Kota Coaching Classes for IIT-JEE and Naturals...
IIT JEE results were announced a couple of days back and our Prime Minister congratulated his young friends on twitter for passing the exam and in advance on completing their B.Tech and then doing MBA and going to join an investment bank or selling sugared water or soap, as per the preference.
I have not read the newspaper since the announcement of IIT JEE results, because this announcement every year, is like a recurring salt-rubbing event. Like a perpetual reminder, once every year, that you are good for nothing, since you did not make it to IIT-JEE, a few years back.
IIT-JEE now do not allow people above a certain age to appear in the exam, otherwise so many times I gave it a thought that even at this ripe old age, having completed more than half of the life expectancy number this country offers, I should prepare and at least pass the exam and remove this big black blot from my head.
Because it is there...
With the changing pattern in the exam, the way of preparation for it has also changed considerably. Some of the standard books have gone, new have come in and the days of Brilliant Tutorials and Agarwal Classes have gone.
For many years now, it is the Kota Classes that rule and I am sure there would have been full page advertorials in the news-paper announcing the toppers from the respective institutes.
These classes in Kota are now thousand crore plus industries and there are hundreds of them, well organised and professional. Very different from the coaching classes from my era (though I never went to any coaching class in my life), which were single teacher run mostly, subject specific and run from almost adhoc premises.
All these coaching classes offer very lucrative packages to the faculty and their goal is to get maximum of people from IITs. So there are M.Techs and B.Techs and even P.hd scholars now teaching in these classes.
People may argue that it is a good thing, after all to produce an IITian, you need an IITian. But here, I would like to offer a different view for your consumption and debate, that how this is not good for many students, who come to these classes.
These B.Techs and M.Techs and P.hds that join the Kota IIT-JEE coaching classes as teachers or faculty are very bright people (It is not that I am not a bright person, or for that matter you) in their scheme of things. From preparation of IIT-JEE to spending 4 years there, and then may be another 2 years for post-graduation and some of them deciding to spend a further time to get their doctorates, they have become naturals.
Naturals in the sense that, for them Mathematics and Physics usually and for those people who have pursued Chemistry at IIT , these subjects are like their part of the skin. It has become natural to them. They breathe and live these subjects and have been doing so probably for many years.
Now you may ask that what is wrong with being a natural.
For any academic institution, even is it a coaching class, like those that are there in Kota, the goal should not be that the bright ones shine brighter. The goal should be that even the not-so-bright ones also shine equally well.
The same philosophy should apply in the corporate world also, but due to looming pressures of delivering quarterly numbers and guidance forecasts, the bright ones get rewarded and the not-so-bright ones eventually get kicked out, because nobody bothers for them. And that too, when these guys were recruited by the company itself and then they are dis-owned.
Probably that’s why, now-a-days if you see the recruitment advertisements of almost every company, they want rock-stars or ninjas only, nothing less than that will do. This is much more prevalent in start-up world.
Ok. I digressed again. Let’s come back to the point.
The point is Ladies and Gentlemen, the naturals might not always be great teachers. And when they are not great teachers, it is very difficult to make not-so-bright ones, shine equally well as the bright ones.
Why the naturals could not be great teachers?
The art of teaching involves majorly, what and why the student is not able to understand.
If you have figured out this much, anyone can be a great teacher. But also, this is the part where the majority of the teachers fail.
Now consider the fact that you are a natural. Since standard 5th, you have been doing trigonometric equations, by the time you reached standard 8th, you started doing integral calculus and by the time, you finished the standard 10th exams, you had already completed the entire IIT-JEE syllabus.
These guys are naturals. They do not require pen and paper eventually to solve the problems or equations; they can pull it off in their head.
When these guys start teaching, it would be very difficult for them to understand that why and what the not-so-bright guys are not able to understand, because they themselves never faced a problem, where they failed to understand something which their teachers were teaching. In fact, they might be light years ahead than their own teachers.
Their teaching style would suit more to the bright ones because they could identify themselves with them and the students could identify themselves with their teachers.
Now where this leaves the not-so-bright ones in the scheme of game?
Probably that’s why; there are filters in place, where not everyone with money can gain admission in these coaching classes. Probably that’s why there are so many of them are there in one single city, to cater to every kind of clientele.
The fact of matter is that, the bright ones probably do not need any kind of coaching itself. They join these coaching classes because of peer and parental pressures. They could do equally well, without these classes.
The guys who need coaching are the ones who are not-so-bright ones, but the way these classes are run, it is not suited for this kind of pupil.
a) There is a difference between a “Natural” and probably another Gold Medallist or Silver Medallist. There is popular mis-conception that all toppers and Gold Medallists are naturals. No it is not. There are people, who struggled to grasp the fundamentals, persisted with their efforts and eventually went to top their courses. They are toppers, but not actually qualify as “Naturals”. This post is specifically about the “Naturals”.
b) This post has 1100 words (including the point number “a” cited above). The reason I have included in the word count is that, it is essential to clarify this point; otherwise the post might sound confusing.