Friday 16 November 2018

If You Outsource "Thinking" ....

I had been to visit a cousin of mine this Monday. She broke her leg roughly three weeks back. Overweight, high heels and celebrating the last few moments of Durga Puja by dancing to glory during idol immersion is actually a deadly combination. She obviously faced its consequence.

As her daughter had her class eight final exams the following week, I asked her to move to one of the rooms upstairs to continue her studies while we chatted about my cousin’s health and other things.

One of the topics was about her daughter’s tutors. I was curious to know what exactly the tutor teaches her in Social Studies – History, Civics and Geography.

I was told - tutors prepare notes for the lengthy questions. (I was appalled). The most obvious question then was, what do the students do then? The students are responsible to answer the short questions only which the tutor will correct and confirm if the content is okay for examination standards

Why exactly is this arrangement?

I got the most unusual answer for that. Text books today are mostly in story telling format so many students cannot think or understand exactly how to frame the answers and write an accurate response.

If they try to write it in their own language based on their understanding or interpretation they may go completely off track and therefore will not be able to score during exams. If the answers are not written according to the tutor’s notes, the students are bound to lose marks.

Isn’t that the whole purpose to have a tutor?

If they are going completely off track in understanding, isn’t it exactly at this point, that the tutor should step in and rectify thinking pattern for better understanding. The tutor is supposed to assist the students find solutions, not facilitate solutions itself.

What does all this lead to?

The mechanical, search and find from text book part will be done by the students and the responses that requires rationalizing and critical thinking will be made readily available to the student by the tutor.

Is this fair practice?

In the freelancing market both the buyer and seller is banned from the portal if a student wants to outsource their homework or project work to an expert as it is considered unethical in nature. It definitely is.

It is sad but true that the tutor-student relationship today is not about learning any more, but scoring because their future depends on marks, they get to choose universities based on grades.

I can understand when students need additional assistance for subjects like Mathematics or Science where without logic, rationale, clarity in understanding, it is difficult to pacify their anxiety or fear for that subject considering the difficulty level.

So what is wrong here?


I am ranting about what is going on for ages perhaps.

The exercise for thinking is practically fractured since childhood.

What is the future then?

It all makes perfect sense now when many graduates are clueless what to do with their degrees and choose to continue studying in distant universities, so distant that it does not bother their active social life and inactive employment life.

This whole system is against the very human DNA to be problem solvers. This arrangement kills curiosity and produces large scale herd mindset.

Why will you not allow your child to learn first, instead of scoring?

This is not idealism or insanity. It is practical to let the learner exploit all faculties at their disposal to gather knowledge, apply in practical situations, earn livelihood and reach heights as per their ambition. You obviously cannot do this successfully if the mind is trained not to think, question, assess and process information.

If you were not allowed to think when you were young, expecting you to think when you are old enough to do a job is pure absurdity. If the tough things came to you in a platter, you obviously will remain unaware and never know what it is to earn or achieve something by hard work and learning new concepts

The Herculean task today is to challenge status quo. While there are innovation labs being established to let young students ideate, use STEM for greater good, majority is still fed by that commercial model of tuition for selective study to avoid wide extensive study leading to score driven mindset.

How will the 95% help if you cannot generate one good idea to uplift yourself and the environment around you while the 33% scorer using other multiple intelligence beyond Academics will obviously do better in life because he chose to learn 33% while his peers chose to score 95% That is huge difference.

Technology is a great leveler and offers many options to self-learn however to learn there effectively, you cannot outsource "thinking" to any one - parents, friends or tutors. You have to think yourself.