One of the reasons why the quality and standard of Namibian education is not yet where it is supposed to be, is the fact that our teachers are missing certain tools in their teaching-tool kits.
These tools are not taught at any teacher training institution in Namibia. They can only be acquired through experience, intuition and common sense. Dear teacher, these exercises will shift your paradigm of teaching, because they will help you to connect to your learners on a deeper level and thus your pupils will engage more actively in the learning process. This is no theory. This is practical advice, borne by real classroom experience. It is wise to go back to my previous articles in order to appreciate the picture which they are trying to paint. We are still on the subject of HOW TO MAINTAIN DISCIPLINE IN THE CLASSROOM. The previous exercise revealed the significance of knowing your pupils by name, because the name of a person is a magic word to her/him. It is the secret ingredient for forging a true relationship with people in general. Many teachers who read that article claimed that it is too difficult to remember the names of 500 learners. That is nothing but an excuse, which serves to cover up the real challenge: overcoming laziness! I know of a principal who knows all his 900 learners plus staff by name. Sorry ngoo.
For this week’s exercise, let us consult with old Socrates. Socrates was a Greek philosopher who lived from 469-399 B.C. He is known to be the grandfather of critical thinking. This is due to the fact that he developed a method that would lead his students to an understanding of a subject matter by asking the right questions. This is method is called: THE SOCRATIC METHOD. What is the Socratic Method? It is the art of letting learners/students find the right answers by guiding the conversation in such a way that the learner/student (not the teacher) gives birth to the understanding of a subject.
It is for this reason that his method is also known as the MIDWIFE method. The secret is this: an answer discovered by a learner will be a rich treasure for life. An answer given by the teacher will last only until exams. Could this be a reason why learners fail exams? Could it be the result of them not understanding what they read?
Knowing this method is of utmost importance for any teacher and I would have loved to expand on the method itself, but I am afraid it would stretch the word limit available to me in this publication. However, I do give detailed lectures on this profound method and I urge principals to make use of it. The following exercise will give you a head start in the right direction.
Do your own research on Socrates and the Socratic Method. Dear teachers, this is the part where I must pause from spoonfeeding you. That is exactly what Socrates would have done; let the person find the answer.
* Shapumba ya Shapumba is the founder of Natural Learning Education Consultancy. He teaches HOW TO OBTAIN A+ IN ANY SUBJECT (students) and THE SECRET TO EXTRAORDINARY TEACHING (teachers) for booking: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0812786925