The Sunday News
OUR main focus is on the looming examinations. Learners do a lot of reading and studying in order to perform well in the examinations. They cannot succeed on their own, therefore need support from elsewhere. Teachers are key stakeholders in the success of the learner. A teacher should be clear in the delivery of his lessons; clear in the manner he explains concepts so that he is understood by the learners. Above all, he should be passionate about the subject he teaches.
A teacher needs to love what she or he is teaching because when that passion exists, the learners will respond in the same way. It does not matter whether the subject concerned is challenging like Mathematics or any other science subject, a teacher who is passionate about his subject will devise ways to make it interesting. At times learners are as good as their teachers. A hardworking working teacher translates that attitude to his learners.
I read the following inspirational quotations of learners from the Cambridge Outlook: “A great teacher is someone who goes above and beyond to make sure a student fully, gets it,” adds Shruth. Vikram suggests, “In school you’re often forced to do things you don’t enjoy, and find that challenging. If teachers start by allowing students to find something they particularly enjoy within each subject area that can change a student’s whole attitude.”
In subjects like Literature in English where there is a variety of texts to choose from, teachers can help learners by choosing interesting novels, plays or even poems. Some can even be those that have familiar settings. These help learners relate with them and understand issues discussed because they are within reach. Literature teachers should demonstrate to the learners that they are well read, rather than be a chapter ahead of the learners.
This kind of scenario will be a hindrance to the teacher to eloquently explain issues to the learners. Learners will not make an effort to read much of the text because the teacher will not be confident to encourage them to read. Literature demands a lot of reading. For learners to enjoy the subject they need to read widely, not only the texts prescribed in the syllabi but other relevant sources as well.
Learners also need to be warned in subjects like literature. There are cases of good listeners among the learners. These are lazy to read the whole texts maybe because the prescribed texts are too thick or voluminous. They come to class and pay attention to discussions and references given. Thereafter they just go through the references and notes they write in class. This has helped other learners succeed in their examinations, but, it is pretty dangerous and cannot always work with every learner.
A good learner should always remember with pride the texts learnt at school and make use of wise quotations taken from some texts. Some texts written by writers of repute are rich in language which apply in present day situations even though they might have been written centuries ago.
Last week we reminded learners on the need of writing correct English at all times. English is used across the curriculum. You can answer questions correctly if you understand the terms of the question. These give you the exact information of what is required in the question and how far you can go with the answer. This also applies with instructions. A learner cannot do well if she or he does not follow instructions.
Many learners have incoherent and irrelevant answers because they ignore instructions. Instructions are specific and learners often ignore them at their own peril. There is the issue of introductions in essay writing. It does not really matter that learners are taught how to introduce their essays or compositions from primary school, but it still remains a challenge up to tertiary levels. Therefore it should not be a surprise that we keep on reminding people how it is done.
For example, how do you introduce this topic? You can introduce this in various ways like: A story is something that can be made up or true. A story is something that we learn from or is something that always entertains. A story is always fiction. A story can be gossip. It can be told in a newspaper report and a story is always told in words. When one examines all these sentences they summarise what a story is. If an essay would be written on this question other ideas would just fall in line and continue the story.
One needs to decide on the type of story she or he is writing. We have various type of stories. We have science fiction — a story about life in the future and may involve outer space. We have detective stories — a story in which a mystery about a crime is usually solved. We have fantasy — a story that includes magic and the supernatural. It is often set in an unknown past. On the lighter side we have the comedy — a story in which the characters and events make the reader laugh.
On the other hand, we have the tragedy — a story in which the outcome is sad. We have romance — a story about love, usually between two main characters, which has a happy ending. These definitions are repeated now and again to assist learners who love writing stories to have as much practice.
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