OUR DIFFERENCES

We are uniquely made, uniquely different in our needs. Some prefer the hot weather, while some rejoice in the cold. Our needs can never be the same, what matters is our ability to understand and tolerate the differences in our needs. A child’s need is quite different from that of an adult. Even amongst his peers, his needs seem varied. He may sometimes be seen as an isolate, often neglected amongst his group, he is shown the picture of not been wanted, he belongs where he does not, yet, he never chose his condition, for he is wonderfully made.

Many a times, our expectations about what a child should be able to perform makes it intolerable when he is unable to meet up to our expectations. The society expects more than what the child can offer. Tasks and expectations are usually age ranked. When a child is unable to meet up to the social demands, such child is often seen as been irrelevant, inadequate or one who is not fit for any competitive tasks. Usually, this operates in our homes, schools, workplace and even around us.

It is no news that twins share similar traits and attributes, but usually there exist a slight or noticeable variation. This makes it possible for identification. While one might be highly intellectual, the other might be intellectually retarded, one might be outspoken, the other an introvert, these situations exists. It does not mean, these individuals who possess limited or inadequate skill are not fit, it only entail that they are uniquely made.

Often times, parents and teachers are confronted with these unique being. Individuals enrolled for knowledge acquisition, a raw material brought into the industry for processing. The school in this case serves as the processing industry, with the teacher playing the role of an industrial worker. The aim of any business is usually to maximize profit. However, the school’s structure does not necessarily give room to identification of unique features amongst students, they are usually presented with placement tests, once successful, these individuals are enrolled into the school system. What happens if they are not? They are rejected, often to be neglected, they are presented with an outcast imagery.

The teacher usually is saddled with the task of completing a set of content over a period of time. He visits the classroom only to discover the child’s inability to cope with his peers.  The teacher’s opinion in these situation often times do not count, he is seen as a school’s staff, one saddled with the responsibility of content delivery. In instances where the teacher’s opinion count, how often are his presentations/ ideas utilized in the teaching and learning situation. Usually, he is seen as a toothless bulldog.

However, if a teacher should exist in such environment, he should rather see that as a great challenge on his part. The real question of his teaching should be answered. Is he on the job for the money or for qualitative life improvement? If he can answer this question accurately, the barrier in his workplace is gradually eliminated. A teacher’s happiness is in his products, his impacts on the child’s overall development and growth. He is never discouraged based on the society’s perceptions of his profession. His driving force resides on the smiling faces of his products.

He goes into the classroom, bearing in mind the variations existing amongst his students. He tries all his possible best to ensure that his teachings are well understood and utilized by all his students. These he achieves by applying all the pedagogical skills of teaching. The notion that anybody can teach no longer holds water, for this notion as for many years sent our educational system into years of ancient traditionalism.

Whichever level one operates, it is pertinent to understand that as teachers or parents, the optimum benefits exist in seeing our students/children learn and succeed. To achieve this however is a daunting but rewarding quest, a quest not easily attainable, only available to those who present themselves worthwhile. Even when the teacher becomes readily involved in the overall development of the child, the task should not be limited to the four walls of the school.

This however is the case for most unique individuals. Many a times, they are neglected even at their first point of contact, the home. They are either shouted at or abused. They often forget that even if the child loses public friendship, the home should be there to provide the child with constant re-assurance, a re-assurance that all is well. It is not as easy as it seems, but indeed, it is a situation one must learn to live and cope with, it is essential that one faces reality.

It should be added that some famous individuals whose names now become synonymous with one invention, event or the other did not find it easy growing up. Some suffered from inability to identify alphabets, some could not perform simple mathematical operations, others where socially unfit, while some operated at levels way too high for their ability levels. However, these individuals never gave up but persisted in a path whose leading ways were unsure. Today, we celebrate and recognize them.

Thus, as parents, teachers or anyone involved in the child upbringing enterprise, it is imperative to know that our attitudes affect the optimum behavior and development of the child. We can raise a socially balanced individual from an autistic individual, we can fine-tune the behaviors of an introvert, and similarly, an academically backward child can be encouraged to learn better.

Once we recognize the weakness in a particular child, it is incumbent on us to also identify and find ways that will make the child exist independently as an entity, and also recognizing the need for social interactions. Special or uniquely different children or individuals should not be laughed at, mocked or looked at as socially unfit individuals, they are inseparable, and essential key players in the overall development of any society.

