Smara, Morocco - The performance inside our Moroccan schools will always be unsatisfactory as long as teachers do not understand that teaching is not a job like other jobs. Teaching is an art and it has to do with the teacher’s personality and character more than with what he or she knows. Students are not and should not be interested in what you know as a teacher, but in the way you treat them, teach them, and behave towards them both inside and outside the classroom.
Smara, Morocco – The performance inside our Moroccan schools will always be unsatisfactory as long as teachers do not understand that teaching is not a job like other jobs. Teaching is an art and it has to do with the teacher’s personality and character more than with what he or she knows. Students are not and should not be interested in what you know as a teacher, but in the way you treat them, teach them, and behave towards them both inside and outside the classroom.
The world has changed and pedagogies have changed too, but numerous teachers and their teaching styles have not. Some educators still believe that their number one task is to fill the minds and heads of kids with ideas and information as if they are cooking a Tajine that has to be filled with all kinds of vegetables, meat. Their main purpose is to show to people that the heads/Tajines they cooked are full and big. This is not the objective of teaching today.
Yes, we may agree that teaching is like cooking, but today the one who has to cook is the student not the teacher. Teachers must bring the kitchen to the classroom or students to the kitchen and give them the chance to work either individually or with their peers to prepare their favorite dishes, not ours. They have to cook it the way they like. Teachers must be a guide, a coach and an adviser who tastes what children cook and motivates them to be involved in the activities they do as a team. They should cook what they eat and eat what they cooked.
I have always understood teaching as cooking and considered the former as a cooking process. Pedagogically speaking, all teachers know that teaching the four skills has to be dealt with as a process; meaning that while teaching, they have to take into consideration the three stages of each activity. For instance, when teachers teach writing, they had better respect the pre-writing, along with the while-writing and post-writing activities. The same procedures have to be done in teaching the listening, reading and speaking activities.
As far as teaching/cooking is concerned, teachers are expected to respect the abovementioned stages. Firstly, during the ‘pre-cooking’ stage, teachers have to make their students responsible to choose the material/ingredients they will need to use. Learners should be the ones who decide what to cook. Secondly, during the cooking stage, the teacher must use only verbal communication and eye contact to watch and interfere whenever his help or advise are needed as the American saying goes: “the boss helps his employees with his eyes more than with his hands.”
Then after- eating, the teacher should sit down with students, share with them the final product and then open the channels of communication to evaluate what they prepared. He should listen to their critical ideas; let them reflect upon their experiences to find out their own mistakes by themselves or through the help of their classmates. Teachers should encourage peer correction and consider mistakes as great moments, indicators and signs that the process of learning is taking place.
Experts in teaching English as a Foreign Language claim that if “students do not learn the way you teach, then teach them the way they learn.” As For the cooking approach to teaching, I think that saying, “if they don’t eat the way you cook, then you must let them cook the way they eat,” will make some sense. Let’s give it a try.
Edited by Benjamin Vilanti
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