General News of 2014-02-19

Shun the ‘know-it-all’ attitude – Haffar tells Teachers

Educationist Anis Haffar says Teachers and Lecturers must shun the know-it-all attitude and rather encourage their students to challenge them in class.

He says a knowledge-sharing rather than knowledge-imposing environment helps to transform students into creative thinkers rather than passive people who only regurgitate whatever is taught them in class without being innovative.

Speaking on QUALITY EDUCATION on the XYZ Breakfast Show on Tuesday, Mr Haffar said: “Anytime someone says ‘are you challenging me’, I draw a blank, because when you’re teaching somebody, they have to challenge you”.

According to him, “the element of challenge has to come all the way through”.

He said students have to “challenge you because what you’re doing is that you’re trying to convert my cognitive abilities, mindset into something else and human beings automatically react”, adding that: “Even if you were to teach a dog – what we call the Pavlov experiment - consistently the dog will refuse to obey you till such time that it makes some sense to them. It might not make sense to them but with human beings it has to make sense to us”.

Mr Haffar argued that if students don’t challenge their Teachers, they will never understand what is taught them in class.

He also said the Ghanaian culture that discourages children to be heard but only seen, has also contributed to making students timid and thus, unable to challenge what is taught them in class by their Teachers.

“Here in our culture, the older person knows better than everybody else. And we take that into the classroom where the Teacher is supposed to know better than everybody else, but that’s a fallacy.

“The Teacher might know 99 percent but the 99 percent is not what is going to get them to slip on a slippery slope. It’s the one percent that you don’t know. So right from the beginning we have to develop the humility to let our students know that ‘look I don’t know it all; what I know is what I’ve passed on to you, but you bring in extra knowledge so that we begin to share. Teaching is a communal affair. It’s a two-way street. So we have to keep an open mind all the time”, Mr Haffar said.