For the fact that he is uniquely made does not make him unfit, misplaced or demanding too much. What he needs is a smile on your face reassuring him of hope. Your smile is the key to his existence, and his existence is vital to your existence. He may hold the key to the platform of our unknown tomorrow.

UNCLE, CAN I COME AND PLAY WITH YOU?

So the conversation went this way;

CHEATER: perhaps he said; “you are laughing abi”?

Receiver End: Nooo, I’m not laughing ooo. I am coming oo

CHEATER: perhaps he replied;  “They will see us”

Receiver End: Sebi, you will just call me and I will come to your office, nobody will see us na

CHEATER: ….

Receiver End: Uncle, I am coming to play with you oo.

And that was the conversation between a terminal female student and her teacher, nooo, call him cheater, on the day they had further mathematics examination. What is the definition of play as used in the dialogue above? Obviously, from the flirtatious dress the student had on, the definition of play is not far-fetched. For a girl of barely sixteen to call her “cheater” and request for a play in the school, then the question of morality is a thing of the past.

Apart from the dialogue in the conversation, what moral values does the girl hold, if any? To question what her family values are like is checking for water in a basket. A morally upright family will never allow her girl child wear what she had on, not to imagine enrolling her in a miracle center.

That is just a preamble.

It is the season of examination. The fevers of WAEC, UTME, and what have you are spreading around like wild fire. The newly introduced admission pattern devoid of a post utme in Nigerian schools have opened the doors for a business boast for special centers also called miracle centers. The child can no longer settle for a C or B. Every student needs an A. Without numerous A parading the grade lines in the child’s result his/her admission chances are so slim if not narrow.

In a bid to help their children pass excellently well at any cost, the child is withdrawn from the previous low performing school and registered into a miracle center. In the miracle center, the child’s exams success is very much sure and guaranteed. All the family need do is make payment and the cheaters in the hell of learning will perform the desired miracle. All they need are A’s.  Little do they know that they are creating a dark future for the next generation. A generation that has been helped to grow under the auspices of immorality. Later, the present generation complains of the nature of the generations yet to come.

Visibly, the generation for tomorrow are nurtured starting from our today. It is not sufficient to guide our immediate generation alone and leave the upcoming generation in dis-array. But clearly, the present generation is the architect for the dis-array of the upcoming generations. The present generation owns the schools, the religious centers, the political arenas and all agents required for socialization of the child. What are the present generation leaving behind for the future generation? Gambling, malpractices, corruption, nepotism, forgery, the list is endless.

To those who writes on the platforms of learning, what moral values are transmitted in our teachings? What conscious efforts are we making towards making right the wrongs of our present generation? The attitude of thirty days make a pay will not allow most people air their views on issues pertaining to school discipline, for they did not come by their jobs easily. Immorality is now common place in schools, cheaters woo those under their tutelage and everyone seems to be okay with this prevailing happenings.

Back to the issue of examination malpractices and the quest for A’s. Perhaps, the girl in above conversation happens to be one of those in search of A’s in miracle centers. The confidence with which she spoke made it clear she was determined to have her A’s no matter what the cost may be. The call was made publicly and everyone looked on, she was in the company of her colleagues who listened and smiled as the conversation went on.

Indeed, she spoke with a cheater, an angel of doom. What moral standing does that cheater have to be a member of the citadel of learning? This and many more are issues we all need to deliberately ponder upon. She and her network were miles away immediately after the call, attempts to recognize her and possibly the receiver of the call was unsuccessful. Questions on morality need be asked, what values does the school portray; what values are inherent in the school system, are teachers in the school system really teachers or cheaters, what criteria fits perfectly for the definition of morality. These and many more questions needs be critically examined.

The parents, guardian and those who transmute into miracle centers in a bid for “excellent results” are the reasons the country remains where it is. How will such a child cope upon gaining admission? How well can such child perform the required tasks when the needs arise? The answer is simple, payments; financially or by sexual gratification, after all the child was not doing such for the first time, yet the families look on. Most families in the miracle center business are unconsciously preparing their child(ren) for laziness and unseriouness. For a girl child, promiscuity is imminent. Gambling, bullying and other forms of immorality awaits the boy. Yet, such parents will argue; our girl/boy child can never indulge in such acts, but clearly, their foundations into the real world were launched with lies.

