Thursday, November 30, 2006

Scenes from a management class

Anand Giridharadas takes you to a classroom in a second tier college:

...[The] classroom environment ... treats students like children even if they are in their mid-20’s. Teaching emphasizes silent note-taking and discipline at the expense of analysis and debate.

“Out! Out! Close the door! Close the door!” a management professor barked at a student who entered his classroom at Hinduja two minutes late. Soon after his departure, the door cracked open again, and the student asked if he could at least take his bag.

The reply: “Out! Out! Who said you could stand here?” A second student, caught whispering, was asked to stand up and cease taking notes.

Then there is the matter of teaching style. At Hinduja and Dahanukar, the mode of instruction at times evokes a re-education camp of some sort. In a marketing class at Hinduja, the professor paced in front, then pressed her chalk to the board.

She drew a tree diagram dividing it into indirect and direct marketing, then divided those into components, and those further into subcomponents. As students frantically took notes, she kept going, and before long she was teaching them that each region of Mumbai would have its own marketing representative: eastern Mumbai, western Mumbai, central Mumbai. There was no discussion, and there was little to discuss.

The professor then led the students in a chant: “What is span of management?”

“Span of management is the number of subordinates a supervisor will manage.” She chanted the refrain four times.

The NYT story is a variation of his IHT story.


  1. Rahul Siddharthan said...

    He's absolutely right about the rote-learning and lack of "thinking outside the box", but I fail to see what that has to do with speaking good English in a "placeless accent". Who cares about that? Perhaps it's a problem in call centres, but then rote learning isn't a problem there.