Monday, September 20, 2010

If you Believe me, I’m not going to Examine you

This blog is just a reflection of one of Francis Bacon’s words I stumbled across in one of my readings.

For as knowledges are now delivered, there is a kind of contract of
error between the deliverer and the receiver; for he that delivereth
knowledge desireth to deliver it in such a form as may be best be-
lieved, and not as may be best examined; and he that receiveth
knowledge desireth rather present satisfaction than expectant in-
quiry.
Francis Bacon

I was helping a young student solve Jamb past Questions, the one of April 2010. I made a nasty mistake on a simple multiplication. I never realized the mistake until some hours later, after the student left. As I was teaching some students a day after that on Further Mathematics, or what some call Advanced Mathematics, I nearly stumbled on making the same mistake again!
That mistake gave me a pique of conscience. I looked at the class and made them believe me that I was supposed to be their teacher but not a fumbling professor. They had to believe my capabilities and not leave the class with wry faces, wondering if their examination of my mistake would make them return to my class. I thought I should be their teacher in a formal class (this was just a tutorial class). I would have maintained a moral ground, hunched my shoulders and pronounce to all and sundry: “There will be a test tomorrow!” Yes, that fear of a test, which teachers fall to as a recourse and to threaten students would have helped me hide the mistake, keeping their young brains busy.
I smiled. I thought Francis Bacon would have been wondering what was making me smile. Yes, if I was not going to satisfy the students, I should put them on their guard, covering their arses! That is what my teachers made me believe while in my youth; that was why I took to self-study, skipping classes most times.
I didn’t have to fall to the same cycle, did I?

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