comes to my mind first is that it is a joke, right? how can those lecturers/professors with a lot of years of experience may not have something in the course/research interest that students know but they do not know. They are not joking at all when we went over the courses. They are in research for long time and they lacked industry skills/knowledge and they actually learnt it from students, it is not just small correction, it may be the whole lesson. Even some of them can learn business lessons from IT students. The best thing I see is that for unsolved problems (many of them in Intelligent System:) ), the idea of professors sometimes is not better than students. It proved and reminded me one thing: “You could never stop learning”.  (thanks to all lecturers that teach me in RMIT Melbourne)

The story I tell just shows one of the lesson. It is an obvious one. But the underlying lesson is that “Students must be strongly encouraged to argue and to teach instructors/lecturers back”. For every kinds of classes/lessons, for every kinds of instructors, there will still be some areas the instructors do not know/understand best. Here are some of my advices:

For Students:

It is really good if you have the excellent instructors. But please keep in mind that it has its own bad effects. You will become passive very soon. You all think that whatever the instructors give to you must be right, well-tested over time. I see many students do not dare to challenge their instructors’ ideas simply because instructors are too excellent that every arguments they try fail. If you do not want to argue any more, you will become robot really quick. Trust me, robot will not have high position in this quickly changing society. Asking for not understanding is not enough, challenging and arguing again is much better.

If you do not have good instructors or even bad ones, should not be disappointed. You can see it as a chance for you to self-study and argue. You can HELP to make them better, but in many cases, it is an art and depends on instructors’ mind. Some are not so opened and you must have the way to suggest your idea/ help instructors.

For instructors:

The good way for instructors to think when students argued is that “Students are helping me for free, I do not lose anything”. Another thing is that in a class, there will be 30 (or 200, depends on the university), and everybody knows that 30 CPUs working parallel can compete with 1 super computer in terms of data storage and processing. So, in many cases, their argument will become right. Open your minds and learn it, it may become a novel approach for research or your works. You also should open your minds wider and encourage students more to argue and do not make students think you are too strong or too excellent. No students will try to argue when they know their opponents are too excellent and 99% of argument, they may get wrong. It may be really strange at first but it may become excellent when you get it.

Yeah, to be honest, I know that Vietnamese lecturers have many difficulties, and I do not want to open a big discussion about whether we should understand them, whether we should not require them a lot. Ok, I know, but I try to HELP them become better. It is good for them and for students.

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