Teaching is a Profession, not merely a job
I unequivocally concur to the assertion that: “Teaching skills are the process or methodology which drives delivery”.
As the lecturer’s primary duty is to develop the characters and mold the young minds of our lads; it could be ask, who would develop the developer or in the sarcastic question of Karl Marx: “who will educate the educator”?
That is the one central perennial problem that keeps on haunting the whole of the academia! If the source is limited, why would we expect that the product will be sufficient?
To quote a legal principle: the water cannot go higher than its source.
The second problem that I see is the sorry state of the whole universal academic system or for that matter, the entire international view on education.
What do I mean? Let me clarify.
It is not an exaggeration to state that our present academic set-up, instead of encouraging critical thinking, acquiring soft skills and other relevant intellectual weapons is precisely, sad but true, the one that kills creativity, stifles innovation and impinges independent dynamism.
Passive and apathetic learning using purely the “pedagogical” method will only make students hear lectures and not listen to them. What the hell is the point of hearing if there is no listening? Further, if there is no listening, there is no shadow of doubt that there is no understanding!
Finally, if there is no understanding, how could the inner grasping and internalization of the various concepts and elements will lead ultimately to the desired realization?
The bloody effect of poor delivery is that students memorize simply for the sake of the scheduled examination, worst, as already noted they — memorize without understanding.
How could we expect our children and lads to be enamored and encouraged to do their academic duties, if they do not like or to be direct, sad but true, if there’s no love to what they are doing?
Memorizing without understanding is no understanding at all. It is an artificial means that will not produce any academic prowess or intellectual gift.
The same is true with reading. Reading without comprehension is inutile and a complete waste of time.
Instead of teaching our young to internalize the inner insights and grasps the wisdom within the given lesson, we are subjecting them to endless paper works, countless memorization and other tasks which led our children to unimaginable stress and mental depression.
Worst, instead of viewing education as a liberative element and emancipatory vehicle in life, a means to achieve one’s full potential, ironically however the reverse is true; due to our gross short-comings and grave mistakes, they, the students perceive the whole process rather as destestable, exploitative, absurd and disgusting!
This is an unpardonable shame!
It is my ardent belief and so holds that the primordial obligation of a teacher is to inspire and guide his pupils to thinks unlimitedly and differently, to wonder unceasingly, to dare to ask beyond imagination, to question without hesitation, to ask unafraid, to explore all possible horizons, to unravel all paradigms, to speak their minds, to express themselves boldly and courageously, to stand up and fight valiantly for their thoughts and ideas, to open up both their hearts, so as their souls; and if needed and necessary, to die defending the truth, cherishing the beautiful and worshipping justice!
The teacher must pass this characteristic of wonder, a questioning mind and a sense of awe to his pupils.
In the words of Professor Clive Kessler:
Truly outstanding minds are cultivated within, and emerge from, a conducive environment.
They take shape and grow most, and best, in countries where the intellectual capacities and potential of all its citizens are supported, encouraged and cultivated.
In places where, among those offered the chance to pursue a scholarly path, “the life of the mind” in its broad, most humanly inclusive senses is respected and promoted.
In other words, the production of a few geniuses and of a larger number of internationally-ranking “near-geniuses” depends upon the creation of a sound, progressive and internationally competitive primary and secondary education system.
Indeed I agree with the position that: the university should produce independent learners and critical thinkers.
Undeniably the role of the academic is merely to sketch the outline of the subject matter or the course; then, what is the purpose of going to the university?
For in truth and in fact, “in this age, good lecture materials by renowned teachers from prestigious universities can be found on the internet, so it is just a question of resourcefulness.”
Still, I will argue that if the teacher does not have the gift or the virtue, say the moral power to inspire his or her students, then it is my firm belief that all of those good lecture materials — will all be useless!
A warrior is not determined by the sharpness of his sword, but by the sharpness of his mind, the greatness of his character and the nobility of his spirits!
Hence, we can also argue that the quality of our students is in an indubitable sense traceable to the quality of their teachers.
I am not saying that the said “rule” is absolute, but we are also who we are in a certain extent based on how our teachers reared, trained, educated and indeed, inspired us!
Counter-thesis two: if the motivator is not motivated, how on earth are we going to expect that the lads that we are motivating would be motivated?
Our individual answers to the foregoing queries would undeniably show what kind of teachers and lecturers we are!
The best educators are the true teachers who teach from the heart, not simply from the book or on account of a salary.
Hence, there is a need to distinguish between a teacher who merely teaches for the sake of teaching, and a teacher who educates, inspires, cultivates and touches spirits and lives.
The first is a mere occupation, the latter a profession. To the former it is but a mere job, but to the latter it is a pure devotion, a sacrifice, a struggle, a life!
What kind of teachers and lecturers are we?
That is the ultimate substantive question!
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
Humanities and Social Science Department
Unibersidad de Manila
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