The scale of education in India is like nothing on earth: Matthew Raggett
09 December, 2016
On the concluding day of Educarnival 2016, an interesting question-answer session took place. The questions were answered by Prof. Debashish Chatterjee, Dr. Harish Chaudhary and Matthew Raggett. We reproduce some:
Q – How should we help our students engage during holidays?
A – Matthew Raggett: Ask them what they’d like to do on holidays! And we tell parents to “make sure it’s a holiday”
Q – As in India we have many students in a classroom, around 60 in each; so any techniques on how we can manage them better?
A – Debashish Chatterjee: Class size is an obsession. In Harvard we had classrooms filled with thousand students and bigger than this auditorium but still within 12 minutes all methods and concepts seemed crystal clear; engagement is very important.
A – Dr. Harish Chaudhary: World would be a very boring place if everyone did the same thing.
Q – How to know who you actually are?
A – Debashish Chatterjee: When you are in deep sleep, or Obama or Trump are in deep sleep. Then Obama is not Obama, You are not you. Whatever you are out there, it’s a label and is critical in the outside world. And are utterly useless in the inner world.
Earlier Prof. Debashish Chatterjee remarked that behind every leader there must be a great teacher. He spoke on the core aspect of education in India and said it was evolving, particularly since India has a lot to offer. "Teacher is not a dispenser of knowledge. Teacher is a Guru", he said.
Matthew Raggett made some interesting observations. Some salient one-liners:
• India is a crazy, complicated place.
• Facts, information and GK. I think is a waste of time. You need to give students the capacity to work with the facts, information and GK.
• The scale of education in India is like nothing on earth.
• Teaching is about getting through a textbook in India.
• Textbook is just a resource you can use. I never use textbooks while teaching.
• Here there is a lack of student-created content.
• An arm chair for a teacher? You’ve got to be kidding me.
• Too much power distance in India.
• My job as a leader is to make sure that they (teachers) could do their work.
• Some people have been teaching in school for 13 years, but have an experience of 1 year repeated 13 times.
• Lots of counsellors for university admissions but none for student well being.
• The job of a school should be putting tuition centres out of business.
Mementos were presented to Rick Smith, Matthew Raggett, Prof. Debashish Chatterjee and Tiina Malste. Dr. Harish Chaudhary delivered the valedictory note.