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One can easily picture a typical student in a typical university in Russia. He comes one second before the bell, bumps in the security person at the entrance and takes a seat at the distant corner of the room so as to be invisible to the professor’s watchful eye. He is half-asleep at the lectures with the headphones in his ears, swinging to the sounds of some fresh tunes and not paying attention to anything around him. The strict and demanding voice of the teacher, the room painted in cold colors and the lack of visual technologies make such lectures next to impossible to follow and absorb the useful information. Add to this - old methods of giving information, unfriendly-looking or sometimes nervous-looking professors and you get a full package. And this lasts for almost five long years with short periods of semi-interesting tasks such as group presentations and theater performances. But for the greater part it is a “listen-write” technique of teaching. Then at the end of the semester, the most interesting part comes, it is the most creative part of education I would say, for it is kind of game of the teacher and the student. There is only one rule: “the teachers pretend to have taught the students everything and thus the latter have become brilliant specialists in the field and the students pretend to have learned everything”. It is very rare I should say when I feel motivated and inspired by the teachers at the university I’m studying. There are a couple of professors that arouse my interest and impress me, but that’s a minority.
I don’t like to compare anything without looking deep into the differences of the subjects. But sometimes I inevitably look back on the experience of studying in another environment and culture and understand how much “behind” our system of education is. And I don’t doubt a deep and a broad coverage of material, or a good literary focus at my university. I’m rather taking into consideration the relationship between the professor and the student. What I see here, is a complete indifference from both students and their teachers.
Nobody cares about anything. It goes without saying; much has to do with the salary and the working conditions. But still the abyss that lies between the students and professors is immense. The professor is always right and his profound knowledge and expertise are not to be doubted and questioned. However, the use of the soviet books, with the dull exercises completely lacking in creative thinking and improvisation proves this theory. I’m sure that you can make any subject interesting and exciting if you put effort to do so. And here I remember my Literature class in the US when the professor treated his students to some berries while reading the poem about summer and then suggesting us create an illustration to the Old English poems. It could have become my worst subject, as it was rather hard to read long poems and analyze the literary terms, but as a matter of fact it has become my number one subject. And I often remember some ridiculous moments we had at the class.How can you possibly dream of anything bigger and better if all you see from day to day teaches you boredom, indifference and what not. There is so little praise and appreciation for you work and for what you do, that yousometimes feel discouraged and uninterested.
However, I’m sure thatpraise and appreciation are the weapons to fight indifference and laziness of students. Energetic and inspiring professors are crucial to the fruitful process of education.