These days, I’m either really frustrated or really depressed. Sometimes I’m both. Everything seems to be speeding up and somewhere along the line, I stop and wonder about how the hell I ended up here or what the hell am I doing?
When 3rd semester began, a lot of us (or a few of us) were very keen on getting into the core course and study ‘biotechnology’ as a field. I am currently in my 4’th semester and I am still wondering if that has happened so far? We have a lot of mechanical subjects added to the course. I am not complaining, but nobody around me (including the teachers) seem to be able to answer my questions any more. Their knowledge is so theoretical and limited to the books. It frustrates me. The whole system is ancient. There is nothing related to application. We do have practicals, yes, but they seem to have no connection with the theory that we’re studying simultaneously in class. Estimating the amount of protein and inorganic phosphorous in the body fluids is fun, yes, but why isn’t it being connected to any of the theory subjects? Bio-energetics has 20 to 30 cycles that has to be studied. And 20 to 30 substrates and enzymes. Learning about them all is at times interesting, yes, but how are we expected to remember them all during the tests and exams? Teachers need to teach us about such skills rather than plain blunt textbook stuff. Even I can mug up the whole of Lehninger’s book and blurt it out in class. Or, make power point presentations (with pages and pages of text – in comic sans) and ‘present’ it to class. Teachers have to help students in understanding the concept and at the same time, help us with the learning techniques.
This not only makes the subject more interesting, but also increases the confidence levels of students. By doing that, maybe we’d want to explore more of the subject/ topic and get involved in it. Molecular biology – one of the most interesting subjects (where we learn about the central dogma of life) is being made so mundane and boring. This is the kind of subject that’d need more of videos and visuals. Not badly drawn 2-D figures of 5/6 enzymes and their functions.
The problem is, these old fashioned teachers don’t want to change. They are not even ready to accept a new idea. We had a lot of discussion about this during the faculty advisors meeting. The teachers only defend themselves and their methods, but nobody wants to bring something new to the new generation of students. How will they understand that the kind of teaching that they had during their times just won’t work now? We do not want to come to college every morning, takes pages and pages of notes, do something in lab that we cannot connect to the real world or even state it’s applications, take more notes, and go home? The system is only bothered about finishing the syllabus on time (before tests and exams) whether we learn anything or not. Nobody is in a position to justify anything.
If you are still a student, are you just going with the flow, or are you trying to change anything? If you were a student, what did you do?! How important are teachers in your learning process?