An American university instructor in northern Iraq gives his appraisal of students there. A partial list of observed behaviors:
- Students here come to class wide awake and cheerful. Even those students in the 8 a.m. Mathematics II class show up on time and ready to work; the same applies to the students in the later sections.
- Students here show up for class without a bunch of electronics. Cell phones are plentiful here, but I’ve never seen one in class. Last spring, at my university in the United States, I spent countless weeks wrestling with my calculus students over texting in class.
- In both their dress and demeanor, students here display a positive attitude toward learning. There’s no “slacker” mentality. Students are nicely dressed, most at a business casual level. There are no pajamas, flip-flops, or t-shirts with profane or sexually explicit messages, nor do you see a lot of skin. These kids are dressed to learn.
- Although my students come from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, I haven’t noticed that they split up into cliques. To some extent, this may just reflect a lack of cultural understanding on my part, but my strong sense is that students work well together across these differences.
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