I was speaking to my wife who, sharing a few friends’ experiences, mentioned that teaching kids in the West was more difficult than teaching kids in India. The main difference, she felt, is of relationship- here the teacher is revered, there the relationship is more of equals- respect, maybe, not reverence.
She hypothesised that having kids revere you makes it more easy to teach them.
I feel what she really meant was “having kids revere you makes it more easy to
teach control them.” All other things – and a healthy dose of respect – constant, I feel that teaching ‘equals’ is much easier and much more effective.
Reverence in the Indian school context makes the teacher an Authority who is supposed to inspire awe and intellectual subservience. (although in private schools across urban India this may have changed, it still remains a reality in many others). Students are tacitly expected to take the teacher as an expert on his subject, hang on to every word spoken in class, smile politely and not ask too many questions. But, without questioning, can learning happen? Sure the classroom is more
disciplined quiet, but is it really more enagaged?
What do you think? Would you rather be the Sage on the Stage or the Guide by the Side?