One of the banes of our society today is that most of us have become so selfish that we no longer care about the interest and feelings of the people around us. Our situation has degenerated to the level that everyone is now for himself and God for us all. Even to the level of the family. Parents no longer care about their children and spouses are now pursuing their selfish interests as against marital interest.
No wonder we have a lot of insecurity issues across our lands. The leaders care less about the citizens and citizens are now taking laws into their hands to pursue selfish desires.
But there is good news, we can retrace our path to ensure that we return to the good old days where community matters. It is doable. And guess what? we will turn to the education sector for rescue.
There is so much that can be achieved in the classroom if we pay close attention. I like to call it the ‘magical close room’. Just imagine how many productive hours students are spending in school per day, per week, per month, and even per year. This is a huge resource and opportunity that we might be wasting.
Ironically, people think that students are only learning mathematics, science, language, etc, in the classroom for this massive amount of time, hell no, they learn much more than that.
Students learn behaviors, emotions, attitudes, etc. from their teachers and classmates. I remember sometimes ago I saw a student that dropped his mask around his lower jaw and I stopped to correct that. He immediately pointed to a teacher nearby who is also not wearing his mask properly and I gave up.
Therefore, if we give our classroom closer attention, there are lots of positive behavioral changes we can achieve including community building. Although, we must be deliberate about this in terms of design, implementation, and measurement.
The other day I was in the class and usually, students have been stopped from going out of the classroom anyhow to control the spread of covid19. However, a mild window was opened to allow students with a necessity to go out during the break. As a result of this, students will rush you during the break to request permission to go to the toilet during the break. Often time, they have no need for the toilet. But because they are bored, they want to fabricate different excuses that will allow them ‘escape’. This scenario usually overwhelms the teacher because the whole essence of social distancing will be defeated. So, on this day, I devise a means to manage it.
I told them that we will make a deal. If one of them should go out, he will spend only 1 min 30 seconds, if he comes in later than that, the implication is that no one else will be allowed to go out. I then asked if they all agreed to the deal which they answer in the affirmative. So, I asked one of them with a digital watch to keep track of time. It was interesting as everyone was on the watch to see how it will play out.
I was surprised to note that none of them spent more than 90 sec outside because they don’t want to deny their classmates the same opportunity.
This experience taught me two lessons.
- Children are born innocent, but, society pollutes them. Notice how they are innocently interested in the need of their classmates without any bias.
- If we make a concerted effort, we can develop a peaceful community, well behaved and loyal citizens right from our classroom.
Finally, it is the responsibility of schools to redefine what schools are meant for and take it beyond mere places of content memorization and regurgitation to a place of character molding, a place that leads to positive behavioral changes and a place that builds skills.