Does my university respect me?

What was your school life like? Did it make you enthusiastic about (at least some of) the subjects, did it make you thirsty for knowledge, did you feel valued, respected as a student?

I have been thinking about education a lot recently. It’s no wonder since my masters started and my brother also went back to school. But it was only when I started my paper on “Quality Giants” of the last century when I realised what I’m missing. Looking at what education they received, a specific approach in one of their secondary schools caught my eye: the Harkness table.

A typical Harkness table configuration: students sit around an oval table with teacher as facilitator.

Look at this setup: people are equal, students can interact with each other. For me it shows respect.

It also makes being a student an active role. They are not just sitting there as empty vases to be filled with the profesor’s knowledge but they are required to think, to share what they know, to develop while they are in charge.

Lecture hall of my university

Now look at how we are learning. We’re talking about a masters degree, and we’re still put in a row of chairs, looking only at the presenter almost like we’re in a church.

Where is that spark, that energy of dialogue, the happy feeling of discovery? Sure, I can get it some place else but why does our university not encourage us to do so?

Maybe one day, if we’re lucky, universities in Hungary will trust their students more.

Reader question

What are the universities in your country like? Lecture halls or discussions?

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