The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
WHILE the country’s schools have started welcoming back students, the past few months have put a strain on the man and women in the country’s education system.
For the first time in their professional lives, most teachers lost complete contact with their students, and have only been able to stay in touch with them through virtual means.
For those in a profession in which the smell of chalk and chalkboard is the most familiar and the chatter of students is the soundtrack for every day, life away from the classroom could not have been easy.
No one could have been for teaching during a global epidemic. It is simply not covered in any teaching manuals and like the learners under their care, teachers have also had to pick up new tricks as they go along. This however, does not mean that some have not excelled in this “new normal”. Some have taken to this new world like ducks to water, spreading knowledge while navigating the hazards of Covid-19.
One such teacher is Kwekwe-based Manners Msongelwa, popularly known as Mr Muso, a Zimbabwean historian. Mr Muso is currently the President of Association of History Teachers of Africa and also the President of History Teachers of Zimbabwe. Under his able leadership, students have been introduced to a clear example of a 21st century teacher, with his online history lessons becoming an indispensable part of many students’ lockdown curriculum.
Mr Muso has gone beyond the call of normal virtual learning, creating WhatsApp groups, dubbed the Code Muso Groups, where he helps students. He has approximately around 40 online WhatsApp groups.
“The reason behind the creation of these groups was to make sure that students do not relax since he cannot meet them for physical tutorials,” he said speaking of the tutorials.
Many students and parents have enthusiastically welcomed this initiative. He’s also offering Online History Seminars every week, teaching and explaining certain critical questions within the syllabus. Added to that, he also has extended to Facebook and YouTube tutorials whereby he teaches live every week.
“I understand that students get it well when the teacher is on live and they can easily use their five stages of imagery and in this case visual imagery being the most significant one,” he said.
Mr Muso has authored history textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education that include Trends in History book 3, A-level Zimbabwean History and Regional and International Affairs.