Pupils engage during a workshop. The author proposes a different way to educate the youth. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Pupils engage during a workshop. The author proposes a different way to educate the youth. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Demilitarise schools for better learning

By Mogamat Faadiel Arnold Time of article published Nov 19, 2018

Share this article:

When we have managed to develop insight into our own destructive personality traits that add to the dilemma of the education crisis, then it becomes imperative for us to know the structural barriers to successful educational developments. 

It seems clear from the many lectures, talks, articles and seminars we have experienced that there are no good practical solutions forthcoming from academia, state officials and conventional research. 

The main reason is that there seems to be a general belief that schools should exist in the conventional form and that only curriculum and teacher training and communications between the various sectors should be addressed. 

No one thus far has mentioned the following barrier to educational progress: Peer group in isolated grades – this lays the foundations for bullying and gangsterism, because peer groups cannot learn much from each other and they are then totally dependent on the teachers. 

Teacher-centred education in a cyber world, where some children are more informed than the teacher, creates student boredom and a sense of teacher marginalisation of student skills and information. 

A 3-grade mixed group will create an opportunity for older learner example and tolerance towards the younger ones. 

The mixed grade approach, with guided stimulus from teachers, allows for the acceleration of learning and an opportunity for the development of courtesy among all at school.

In such a situation one finds younger learners sometimes learn faster and are an inspiration for the older ones. But this change in school 
delivery will mean that the teacher or school must have qualitative resources that have depth and breadth. 

This is where my Reflections book (see my blog Bo-Kaap: helper) comes in handy, as the unitary text that integrates all learning exposures and guides the acceleration of learning. 

The chalk and talk teaching is then replaced by a kind of tutoring service, because the resources do the teaching. The Reflections book is aided by 20, 16g flash drives and 300 posters covering all subjects.

Now the question will be, which grade’s curriculum fits in a mixed grade class – well, the highest grades content. In real terms the grade 3, 6, 9 and 12 which are guided by all Grade 12 subjects, should be the aim of all learning exposures, so that a consistent and repetitive level of learning of the same topics on the Preparatory Comparative and Analytical levels happen. 

Now that sounds exciting but to do this a whole paradigm shift needs to happen towards Holistic Leisure Learning (HLL) which places the interest of children first and then to unpack their interest holistically through its 7 HLL Values; natural, people, languages, trade, calculations, construction and micro- and telescopic. This is giving practical, holistic structure to the world’s call for value-based education. 

When we value each other’s interests, then we naturally become socially and environmentally conscious – the features that were ignored by industrialised-driven education that today left many government institutions and corporations bereft of basic human rights principles, driving people to all sorts of prejudices.

Mogamat Faadiel Arnold [PTDIII, BA, Ph.D[HC] has authored several books and has more than 43 years teaching experience from Grade1 to college level.
This causes immense suffering. 

People know it is the way children are taught that creates social issues in schools and societies, but they find it hard to identify reasons, because they are blinded by their belief that going to school ensures you a good future, a story that became untrue when technology took over manufacturing jobs that educational models supported.

One of the signs that caused me to question the education system was the amount of military terms in schools and industry. We still have the “director-general of education” and the “chief executive officer” in the corporate world. It is no wonder the youth take up arms against the “army” of adults that exploit their skills and lives.

Drill, protocol, policy, disciplines, procedures, control, management, delegation, monitor, authority, power-base, subjects, command, demarcate, leadership, instruction, subordinates, governor etc, must be replaced with more humane terms. It is militarised schooling that create real armies that are blind to human suffering. 

Teachers who are prepared to replace “classroom-management of their pupils” with “liberation support of their pupils” will easily apply HLL and demilitarise the educational system they are working in. We have to remember that the words we use give expression to the inner state of our being.

Militarised terms indicate a person or system that aims to control others for their benefit. 

Caring terms such as facilitate, reflect, creative process, holism, conscious-action, ease, relationship, correlation etc, lead to personalities that are free and not stressed. That in turn reduces all forms of social ills. The reason why the old industrialised, colonial education system fails today is because it tries to “rule” people who are more aware of opportunities, globally. Wisdom begins with the acceptance of people’s freedom.

* Mogamat Faadiel Arnold [PTDIII, BA, Ph.D[HC] has authored several books and has more than 43 years teaching experience from Grade1 to college level. He can be contacted at [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

Share this article: