Sep 6, 2014

How our students "saw" the PM's speech on teacher's day

Our PM Mr. Narendra Modi chose to chat with students on teacher's day 5th September, 2014. This interaction was requested to be attended by students from all over the country. As the timing was from 3 to 5 pm and our school sessions get over by 3 pm for students who are already in school from 8:00 in the morning, we chose not to stress them further. Instead we chose a novel way for them to attend this and to also confirm to us that they have attended. (as was requested by the ICSE Council as well as the Maharashtra Govt.)

We asked those students who had access to broadband internet or TV to view the telecast from home using any device. Those who could not were asked to wait in school and watch the show. 90% students chose to do it from home.

Now to confirm that the students had watched it, we asked them to login to our Google Apps domain (using the email accounts they already had) and give a small quiz at 5:15 pm on the same day. The quiz was created as the PM's chat unfolded and was uploaded just after the show. The questions were not merely factual, but also slightly twisted as to check the interpretation of the viewer. 

The quiz could be answered from any device capable of being on the internet at any speed. The quiz was time-bound and the paper expired after 1 hour. Barring a few cases of power-cuts leading to loss of connection or some students forgetting their passwords, things were done smoothly.

Thus we used the opportunity in two ways - a) to test-run the online assignment system for a large number of classes simultaneously and b) to check the capacity of the students to interpret aural content. What is interesting is the results of the quiz. A quick analysis (credit: Google Analytics) and a short discussion is presented here. Readers are welcome to add to or suggest corrections to this discussion.

A link to the analysis is here. Some interesting cases of answers are shown below.
Q1. How would you describe the PM's oratory skills?

a) He is a very vocal speaker11750%
b) He is a very convincing speaker20687%
c) He knows the pulse of the crowd16871%
d) He is a shrewd speaker3013%
Goes to show that most students could not think critically enough to judge the difference between being convincing via argument and being impressive.

Q3. Which of the following is a primary according to the PM?

Shows that students perceive the information they receive with a bias towards the emphasis by the speaker and fail to catch the subtle points. The PM stressed about "dreaming to do things" (marked by 109 people) as a good activity for the young, but later expressed that his primary objective in life is always To Do things. (marked by 64 people)

Q5. Which of the following qualities, did the PM (directly) imply, that a teacher must have?

a) Should work harder than others7130%
b) Should be disciplined13457%
c) Should give importance to the ability of student18378%
d) Should not discriminate (even on the basis of ability)19984%
Seems that most students could not differentiate between contradictory statements and marked the last two options together. The PM was implying option (d)

Q8. What seems to be the PM's opinions on the issue of Climate Change?

a) Its a hyped up idea3414%
b) Its a transient phenomenon, not to be worried about6829%
c) Its is misconception7030%
d) Its a severe problem6226%
Students seem to be fed with certain notions so strongly that they simply cannot perceive new perspectives. The PM clearly initiated this point with an example demonstrating that climate change has been hyped up as a problem, while it really may not be so. 

Q10. What were his comments on skill based education?
a) Degrees are not required2812%
b) Degrees are not enough14762%
c) Practical learning is necessary20587%
d) Learning should have more activities so students can practice what they learn22294
Another case where students could not do away with their deeply imbibed notions that degrees are "THE Thing" to have for a good life. The PM clearly implied that skills beyond the classroom are needed. Hence the answer should have been simply (a) and (c).

Clearly ... there's a lot to be yet accomplished by teachers.