I believe that one of the key reasons for our continuous underdevelopment is the lack of a critical mass of committed Nigerians dedicated to teach the next generation about building a developed Nigeria. If we did, we would have witnessed effective teaching in the family, community, schools, churches and mosques.
This would have resulted in the rise of citizens with a growth mindset and the nation-building core values. These are the people who will go into the various critical sectors in our nation and transform them.
What are the types of Teaching?
Communication: This form of teaching is common amongst parents and school teachers. It involves verbal and non-verbal communication of academic and non-academics issues. It is the obvious form of teaching and the signs in our nations do indicate that parents and teachers are not correctly communicating. With most parents (and in many cases both father and mother) absent from the home most of the day for 7 days a week (including time at church/mosque), we wonder what time is available to invest in effectively communicating to our families. We wouldn’t even bother discussing the lack of dedication amongst many teachers in schools which is reflected in their verbal and non-verbal communication to their students.
Modelling: The other reason effective communication fails in our homes, schools and community has to do with our ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ attitude. We expect to teach effectively when we say one thing and do another. This lack of integrity communicates to our children, neighbours, staff or colleagues that it is okay to be dishonest, break our promises, cheat, steal, lie, etc. This is where modelling as a form of teaching comes in but the challenge is that many of us lack the character to model anything transformational.
According to Albert Einstein, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” For effective teaching that will transform the lives of those around us, we must teach through good modelling. For that to happen, we must be commit to regular study and regular practice of what we’ve studied.
Mentoring: A key method to accelerate development of a person, community and nation is through mentorship. When we take our children, neighbours and colleagues and directly pour out into them what we have learnt in life, we shape these people into characters that will exceed all that we’ve achieved. Teachers in schools should not only communicate and model but must also take some children under their wings and mentor them. Parents must not only communicate and model but must also mentor their children and other children from the community. Bosses in the workplace must add mentorship to their communication and modelling to their staff.
What needs to change?
Prioritise Study and Practice: I believe there are 4 main stages of development and that is to Study, Practice, Teach and Inspire. Just as Study and Practice comes before Teach, it is pertinent for us to effectively study and practice in order for us to be effective in teaching. It is the abundance of what we put into us (through study and practice) that equips us to teach. It is about time we become a nation that says, “Do as I do, not just as I say.”
Place a Premium on Teaching: There has to be a change in our thinking about teaching in our families, communities and schools. In addition, the teaching profession should no longer be seen as a last resort after failing to gain employment with an oil company, IT/Telecoms firm, bank or government agency.
Participate in Teaching: There has to be rise in Nigerians who will choose to go into teaching as a profession and even for those currently employed to commit time undertaking part-time teaching in a school or becoming a mentor in the community. This way, we will build our public education to a standard that will break the firm grip of private education on our nation.
Commit Time to Teaching: We need to reduce time spent in churches, mosques, weddings, funerals, watching Premiership & European Football, drinking bars, etc., and invest some of that time teaching our families, communities and schools.
Today, let us make a commitment to become an effective teacher and in doing so, we will witness our nation accelerate towards true and lasting development. It must be reiterated again that for us to become effective teachers, we must have undergone a shift in mindset (from fixed to growth mindset) and adopted the nation-building core values.