THE STUDENTS’ OF COURSE
“EDUCATION IS A PROGRESSIVE REALIZATION OF ONE’S IGNORANCE”- KUNLE GEORGE ADEBAYO (PRESIDENT, INSIGHTT ORG.)
I welcome everyone to this great week. Last week was exciting, many, especially some members of PSAN (poor students association of Nigeria) UI chapter, had their prayers answered in the form of the convocation/ 66th anniversary celebrations.
If you are one of those holding lecturers responsible for your dwindling interest in learning, you are a kid and you certainly need to grow up. Get a space in the UI crèche which is where folks like you spend the working hours.
I believe that one of the best things you can do for yourself in this Lugardian contortion we call Nigeria is to create an atmosphere of positivity, and give to yourself that chance anyone does not readily give. It is no news that the system is bad, what could become news is a great response from your own end: taking your destiny into your hands! It was K.C Price that said “it is always your fault- if it is good, it is your fault. If it is bad, it is also your fault.
In an arrangement where we have a class and a teacher, the only constant element is the lecturer. What vary in such an arrangement are the students, and this explains the disparity in the interest, results and performance. The dwindling enthusiasm in learning is definitely not the fault of the lecturers.
My lords, for the sake of this discourse, I define learning using the words of George Adebayo who stated that “education is the progressive realization of one’s ignorance” (note the use of “ONE’S”). Learning and education is beyond the class, teacher-student structure.
Contrary to what many students hold “classes” to be, the class should be a platform for the extension of a discourse (s) not a siddon-look/believe-and-receive arrangement. Quest for knowledge should be one’s motivating factor for going to classes. It should a stage for the intercourse of conscious minds, not some ritual that must be fulfilled to be eligible to seat for exams.
While some may be quick to say some lecturers are not interesting or “good”, we must not be quick to forget that the advent of the internet has really redefined learning and education. Websites of schools and other educational institutions (MIT OpenCourseWare mit.edu, courseera.org, Columbia University…) contain learning resources that could supplement whatever is being taught in class. The question is, how many students take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet?
We need no survey or statistical evidence to determine the youth’s use of the internet for educational reasons. The days of fellowship at the NISER Park WIFI chapel and subsequently the halls of residence reveal how students use the internet. The population of student attendees at conferences and other value-adding events also show the complacency and height of hypocrisy.
There is a constant attempt to hold the non-student characters responsible for everything that affects students. This is one act that is certainly unfair. Many students arrive in UI drained of intellectual energy yet they blame the lecturers for “dulling” them and diminishing their interest in learning.
One would have thought that all the lecturers are bad and guilty of these charges. I need not mention names; you know it, despite the rot that we have an avalanche of exciting lecturers who know their onions. I once stumbled on a post on the students’ Union official Facebook page, the poster requested students to name lecturers “who make sense” in the University of Ibadan. Of course, the post did not die of comment starvation. Many forum members commented and mentioned names of teachers that have wowed them.
As a people, we are very quick to lay blame at the doorsteps of others. We never think of our complacency and interest in diverse irrelevancies as being the cause of our attitude. Your present state is a product of your mindset and decisions you have made over the years. You confess your weakness by saying “he/she caused it, stating your inability to take charge of your life. It was John C. Maxwell that said “you can’t grow and learn if your focus is on finding someone else to blame instead of looking at your own shortcomings”. Nothing happens to advance our potential until we step up and say ‘I am responsible’. If you don’t take responsibility, you give up control of your life”.
Finally, my lords, a man owns the greater proportion of the results of whatever happens to him. The dwindling interest in learning is not the fault of the lecturers.
I rest my case
The lecturers’ of course!
“ALL GREAT TRUTHS BEGIN AS BLASPHEMIES” – GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (Annajanska)
“EDUCATION THESE DAYS IS MAKING YOUTHS SUFFER LIKE MENTAL PATIENTS…”―KAYA CARVAJAL
The stories are the same every day. They are stories of frustrated students sitting all day long across our lecture theatres. They are stories of confused students trying to decipher the plethoric instructions from the lecturers. They are stories of absent-mindedness and inattentiveness of students. These are stories of poor performances of students at the end of the regular assessments. The pitiable stories of the flooded “tsunami lists”. They are sad stories. They are stories that have sparked debates amidst the scattered camps of intellectuals. There is the debate of where exactly to put the blame of this apathetic and unenthusiastic attitude of students towards learning. Are the students responsible for their fate? Or are the lecturers the sole architects of this abnormality? The questions have been posed and I’ve taken my side with the helpless students. Who else should be blamed, if not the lecturers!
My first encounter with a professor in my third year made me think twice and wonder if this citadel is anything but an intellectual environment. The learned professor had extended our class by an hour and what she said in reply to our grumblings was, “…there’s nothing you can do, that’s how it has been. No explanation, you don’t have any choice but to obey…” Only heaven understands how shocked I was when I heard those words, for that was the last person I would have expected such an utterance from. If simple explanations could not be provided for simple questions like these, if logic has no place again within the four walls of our lecture theatres, then I’m afraid that the output of such lack of mutual respect is disconnection between the students and the lecturers.
I’m sure you must have heard statements like “You can never get 7 points in my course”, “If you work very hard you should be able to get a ‘C'”, “It’s not possible for you to get everything! “ and so on. Statements like these kill the passion of students to achieve excellence. They deflate the students’ balloons of enthusiasm towards learning as they already know that no matter how hard they try they can’t get further than the lecturers’ arrogant remarks. This same academic arrogance is responsible for lecturers shouting down a student just because the latter is trying to challenge the status quo. It is no longer news that our learned lecturers teach with books written many centuries ago. When you teach 21st century minds with 19th century books there’s bound to be conflict, struggle for dominance. And when these students find out that they have no power against this conservatism, daydreaming, obviously, will be inevitable!
Another reason to blame lecturers for students’ laxity towards learning is that lecturers teach too much of these worn-out textbooks instead of concepts. The lecturers want to teach every detail which end up boring the students to death! The fact is that most of these details are easily eroded within a short period of time after learning. When the main concept of the teaching is absent, and the crammed notes have been dissipated, it is as good as not to have learnt anything. We also have the cases where students are being “forced” to make lengthy presentations on topics they have not been taught. Apart from the fact that this makes the class boring, it plants and waters the seeds of confusion at the same time. And the nonchalance of students is just a defensive mechanism against that chaos.
Finally, my Lords, when a lecturer has expressly told me in clear words, “…just give me it back to me like this in the exam, I don’t want story…” what else do you expect me to do as a student? What more do you expect from me than to limit myself to my dictated notes and do the ritual game of “la cram, la pour“ when Exam comes. It would be quite callous and highly vindictive of us if we should blame the drum for talking nonsense without first questioning the sanity of the drummer.
I rest my case!
CONCLUSION: This column is about you, it presents the two sides of a case courtesy of two writers from different schools of thought. “Audi alterampartem” means hear the other side before passing your judgment. Take the gavel, make your decision and slam because you are the judge in this courtroom.
DWINDLING ENTHUSIASM IN LEARNING: WHOSE FAULT?
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