Rohan Batra

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Rohan Batra
Posted over 2 years ago
How much of a right do students have to questioning and independent thinking?
I am not saying that all questions warrant an immediate response. I would say that all questions made in class should be relevant to the class. They should be probing, and insightful, and on topic. I too dislike those who ask questions just to disrupt the class. I have taught for a few years, and although I teach in a very different arena to a University lecture, there are some parallels which cannot be forgotten. I too have experienced the students to are just there to be disruptive, but they have a right to ask questions, and I will do my upmost to answer them during their breaks (that is, if they are still interested without the rest of the class present!). But I would say that in my experience the majority of questions are there so that students can clarify what I have said, and to expand their knowledge on something they are interested - these are questions I will always try and answer in class as they are to the benefit of all present. I would go so far as to say that if I ignored them I wouldn't be doing my job. I would also add, that in my experience at least, being flippent to students does more harm then good as they can lose respect for you. I would much rather come out on top by telling them I will talk to them about it later should they wish, than tell than ridicule them. In answer to Brock, I never said that I was always right, and there is nothing wrong in me being wrong. But there is a huge difference between being told you are categorically wrong, and explaining the error you are making. I would say that explaining the error is actual teaching as I would be able to improve for next time, whilst being told to sit down and shut up leaves no room for free thought. Also, Carolyn's original point above does say 'example'. Either way, the point she is making is no less valid.
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Rohan Batra
Posted over 2 years ago
How much of a right do students have to questioning and independent thinking?
I'm not saying I'm always right, or that every single question is valid. I too would find it unfair if people were asking questions just to be off-putting. The point of asking questions is to further our knowledge on what ever subject the lecturer is talking, and any question that falls outside this remit should be held until another time; same as with any questions that do not benefit at least the majority of the class. The right to ask questions and be thinking independently can be taken to areas outside of the classroom also. I see no reason why a student cannot look at probing material in their essays and ask probing questions, such as in the example raised by Carolyn. Further to this, I have also taught for a number of years, albeit not in the same arena as a University. I have been asked questions about the sport I teach whilst lecturing and have also developed my own strategies for dealing with those that aren't relevant. But I would say that the majority of the time students are asking questions to further their understanding of what I have said, and I would argue that I would not be doing my job if I denied them this knowledge I feel like I should also clarify a point I made previously about lecturers facilitating our learning. I do not believe that they must give us a simple answer or present a simple argument to answer a question. For a lecturer to point us in the right direction of an author who has written on the subject we are asking about, or tell us the name of a book, or even tell us that they will be pleased to talk to us at the end of the lecture would suffice. All I would say it to be told that you are wrong and your question is baseless is wrong.
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Rohan Batra
Posted over 2 years ago
How much of a right do students have to questioning and independent thinking?
I'm currently an undergraduate student at University. I have encountered lecturers and tutors who are less than open to questions. Carolyn's example is not necessarily far from the truth -- I have recently challenged the views of a lecturer, supporting my argument with academic writers, and been told that I am categorically wrong, and I'm not the only student to have found this. I'm not saying that all lecturers are like this, but those that close down questioning are undoing the work done by those who encourage it. If students feel like they are being routinely closed down, and their opinions and arguments ignored, they'll soon stop asking. Whilst I agree that students must ask questions to progress, it is a shame when those entrusted with facilitating learning do not encourage questions. I would suggest that lectures and seminars with two way exchanges provide the best learning, as it is these that promote new and inspired thinking. Furthermore, might I suggest that we have all been to different schools, in different areas, some of us in different countries following different curriculums. We have all had different teachers and our experiences are unique to us. What is true for you may not be true for us all. In answer to the original question, I believe that students have an absolute right to question everything. Critical thinking is vital to improving our society. University students are paying for their education, and so I believe they have an absolute right to ask anything, as it is the Universities job to facilitate them by pointing them in the right direction to find the answers to their questions.