When I was a child, I was taught that: Listening to teachers all the time without questioning because, with years of experience and a good education, they are always right. Therefore, I was often anxious when giving my opinion during lectures because even if it was a subjective question, my answer could still be wrong. I also often read sample texts before writing a text in literature subject to see which opinions should be right despite the fact that the topic itself was about describing my family.
Although the way of learning changed slightly when I entered the university in Vietnam, I did not need to examine sample texts as much as before, and there were more discussions in class, I was still too shy to give my opinion until I knew certainly that would be the correct answer. At that time, to me, educators were the ones who give knowledge, have ultimate control, and especially, have the right answers. Meanwhile, students are often the ones who receive knowledge. Even though we asked questions if we didn’t understand something, it was not very common to ask questions to validate the information.
Since I have been studying in Germany, my perception of educators’ roles has changed substantially. Here, instructors and students are interdependent. Students do not only receive new knowledge and information from the lecturers but are also being encouraged to discuss the related topics, and question as much as possible to tackle a problem in order to identify outcomes of the lectures by themselves. When students come up with a different approach or a new idea, professors do not tell us that we are wrong, rather asking why we think about it that way and how we plan to execute our idea. Sometimes, instructors also told us how interesting our ideas are since they haven’t approached the problem in that way before. That is how we learn from each other. Besides, our critical thinking skill including analyzing and evaluating information that we receive before making decisions is also improved. I think this is an important skill that one should have nowadays to avoid the spread of misinformation and in order to make better decisions.
During the first year, I hesitated to raise my hand and give any opinion. However, with the stimulation from professors, the apprehension in me has decreased noticeably. Now I am more comfortable and confident to express my thoughts since I know university is the place that I can trust to share and challenge my views.
Now I am more comfortable and confident to express my thoughts since I know university is the place that I can trust to share and challenge my views.