Rabat - Undoubtedly, the teacher plays a fundamental and central role in the life of the child and in the future of the Ummah [community] in general.
Rabat – Undoubtedly, the teacher plays a fundamental and central role in the life of the child and in the future of the Ummah [community] in general.
The teacher provides him or her with science, knowledge, morals, behaviour, belief and ambition, as they spend almost eight hours a day together full of activity, vitality, and vigour. These hours are longer than those the child spends with his parents and relatives. Accordingly, the teacher holds the position of the fundamental educator, the first teacher, and the central actor in the life and upbringing of the child. If the teacher is good, the child and the society should be good, because the “industry” of the educated, responsible and believing person is the cornerstone of the edification of society, civilization, culture and the future. In the words of the prince of poets, Ahmed Shawqi, the teacher is therefore really a prophet:
Rise in reverence for the teacher
The teacher is almost like a prophet,
Do you know any more honourable and venerable person than
The one who builds up and brings up spirits and minds?
Praise be to you my God, the best teacher
Who taught with the pen the first centuries,
You brought this mind out of its darkness
And guided it to the path of enlightenment,
And marked it in teacher touch
Sometimes rusty, sometimes acute.(1)
To overcome the several challenges facing it now and in the future and to guarantee its continuity as an active and interactive civilization and culture, the Arab Islamic world should reconsider its educational paradigm, especially its three main elements: the teacher, the learner, and the curriculum, with special attention to the teacher, who is the driving force of the educational system in its totality.
The time of the “teacher-lion,” of whose roar children were afraid and seized by a violent fear when he appeared in the classroom or in the street, is over. With this type of traditional teacher, the educational strategy was based on overpowering and despotic authority and unfair parenthood, while providing a huge bulk of impractical information to the child, encouraging him or her to memorize and then reciting the material as proof that he or she had learned them, whereas in fact the child had neither understood nor benefited from its content.
One of the causes of the failure of this educational system throughout history is that the accumulation of information for the child in this traditional, authoritarian and non-interactive environment led to the production of cognitive “clichés,” instead of producing knowledge in the true meaning of the word. This led the Arab Islamic world to lag behind the progress of civilization due to the scientific and technological backwardness and made of it a mere consumer of immediately available technology without playing any role in its development.
Effective education is associated more with the psychological characteristics of the teacher than with the cognitive characteristics. Purposeful interaction influences despotic authority and aims at developing the personality of the teacher through eradicating his or her educational and psychological illiteracy so that the teacher becomes a “knowledge facilitator” instead of merely an “information provider.”
Today the learner can receive all the information he or she needs through the internet, the mass media, and television, as well as through the other technological means available in the age of scientific influx and digital revolution. The learner remains, nonetheless, in need of a teacher to accompany him or her in the learning process and facilitate the extraction of scientific and functional knowledge from the huge bulk of information received inside and outside the school.
The teacher of the future is required to face the educational challenges with determination, firmness and professionalism. He or she should also face the information influx with perseverance, wisdom and rationality, through lifelong continuing training, “the teacher’s lifelong learning,” to preserve “teaching fitness.” The teacher is further required to have appropriate capabilities that enable him or her to adjust to the educational new developments, keep abreast of the age, and improve his or her teaching means and methods.
The present paper aims at studying thoroughly the teacher of the future and discovering the professional obligations, knowledge rights, and ways to reconsider teacher training so that the teacher meets the knowledge needs of his or her age and becomes a main actor in the process of sustainable development.
The educational process is an interactive process
The Arab Islamic educational system was characterized in previous ages by the provision of knowledge to students without any interaction. In other words, the educational process was mono-oriented, or basically non-interactive and not based at all on the use of feedback to redress or correct flaws that could mar the transmission of knowledge either at the level of full comprehension or through assimilation leading to good usage and better exploitation of the information. This system, in terms of philosophy and form, did not enable the learner to use his critical thinking in the discussion of knowledge transmitted to him in order to better understand and use it. Therefore, the knowledge received through the educational process remained a passive knowledge rather than an active knowledge, leading in the long term to disfunction and failures in the entire educational system such as failing school or juvenile delinquency.
