Saturday, August 16, 2008

Issue: Teaching in the Academia

Well, I am sure this is going to be quite a contentious issue and my colleagues might just rise in arms against me. But a very important issue is that of how professors fare as teachers. There is no training for professors. In fact, I read a very interesting post on another blog about the same issue.

This blog is by Jennifer Imazeki and she's from the Department of Economics at San Diego University in the United States. Reading her post which specifically focussed on how economics professors fare poorly as teachers, I was overwhelmed by a sense of ennui--wasn't it the same elsewhere? You can read her blog Professors as Teachers. In India, we don't have any training programme for professors. The moment you pass out from graduate school with either an M.Phil. or a Ph.D. degree or you pass out with a Masters and qualify a National Eligibility Test for Lecturers, you can start teaching.

So, the only models that you have are a variety of senior professors who might tell you 'things here and there'. Unfortunately, there are no mentors available in the profession, who might guide you. As a norm, most Indian professors that I have seen seem to be diffident or uncommunicative or unfriendly and certainly scared of student feedback.