Nieuws - 16 augustus 2012

Sir, your time is up!


In one of my classes I had to do a group project. The teacher gave us time to meet him informally other than the meeting in the class.

We were scheduled to have the meeting from 13.30 until 15.30. Apparently, the teacher was enjoying the discussion and forgot that he had already exceeded the scheduled time. One of my Dutch friends interrupted him in the middle of his speech. My friend told the teacher to finish the meeting because she had another appointment at 15.30. The teacher apologized and stopped the meeting.
I thought it was very impolite to ask the teacher to stop the meeting in the middle of his speech. In my home country, Indonesia, when the teacher exceeds the scheduled time, in class or in an informal meeting, we have to wait until he has finished his speech.
Being polite to older people is considered an important value in my country. It is impossible for us to interrupt older people (or teachers) in the middle of a speech.  I recognized that my friend's attitude was a part of the values in Dutch culture : the low power distance which 'power' is not considered as a burden. Students and teachers communicate at the same level, so that when the teacher makes mistakes the student can just easily remind him.  
Halida Sukmala Sudarmo (Indonesia), Msc student of Landscape Architecture and Planning Program