Morris Mtisi Education Correspondent
THE new curriculum and general 21st century education both encourage outdoor learning and research visits. That is fantastic.
Children love educational trips and the idea of changing their everyday learning environment is both refreshing and highly motivating. We could go on until tomorrow analysing and illustrating the advantages of outdoor learning.
But while we may be excited by the flying machine, we must never forget it can fall, and that is when we will learn to respect the parachute inventor.
When we were trained to become teachers in those olden days, part of our studies was dominated by Philosophy and Psychology of Teaching and Learning mired in fascinating theories of education.
We were thoroughly trained, schooled and educated on these theories and psychologies of teaching and learning. We thoroughly understood what we were doing or were supposed to do for the learner and in the learner. We were not conditioned to behaving and performing like programmed machines that act according to technological command.
We were guided by textbooks….only guided. We were the teachers, not text books.
We quickly became quick-thinking teachers, versatile and adaptable classroom practitioners.
We were there in college and university for years under rigorous tuition and training, unlike today when teachers visit the college the first three months of teacher education, then the rest of the two-year or three-year course the teacher is out in a rural school ‘cheating’ and not teaching.
This week’s instalment is for teachers and schools.
Do you ever think of the dangers of those important research visits where you take your children to various workplaces and companies to find out about careers and general exposure of the real world?
Of course the new curriculum demands it, but do you ever think first about the place or workplace or industry you want to visit and the type of people your children will meet? Or you are overtaken by the excitement of going out?
Let me ask you a few questions:
- Is it possible that while your children (learners) have fixed questions to answer on the research visit, they also fix their eyes on more than their eyes must see?
For example, is it possible that as they are learning for the good of their academic development, they are also learning bad habits of language and dress and general public conduct from those who are taking them round the work place or company?
- Is it possible that your children naturally think the people they meet at every workplace are the best examples of everything when in actual fact they have come in contact with people they should have avoided in life in the context of role modelling?
- Is it possible that school children in these random and routine workplace visits come into contact with terrible adults they must try not to be like in life?
- Is it possible that when these children, especially the girl learners, see adults dressed up like seduction-film actresses or sex zombies, they despise their own teachers whom they see conservatively dressed up every day at school? If big sis is rotten, the little sis instantly catches the rot. True or false?
- Is it possible that if they see company workers who hug and kiss in public in the corridors and corners, always on selfie-addiction, they think this is what the world is preparing for them but the school is hiding from them?
- Is it possible that when these children are out on these research workplace visits, and they see free-birds interacting like Hollywood celebrities or some such fanatics living at the end of the rainbow, they (the learners) think school must be some backward institution keeping them out and away from an exciting world without rules or regulations?
- Is it possible that when you bring your children to a work place or company to learn, what they learn is much more than the scope of their assignment and syllabus? Is it likely that they are learning every bad habit this place may not be aware is not good for school children, especially the tender-age learners like ECD and Primary school? Even the high school boys and girls may not be old enough to know what and what not to learn or emulate?
- Do you ever care who receives and talks to your children in this strange or new environment, even if it means for only one or two hours?
- Do you ever think about the power of this workplace, company or industry you have visited to torpedo your children’s morality or change the direction of their moral compass?
- Would you take your children to a thriving brothel to do a school project research? If yes, please go back to a proper teacher education training college and take another year or two to study Philosophy and Psychology of teaching and learning.
Thoroughly revise theories of education and perhaps when you come back to teach you will be more careful and less dangerous to people’s children. Particularly, remember to study Illich’s School is Dead and other de-schoolers. If your answer is ‘No, I would never take my children to a brothel!’ then why?
I told you as we continue to pray for writing children’s peace of mind and serious knowledge application in their examinations, I will keep away from them and allow them to do what they must do.
Meanwhile I swore that my engagement with you for now is going to done through very deep and searching topics and questions on both radio and in The Manica Post. That is exactly what is going on. Let us engage. Let us talk. Let us share wisdom.