One of the reasons why the standard and quality of education in Namibia is so low is due to the fact that we teachers are missing certain tools in our teaching tool kits.
The tools which I am referring to are not taught at any institution which offers teacher training in Namibia. Dear teachers, these exercises add value to your teaching style. They will help you to connect with your learners/students on a deeper level. This is no abstract theory! This is a practical advice, born out of real classroom experience.
In my last articles, we saw the importance of learners knowing how to think, the role of love in education, the significance of allowing learners to challenge the teachers’ ideas and the miracle of taking off the mask in front of learners. Today we look at the mood of the teacher. The mood with which we enter the classroom determines to what degree our learners will learn. You may not see the connection between your mood and the learners’ mood, but there is a concrete link.
The scientific world is at a point where they speak of mirror-neurons. What are mirror-neurons? An experiment was made with monkeys. Two monkeys were fighting and others were watching the fight. Their brains were connected to a machine which shows the different areas of their brains. The machine showed certain areas of the brains of the two fighting monkeys lit up. Here is the miracle. The same areas of the brain of the other watching monkeys lit up, too! This means, the monkeys watching went through the same emotions as those two fighting. How could this be, if only two were fighting and the others only watched? This is what is called mirror-neurons.
Now, here is the wisdom of God. That experiment was done with monkeys (apparently your distant cousins) to show that the human being behaves in the same way. For those that wish to argue against this, I would like them to explain empathy to me. What scientists call mirror-neurons, ordinary people call it empathy. Empathy is what makes us feel what others feel. This consequently means that our students experience the same emotions that we go through. Imagine now a teacher being angry or just not interested in the subject he/she teaches. How do we expect her/his students to show interest? It is sometimes the teacher who makes learning impossible.
Say these words 3 times before entering the classroom: My learners are like a mirror. They reflect the same state of mind that I go through.
• 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 booking contact: 0812786925 or shapumbashapumba at yahoo.com