Development Features

Are we planning for education in 2016?

EDUCATIONAL JOURNEY with EPHAT MUDENDA
THE festive mood continues. It is Christmas Day, and many people are deeply engrossed in celebrations.
Schoolchildren are not left out. Some spent the eve away from home and one can only hope that they did not engage in illicit activities such as alcohol and drug abuse, and premarital sex during the night. Of course others obediently stayed under the roofs of their parents or guardians as they welcomed this day.
Even at this very moment many children have joined the older folks in parties that range from simply ordinary to religious, among others.
But in such festivities we must also be concerned about the well-being of our youth because we want them to be healthy citizens who will contribute positively towards the socio-economic development of the country. As they are referred to as tomorrow’s leaders, they are expected to be active citizens, rather than passive observers, in helping make our land reach greater heights.
Teachers are already playing a vital and indispensable role in the country’s development process. So, as they celebrate during this season, theirs is a celebration filled with a great responsibility not only for their own welfare or that of their families alone, but for the whole nation.
It is for this reason that they should always be offered support in their noble work by all stakeholders. When they demand for better conditions of service, we know it is a genuine cause aimed at improving the quality of education, as they are supposed to be fully motivated wherever they are, be it in rural or urban areas.
In addition to taking part in merrymaking, worship and other activities that characterise the festive season, we, the teachers, must ask ourselves questions such as: Are we adequately planning for the coming year? Are we focused on fully incorporating the learner in all academic and extra-curricular activities in the year 2016? Are the topics in our respective subjects well laid down in the weekly, monthly, termly or yearly forecast books? Are the methods we shall use for teaching various lessons varied enough to ensure that every learner is adequately helped to fully acquire the knowledge imparted to them?
Planning calls for a meaningful and challenging programme that respects all learners, develops their character and helps them to succeed. As pupils come to school with different skills, interests, backgrounds and learning needs, an academic programme that helps all of them succeed will be one in which the content and methods of delivering the materials engage all learners and meet their individual needs.
Lessons should be interesting and meaningful to the pupils and teaching must be done in a manner that respects and cares for the learners themselves. In planning there is need to reflect the aspects of responsibility and caring, among others, while employing a variety of active teaching and learning strategies.
It is also important to incorporate ways that ensure pupils’ character is potentially developed. When educationists – in their planning – emphasise the character dimension of their respective classes, the relevance of the subject is effectively enhanced, thereby increasing pupil engagement and achievement.
Also, plan to promote moral and performance values, including academic integrity, curiosity, critical thinking and diligence. When you do this you are helping your pupils to be able to do their best in schoolwork and have a sense of self-esteem, competence and self-confidence.
Through the way he or she plans his or her work, a teacher is able to provide the learners with opportunities to fully take part in academic activities through cooperative learning, problem solving and group projects. Mastery of content and skills, and ability to think creatively are at the centre of such school programmes.
Besides intellectual growth and enhanced academic performance, an inclusion of such activities in lesson plans promotes capacity for both self-direction and teamwork.
When teachers plan their work in a way that fully engages the learners, they promote the pupils’ thinking habits, that is, truth-seeking, critical thinking, curiosity and open-mindedness. They also help promote work-related habits, which include perseverance, responsible decision-making, self-management and challenge-seeking. All these prepare the learners for work-related challenges in adult life.
Let us plan effectively to help our children attain greater success.
ephatm@yahoo.com OR emudenda@daily-mail.co.zm  

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