Effect of social roles

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A true character of a person can be known when he or she is given power. The way a person makes use of the powers becomes a detrimental factor in getting to know the personality. However as mostly is the case in our country the person gets lost in the aura of the power that he or she has been given and acts in ways which are against the social norms. We see examples of this all through the day, be it at home, school, office or on roads. At home people are seen abusing the servants, draining them of every inch of blood in their body by making them do unnecessarily (hard) work. At office the boss makes his subordinates do the house chores, making him or her to pick the children from school. On roads we see the policemen stopping the motorcycles, rickshaws, trucks and buses for no reasons at times and letting them go after shaking the hand full of money. Much to my surprise the abuse of power has also crept in to schools, colleges and university and teachers have become the abusers of it. We see on daily routines teachers favouring people belonging to specific religious sects, race or ethnic backgrounds and awarding them more marks at their free will. A psychological study conducted by Zibardo points out the effects of social roles on a person’s behaviour. The experiment reported a difference in the behaviour of normal men when given different roles. The people chosen as guards resorted to verbal and physical aggression on the people playing the role of prisoners, even though they were not allowed to that. A similar event took place at a university which happens to be the best institute for Business Administration in Pakistan. A teaching assistant is an individual who assists a teacher or professor with instructional responsibilities. The concept of having Teacher’s Assistants is to provide ease to the teacher, help the students as much as they can, prepare quizzes and check them according to the answer sheet provided by the teacher. For this the TAs are paid so it becomes sort of an on campus job for the students. A couple of Teacher’s Assistants forced the class students to wear specific colours and participate in the activity they were having. Each year a company conducts a talent hunt whereby the students have to form a group of four and suggest and to certain extent implement a marketing strategy for the company’s product. The TAs as they are called allotted extra marks to the participants of their activity which is a perfect example of abuse of power. I would urge the educationalist to witness such abuse of power being carried by the students. It is this age that defines the personality of a person and if they are let free of abusing the powers they may become the leaders that we have. For universities who prepare leaders of tomorrow such activities must ring a bell in the administration section and the abuse of power be stopped. The roles of TAs must be restricted and teachers and TAs made to follow the rules.
AFFAN H KHAN
Karachi