Learn, Forget, Learn
Jancan Limo, Education Facilitator
27 March 2018
I don’t need to be socratical or a psychologist neither do I need to attend any science class in order to make this crystal observation. Metric tonnes of patience has been consumed and a lot of calories have been burnt already. I need not tell you about a mountain of time that has been invested nor an ocean of finances that have been pumped in. I have only considered the heap of finances that have been consumed, not the ones that have been left to pass by because all the energy has been diverted elsewhere. From the gaze, the blank look, the deep sighs, the scratch on the head, the doubting looks, the deep voice, to pity and the literal application of contexts, all point to one thing. A feeling of despair, of frustration, of disappointment. I won’t mention the hilarious application letters and resumes that they have to peruse. I don’t know how much better to express what most employers have been through.
When I secured my first job, forget about my thirst for financial improvement, I was convinced that I will be an indispensable individual who will be relied on upon without question. I banked on my training and the burning desire to be part of a change maker. The passion that had driven me to join teaching. I had gone through training to be a teacher who will educate the learners. I was trained to help students discover knowledge, make meaning of knowledge and use the knowledge, assess the progress of learning and make the right prescription to help them be better people.
My role in the institution was not a pile of duties derived from space, but it was purely what I was trained for. With a lot of energy and authority, I embarked in feeding the innocent and knowledge thirsty students with information. Each new day I met a hurdle with my students and handling them was an experience I was not well prepared for. Students’ performance was stagnant despite much sacrifices my colleagues and I put towards their improvement. Motivational speakers and examiners were bee busy in the school trying to improve our performance and motivate learners. With each examination done, some cash had to be coughed out to train us but nothing much changed. Nothing changed. At some point, I was convinced that employers are justified when they are firing employees. They spend too much resources trying to update a trained individual.
“There is a serious gap that is existing between what we are trained for and what we are actually supposed to do.”
There is a serious gap that is existing between what we are trained for and what we are actually supposed to do. Most of our training courses are abstract and trainees have become information dump sites. Trainees are holed up in a lecture room, acquiring a fleet of information for hours and hours, and given notes and take away assignments, on how to group learners and engage them during learning for example. Some are even trained theoretically on how to inject a cow and a standardized written exam is given to them to test their understanding. How this information that has been acquired will be used, purely rest in the shoulders of employees, mine is a victim, at their expense. Most companies are, therefore, spending much time and resources in training their employees to suit in their respective roles.
I always remember carrying two 96 pages A4 sized Kasuku single ruled exercise books the first day I was admitted to a teacher training college. Before you judge me based on that, I was convinced that I was going to college to learn how to transmit knowledge to learners, how to engage the learners, how to identify areas of weaknesses and generally what it happens in the classroom. To my dismay, I was to be pumped with more information that only prepares me to advance my studies. On actual application of the learnt concepts in the classroom? Teachers have rumours. I guess these rumours instead of the actual knowledge best explains the headaches and heartaches that we have caused to our employers. I am confident saying this because we need to fix this problem in our education sector. Education ought to be meaningful enough to bridge the existing gap and achieve what it is meant to achieve. Prepare learners for jobs.
Teaching students whose motivation levels are in a winter season somewhere in Scandinavian countries is not a walk in the park. A story from a person dreading his mathematics teacher, that then became one himself. Karma is real!
Students are not taught to communicate and express their ideas. KCSE puts emphasis on the technicalities of English and Kiswahili rather than on being able to use the language and to communicate. Yet communication is most important for the students lives. Why then, are we not teaching it?
The conclusion was silently reached after all the reasons for putting off had been watered down. We strolled out of the small pub where we always go in the evenings to pass time as we gallop the cheap beer if we were lucky to be owning some coins and wanted to be generous to ourselves. The humour we always possessed was fading down as time passed by.