An independent think-tank

“Differences be overcome, with mutual dialogues”: teachers-students interactions

PR/23 May 2019

To overcome differences, we need to engage in dialogue with each other, the sole purpose of which is to understand each other’s point of view. Unfortunately, there is a tendency of people resorting to monologues, in which people “talk at” each other, rather than “talk to” each other.

These thoughts came in a series of interactions held by the teachers of Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Multan; Mian Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture, Multan; University of Education, Multan; and University of the Punjab, Lahore, and were organized with the support of Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS).

A dozens of such interactions were conducted, discussing topics as wide as the role of teachers and students in peace and harmony, and how social media can be effectively used to promote similarities.

Throughout the interactions, teachers realized upon the students that the tradition of dialogue in universities should be upheld. Dialogues should be about mutual interactions, exchanging views, learning to differ from each other, without provocation to violence.

Teachers noted that students coming to universities hail from different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. The common thing they usually suffer from is lack of interaction, thereby, giving birth to common misunderstandings about each other. It was also opined by most of the teachers that dialogues need to be conducted in university campuses to better understand each other’s perspectives. They called for frequent dialogues on the theme of peace and harmony and incorporation of the same in curricula of schools, colleges and varsities.

Teachers and students can be trained on how to uphold diversity of opinion in the classrooms, without touching upon the sensibilities of each other, they added.

Students too need to ask question, to quench their curiosity. Unquestioned obedience threatens diversity. Students should ask questions, so as to enhance their mental capabilities.

Furthermore, it was also said that future activities of similar nature be conducted in universities in which people from diverse backgrounds be invited for knowledge-sharing. Few teachers also planned to conduct more dialogues, seminars and workshops on social harmony on their own in the days to come.