Cy­berspace not the place for learn­ing and suc­cess

The Compass - - OPINION -

Fif­teen years ago when I wrote a let­ter or two re­gard­ing the life of students and teach­ers, ev­ery­thing around was sunny and rosy to my main­land eyes.

Now ex­pe­ri­ence has sobered me some­what, and though I still see the sun ev­ery­where, so also I see the clouds.

The new aca­demic year has started. So how about it? I thought I should say some­thing and if you find it of value, it will ap­pear to bother the pub­lic.

Students these days are more knowl­edge­able and goal ori­ented than be­fore. To ac­com­mo­date this in­crease in aware­ness, teach­ers are also try­ing harder to make learn­ing more ac­ces­si­ble, in­ter­est­ing and re­ward­ing. Use of multi-me­dia is an ex­am­ple.

And ‘ay! there’s the rub’ as Ham­let ex­claimed pon­der­ing on more lethal mat­ters.

One would ex­pect that our mod­ern cy­ber innovations would help students to learn bet­ter and get good grades. But that does not seem to be the case. The minds of the young these days are quite scat­tered with con­stant and in­stant ac­cess to friv­o­lous in­for­ma­tion and vi­su­als (Face­book), oral and writ­ten com­pan­ion­ships be­tween and dur­ing classes and while do­ing home­work (cell­phones), and muzak dur­ing other mun­dane ac­tiv­i­ties like bi­cy­cling, walk­ing, driv­ing etc.

I know that some univer­sity/col­lege students would rather use their cell­phones in­stead of a cal­cu­la­tor. As a con­se­quence, the ma­jor­ity of the young are un­able to con­cen­trate on one thing for a length of time as they are used to in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tions with min­i­mal ef­fort as a re­sult of the cy­ber rev­o­lu­tion. I even sus­pect that, among students, re­spect for knowl­edge is not ‘cool’ but tal­ent in quickly ac­cess­ing “in­for­ma­tion” is. Such a ‘scat­tered mind-set’ is not good for learn­ing. I should not try the pa­tience of the pub­lic and the ed­i­tor with a lec­ture on ‘how to learn and study.’ But I can­not let you go with­out hear­ing this: par­ents should en­cour­age and even tell their sons and daugh­ters to shut off their phones and fo­cus while do­ing home­work; go to classes and lis­ten, spend more time in the li­brary, al­lot spe­cific times for ‘power chill-outs’ etc.

Dis­ci­pline, hard work and rou­tine are the only keys to suc­cess, not cell­phones and Face­book.

K.S. Ramadurai writes from Car­bon­ear.

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