This non-interactive educational system led to “the pedagogy of preaching” (2) that produced generations of “preaching” teachers who mastered the technique of cramming “knowledge merchandise” into learners’ heads through memorization and recitation by rote, providing for it to be returned to its owners, as is, in the exam at the end of the academic year.
The “preaching” teacher reduced the educational process to the following steps, characterized by the predominance of quantity over quality:
– Listening: not interrupting or trying to discuss the method of instruction or the content, and any attempt in this regard is considered disobedience toward the teacher to be severely punished.
– Memorization and storing: storing knowledge faithfully and giving it back complete upon request, without adding any personal touches thereto such as critical thinking or creative production.
– Submission: not arguing the teacher’s educational choices and method of performance, even if the purpose is to better assimilate the subject taught.
– Parroting: teaching using the method of repetition and imitation without encouraging the personal initiative of the learner so as (a) to give him an outlet for his creative and cognitive energies or (b) to prompt him to rely on critical thinking.
– Guidance: relying on the method of preaching and guidance in the transmission of knowledge while disregarding the psychological aspects of the teaching/learning process.
The “pedagogy of preaching” may have yielded good results in the past because education was characterized by encyclopedic knowledge through acquiring knowledge of wide variety of subjects. However, things have greatly changed in the present, and attention is now given more to scientific specialization while taking into account personal inclinations. Furthermore, the educational process is based today on child psychology, mental development, encouragement of creativity, the refining of a student’s talents, and many other things.
The world, as McLuhan predicted it last century in the 1950s, has become a planetary village thanks to amazing scientific progress. Science has reduced distances at both the temporal level and the geographic-spatial level. Jet planes and spacecrafts can transport the person from one place to another in a short period, and the computer can carry out millions of sophisticated operations as quick as lightning. Thanks to the internet, information, sound and image can be exchanged instantly and directly. We should keep in mind as well that the spreading globalization has really broken barriers and borders among nations and peoples, either positively or negatively, and made the world a single and unified space.
With these amazing changes, the teaching process in the Arab Islamic world cannot remain stagnant. It has to imitate the civilized world in its methods and means to guarantee the survival of civilization and the progress and prosperity of humanity. This cannot be achieved without reconsidering the philosophy, content and spirit of the educational system.
It is time to move to the interactive educational system in its form and content. It will guarantee to the teacher the fulfillment of the expected results of his or her arduous efforts and further encouragement to progress in his or her great civilizing action. Moreover, it will guarantee to the learner a better yield and brighter future, and ensure more fluidity in the educational process.
Believing in the importance of the philosophy of interaction in the 1960s and its positive repercussions on the educational process, American educators applied the concept to all fields of education and training, starting with the teaching of languages to non-native speakers. They created for that purpose a method called Community Language Learning (CLL). It is based on an important Anglo-Saxon principle, which considers the “patron” a high-ranking person whose needs must be fulfilled. The patron in this equation is the learner; the teacher becomes a facilitator of the teaching process. As opposed to traditional teaching methods, the learners sit in a form of circle while the teacher stands outside this circle. The course is not based on a topic that has been already drawn up by the teacher, but every learner can learn whatever he wants in the focal language according to his personal or professional needs. He pronounces a word in his mother tongue and the teacher translates it to the language to be learned, utters its syllables and writes it on the blackboard in the common phonetic alphabet and so forth. At the end of the dialogue, each learner repeats the sentences he has produced. Then the teacher explains the grammatical aspects of the dialogue and uses them through exercises with flash cards.
