One of the reasons why the quality of education in Namibia is not yet where it is supposed to be is due to the fact that our teachers are missing certain tools in their teaching-tool kits.
These tools are not taught at the University of Namibia (Unam) or any other teacher training institution in Namibia. Dear teacher, these exercises will enhance your teaching style, because they will help you to connect to your learners on a deeper level. This is a practical advice, borne out of real classroom experience. This is no theory!
Article 6.1.1 of the National Curriculum for Basic Education reads: “Learners learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process through a high degree of participation … Consequently, a variety of skills will be used (by the teacher) such as direct questioning, eliciting, explaining, demonstrating and challenging the learners’ ideas … the teacher has to exercise professional discretion in deciding when it is best to … let learners discover or explore information for themselves.”
Unfortunately, the abovementioned article of the Teacher’s Bible (the National Curriculum for Basic Education) only focuses on the teacher. There is hope, however. Article 6.2 reminds us teachers that, “Teaching should always begin with helping the learners realise what they might already know about something … some guesses and hypotheses (of learners) might give fresh insights and new answers.”
Here is the question: Do teachers allow fresh insights and new answers? Do teachers allow learners to ask their questions? Only a few do. Most get angry when learners ask “stupid questions”. This is a catastrophe! Here is a golden rule to follow: If teachers should challenge the learners’ ideas, then learners must have the right to challenge the teachers’ ideas, too.
If you, dear teacher, cannot answer a question, simply say: “That is an excellent question! Give me time until tomorrow, so I can look for the answer” or “Fantastic question, Nangolo, may I give you the task to find the answer and present it to us tomorrow?” If you can admit to your learners that you don’t have all the answers, it proves to them that you are a human being, after all. They will gladly participate.
• Shapumba ya Shapumba is the founder of Natural Learning Education Consultancy. He teaches the Art of Learning to students and the Art of Teaching to teachers. For bookings contact: 0812786925 or email@example.com