As a high school senior, I can conveniently say that school is really boring and I hate it but let’s rewind for a minute to when I didn’t hate school, when it was fun: Grade 3.
Hate is a strong word, I don’t hate school I’m only comparing my feelings now for the ecstasy of my primary school days. Back in the days when I loved school, it was my favourite place, simply because I have always had a strong compassion for learning. I had a fun filled childhood (well I mean I’m technically still in my childhood, but let’s ignore that); I grew up every day going on excursions to the zoo, museum, commercial farm, textile mill, banks to learn the different aspects of life, how things work and where we also gained our inspiration. A seed of curiosity was planted at an early age and continues to grow today. There is something about having a question and finding the answer that satisfies me, but what really excites me to the core is been able to do something with that answer. It’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Imagine sitting in a classroom with a well labelled diagram of plants, animals and the world. I was able to learn about my ancestors and the history of everything around me.
So how did my love for school change? Simply, school stopped been about learning as I entered secondary school, everyone around me teachers and students alike, had the mind set of cramming to get A’s. They would shove information into your head as fast as possible, saying; “it’s okay if you don’t understand, just memorize it and get an A in your exam!” The exam? An hour in a room of no talking, no turning, no borrowing of writing materials, just floating in a multiple choice of answers while bubbles of anxiety grows in your stomach. School slowly became a place of memorizing facts just long enough to get the A and not get the right principle, skills and morals to sustain you in life, doing the bare minimum to get into the best university and be better than your peers.
Another boring aspect of school is having to take down note long enough to be a textbook and sometimes even copying directly from the textbook without an effective explanation from the teacher. The use of the popular LECTURE METHOD whereby teacher’s come in and Teach without even giving the students time for themselves to research on their own has created a lapse in student’s curiosity to find more answers to the questions. Imagine been taught as a chemistry or physics student for a whole session without carrying out a single practical. Now tell me, would the student understand what is been taught? Would they rather expect the students to read the practical’s in their textbook without even carrying the experiments out to see the result? Would the students perform well in an external exam that requires practical? As sophisticated readers the answer is obviously “NO”
Why can’t school be a place where teachers teach slowly, treating their students as equals and engaging them in meaningful conversations? I once had an Economics teacher who yelled at anyone who asked a question saying “you ought to have figured that on your own before the lesson” Why can’t school be a place that welcomes questions of all kind, and actually allows time to ask them? I’m so tired of cramming things for exam, only to forget after the exam ends. So why don’t we get together with our classmates and use our resources e.g. E-library, computer lab, Experience Centre etc. to work through a complex critical thinking question that relates to the real world as well as the subject. That is how you grow minds fit to solve; world hunger, frustration and corruption. That is how you engage students and cause them to be enthusiastic about a certain subject. I’m not saying schools should take away exams, test and homework, I’m saying they should make it more about the learning experience and more like real life. Test should be a combination of critical thinking and prior knowledge. It shouldn’t isolate the part of the brain that memorizes facts, because most of the time students don’t understand.
In other to make school a place away from home, the school environment should be enhanced and made conducive for learning to take place. The environment should be friendly as well as the rules and laws guiding the conducts and behavior of the school. Imagine a boarding school that places a ban on; can drinks, provisions and cooked food but can’t even provide quality food for its students. Tell me how do you expect them to feel while reading on an empty stomach?
I prescribe the use of computer gadgets and facilities in teaching the students because what one sees sticks better in ones memory than what was read. It is one thing to have the equipment but another to let the students learn more. The teacher should also teach or prepare the students (especially the science student) through practical’s, they should be allowed to carry out laboratory test/experiment on their own on all the topics been taught with supervision.
It is popularly said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so the use of recreational activities such as sports, games: monopoly, life, ludo, chess, scrabble, snake and ladder etc should also be placed in the school’s timetable because exercise helps in achieving a smart and stimulated brain all the more, making schooling fun and interesting.