Cheaters are not teachers, teachers are not cheaters. Though, they have the same letters, their arrangements are different, signifying a difference in expected roles and functions. The present may seem too stringent for teachers, but along the continuum, hard work pays. The students a teacher carefully guide into a model worthy of emulation will in his/her life time gratify the teacher. Similarly, accolades and praises may be showered on cheaters at the present moment, but in the nearest future, such praises begin to manifest their true meanings; curses upon curses, for such individuals never mentored, never guided the child towards preparing for the numerous tasks ahead. The results they paraded where never theirs, they were bought, and whatever one never labored for, can never be cherished forever.

The message herein is crystal clear, admissions into the higher citadels of learning should be obtained with merits and not through miracle centers or nepotism. When the child fails, it does not necessarily mean the child is a dullard, rather it may be as a result of the psychological nature of the child or other factors. Parents should not so much love their child(ren) to the extent of indulging them in examination malpractices, for whatever foundation they erect for their child(ren) will serve as a reference point for their tomorrow. Help eradicate immoral practices in our examination centers. Grade A does not determine the success of the child.

WHEN SCHOOLING GOES WRONG

Schooling is an aspect of education. A form of instruction which takes place mostly in an organized setting. Usually under the guidance of the teacher, following laid down rules and regulations as spelt out in the curriculum document. As most countries will agree; the product of the school must be useful to himself and the society in which he lives. Hence, the quest for the formal aspect of education.

In an ever changing and dynamic society inherent with varying challenges, the question the school need answer is; how well does it prepare the recipients of education for the challenges of the society? Another significant question worth asking is the place of moral values, the definition of morality has evolved over times, with terms like modernization taking a vital place in our moral concepts.

The place for civil obedience and respect can easily be questionable. No doubt the increase in social vices. It is high time the school ponders on where it is getting it wrong. How many of the schools’ product fits perfectly in the larger society, yet as generally agreed upon; the school should prepare all for the larger society. The school itself been a vital entity in the society needs a structure, a framework that synergizes perfectly with the aspirations of the host community and that of the larger society.

In developing countries, school is fast becoming a source of income, a business entity. The school owners or administrators know little or nothing about school running. Those in charge of molding lives are unconsciously becoming life destroyers. The destiny of a child is now lying fallow, hence solace is found on readily available remedies, for the home is nowhere to be found. Most homes are not homes at all, they are buildings with individuals who know little or nothing about each other living together. They only bear name tags attributable to roles they are expected to perform which are often times not performed.

The job of parenting is now left with the school. The teacher no wonder, he is also called a loco-parentis. A transitional parents, an individual that knows the child more than the family. Many children in the school only see their parents by luck, some through social media platforms, others via mental hallucination. For those who may have access to the phone, they only hear the voice of their parents, i.e. daddy or mummy when he or she is less busy and decides to call the child(ren). The child is placed in care of a nanny, a less privileged individual called house-help or left to live with extended family members. The future of the child is gradually being rewritten, learning to grow in a future unknown, which he or she never bargained for.

Parents in above category often present a defensive argument; we (father and mother) are working round the clock to secure the future of our child(ren), we ensure that our child(ren) get(s) the best education, read(s) the best books, visit(s) the best place and what have you. But the sincere question they failed to answer is that of family time. Where is the mother when the girl child is saddled with her first experience of blood gushing, who was the “good samaritan” that assisted her? And to the father, how well does he know his boy, or girl child as the case may be. What recent skill did he or she learn at school? These and many more probing questions are never answered.

Then, the defence argument is presented once more; “we know the job we do require more of our attention, that is why we placed our child(ren) in a boarding school.” With an element of pride, he or she may say; “in fact according to the records, the school was ranked the best in child monitoring and child mentorship, with excellent school counsellors and what have you.” All justifications for failing to take charge of expected roles.

This is not to say the idea of a boarding school system is bad, however, the argument here should be with respect to the sincerity of the clients of the boarding school. How often do these “busy parents” check on their child(ren)? Do they visit them on open days? Not to ask if they know the names of their child(ren)’s’ teachers. What about the friends the child(ren) keeps? The list is endless and numerous. All these gone wrong due to the neglect of moral values, social responsibility and modernization. Thus, all these tasks are left under the tutelage of the teacher as if he or she has no family to guide.

