In this fast paced and ever-changing world, we do not even know where 70% of today’s nursery kids would apply for jobs. According to a study, a child in nursery is going to enter a professional field that does not even exist right now.
A Common Assumption
It is believed that schools and classrooms are places where our children learn all their subject related skills – they are taught to solve math problems and hone their literary skills. Here, they are being prepared to become future engineers, creative writers, successful bankers and excellent doctors. As such, in these early years, many intellectual foundations are laid for our children to become superior professionals. However, the reality is that schools and classrooms are so much more. Educationists now see that the role of a school extends beyond just scholastic development.
Parents often say: “My child has learned it at school.” A student once asked her mom to cover her hair just like her teacher. When asked to think, before they answer a question, my children would say “nummm, nummm, nummm” – a sound their teacher made, while pondering over something. There are also instances, when children become agitated, if parents throw wrappers out of the car’s window or breach a traffic signal. These are a few of the innumerable examples of what children learn at school.
Yet another dimension is the behaviour patterns that children learn from school friends and even from the supporting staff. In short, children absorb the school environment as a whole. Considering this further, children are actually learning much more than what is written down in the syllabus. This is the “uncatalogued” or unwritten curriculum of the school or the hidden curriculum. This is the curriculum, which would actually help the next generation learn to fish instead of waiting for being given one.
Role of an Effective Teacher
A teacher has to be a reflective person, who understands the diversity among the students and is able to evaluate their overt and covert behaviours. She would then sift through these actions to keep the good ones and discard the not so constructive ones, before they became part of her students’ lifestyles. The best practice for an engaged teacher is to inculcate in her students the core values of a moral society. This is the reason why Prophet Muhammad (sa) held teaching in high esteem: “Whomsoever Allah (swt) intends to do good, He gives right understanding of religion, and knowledge is maintained only through teaching.” (Bukhari)
For Bringing a Real Change
The need of the time is an engaged discussion on the hidden and obscure dynamics of classrooms. We should re-evaluate our schools’ rituals and normal routines as promptness, neatness, adult authority, docility and even such seemingly small things as making cues.
Bullying and counterproductive behaviour must also be taken into serious consideration. We can see their effects on our society even with half an eye. Then, speaking in native language and celebrating culturally relevant events is something that helps children to honour their existence and feel happy about their identity.