Prof. Ngo Bao Chau: “A Great Teacher Is The One Who Raises Good Questions”


Prof. Ngo Bao Chau: “A Great Teacher Is The One Who Raises Good Questions”

According to Prof. Ngo Bao Chau, the most daunting task students ever need to overcome is finding a mentor who does not answer all the odds but raises good questions.

Prof. Ngo Bao Chau and his teacher, Prof. Laumon, at the ceremony to welcome new foreign members of the French Academy of Sciences

On the morning of 21st April, Prof. Ngo Bao Chau had an online meeting with hundreds of Vietnamese students. Here, he revealed many astonishing perspectives on learning and the current role of teacher in this age.

“It’s crucial to know how to find useful information”

At the beginning, Prof. Ngo Bao Chau proposed a simple concern – How is this learning today different from the past? To answer this question, he started with the actual context of this online meeting.

“Actually, things are so different. Now, thanks to the internet, I am in Chicago but I can talk to 400-500 young students in Vietnam. Social networks are negative, but on the other hand, for humankind, “it leads to an unprecedented opportunity. That is the opportunity to learn”

About the Internet today, according to Prof. Ngo Bao Chau, human beings can benefit a lot because there are thousands of answers floating on the Internet, especially in forums. Some of them can be superior to others. They may not be the final answers but will show us where they come from.

“I wish humans are more friendly with nature”

To the challenges and opportunities posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Prof. Ngo Bao Chau, the challenge is cringeworthy because the world is shaking (except for those who must go on with their duties).

However, the opportunity lies in the awakening of most people. There will be a need for a big change. This is a warning for each individual to rethink about their life, family and each social organization.

“From that cognitive change, I hope there will be changes in life, which is more minimal and simpler, and friendly to nature,” Prof. Chau said.

The sharing of information is extremely important in this modern time. However, using the Internet to find useful information is essential instead of entertainment. Due to fake news and bustling flow of information, authentic data is treasure. Difficult as it can be but according to Prof. Chau, it can be attained by reading and comparing different sources. When we have a habit of understanding problems, there will be paths to the right information.

Back to learning, he said: “Today, we don’t need a great school with a library filled with books as before. We need great mentors those who raise good question, not answering them all”

Professor emphasized: “Great teachers know how to propose good questions and to answer, we need to learn, thereby, not only answering this question but through a chain of questions”.

“We should start from a question”

About the teacher’s role, he said. “In the old days, teachers told us what the truth is. But now, I think it is not appropriate anymore. A great teacher is someone who raise good questions, inspire us to seek for the truth”

According to Prof. Chau, when there are piles of issues that cannot be memorized, it is important to be organized and simplified. “To be neat and clean, practice communicating to others. Communicating and discarding excess information, you’ll have a clearer mind. When your friends capture instantly what you’ve said, your problem is understandable”, Professor Chau emphasized.

The motivation of learning is the motivation of my life. When people are born, they have a basic instinct to want each day to be better, to improve themselves, their surroundings, and the world. Every day we improve ourselves, which is the basic motivation for learning.

About study guide at university, Professor Chau answered: “Studying at university and other post-colleges is not having to read the textbook from the beginning to the end. Instead, it should start from one question so that we can find out what is relevant. The question is crucial. It is an opportunity and gives us a purpose to explore and answer what is hidden”

During the discussion, Prof. Chau proposed “How to get new innovations?”. To answer, he said: “I think it is impossible for innovation to come up in our mind. In fact, all innovation is due to our experience. When we are not entering the labor market, this experience can come from solving many learning situations”

About how to avoid being dragged into uselessness by their friends, Prof. Chau has a detailed answer: “I personally do not socially interact for 1.5 month and only work online. Daily exchange with students is fine but there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. Human-to-human cooperation is a great motivation for work and study”

“Simply, I think we need society, including friends. From there we can learn from others and learn from what we teach others “. There is no need for the enthusiastic support from one or two thousand people, and even to be alert to the approval of others.

The meeting online of Prof. Ngo Bao Chau organized by Tan Tao University has attracted the attention of many students and lecturers nationwide.