Discussing with pre-elementary, crèche, kindergarten, or primary teachers and school owners, it is so clear from their responses that parents feel they can make the school do their parenting jobs for them. All it requires is payments and the school gets the job done for them. In one of the chats with a school owner who runs a primary cum kindergarten, the proprietor was in a state of lacuna when a parent pleaded for an additional time extension for picking the child in the crèche class. According to the school owner, the crèche session closes as early as possible, but due to the nature of the jobs of most “busy parents” the school reached a compromise to keep the pupils for additional two hours after stipulated close time. Imagine keeping a baby till 4:00pm in the crèche. But these extra-ordinarily busy parent wants the school to keep the baby till 6:00pm, all in the name of busy business.

In the educational enterprise, key stakeholders sometimes pay lip service to vital aspects and issues. When teachers make recommendations on means to improve the qualities of the school system, they are quickly shun off the stage. An innovative teacher is often time seen as demanding for too much in most business cum profit oriented schools. When schools make rules, teachers ensure conformity. However when issues regarding discipline and sometimes sanctions against prompt fee paying students cum parents emerge, teachers’ opinions are in most cases disregarded, it thus becomes a management issue, with little or no deterrent issued

The solutions to above identified pitfalls are not far-fetched. Sincerity of purpose, dedication to service are all important. When each and every one is involved in social re-orientation, then we are a step closer to solving our emerged, emerging and envisaged problems. By social re-orientation, ideas worth sharing are promoted, those needing visitation are revised, and those requiring extinction are discarded, until then we are far from getting back  our long lost moral values and spirit of social responsibility.

THE NEED FOR ROLE REDEFINITION IN THE EDUCATIONAL SECTOR.

It is no news that education pave way for development, enlightenment and functionality. Education has several definitions, meanings and interpretation. The essential qualities not neglected is the fact that education helps break the shackles of poverty and ignorance. An educated person is a pride to his/herself and the entire human race. However, getting an individual attain competency or perhaps being referred to as educated or put simply literate is a daunting, yet rewarding activity.

To most developing nations, the concept of education is a far cry from the ideal. People who find themselves in undeveloped areas are often characterized as the lower class of the society’s income hierarchy. What operates in this environment are structures if any, that are tagged to befit a school, which in fact may not pass for an abattoir. For those with structure, the areas lack proper transport network, suffer from dilapidating structures, and perhaps lack qualified teachers.

In most developing countries, the schools are partitioned, in a way that there exist a divide and rule system, with some appearing as governments’ favorite and others not in the good book, the former are usually well funded, equipped, located in befitting areas, well-staffed and do not suffer from quality control. They are periodically visited, taken seriously and often used as advertisement items just to score cheap popularity from unsuspecting public during the time for electioneering.

The latter, constituting the other end of the continuum lies schools that do not meet public appeal, can never be used as political advertisement, only appear in publication when the opposition needs a tool to taunt the ruling class or perhaps call it the ruling party. These relegated schools often low performing play host to the children of a vast majority of the lower class. What is noticeable in this schools when identified are readily pushed aside and tagged mere paper accusation just to dent the effort of those in charge. In most cases, the class size is usually alarming, school location not ideal, basic necessary amenities not available amongst other issues.

The school leaders and administrators in such schools are often marginalized. They, in a bid to safe their jobs keep mute and never query the government. Then we deceive the general public that education is a tool needed for liberation, a tool needed to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich, a far cry from the ideal. Many a times, learners from the relegated schools often feel themselves inferior. They belief their colleagues in the developed parts of the country are far better than they are. This is absolutely true, for the leadership of most developing nations have unconsciously further widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

To make matters worse, is considering the admission system into most citadels of higher learning. A visit into the Nigerian education system will clearly showcase this fact. Unconsciously the chances of the children of the rural dwellers are slim in choosing a befitting career. The requirements for admission towards studying in most institutions of the country is just too outrageous. It is a known fact that the possibilities of a rural dweller passing his/her papers with all distinctions is relatively close to zero. However, the chances of his urban counterpart is relatively high, although not devoid of limitations ranging from finance to malpractices.

