BY PROF DR HALIMU SHAURI
I know you are wondering why a sociologist would want to lecture you, an educationist, on classroom performance!
Don’t worry, all learning is social and ability to learn is inculcated in us, humans, by ourselves in families through socialization process.
Almost all of us begin our learning experiences in the family, making it a major agent of social change.
Accordingly, as custodians of the socialization process, we sociologists can offer many solutions to societal problems.
From medical to engineering, from accountancy to law, sociologists have something to offer to improve human social life because we are the experts and/or authorities in social aspects.
Today, one of my followers of my Facebook posts, a teacher, asked me to enlighten him why in a class of say 40, with same facilities and teachers and environment, would produce say 1 A and the rest (39) weak grades in a subject?
I was a little hesitant to respond to his request because everyone now is worried about COVID-19. Thus, people are now keener following corona virus stories than any other story.
However, owing to the importance of the question, I will provide a quick answer based on learning orientations.
Please share this post with your teachers and students and encourage them to work towards meeting the different orientations in teaching and learning and even in public speech.
In a classroom and even in public gatherings…there are four orientations of students or people. A good teacher or public speaker must be aware of this before they design and deliver their speech or lesson.
Accordingly, planning how to deliver your content becomes very important aspect of your duty. These orientations are:
1: The what orientation students/people? These ask the question what whenever a topic is introduced. When you say biometric, they ask themselves what is biometric? If a teacher or public speaker is also a what orientation, then they resonate well and continue to talk to each other at the expense of the rest of the students or audience.
2: The why orientation students or audience? When you mention biometric, they ask themselves why biometric? These look for reasons, justification or rationale of the topic.
As a speaker or teacher you must show why the topic is important to move with them otherwise you loose them. If the speaker or teacher is a why orientation too, you can imagine who benefits more in that class or speech.
3: The how orientation students/audience? When you mention biometric, they ask themselves, how does it work? Or how does it look like?
These are practical oriented students or audience and a teacher or speaker needs to plan for them as well.
Where the teacher or speaker is also a how orientation, then the learning is much easier with this group of people. It’s some kind of a monologue, how students/Audience and a how teacher or speaker.
4: The what if orientation? When you mention biometric, they are what if we talk about Corona or what if it does not work? These are conditional students or audience.
They are a little bit challenging but they bring life in the classroom or public speech. They keep the teacher or speaker on toes by providing a critique of what is being covered.
Remember, they are part of the class or audience and their learning needs must be addressed. If the teacher or speaker is also a what if, then the learning is smooth.
A good teacher or speaker must make sure all these orientations are included in his or her class or speech.
I am aware that the teacher or speaker is in one of these four orientations too but as a speaker or teacher you must have this awareness in their cognition whenever you plan to deliver content to an audience.
Now you realize, if you are a teacher, why you only have a few students getting quality grades and majority poor grades in your class. And if you are a speaker, why your speech only appeals to a few and not all your audience.
My message to teachers and public speakers, learn about these orientations and practice them in your imagination and you will member this article always.
I am also personally ready to come and talk about these learning orientations to your students and teachers when we open school after COVID-19 is conquered.
Why? Most teachers only teach one or a few students of their own orientation and forget others, of different orientations, in the classroom.
This is one of the key reasons why a teacher in a class of 40 students say in Maths gets only 1 A or quality grade and the rest (39) score weak grades.
I have a remedy for this and the remedy is in learning orientations.
(By Prof Dr Halimu Shauri Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Pwani University & Consultant Sociologist)