By Elhoussaine Naaim
By Elhoussaine Naaim
Morocco World News
Tnghir, Morocco, February 5 2013
Among a lot of definitions given to education, it is the process which a certain generation in a certain society transmits to new generations the values, beliefs, knowledge, and symbolic expressions to make communication possible within a society; in this sense, education is serving social and cultural functions. Education, in our society, is basically related to that old people or experts in a certain domain transmit good values, knowledge or traditions to the new generations.
This process in our society is characterized with a kind of respect or rather glorifying. People glorify the old people or the people with certain knowledge, especially in the religious domain. The new generation gives great importance to old people. On the other hand, teachers are in the same level as well as old people, we respect and glorify them. Thus these well known proverbs approve that: “I will be a slave to one who teaches me a letter” and “the teacher was about to be a prophet.” For example, the way of standing of students whenever a teacher enters the classroom is a sign of this respect. In addition, people address a man with certain knowledge by Ssi (Sir), and a woman by Lalah (Mrs.) as a sign of respect. These previous proverbs show the extent to which people in our society estimate others who are well-educated in different domains.
However, no one can deny that education is a very important process for a society to go forward, and what I already mentioned are very valuable characteristics which each Moroccan might be proud of. Yet, I’m going to tackle this issue from different and specific angles. I will highlight the way most of our experts, parents, teachers, instructors…educate (and should educate) children, students and novices, as I will illustrate the importance of the thinking process in the last paragraph.
This Parent-child and Teacher-student relation is somehow based on respect which is a very great value. But, the problem of this “respect” is that it is often based on fear and fright feeling. Educators teach their students or children to be afraid of them, or to be afraid not to do something bad. For example, parents threaten their children to beat them when they do not do the required behavior.
The Great paradox one can come across in the Moroccan education process is that, and this happened to me, sometimes parents threaten their children to take them to the teacher or school when doing bad behaviors. Therefore, the teacher or school becomes a sign of punishment to children instead of being a place or a refuge of encouragement. Also, I had been many times so much afraid of some guys who keep visiting us regularly because of my parents. For instance, in order not to be noisy or troublesome, my parents tell me that they will tell about me a person from whom I become afraid.
The problem of this process which is done anyway to educate children is leading them to do good only if there is the stimulus that makes them afraid; so that children can easily behave badly whenever that stimulus is absent. Therefore, this process will not only make a child to have different behaviors towards different people, but will teach him or her to be afraid from anything and anyone, inside home and in the society as well. A child will be taught to be subordinated and fear from, for example, parents, presidents, politicians, and so on. So that he or she will always be less-confident and will not be able to act normally within the society. When we teach someone by the fear process, we teach him or her at the same time the feeling of fear that will affect him negatively. We should teach students to be courageous and proud of their knowledge and experiences, otherwise the education process will not be as successful as educators wish.
As an alternative to education based on making students or children afraid, educators should teach students or children to be free, and help them to build their own self-confidence by themselves. Freedom here is an equivalent of responsibility. When teaching someone to be responsible, we teach him or her to be free; while giving him or her freedom to do something, we make him or her responsible for it. Therefore, the child or the student will keep doing the learnt act whether the educator is present or not. They will feel responsible for their own knowledge and behaviors. Instead of educating by ordering children or students to do something otherwise they are going to be punished, we should educate them by explaining the benefits of that behavior or knowledge.
We should never assume that our children or students do not understand well in a certain age, and that they should be made fearful in order to act in the right way. Being clear and close to students or children by making them feel responsible for their own behaviors will make them independent, free and responsible wherever they are. In society they will do what they understand and are responsible for, but if what they learnt is related to parents or teachers as signs of fear, all what they learn will not be meaningful.
The knowledge they took will be mechanical; they will use it or behave according to it only when there is the relation that relates them to parents or teachers; that’s to say the fear process relation. A student or a child says sometimes to his or her friend, “I will not be absent for the classes because I’m afraid of my father,” but when the father is away he or she will do what he or she understands and feels at ease with. Educating our students or children to be responsible will make them feel free to choose knowledge they are interested in, behave in the way that is acceptable, and create a conversation and a dialogue between teachers and students, or parents and children.
However, educating a child or a student to be free and responsible for his or her knowledge, educators should not emphasize the knowledge or the values they want their children to acquire. They should focus on the taking of knowledge or values process, or rather the thinking process. Children need help in how to think critically and analytically. They should not just be the consumers of the experts’ knowledge. Children should not be considered the storage of the experts’ knowledge, but should be considered the first readers, analysts, critics who will develop, analyze and criticize their knowledge. As we say in our culture “lli 3tak chi hbel ktfu bih,” bind a person with a cord he or she gives you. If someone gives you some knowledge, use the same knowledge to understand what he or she wants you to understand, and understand what you want to understand. The knowledge of an old generation will never suit one hundred percent the new generation. There will always be things to be changed and developed according to the needs of the new generation that automatically, normally, and logically will be old to the next one. So, the gap between the two generations will be permanently the zone of creating the new knowledge.
The process of thinking is much more crucial than the ready-made knowledge one takes from someone else. It is time to assist and facilitate for children the process of thinking, and emphasize the HOW not the WHAT to know. A famous proverb that says “Do not give me a fish, but teach me how to fish” is a great saying and a way that illustrates the importance of the “know-how.” yet now we should not only teach children how to do things, but we should teach them how to think and let them give their opinions even about that way “HOW” of thinking itself. A child may develop that way of thinking, create a better way of doing something, and/or create a certain valuable knowledge. Therefore, educators should not teach what students or children should know, or expect them to do, or create new knowledge in the same way they do.
Children should be responsible and free to choose how to do things, how to think, what to do, and what to know. Their ways of thinking should be independent not only from others, such as teachers and parents, but also from different backgrounds such as religious and political background. By this, a child can have an independent critical and analytical mind whose only function is to create knowledge, and to think apart from emotional, social, political, and religious backgrounds.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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