Professor Juan Vindel from Strategy area is going to tell us what is learning from his students

I suppose that learning from the students is something that we will certainly always do. The “good” classes are always interactive, dynamic, hard, where students push you to a 90 minutes of fascinating challenge. Classes are so hard that usually, after a class,  I need to rest a while, I’m going to a hotel near the IE and I sit on one of their chairs …

Students of masters are, by definition, heterogeneous. The diversity of origin, education, previous experience … is wonderful. In more than 20 years as professor of strategy I have never had two equal classes

The student tends to push the professor into his comfort zone, so it is very common for class discussions to focus on areas where the student knows more than the professor.

This brings us to the first important lesson: be humble. Those times when a professor taught “one way” have gone, especially in the kind of education that we are talking about. The good professor do not need to know “everything” … A professor should help you thinking and in order to do so,professor has to be on the same level of students, and for this reason, the professor must be humble.

However, be careful, something that I also learned from my students is not to confuse between paternalism and education. There are people for whom being a good teacher means being a good friend, a nice guy that can understand their problems and try to meet their emotional and social needs of them. A professor, close friend and colleague of his students …

Sometimes some teachers fall into this big mistake. The students know very well the difference between learning and fun. The first thing is not incompatible with the second but fun without learning breaks our mission: teaching.

Over time I have been learning and changing my perspective towards my students. Every day my relationship with them is more similar to a professional rather than the typical  professor-student connection. This relationship is seen at the level of demand, the degree of mutual respect, the extent that means the reward or punishment … This relationship is the result of my professional distortion. But as the time goes by, I realized their value, to the point that today, it is more common to see my colleagues at work as students that my students as students

The second important thing: listening. The good professor should be a good communicator and a good communicator must listen. Many times, the professor listens to students with the intention of answering the question instead of understanding the message.Listen

Something I have learned from my students during these years,  is how much important is to understand to be well understood. if we fail to do this right, bidirectional communication is broken and the class breaks down. In this way we teach a lesson “one way ” and lose all the advantage that our education system has.

Another lesson learned is usually a very common problem among humans: our wrong and unwise tendency to “prejudging”.  In many cases, experience leads us to “anticipate ” an answer according of training or previous experience that the student has and, many times, this anticipation is wrong.

And the most important lesson for us, we must know how to appreciate everything that our students can teach us. Happy new year.

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