This blog is highly personal, makes no attempt at being politically correct, will occasionaly offend your sensibility, and certainly does not represent the opinions of the people I work with or for.
The tragedy of teaching in the UK

If you look at the math department (but this is also true for the entire NMS school, and even the faculty at large), most of the lecturers and professors are not British. Similarly most of the PhD students are not British. There is only one out of about 50 of us.

Now, the one million dollar question is why is that ?

What was explained to me yesterday is that the UK has a tendency to train their pupils (in middle school and high school) to always worry about exams (the entire system is designed for them to be like this). This is strange to me, but I said "Fine, as long are those students are told that the university doesn't work the same". Then, I discovered that, unfortunately, because teaching fees are so expensive in the UK (University in France is free for instance, alike most other European countries), and because students in the UK are treated like clients, and because the ranking of the university is so important for marketing purposes, and because UK universities are taking more and more students from far eastern countries (like China) where education is all about learning things by heart and preparing exam questions (while having a completely superficial understanding of the subject), because of all that, UK lecturers are told not to fight the students habits and to give them what they want: Exam Training (tm) rather than a mathematical education.

If you ask UK students (or far eastern students) what they want the most, they always reply "we want the list of question types that can come up at the exam with the answers". Whereas if you ask students in other countries what they want they will talk about being able to understand the subject better and trying to learn as much as they can...

The result is that most lecturers and PhD students actually know how to teach mathematics properly, and would love doing it (like I am desperately trying to do), but because of all the pressure not to do it, they are forced to teach in what I can only describe as a stupid way. Of course, the university is happy because the students get their examinations (in other words the clients get what they paid for, a degree for sale, which motivates other potential clients to come in), but the result is that none of those students actually learn enough mathematics to become mathematician. Mathematicians in the UK come from others countries. Countries where students were actually taught mathematics...

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