Thursday, May 28, 2015

This is a post written by my father Mr.N. Krishnan, some months ago and I deem it a proud privilege to re blog it here.

Comprehending and negotiating Gen Y learners

Before going into my observations on the experience with the new generation students, let me introduce myself as a ‘Johnny who came in late’ to this profession.  I took up full-time coaching assignment only in the year 2006 even though I was a faculty for the commercial trainees way back in the 1970’s and also a part time trainer of executives on the subject of ‘Finance for non- finance executives’ in the Management Development Centre of FACT     For the past 7 years  I am now  in the midst of  youngsters who are pursuing the ACCA ( UK) course after their Plus two/Commerce degree,  as a Senior faculty ( Finance)

Our students , the archetypal conservative brood of the GEN Y where ‘Y’ heralds the tech savvy , hands on, interactive and collaborative  set , hail  mainly from affluent background     ( most of them sons/daughters of expatriate Indians) The calibre of the students, who have enrolled for the programme range from ‘average’ to ‘good’. The challenge before us is to mould them as professionals in the finance discipline and this indeed is an onerous task.
The “WHY” and “Young” pupils are  well  disciplined and their behaviour is quite good and we have not encountered any problem with them all these years on that front.
The positive attributes of my disciples are that they are very friendly and submissive  There is no rebelliousness on the part of the students  Many of them (not all )are hardworking and focussed, with the full realisation of the demands of a professional course  They come to the class in their uniform, usually well turned out. These achievers live up to the image of gen y in attitude and they are natives of the digital world, are very computer savvy and conversant with the gadgets and gizmos. The greater number submit their assignments on time and attend classes regularly and take the monthly tests and model exams without fail Quite a few of them  have a penchant for the arts and are well versed in music, dance and other cultural activities. The Onam festival was a grandiose affair put up by the aspiring financial wizards   ( dance, music and drama etc.) which was appreciated by everyone Their inherent and latent talents are out in the open, once they set their heart, for which lot of coaxing is required  and this miniscule population do get involved in extra-curricular activities  A bunch of students had their   formative education in foreign lands with a good background in English medium schools. Others woefully lack communication skills- verbal and/or written
 A section of the student prodigies are completely new to the field of commerce and finance (with +2 qualification in the science stream) and surprisingly they out- perform the BCom students One of the factors responsible for this phenomenon, is that they have undergone four more fundamental papers conducted by ACCA, before being put at par with  B Com The curriculum for these papers are intense and undiluted, more focussed and in tune with other higher level ACCA papers. Perhaps they are also more determined than the B Com students
In the midst of mediocre students , from among the crumbling ruins, rising like a phoenix are  ‘fliers’ like Ms Rinchu Paul (Who completed the ACCA course creditably and was awarded a gold medal- Ms Janani, who went through the course in the shortest possible time - Shri Ashutosh Kumar ( hailing from Bihar and the son of a Navy officer, at Cochin Naval base), who won the Rs100,000 prize instituted by us for the best student. There were other shining gems, who won accolades and shared honours in the top on the world stage having been  placed among the top scorers in the ACCA papers globally.     
Having enumerated  the plus points, let me turn my attention to the flip side  As mentioned  earlier, the students, a vast majority, are very submissive This has a corollary in that the students are too timid/tongue-tied  to respond to any questions nor do they seek any clarifications, clearly defying the essence of GEN Y ,who are the decisive questioning individuals. So the two-way communication which is the sine qua non of any meaningful learning process is totally absent .One is left guessing as to whether they have assimilated and absorbed what has been taught .Even non-academic informal   questions like ‘where do you belong to’ what is your father’ etc. do not elicit proper or audible response ( sometimes ‘a shake of the shoulders’ or in extreme cases ‘batting of the eyelids-! a trademark insignia so typical of even grown up people in this part of the country!)- The purport of which leaves you clueless! ) It is again a Herculean task to draw them out of their shells and make them more communicative.   
Some of the students are very lethargic and do not exhibit any enthusiasm. They seem to lack energy and that is why, perhaps, they are not aggressive in pursuit of knowledge Many of them are woefully wanting in health and frequent absence is the bane of such students Punctuality is another casualty- with the usual excuses -that the bus in which they travel from their residence to the institute was caught in a traffic jam and was delayed ( which is an integral part of chaos in traffic, often witnessed in Kochi!)- That there was delay in getting breakfast in their hostels- over slept!- had medical check-up Etc.) The reasons given for absenteeism   also include attending to sick parents and attending social functions( in our student days – may be, because of the larger family set up- we were not required to do this duty or perform social responsibilities like representing the family for marriages, deaths etc.- the focus and responsibility were entirely on pursuing studies to the exclusion of all other distractions )
Lack of interest in reading English newspapers, particularly those on economics and finance is another drawback of the students The teachers are trying to get over this problem by prescribing a ‘10 minute’ time capsule, at the start of every day, for reading out the important economic/financial news of the day by each one of the students by turn  Efforts are also taken to persuade the students to give presentation on economic/ financial issues  and participate in group discussions.

To conclude, the Gen Y learners are a mixed bag of ‘good’, ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’ and it is our endeavour to bring them all up to the ‘good’ category level -not only in academics but also in soft skills (which will stand them in good stead in their careers) It is an uphill and daunting task and whether we triumph  in this earnest attempt, is a moot point and only posterity can judge us !   


  1. Very interesting article. I am glad that your dad is part of the programme to teach,guide and prepare the young men and women to take the prestigious ACCA examination.Any group of students is a mixed bag with varied levels of competency,interest and passion.The teacher brings out the best in them patting the good,guiding the moderate and pulling up the slow.Teaching is an exalted profession

  2. Very interesting article. I am glad that your dad is part of the programme to teach,guide and prepare the young men and women to take the prestigious ACCA examination.Any group of students is a mixed bag with varied levels of competency,interest and passion.The teacher brings out the best in them patting the good,guiding the moderate and pulling up the slow.Teaching is an exalted profession

  3. Thankyou sir..yes...pefagogy is part and parcel of our husband is a visiting professor in Engineering colleges( probably my dad was inspired by him to take up this profession post retirement) i was also teaching management students for a while before turning to freelancing. Now my father has totally retired from all professions due to age.

  4. Interesting to read about their behaviors. I am not sure if one-to-one counselling has been tried with them...maybe that might help.
    But these days, most of us are more extrovert and are ready to dole out our opinions.

    Great connecting with you ma'am. I am an MBA myself from IIFT and my Father was Professor of Chemistry in Ambala...he is retired now. He is a PhD from Punjab University.


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