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Teaching and learning in the 21st century - Nnane Ntube

I watched a TEDx Talk video about the problem with students. The talk was led by Conrad Hughes. In presenting reasons why some students drop out of school, he made mention of "deadlines." I quickly recognized this problem that many educators seem to ignore. In recent days, there has been a general impression that the focus is no longer on the growth of the students but on the number of lessons taught and hours covered. That's why there is a mad rush in the teaching process that ends up leaving students to themselves. Hence, the loss of faith in education. This may explain the decrease in the value of education. I don't really fancy deadlines. I feel it puts pressure on students. Recently, I have observed heads of schools in my community being obsessed with deadlines: deadlines for evaluating students, deadlines for marking scripts and submitting results, deadlines for departmental meetings and reports, etc. These deadlines are stressful for the students and teachers. Imagine a teacher caught between these deadlines and his or her teaching hours. 

In my opinion, the deadlines reduce efficiency in the teaching and learning process. In some cases, it may cause mental breakdowns for students and teachers. Both students and teachers have to be psychologically sound to ensure a convenient learning environment. After listening to the video, I retained the three steps for students' real-life success: redesign, empower, and spread the word. 

Just like Conrad Hughes, I believe that if we redesign our educational system, there will be ample time to empower students with the necessary skills to tackle real-life challenges. If I take a look at the educational system we have in Cameroon, I feel sorry for the students. There are more subjects than teaching hours. This does not give time for club activities. Many club activities are after the eight teaching hours scheduled for a day. After sitting for 8 hours in a classroom, students are often too exhausted to be fully committed to club activities. Besides, if they commit to club activities that may take an extra two hours of their time, how many hours will they have to rest, read, and prepare for the next day? Not to mention the time they will need for household chores? We expect a lot from our students, but we fail to see that they have little or no time to concentrate on their studies. With such pressure put on them, it wouldn't be surprising to see an increase in the rates of dropouts because of a loss of confidence in the educational system and because school is no longer fun. 


© Nnane Ntube

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