As it is noticeable in the Nigerian context, even schools located in urban centers are often classified, while some are privately owned with high school levies, others are publicly owned acclaimed to be owned by the government. Considering schools owned by the government, one easily spot the immediate dissimilarities existing amongst these schools. Some of the public schools are fee paying, while others are tuition free. The performance of the fee paying are usually efficient as compared to those enjoying free tuition.

Though, a chat with prominent figures in the educational sector of the country will point to the fact that nothing is free. There exist no such thing as free education. Then, the question one may quickly ask is this; why allow the government politicize the educational sector, turning the funding of the citadels of learnings into constituency projects. Why can’t the educated and enlightened figures in the country advise the government on best practices of education? Rather than uplifting the standards of the Nigerian public schools, they advocate for the establishment of private schools.

These private schools are also not left out. The private school owners in the Nigerian context are business oriented, except for some few. In a bit to outshine the other and attract more clients, most private school owners devise new methods for their advertisement. To some private schools, the bill board advertisement is indeed bigger than the school. What the school’s bill advertisement depicts is a far cry from the actual reality of the schools’ existence. Other private school owners pride themselves as offering curriculum not related to the Nigerian context.

The truth of the matter is that the school owners are not to blame. Those in charge of the nations’ education may not necessarily have anything to do with education, so long as they are loyalists, they get appointed as a form of payback. Hence, a situation of placing square pegs in round holes, rather than focusing on the needful and essential, what we hear of are terminologies, all to be eradicated, ignored or deserted when the period of governance ends, particularly when an opposition government takes over power. No wonder, our education is still where it used to be with no form of improvement or development, only in terms of politicization and gross destabilization of the system.

Consider the structure of the education parlance, how qualified are the teachers in the classroom?, how efficient is the school administrator?, what relationship if any exist between the schools and the host communities? Are learners finding education fun, stress-free and easy?  What reinforcements are in place for high performing teachers and learners? To what levels are the influence of organizations in the conduct of education, apart from when used as a form for tax waivers? All these and much more are questions one needs to answer and until sincere answers are provided, our education is far cry from the ideal.

More Articles Here

 

THE NEED FOR ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT IN SCHOOLS

It is imperative that schools give adequate feedback to stakeholders involved in the educational sector. Parents, government, guidance and other key-players require a responsive description of their educational expenses. Hence, the need for evaluation in our schools cannot be overemphasized. Evaluation simply involves collection of relevant data, organizing the data and using these data so gathered to make decisions and/or pass judgements as to the worth of an educational program or how well students are faring in line with sets goals and objectives.

The need for gathering data with respect to what students have acquired in the learning process calls for a framework termed assessment. Assessment entails all procedures employed to obtain data as regards how well students are able to accomplish or acquire certain desired behavioral changes with respect to set objectives. Assessment centers on students or group of students’ achievement. In the educational setting, assessment is expected to center on the three domains as identified by Bloom in his taxonomy of educational objectives.

The domains are; the cognitive, the affective and the psychomotor domains. The cognitive domain focuses on the academic aspect of the student. It is the domain that supplies answers to most questions. It is the domain most schools center on. Assessment is usually concentrated here, as it has to do with mental recall or memorization of facts, regurgitation of meanings, understanding, analysis and interpretation of concepts, drawing relationships, and worth determination. Data are usually gathered through tests. The results obtained from this domain are usually represented with numerical equivalences or letter grades.

However, these results may not necessarily be true representation of the students’ worth or level of understanding of the concept being measured. Hence, the need for the second domain of education; the affective domain. The affective domain is the domain saddled with emotions, affections, feelings and any other aspect of socio-personal relationships. It takes receiving, responding, valuing, observation and characterization as key elements. This domain can be measure qualitatively by the use of sociometric tests, checklists, questionnaires etc. However, most schools do a face value evaluation, often assessed by posing questions such as relationship with others, leadership, cooperation, amongst others.

The psychomotor domain is the domain responsible for skill demonstration, performance, role-playing amongst others. It is usually seen as the domain responsible for the utilization of the hands (tactile) and the legs (kinesthetic). This domain is mostly utilized by sportsmen, artisans or skilled individuals. In the school system, the domain is usually rated via handwriting, handling of materials, engagement in sports, amongst others.

