Thursday, September 29, 2005

Reflections on Teaching...

As salaamu alaikum one and all,
It's a nice autumn day here in Cardiff: the sun is shining (well, sort of at any rate) and the leaves are beginning to change colour. As I look out of my office window at all of the new students, a few stray thoughts about teaching are dancing merrily in front of my mind's eye.
The first is that I really love teaching and learning. There's nothing quite like the buzz you get when someone understands something for the first time. Seeing the light go on is great, especially when that person has had to struggle for their newly acquired understanding. As such, I'm really enjoying teaching my Introduction to Islam course. This is the third time the course has been scheduled (and the first time it has run). It's a real privilege to be able to spend 2 hours every week talking about a subject I find immensely fascinating to a group of like-minded people and being paid to do it! Al hamdu lillah, I am grateful to Allah for this opportunity.
The second stray thought is that education is (or should be) more about learning than teaching. That is, education is about helping the student to learn for themselves. It should be focused on helping the student to learn. Having just completed a PGCE in adult education, I am familiar with the student-centred learning idea. It's a good one, of course. Sometimes though, as with much educational literature, it can degenerate into what one friend has perceptively labelled 'educheese'. Thus, in my context, it is incumbent upon me to find ways to help my students to learn. For sure, it's not always easy, but it is certainly fun, al hamdu lillah.
Thirdly, what a difference organisation makes! Last night's session went much better as I had had the chance to prepare more thoroughly. I'm beginning to realise that I teach more confidently when I've prepared fully.
Oh well...I suppose I should go and do some work!
Ma'as salama (peace be with you).
Abdur Rahman

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