The purpose of putting the teacher/facilitator outside this circle is mainly to break the stereotypical image of the teacher/lion or the teacher/despot that conflicts with the principles of educational psychology. Regarding this educational method, hearing the voice of the teacher in the back facilitates the learning process, whereas seeing him complicates things psychologically, bearing in mind that the older the learner is the more he or she finds himself subjected to supreme vulnerability in educational situations. Thus, the teacher should be put outside the circle of the learners. Because of the success of this educational method, many schools have adopted it throughout the world with a slight difference: the circle has been replaced by a semicircle for practical reasons.
Notes and Bibliography
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Ahmed Ahdouthen. 2003. “The Educational Discourse in Morocco”. Knowledge for Everybody 28. (Rabat, Morocco: Ramsis Publishing,) p. 130.
Tariq Ali Al-Habib. 2003. “Implanting Psychological Understanding in the Teacher,” a paper presented at the Eleventh Symposium of Educational Leaders. Jazan [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia], 1-3 Muharram 1424 A.H, 2003 AD.
Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al-Rashid, 2003. “The Teacher in a Renewed Age”. Al-Maarifa n° 95. p. 7.
Al-Maarifa n° 70. 2001. p. 32.
Ammar Bakkar. 2001. “Teaching Creativity… and the Quality of Excellence”. Al-Maarifa n° 70. p. 45.
Sharabi, Hisham. 1991. Introductions to Study the Arab Society. (4th edition), Beirut: Dar al-Talia.
Barakat, Halim. 1984. Contemporary Arab Society: a Social Investigation Research. Beirut: the Centre of Arab Unity Studies. Beirut: Lebanon.
Mohammed Sadiq Mohammed Hassan. 2002. “Authoritarianism … Causes and Therapy”. Education n° 140. pp. 82-83.
Ibid, pp. 84-85.
Adas, Mohammed Abdurrahim. 1996. The Effective Teacher and Efficient Teaching. Amman: Dar Al-Fikr for Publishing and Distribution.
Khalil al-Khalili and Nasr Maqabla. 1990. “A Developmental Study to Assess the Tendencies Related to the Teaching Profession”. Al-Yarmuk Research Magazine, Vol.6, n° 1. pp. 59-80.
Tellefson, N. 1974. “Selected Student Variables and Perceived Teacher Effectiveness”. Education 94. pp. 30-35.
Turner, G. 1991. “Preparing Successful Teachers for Urban School”. Gateways to Teacher Education. Vol. 4, n° 1. pp.28-37.
Zaydan, Hamam Badrawi. 1988. “Teacher’s Qualifications in the light of some Tasks of the Teaching Profession”. Education. pp. 59-66.
Al Kawadiri, Sabah Ahmed. 1985. “The Successful Teacher”. Education 16. pp. 69-71.
Baron, E. et. al. 1992. “Collaborative Urban Education: Characteristics of Successful Urban Teachers”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of School Administrators. San Diego, California, February 21-24, 1992.
Vincent, G. 1974. Le peuple lycéen: enquête sur les élèves de l’enseignement secondaire. Paris : France.
Morrison, A. ; D. McIntyre. 1975. Profession enseignant : Une psychosociologie de l’enseignement. Armand Colin. Paris : France. P.151.
Omar, Sheikh. 2002. “The Teacher we want for the 21st Century”. The Jordanian School and the Challenges of the 21st Century. Abdulhamid Shuman Institution. Amman: Jordan. P.99.
Al-Khabti, Ali Ben Saleh. 2002. “A Developmental Approach of Teachers’ Self-Development: the Model of Teachers’ Lifelong Learning”. A paper presented at the 11th Meeting of Educational Leaders. Jazan: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1-3 Muharram 1424 A.H. 2003 AD.
OECD. 2002. Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers. OECD Country Representatives Meeting. Paris, March 2002.
Idem, n° 21.
Al Ibrahim, Ibrahim Abderrazaq. 2002. “Education in the Age of Globalization: Educational Basics to Interact with Life Process”. Education 140. p.139.
Hamdan, Mohammed Zayd. 2002. “New Suggested Programmes to Train Teachers in the Academic Specialities by the Means of Contemporary Multimedia Technology”. Education 140. p.150.
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