Is the student more qualified than teacher?

May 22, 2007 9:12am CST
Imagine that a teacher is telling his students how to solve a difficult problem. A clever but rebellious student claims that the teacher's way of solving the problem is wrong. Implying that the teacher is not capable, this rebel insists that he knows a much better way to solve the problem. Some students think that he is right, and they also become rebellious. what should the teacher do? If he throws out the rebels out of class, what will the effect on the other students? will they not believe that their fellow student and those who joined him are right?
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2 responses
@Phlamingho (7831)
• Denmark
22 May 07
I went to high school with someone that corrected the teacher at an oral exam... The student was right though :-) He got the highest score possible :-)
• United States
22 May 07
This is the sort of thing teachers encounter all the time. Here's what many teachers would do. Politely thank the rebellious student for his idea. Then ask him to come to the black board and demonstrate his method for solving the problem. If it works, compliment the student on his great idea. If it does not, tell him you like his attitude of trying new ideas but to understand that not all new ideas work out. The only thing really wrong with the problem as you have presented it is that you said "claims the teacher's way of solving the problem is wrong". No teacher would come to class with an incorrect method of solving a problem, though a teacher might bring a solution that might not be the fastest or most efficient possible. Anyway, I have taught as a substitute in the public schools and I have taught classes in the military. Students who think they are smarter than the teacher are common. Sometimes they are! The key to handling them is to not squash the student's enthusiasm for learning while showing him you are not stupid either. It is not necessary for the teacher to prove he is smarter. The teacher can demonstrate he is smarter by handling the situation with tact and politeness. This has worked everytime for me.