This topic has come up quite a few times recently..and well it’s an interesting topic for debate. I noticed it first off myself..and discussed it with a few people which confirmed my thoughts and it was again recently re-established.
The mindset is thus:
- Don’t question
- Whatever I say is correct (the person in charge – teacher, lecturer or any authority figure)
- If you don’t understand something don’t ask because you’ll ‘lose face’
- Don’t EVER think outside of the box
- Discussion is for noobs
And so on..the crux is this, when people are educated in this region they aren’t taught to think, not in any abstract way, they learn by rote, by memory. This is very unhealthy and doesn’t nuture creativity or innovation..it stifles and leads to a somewhat stagnant talent base. This is demonstrated by the fact most of the ‘great minds’ go overseas somewhere to work rather than here..Here it’s hard to acheive anything, it’s hard to get ‘new’ things accepted. The whole education system leads to the way the market works here, it’s very hard to get in if you aren’t ‘IN’ , once you are in you are the one…once you have the brand identity there becomes only you, there is not so much market competitiveness..
This is because people in general won’t think outside the norm, ok this one is normal to get and best, let’s stick to that and not try the others..
The example that demonstrated this to me was in a recent class I was attending…the lecturer was an Indian teacher, their education system has progressed to include abstract thought and discussion so he taught in a Western way, trying to spark debate and raise questions..so one time he asked a very traditional group of students the answer to a question, they answered then he purposely made his answer different, somewhat incorrect…I voiced my opinion “I think you are incorrect”, he asked me to wait for my explanation and he asked the other students..again voicing his answer as the correct one, they all changed their opinions slowly towards his, nodding their heads and saying they must have been wrong..
A society of sheep?
I don’t see how the knowledge base can grow as it needs to if this mindset keeps being re-inforced in the education system…black is black and white is white no debate.
I first encountered this whole thing when teaching in Singapore…no one asks questions, apart from the one American guy in the class..no one queries, no one dares to say ‘I think [you/that/they] are wrong’
It’s not the way to learn, well I class learning as understanding..not just memorising.
You need to question, you need to debate, you need to be wrong sometimes and accept it..
As my recent tutor said…what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll be wrong, you’ll have made a mistake, big deal..everyone does it, we are all human after all.
If you go to a class, PLEASE ask questions. If not it makes it very difficult for us (the teacher) to conduct an interactive class..
PLEASE question things, don’t be spoonfed all the answer..learn to think for yourselves..think outside the box, take the initiative..
Now these are some sweeping generalisations…but they don’t apply to everyone, those educated overseas usually have absorbed part of a different way of educating..and can debate effectively.
The Asian folks I discussed this with tended to agree, but maybe that’s because I am an authority figure? Who knows…maybe inside they were screaming STFU YOU STUPID AHBENG MATT SALLEH
Some people are just argumentative wherever they were educated and will raise questions..
For the rest of you, don’t be sheep, you’ll never learn anything.
It also may stand that I am completely wrong…but because of the way I was educated…I am ready to accept that 😛
How’s that for a first post?