Thus, haven identified the domains of education, it becomes imperative to consider the procedures for gathering data as regards the worth or level of attainment in each domain. Often times, a student’s progress to the next level or class is solely based on his or her performance in the cognitive domain, leaving the two other domains unimproved or neglected. With this as the practice of our school system, it is impossible to present a holistic description of a student. Hence, where students are not able to regurgitate facts, such students may find it difficult progressing academically.

Most people will be quick in defending the schools’ practice of a single domain evaluation, and say individuals that encounter challenges academically be placed in special schools. But this argument or stance holds no ground, as the regular schools are expected to cater for all categories of students provided such students are neither deformed, nor handicapped, which in this case, calls for special schools or individualized instructions. Schools should constantly seek and emulate best practices that do not consider a single perspective to evaluation, hence, the call for alternative assessment.

The traditional forms of assessment utilize teacher made or standardized objective tests to elicit responses from students. This being good, but presents a shallow and narrow; one-end description of a students’ progress. The school should in cooperate into her evaluative strategies, the concept of alternative assessment. This assessment help present a holistic description of the student’s progress. They are usually gathered from the start of the program to the end of the program, where-in showing manifestation of progress.

These assessment procedures considers the three domains of educational objectives, and judgements gathered from the three domains are key in decision making and judgement. The student is usually an active determiner and a stake-holder in the data collection process. Since the student is adequately involved, he or she plans strategies that can help develop other innate talents. Thus, rather than been tedious, learning becomes fun, inclusive and conscious on the part of the students. Alternative assessment employ as instruments; students’ observation, portfolios, anecdotal records, problem solving, self-evaluation, group evaluation, models construction and presentation, simulations, podcasts, field works, exhibitions amongst others.

It should be added that alternative assessment can be visualized in two forms, these are; performance assessment and authentic assessment. Performance assessment presents the child with a demo of what to expect in future. In other words, students are usually pre-informed of the need to be adequately prepared for a task ahead. The students usually concentrate their efforts on presenting the best part of their abilities for their submission. The students are usually given adequate time to gestate. During the periods of gestation, students compare their previous performances and their present performances and identifies areas requiring improvement.

Authentic assessment on the other hand presents the students with task of real life occurrence or situations. Students are not pre-informed of the task ahead, but rather partake in the tasks as they emerge. Advocates of this assessment argue that since the students are expected to be members of the wider community or the world in general, they should not be given a pre-warning, as practitioners in the real world do not get a notice before embarking on tasks. An example might be the case of an accident victim, the doctors, caregivers or first aiders are usually not pre-informed of an accident, rather they take charge of such situations as if pre-informed.

Thus, schools are implored to make their assessments all inclusive, rather than basing their judgment on an aspect of the educational domain, and doing a face value evaluation of the other domains. With the use of alternative assessment, schools and teachers will be in best position to present detail description of their students. Similarly, students will be able to predict their successes, monitor their progress and readily conceptual their areas of interest at a tender age, rather than relying on less detailed facts.

 

UTILIZING BEST PRACTICES TO AID LEARNERS LEARN

Related articles here 

teaching

Several literature exist with respect to methods of teaching applicable in the educational sector. Learners are individually unique, they learn differently and reason in a varying fashion. This implies that learners do not learn the same way, it is thus incumbent on the teacher to identify appropriate means to ensure learners’ active participation and apt learning. No learning can be said to have taken place in the learner until there is a relatively permanent change in the learner’s behavior as a result of his or her experience. It is relatively permanent because learning does not necessarily take place as a result of impulse or stimulus, rather learning exist as a result of carefully arranged and sequentially logical encounters between the learners and the learning experiences which are in most cases planned. It suffice to add that various learning theories exist each explaining modes through which learners acquire their learning.

In the traditional school system, the teacher is seen as the one charged with the responsibilities of ensuring that learners learn. However, evolution in the educational sector spell out the need to deviate from this traditional approach and embrace the rather all inclusive best practice in the teaching and learning environment. Educators advocate the need for students to be actively involved in the learning process, in other words, the drift advocates the fact that learners should not be given all facts to work on, but rather be given the appropriate resources to enable them acquire their learning in the best modes possible.

In recent times, terms such as discovery learning, constructivism, team learning, team building, group works are readily identified as essential and best practices in the educational sector. Constructivism advocates the need for learners to discover their learning, becomes active key players in the learning process, take ownership of their learning amongst others. This approach to learning places the teacher as a facilitator rather than a custodian of knowledge. The teacher functions solely as a guide, a facilitator and encourages learners where necessary. The learners are given the opportunities to explore their environment, discover facts that are vital in their learning process and at intervals present detailed reports of their findings. This stage is essential to enable the teacher correct misconceptions, provide additional resources and identify students requiring diagnosis.

