This Week: How polite was your teacher - the importance of classroom manners

Kashmira Kotwal
Accounting faculty
IITM, Dubai Knowledge Village
"They were well-mannered, but there was a certain sternness and distinct aloofness about them. Even outside the classroom, the rapport was to the barest minimum. This could have been my experience in the convents and college that I studied in.

"It is the other way around today - there is generally a good, friendly rapport between teachers and students especially here. Teachers today are very polite and the sternness is kept to the barest minimum.

"With so much talk about child psychology and abuse, you can't shout at students or say something such as 'Don't be stupid.' It could turn into a huge issue. In my time, the remark would be interpreted as something said with no serious intent, but for our own good ... .

"Students today are also more outspoken - both in the classroom and outside. They take it as their platform to speak and express themselves.

In my time, the least we would do to bug a teacher would be to throw arrows when the teacher's back was turned, or persistently ask a teacher a question.

"So is the changed situation an improvement? Yes and no. Yes, because in a more relaxed atmosphere, students are more receptive to what is being taught. It keeps teachers relaxed too.

"There's more spontaneity in the lecture. However, students can take advantage of the situation. A teacher's authority has to be maintained and it should not be undermined in any way. That is crucial."

Caryl machado
Home-maker, mother of two

"As a parent, one gripe I have with both teachers and students these days is that they don't acknowledge each other. Whether you meet once - or 20 times - on campus or outside, there is no recognition. It's basic courtesy.

"Earlier probably we did it out of fear or awe when we saw our teachers. It's a sign that we are becoming more insular as a society. And that we should avoid. A sense of community can only be built with that acknowledgement."

S. Ruksana
BSc in Accounting, third year
IITM, Dubai

"Nowadays teachers are more friendly. Students are free in airing their opinions, and even in picking out faults in their teaching methods. This is good as it leads to better communication. However, students should maintain classroom etiquette. There should be a limit to the freedom."