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On learning and teaching…. some thoughts.

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4 responses to “On learning and teaching…. some thoughts.

  1. Noha Ezz El-Din Fikry ⋅

    Congratulations on the Blog!! It’s amazing…
    I really have an issue with education in general and teaching in particular. As for me, I have been a volunteering teacher in an NGO for four years and this is my fifth! I believe teaching is a life changing process for both the teacher and the student! I think one of the most limitations of our national school system is that it involves none (or minimal) critical thinking; It really tells you what you think.. It just clones students to be one model and nothing more and as Naom Chomsky mentioned in his quote, any other different model from the one who doesn’t think is excluded and treated as a dysfunctional! They just teach you to blindly obey and that the teacher is always right! You can’t argue, you can’t disagree and you even can’t have a different point. Even if the teacher accused you of something you didn’t do, you can’t defend yourself; it’s “impolite”. But once you grow up and if ,by any means, you knew the world isn’t all what you were taught back then, you will be shocked and will discover that at times you will have to disagree and to say what you really think is right! I experienced some of those situations in the past year in college (my freshman year) and perceived that shock.
    I firmly believe that if we managed to improve the education system in Egypt, we can handle almost every other difficulty we are experiencing and all the other problems will really be much easier. This very unsuccessful system of education led to a horrible consequence; kids (and even grown-ups) now just hate school and perceive education as school which isn’t true. They hate everything that has to do with school and hate education! This is HORRIBLE! No education is a no nation; we just become very weak, vulnerable, poor and incomplete! This has got to be changed!!
    If you ask me what a teacher do, simply put, and as the quote says; “a teacher touches a life forever”. I can still remember every teacher who ever taught me; I still remember the good and the bad, the memories, the struggles of learning, every detail! It’s just that teachers are very powerful; their effect is so huge you can’t ever forget it! I am very amazed at how intricately I can remember my teachers, the classes, the trips; it’s a process that will automatically be saved to your memory! And that’s one of the reasons why I teach now… to be remembered!
    Another flaw about our education system is that there is almost no space for the student to create, to imagine, to feel free. The idea of overwhelming a student with very detailed instructions is just so annoying! Details are perfectly beneficial but don’t go too much or you will just kill every opportunity that a child had to ‘create’ something and to be himself. Back then in middle school, I had that teacher who came to class in the very first day and said “WE ARE LAGGING BEHIND! THE COURSE IS VERY DENSE AND WE NEED TO START RIGHT AWAY”; that was just hilarious and tragic at the same moment. She just shut every door of having a good relationship with her; of seeing her more than a teacher. She never talked about ANYTHING except the textbook and the course. How effective is that? She did left a memory, but not a very good one!
    Moving to that quote that says how learning involves both the teacher and the student; I never ever expected or imagined that till my graduation day! Our teacher in his speech said “I learnt from you a lot” and I was really surprised; how can you learn from us, how can someone in your knowledge learn anything from a bunch of high school students! But it’s true, learning isn’t just about theories and “big stuff”; it involves every detail of the relationship between a teacher and a student! I do learn a great deal from the kids I am teaching by the way.
    Finally, it’s so true that life begins outside your comfort zone and that is what keeps me going in my hardest, most pressured days of college! The quotes are more than beautiful!

  2. ayaattwa

    Aya Attwa,
    I really loved the posts!! First of all, I learned a lot and got to see how different people act in situations they are put in. The video of the Muslim boy was my favourite. Seeing that there are people who still stand up for what is right is something I love to watch. And I really hate stereotyping people, that since they come from there then they must be this. This really just shows how ignorant people can be. There were also a lot of information in the blog I never knew and added to my knowledge. And of course, the Debbie Downer video was hilarious!
    Secondly, moving on to the teachers topic. I completely agree with what Noha had to say about it. My parents used to tell me stories all the time about how if one person spoke out in class and said his opinion he was looked down upon by teachers and students. They only learned to conform and follow rules and never question anything. But I think times have changed, that nowadays people are feeling that they have to speak out and share their opinions, this is what’s right (the revolution for example). People were fed up of following corrupt people and rules and decided to do something about it. I am not saying that everything going on today is right but what is happening now is due to the suppression they felt before.
    And still education needs to improve drastically, there is a huge mass in Egypt that are under social influence. They are told to conform, they conform. They are told to rebel they rebel. They are still following people and not knowing what is good for them. Teachers should know that telling other people what to do is wrong but showing them that they can think on their own is what should be done. They really do have a hard job, not everyone can do what they do. Schools and universities are not places to be told how things are done but are places to gain more knowledge and experiences and then do the things in the way you believe is right.

  3. Farah El Guiziry ⋅

    I love the Blog and I really find it inspiring. I could never imagine having one of my own, but I will so I guess I have to get used to it. I loved the video of the Muslim boy and the Debbie downer video was also very funny. The issue that grabbed my attention most while reading the Blog was the education issue. I actually cannot believe that we are last. It doesn’t seem so real but I can imagine where it comes from. We do have a very bad education system in our primary public school. I worked at an NGO that does Community Based Learning for children in primary school and I have noticed how badly educated they are. They do not understand any of the subjects they take at school and their parents force them to take private lessons in almost all subjects. Moreover the schools do not teach them to think critically and use their minds in any matter. The students are educationally delayed in comparison to students their ages in other countries. I really do sympathize with them because they do not have the opportunities that our parents gave us. Some of them do have great potential, that is sadly hidden and diminishing through the primary education they are receiving nowadays.

  4. Sabrine Khemiri ⋅

    I absolutely love the blog! At first, I thought it would be something totally boring but in fact it’s pretty interesting 🙂 I think it’s nice to be reminded of examples we spoke about in class and have them illustrated with articles or videos. For instance, the example about 9/11 I had watched the video a few days ago and I thought that it was amazing how the soldier replied even though I expected most soldiers to be harsh towards Muslims but then again I assumed which shows that all of us have pre-conceived ideas and expectations. I also thought that the cartoon about teachers is very creative and is a perfect depiction of how individuals are more likely to judge others and stereotype them without being familiar or without being well informed about what they are judging like the example with the man who is a lawyer criticizing the teacher. Moreover, the teacher would have behaved differently if the social context or situation would have been different and that is the power of the situation that triggered his aggressive behavior. Finally, I believe that the photo gallery is full of powerful messages and it is easier to get them through with images than to simply write them blankly since people associate words to visuals and therefore it is easy to remember them and fully assess them. I’m looking forward making my own I hope it will be as fun, creative and informative as this one.

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