Mrs. Professor DoctorCzech Republic universities are a tad more formal than American institutions when it comes to titles. While some of your American professors might insist it’s all right to call them by their first names, Czech students must call their professors by their full title.
|Mrs. Professor Dr. Scruggs adapts to a teaching environment where students didn't make eye contact.|
Dr. Scruggs spent most of a week teaching at Palacky University, which is an hour’s ride by train from Brno, where the rest of the team worked during the week. She spoke to several classes of students who were studying English to become interpreters for business and applied economics jobs as well as for diplomatic posts like the United Nations. Her topics covered marketing, leadership, charity in the United States and SWOT analyses (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
In a class for first-year students, Dr. Scruggs would say a sentence or two and pause. During the pause 30 people would echo what she said in the Czech language into their headsets, never making eye contact with her, which was a change for a professor who excels at interacting with her students. In the second class, however, there were fewer than 12 students, who were at an advanced level, or “the best of the best.” These students’ job was to translate simultaneously as Dr. Scruggs spoke for an hour and a half on a topic that was new to the students. The students were so good at translation, however, that as Dr. Scruggs took a break, they would be only a word or two behind her. Again, no one looked at her or interacted with her.
MBA students Jason Reynolds, Josh Rule, Benton Jones, and Julian Bennett joined Dr. Scruggs on her final day at Palacky University. The MBA team helped lead students in two classes through the SWOT analysis for each team member’s employer in the United States.
“It was fascinating to experience bright young minds excited at the prospect of embracing their budding capitalism,” Jones said. “Most of them had a good idea how they were going to use their education -- within their economy, some within their own community. Just as fascinating was their response to the adult education model. They quickly accepted and appreciated the idea of applying the principles they had learned in a group exercise.”
“Leading the students through group discussions was an educational experience for me,” Reynolds said. “Introducing the adult education model to people who have never experienced helped me gain a new appreciation for this learning style.”