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A call to teachers to save our students

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Sir: Call it ‘save our soul,’ ‘send out succor’ or ‘save our ship,’ it is noteworthy that only a distress situation calls for SOS.

SOS is historically believed to be Morse code sent by sailors to call for help when in a precarious situation.

It seems to me that the teaching and learning situation, particularly in this part of the world, is in a grave distress. It is pertinent we remind ourselves that education is the bedrock of a meaning self and collective development.

So, it is expected that a serious nation will wisely pay attention to the nature and structure of her educational system and well-being of professionals in the teaching field.

Alas, this is sadly not the case in Nigeria due to the familiar issues of ‘funding, politics and corruption’ (Elebute, 2013).

Nevertheless, I think the impassioned appeal made by one of Nigeria’s public essayists (GAB) to teachers in one of his essays wherein he beseeched the teachers to contribute their best in a bid to hone the teaching profession to an enviable height suffices as an encouragement.

Believe me, it is unbelievable that teaching and learning processes nowadays are characterised by blame game; I used to think this obtains only in politics.

The teachers shift blames on the students as being notoriously unserious and lazy; yes, some are and some are not.

The students blame the teachers for lacking the ability to succinctly perform their teaching duty well enough.

We should note something here! When these students think and act in this wise, they are not suggesting that the teachers entirely lack an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, but that the teachers’ teaching methodology is poor, obsolete and hardly understandable. Now, who should we blame more?

Well, as perturbed as this situation seems, I do not have a resolution for this resentful contention. I am, however, interested in expressing a rallying cry to our teachers to “save our students” (SOS) because regardless of how the blames fly needlessly, the teachers still know better than the students.

The only noticeable awareness and understanding that most teachers lack, in my view, is the 21st century learning yearnings of the students. This 21st century learning yearnings must, as a matter of urgency and compulsion, be met by corresponding 21st century teaching methodologies.

Dr Liz Hardy (@SimpliTeach), an advocate for a technology-driven teaching process, once tweeted that, ‘E-learning gives students a new way back to education as it is exciting and it helps the learners realise potentials they didn’t even know they had!’

This, in a way, sums what 21st teaching is: e/virtual learning. It is a form of teaching that leverages the provisions of the technological tools and new media platforms to enhance the classroom interaction.

Obviously, teaching has gone beyond the four walls of the school and most of these students are relatively vast in the use of these tools. The teacher only needs to harness the use of these tools to benefit his/her teaching.

For instance, there are several Google tools, many educative groups on Facebook, WhatsApp and countless educational blog sites among others for meaningful teaching-learning interactions (Kudos to those I know who employ one or many of these).

However, the teacher cannot gainfully utilise these media if he/she lacks basic training on the use of these tools. By training, I do not suppose that you will spend a fortune learning the uses and processes.

The good thing with the internet facilities is that when you are interested in using any and you decide to practise and use it continuously, you will get to understand the intricacies of its use.

In conclusion, we all know and say that these young friends of mine (students) who have access to some of these internet facilities waste their time on meaningless activities; yes, this could be true. But have you engaged them with meaningful academic activities on any of these platforms before?

Maybe they are waiting to have this from you so that the supposed wastage will be minimised.

Dear teachers, let us assiduously work to produce a balanced generation of young learners who are wholly worthy in character, interested in learning and committed to national development. Thank you!

• Adepoju Olalekan is a doctoral student at the University of Ibadan.


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