Detective Note

Vol.049 – Education between student and staff


Education between student and staff

Interviewer:Zooey Li


Mende:Hello Zooey, Education between student and staff is today’s topic, It’s quite interesting.

Zooey:Yes, Mr. Mende, I thought you were a very good lighting design professor in a famous university and also are a very successful company leader. So I thought you should have powerful and rich stories of education for both of them. At the same time, I hope we will have a better understanding of each other through this topic.

Mende:Sure, I am very happy to talk with you. For me, sharing and communication are very important. I do not think this talk is my personal interview. I am also very interested in what you guys are thinking.

Zooey:Yes, indeed. Firstly, I would like to talk a little about why I chose this topic. Actually, my idea came exactly from this meeting room around three months ago. We had an internal design meeting with Itakura san. Also, we had a Video Conference with Tokyo colleagues in this room. On that day, I remembered Itakura san and Kentaro san were very kind and patient teaching us how to install the lighting fixture, and explaining the reasons and details. At that moment, I really felt the atmosphere was more like a school rather than a company. It was really nice and peaceful work environment as my viewpoint.

Mende:HAHA, Really? Interesting! How did they teach you? Did they ask your ideas?

The reason I asked, is because I do not prefer a one-way teach style. Sometimes,I do like interactive teaching method. For example, some questions and ideas that students ask, inspire me to talk about more interesting things. Especially, when I get some very challenging questions, I am more excited and enjoy answering the questions. That is really effective for me and my students.

I do not like to be a traditional professor, repeating the knowledge again and again. Then the students just listen. If it likes this, I recommend them to go back home to read the books.

Zooey:Yes, I have a similar learning experience. I came from mainland China. There was a really traditional education method. We just listen and remember what teachers say, then go through the testing to get credits. That is all. So that is definitely why I was not a good student. I could not remember what they said. So I am sure I prefer the communication method to get more and more knowledge. May I ask what are differences between being a professor and a boss?

Mende:Yes, I had been a professor of lighting design at Musashino Art University around 10 years,and quit 5 years ago. I also gave some lectures at the Architecture Faculty of Tokyo University. I always think students are my guests or visitors. They paid the very expensive tuition fee to attend my class, so they did really expect to learn a lot from me.

But, the staff of LPA is not my guest. They are more like my children, although we pay the salary to them. I hope to look at them growing for their future. They can grow up to be a professional designer from my children.
For students, I am always very very careful to them, looking at their eyes, using some gentle words to them. For my staffs, I would get strict, I hope my attitude can make them grow up faster. Sometimes maybe too much? Haha, right?

Zooey:I don’t think you are strict. I think you are direct. You can make the decision very directly and fast. Because we have less experience, that’s why we really need you to be direct. That is very good I think. Of cause, sometimes Mende san you also show your gentle character, and I felt you really enjoy playing with us.

Mende:Yes. For me, this moment is the most important. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, but now. Sometimes I get very happy. Sometimes I have to say some negative words. But I always try to enjoy this moment.

Zooey:I super agree with you. Now is the most important, I think as a student or staff, both of them need to learn how to enjoy now. For example, we never felt happy and took pleasure as we were studying or working. But, we always recollect what a unique and important experience after that, and then we always regret why we did not enjoy the movement.


Zooey:So I start to learn to enjoy now. It will make my heart peaceful and happy.

Mende:Of course, to enjoy learning is important. I really hope I can take all the staffs to outside to learn and explore the lighting in the city or landscape. I even hope to bring all of you to join my presentation with the client, to learn how to present our design to the client. I like to teach you guys through some daily practices.

Zooey:Haha, Did you think to present your design as same as to teach your students, because both of them are your guests?

Mende:Ah, Yes, a little bit similar, but facing to the client, we need to show more our ability and power, especially confidence to have our client trust us. But students are the opposite. I have to reduce my power and try to become friends with them.

Mende:Teaching student and teaching staff. I am doing these most of the time in my life, but very honestly, now I want to be a student again. I want to go back to school to learn something, like my elder brother. He is 3 years older than me, and he is a master student in a university, learning philosophy.

Zooey:What do you want to learn, if you can be a student again?



Mende:Maybe, I will learn about nature, especially planting. I like planting.

Zooey:Yes, it’s really great to learn from nature.

Mende:Yes, you know, even a bird or a plant, they have their own reasons for living. Even though I have so many educational experiences, but I still have a lot of things I want to learn.

Zooey:Wow, I really appreciate your idea. That is very wonderful thinking.
Thank you, Mr. Mende. You inspired me a lot today.