I have multiple experiences from multiple teachers that they hide the book they are secretly following and picking problems from, and whenever students ask for a reference book, they give a multitude of names except for the book which he is secretly following.

As a result, students either waste a lot of time figuring/finding out the answers to the questions or never find an answer which the teacher wants them to write, and consequently most (or some) of them fail. So, those failed students have to repeat the same course multiple times, and others collaboratively build and maintain question banks.

Why do teachers do this?

How ethical is it to hide information from students?

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    Why is it a problem to solve exercises from a different book than what you are following for lecture? If the issue is that some students have a bank of questions and solutions, that is a different problem altogether – Morgan Rodgers Jan 1 at 20:27
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    There are several difficulties with the premises of this question... E.g., "waste a lot of time figuring out the answers..."?!? – paul garrett Jan 1 at 21:31
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    It is a waste of time if the student just goes looking for the answer on line. Figuring out the answer to a course-relevant problem is one of the most useful ways a student can spend time. – Patricia Shanahan Jan 1 at 22:55
  • @user366312, do I understand your question right? Students are being graded on whether they get the answers to questions right? And with the books your teachers recommend, you can't figure out how to solve the questions? – ObscureOwl Jan 2 at 15:29
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    @user366312 then the problem to me seems not that the lecturer isn't giving you the exact book the questions are coming from, but that between the assigned reading for the course and the lectures, you can't solve the questions? Because it's a pretty strange situation when you can't do the homework without asking the lecturer for additional books to read. – ObscureOwl Jan 3 at 11:53

It is fine. But you seem to have the misconception that education is about answers. It isn't. Instructors don't ask students to do problems because they need the answers. They (the instructors) can probably figure them out on their own. I hope so anyway.

The exercises are to get the students to do the mental work that will reinforce anything in the class. It is hoped that they will struggle a bit and so get stronger. it is about growth, not answers.

But the ethical instructor will also provide feedback so that when students can't come up with answers on their own, they are guided to a better way of thinking.

And a really good instructor will give out exercises that vary in difficulty so that everyone can do some of them, but there are also some that even the best students will struggle with.

And, building question banks is also a disservice to students. Especially to those students who really need to learn. Shortcuts don't get you there. If you try to take a shortcut in a bicycle race you will be disqualified. Do the work. Get strong.

A teacher that gave out exercises but always provided the answers immediately would also be doing the students a disservice. Working toward a known answer is a different, lower level, skill than searching out the answer and the demonstration that it is true.

  • I figure out all the problems as I write them... And each problem comes with a supplementary challenge ie a “what if”... – Solar Mike Jan 1 at 20:04
  • @SolarMike, great idea. Thanks. – Buffy Jan 1 at 20:12

Some, most, many teachers don’t.

I give the worked solutions to all of my problems after a week to give the students time to attempt them.

Some solve them all and don’t need to check, others solve some and check some, others do none and look at the solutions, then think it is easy...

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