Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is Research Required for Teaching?

The Hindu, in its news report titled ‘Universities should concentrate on research, says Abdul Kalam’ dated 08 Feb 2009 rightly focused on the importance of research for qualitative teaching.

As an individual is judged by the friends he or she maintains, an educational institution is also judged by the research it focuses. In western countries, research is stressed along with teaching, while it is not so in India. Very few premier educational institutions in India treat research as part and parcel of teaching. Icfai University in India is laying a lot of emphasis on quality education through research based education. It has its own research centers across the country for developing books and case studies to cater to the needs of students, faculties and professionals. The research centers are the backbone for the success of Icfai University at the national level.

Case Study of Richards as a Researcher:

Richards having worked as a teaching faculty joined in a research center as a researcher where he had to deliver books in the domain of Soft Skills and Leadership Development. He had passion to author couple of books and, in fact, it was his lifetime ambition. Basically he had flair for writing and speaking. He thought that having couples of authored books would add value to his resume. Besides, he felt that it would also widen his intellectual base. After having several books written, he decided to come back to teaching which was his passionate area again. When he went for an interview, the interviewing officer posed the question of joining back to teaching from research. The officer doubted whether Richards could deliver his goods effectively as a teaching faculty as he did not have teaching experience.

Richards replied that research becomes an integral part of teaching. And added that a person coming from a research background could do better justification than a person coming from mere teaching background. He firmly said that research was an extension of teaching and it would add value to teaching as he was backed and packed with lot of information, ideas and knowledge. The interviewing officer was impressed with the response and Richards was selected. And finally, Richards did commendable job as a teaching faculty far better than earlier i.e. when he merely had teaching but not research experience.

From the above case study of Richards, it becomes very clear about the importance and significance of research for ensuring qualitative teaching. It is necessary to blend both research and teaching for imparting effective education.

Research Vs Teaching:

Research involves in knowledge creation and generation while teaching involves in knowledge dissemination. If research is the infrastructure then teaching is the superstructure. Research provides enriching experience for both faculties and students. It also promotes better relations and understanding between the teacher and the taught. Instead of saying research is an extension of teaching we can comfortably say that teaching is an extension of research.

When a faculty delivers teaching without having undergone any research, there will be certain mental blocks and gaps while teaching. On the contrary, when a researcher takes up teaching activity he is well equipped with vast knowledge. Since the faculty is well equipped with the topic, he or she is able to deliver extempore. Besides, it enhances the confidence of the faculty. The students will also enjoy the teaching sessions as the latest and unexplored areas are addressed while teaching. There will be more arousal of students’ interest towards the teaching process resulting into effective imparting of knowledge and information and education. The faculty also enjoys respect in the eyes of the students.

Students raise several questions during the course of interaction. It provides adequate triggers for the researcher to explore further and expand farther. It helps in ‘out of the box’ thinking. And also helps in reinforcing what is researched.

There is no point in doing research continuously and acquiring knowledge when it is not imparted to the students. Knowledge grows when shared. Sharing of knowledge pays off for both faculties and students as there is an exchange of ideas, information, thoughts and knowledge. Besides, it generates new triggers for further research. People with research background can become more successful faculties than the one without.


It is time Indian Universities focused equally on research to impart quality teaching to the students. It would have ripple effect on the students and on the nation as a whole. Research is an integral part of teaching. Any separation results in affecting the educational system adversely resulting in poor performance of students. Therefore, research and teaching must go together. One without the other has no meaning and relevance. Both are two sides of the same coin so as to have meaningful value to the coin.

The End

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