Diagnosis is a key concept in the teaching and learning enterprise. The teacher functions just as the way a doctor in the hospital functions. The teacher affords the learners the opportunities to interact with him or her, listens to the learners with rapt attention and provides individual recommendations. It should be added that the teacher should endeavor to interact from time to time with his or her learners, even when they feel timid, shy or afraid of approaching him or her. The teacher is thus advised to be welcoming and accommodating. In most cases, for most developing countries, the teacher is confronted with a massive population, where-in the ideal recommendation for teacher-students ratio are grossly not adhered to. This situation sees the teacher in a constant state of pressure. An inexperienced teacher might feel unproductive particularly if class control becomes practically impossible.

Clearly, the aforementioned situation is one which readily mar the efforts of the teacher. However, for most experienced teachers, they devise means and avenues to cater for this massive population bearing in mind the individual differences in these learners. Teachers are encouraged to utilize among other methods; students grouping, resource materials, raised platform, team teaching amongst others. It should be added that no single therapy can be said to be the best possible, teachers are thus advised to utilize approaches that are readily effective with respect to the peculiarities of their location, learners, school environment and other prevailing factors capable of impeding the success of the teacher’s task.

When the teacher utilize learners’ grouping, he or she should be meticulous enough to identify the stars and isolates in the classroom. Stars find it difficulty working with each other. They are most times engaged in unhealthy rivalry, which may mar the success of the teacher’s intention for the grouping. Hence, the teachers should be adequately familiar with the individual learners in the classroom, he should identify the high flyers, the introverts, the extroverts, the gifted, the bullies amongst others readily present in the classroom. The classroom is usually a heterogeneous combination. Learners are not defined by a single feature. Once the teacher identifies this, he or she is already confronting the challenges in the classroom. Based on the peculiarities, the teacher should ensure that the learners are grouped without any form of bias while still ensuring that high flyers are readily available and present in each groups.

It should be added that teachers should be creative while grouping students. Group leaders should not in most cases be selected by the teacher, he or she should allow room for the opinions of the learners in each group while selecting their leaders, this develops the spirit of team work and team building in the learners. Often times, group leaders are allocated to high flyer or extroverts with the low performing learners and introverts relegated to the rear. Teachers are encouraged to avoid this practice, as this tend to demoralize learners of this categories, and often times, they see themselves as not being welcome in the group.

Teachers should be able to develop various domains of the learners. Sometimes, high-flyers are usually shy while taking leadership positions, they are either too scared of been in the public, or simply cannot create the time to be in charge, thus, they only act in the group as mercenaries, solution providers, problem solvers amongst others, leaving the group members in a relaxed and ever dependent mode of all is well, there is “a power house” in the team. When teachers notice this in a group, teachers should endeavor to find out why this is so. It may be that the high-flyer who in this case the engine room, may feel uncomfortable while taking up leadership roles, hence solely functioning as the engine room. The teacher should prescribe the “talking to” therapy for such a learner.

The talking to therapy simply means talking to as depicted in the words. Teachers should create room for engaging their learners in productive discussions. While discussing with these learners, teachers should present them with a conducive atmosphere wherein they are relaxed and comfortable without any fear of intimidation or shyness. When this is achieved, the teacher should ask salient questions as to public speaking, leadership roles, team work amongst others from such students, based on the feedback received, the teacher can either continue with the talking to session or refer such learner to the school counselor where such exist.

HELPING LEARNERS LEARN

Linkedin

Schooling is an important aspect of education. It transcends the old system of learning. It is a standardized arena aimed at impacting certain desired behaviors, norms, attitude, skills, knowledge amongst others in the learners. However, the authenticity of this form of learning becomes questionable, and one begins to wonder how relevant the end result of learning is.

Students no longer deem it necessary to attend schools, rather they engage themselves in other activities which appeal to their consciousness but which may nullify the credibility of the school system. Suffice to say, teachers who are seen as matured minds often contribute their quota unconsciously towards destabilizing students’ readiness to learn. Teachers often demoralize learners without knowing, this may be through verbal and/or non-verbal communication via body gestures, postures, voice tone amongst others. However, this may be intended or not intended, each having respective contributions towards hindering learners’ attitude towards learning.

