Knowledge is transferred from human to human
An empty lecture theatre is not where the knowledge can be found. A University is not a place. Knowledge is out there. Not floating around you but it exists, on your computer, on books, in people’s’ minds. Knowledge at times seems boring, at school we are taught that learning comes from reading and studying. If only we went on further to elaborate that what we are learning is only just hosted or written on these books and websites, knowledge comes from human research, knowledge is transferred (at times indirectly, yes) from human to human. And to inspire someone to wanting to learn more someone has to trigger his interest. Maybe a subject seems boring but the right lecturer or teacher can make it more interesting. Maybe physics seem complicated but thousands around the world have started becoming interested in physics after beloved-to-all Sheldon (from the Big Bang Theory) became everyone’s favorite physicist.
Lecture theaters may be replaced in the future but even now they are not what makes a class. A class consists of the people who are in it. The teachers and the students. The transfer of knowledge whether it comes from a computer, an iPad or your Google Glass – you’re watching another human who has previously done something – or it comes from the teacher who is explaining to you or better spreading, his knowledge.
But I don’t want to get on the technology side of education just yet, maybe in a future article. Today I want to emphasize the importance of good teachers; good mentors, good professors. Through-out my life I have been lucky to have what I consider great and inspiring people teaching me. From primary school I remember my teacher inventing fake god-like characters that were the main figures of maths, language and history. That made the lesson more fun and more interactive.
I am a big believer in the idea that everything communicates.
But at university, it’s not time to play around with comic-like characters. It’s time to get ready for what we consider to be “real-life”. And I believe that lecturers at a university level can have the most important impact in a young adults life. This summer I was lucky to have a most-inspiring lecturer running my Introduction to International Relations class.
I am a big believer in the idea that everything communicates therefore obviously I must attribute credit to the fact that Harvard as a place inspired me, my fellow students, motivated and equally interested in the subject made a very positive impression to me and obviously everything about this summer shouts “inspiring”. But my professor took everything a level further.
Stacy VanDeveer is the best professor I have ever had lecture me in my life and I will consider myself lucky if I can attend even one more of his classes. Back to the idea that everything communicates that’s the kind of professor any motivated student would want. If you have watched Michael Sandel’s Justice lectures online or have attended a CS50 introduction class at Harvard you might understand the kind of lecture I am talking about. Formal: yes; Interactive: absolutely; interesting and intense.
From the way Prof. VanDeveer moved in the lecture theatre to what he wrote on the board. His tone of voice and the way he was approachable. It made, I want to say, all of us wanting to learn more about the subject, dive in the world of International Politics and take advantage of this amazing opportunity we had to attend Harvard University for a summer session.
It is things like “Let’s pretend you are country A and you are country B, we form an alliance and leave country C (other student) outside…”;examples that he would use to make the class more interactive and the meaning easier to grasp that made him and the class inspiring. Because before us we could see a professor passionate about what he taught, most of us had already looked at his most-impressive CV and even before class were intimidated about the teacher we were going to have, someone who was approachable and fun, knowledgable and yet at the end of the day a person. So it is the humanness within the academic achievements that inspire us and in the end it is a person (people) who will inspire another person.
We will look into what other people have done and their work, but it is the people who we want to “be like” not their work. It is people who inspire people.