Teaching Diary: Dreams are my reality? Students forget how to dream.

This is probably the first disappointed entry in my ‘teaching diary’ here on nomadteacher.org. And it doesn’t even affect social media or student behavior – well in some way it does, but not in the obvious way.

The other day I gave an assignment to my hotel management students where I teach ‘English & Internet’. This subject is basically about learning how to use the internet for business purposes and how to use it for communication matters. Since nowadays all kids know how to send emails and stuff like that I decided to take it a little further and see how they handle it when they have to think on their own. Sometimes they did quite nice, sometimes they were to lazy but it worked out.

Now, in order to prepare for the final exam, I asked them to present their ‘hotel of the future’. They had all freedom they wanted and could come up with basically everything. And what did they come up with? With 7-star hotels or hotels where you can pay by card instead of real money…that’s not the future, that’s boring (and can be done already).

Similar things happened when I gave assignments in other classes where they had to use their imagination. The ‘think big’ gene seems to get extinct. At least on the vocational college level.

Unfortunately I lost the link to an article I came across yesterday. The article stated that nowadays more and more students dream, think & invent stuff than ever. However I experience a complete difference here in the colleges. If, at all, students copy stuff that has already been invented. They don’t dream, don’t think, don’t try. They are stuck in their parents daily life and don’t see an escape from that. They are 16 – 20 years old and already accepted that they’ll probably be stuck here forever. And most of them are not trying to fight it.

Even if they have dreams, they don’t try to chase them. Last week I talked to my graduating students and asked them where they want to study…they told me they want to go away, abroad or simply to Bangkok…but now that the week of University signings has come, 87% of them signed in at the local University.

That is pretty sad and shows somehow that there is still a HUGE gap between students / life in general over here in Thailand (Asia) and the western world. There is internet, social media (all of my students use it and usually have over 700 friends on facebook, so they know about the life outside) and so on but when it comes down to the real life all those ‘magic’ moments are gone.

Now the question: Should we, as teacher, intervene here and encourage students to dream & think big? Or is it more important to prepare them for the ‘real life’ that isn’t all fun and dreams? Won’t the find out (or probably already have found out) that on their own? What’s your approach?

Dreams aren’t reality – but they could be so easily.

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