It is suggested that teachers should at all times allow learners the opportunity to take charge of their learning. This the teacher does by assisting learners to learn. A teachers’ almost aim is the achievement of set objectives. The teacher as an experienced individual should utilize means towards aiding the learning process of the students. The psychological readiness, alertness and emotional state of students to a great deal influence their classroom participation. An emotionally unbalance learner though physically present in the classroom finds its difficulty comprehending the teacher’s lessons, hence, it is imperative for teachers to relate cordially with their learners. By doing so, the teacher-students relationship is strengthened and learners readily present their feelings which thus assist active learning and classroom encounter.

Similarly, teachers should always visualize their growing days in the school system. It is suggested that teachers grow alongside their students. It is obvious that teachers are older than their learners, however, no matter the age difference, the teacher should endeavor to see himself as a learner within the age range of his class. This affords the teacher the opportunity to easily relate with his learners, hence, their thinking revolve around a common theme. It thus makes learning fun and as such, learners share ideas almost immediately as it comes with their teachers since they see him as one of their peers. However, the teacher is an experienced and mature individual, thus, he utilizes their ideas in decision making process and the classroom environment becomes fully democratic, where ideas are presented, weighed and chosen based on their aptness.

Teachers should also create time to play. Various educators as well as psychologists support the use of plays in the classroom structure. Learners learn about their ever changing world through plays.  Learners find it fun and interesting when they have ample time to themselves. Teachers should not confine themselves to their offices, they should create sufficient time to relate and recreate with their learners. Games, activities and plays may prove productive in this regard. Some learners who are introverts during classroom activities become extroverts during play. This presents the teacher with the opportunity to identify the innate skills and talents resident in his learners. Hence, the teacher is able to channel his classroom teachings in such a way that it is all inclusive. Unconsciously, students learn as they play.

The school system should be structured in a way that there exist no “over-loads” on time-table. Time-tables should be flexible, this affords the teacher opportunities to adapt his teachings with respect to the classroom environment. Similarly, the students are well able to re-organize their cognitive functions and get prepared for their subsequent learning. Teachers should be familiar with individual learner’s disposition. The teacher should be able to read between the lines and utilize judiciously part of his time to cater for any unfamiliar or strange learner’s disposition or attitude. The teacher should not be so intimidated about content coverage that he neglects his learners. When teachers are obsessed with content coverage, in most cases, learners hardly learn. Teachers are thus encouraged to utilize various teaching methodology and stimulus variations that assist learners’ mental readiness and alertness.

Learners should at all times be involved in their learning process. Teachers should not center their teachings on the extroverts alone in their classroom. Extroverts tend to dominate classroom discussions, paving little or no avenue for introverts. The teacher should ensure that all learners learn effectively. Learners learn with variety of techniques, hence, it is essential that teachers are well skilled about various ways learners learn. Teachers should endeavor to utilize a variety of teaching methods to suit all learners in the classroom. He should engage the learners as many times as possible and ensure that each learner presents a report or a detail description of his contribution in the case of a group project.

The use of familiar items or apparatus should be employed by teachers. When examples are drawn from the schools’ host communities, it becomes easy for learners to connect with such knowledge. Where need be, the learner gets similar items and utilize such in individualized discovery learning. Often, learners tend to explore facts beyond what was made available to them during classroom interactions. Hence, teachers should always ensure that their class teachings are structured in a way that probes learners’ curiosity to learn and discover new knowledge. However, it is advised that when such discoveries may prove threatening, teachers should endeavor to ensure that the learners are guided to avoid encountering injuries, or any other unplanned outcomes.

Similarly, learners should not be indoctrinated in such a way as to become fully attached to a particular instructor, facilitator or teacher. It is advised that learners be prepared with an open mind concept, where in they are able to attach passionately to the subject matter and not base their likeness on the subject teacher(s). However, one should not under play the role of the teacher’s personality on the subject. Some learners attribute their successes in some subjects to their respective teacher(s). Hence, teachers are encouraged to always present a positive disposition to their subject as well as their learners, by so doing, learners are able to eagerly anticipate how best they learn, specify the condition for apt learning and above all engage in productive discovery learning.