Life. Education. Books. Films.

Thursday 21 December 2017

O Teachers, What Are You Really Teaching?

Shaheed Salim's Teacher Training Programme In Pattani, Thailand, In December 2017

I have just finished training some 50 to 60 Thai teachers on the art and science of teaching. One of the things I emphasised in the training is why we teach. Is it enough to teach our kids languages, science and mathematics and religious subjects? Is it enough for us to give them information that they themselves can get from the internet? I believe in transformative teaching and training. This means that by the end of each teaching/training course, participants must be transformed positively, at least in a small way. It may be a new paradigm learnt, the motivation to try something new and many other things, too many to list. This transformative aspect of teaching may have been overlooked by many teachers and trainers.

Below are some videos I showed the participants, videos that those interested in education, teaching and learning anywhere in the world should watch, especially teachers. Do take the time to watch them before reading further. Each video lasts between 1 to 3 minutes. These teachers do not only teach subjects prescribed in the curriculum. They do more than that.

Mary Kurt Mason

Chris Emdin

Stephen Ritz

Jeffrey Wright

Dear readers, realise that great teachers teach more than information or facts or what the syllabus dictates. They change lives and they are conscious of what they are doing. Although, like all other teachers, they teach Math, Science, English or whatever subject, the difference is that they see the subjects they teach as a platform to teach, demonstrate and disseminate something far greater than the subjects. Each teacher has an agenda, some hidden motive when teaching and interacting. That hidden agenda or motive becomes the strategic thrust of his lessons. In fact, if you think deeply about what impactful teachers do, you will realise that the subjects they teach have become the context and stepping stone for achieving their motive. Listen carefully to what Mary Kurt Watson, Jeffrey Wright, Stephen Ritz and Chris Emdin say. You will discover their real motives, hidden agendas and strategic thrusts. These are far more important than the expertly-designed curricula. In fact, these are the curricula of these wonderful teachers.

So if you are a teacher, what is it you are really teaching? What is your agenda, your motive, your strategic thrust? Do you have any? Have you thought about your real motive for teaching? What is it that you are trying to really achieve by  teaching your students tirelessly? I once thought that I could not have these – my agendas, real motives and strategic thrusts – when teaching in Singapore. I was wrong. I now realise that you can have them wherever you are, in whatever type of class you teach, whether it is in a school, classroom, tuition centre or home or anywhere else. It is the teacher that must be enlightened. It is the enlightened teacher that makes the difference.