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Showing posts from February, 2014

Teachers: the major cause of poor performance of students in schools?

It is a great honour to be considered an “expert” at anything. We often see in the media where persons who have been invited to panels to talk about or (analyse?) issues are introduced as experts in their fields. Any field may have many experts as we would have discovered. In education, for example, there are experts in curriculum, experts in assessments, experts in teaching, experts in inspection and experts in education itself, all types of experts.
A number of these experts are convinced (as a result of their presumed expertise on the matter) that teachers are the major impediments to students’ optimal performance in the classroom. They seem to derive this conclusion by cursorily examining high performing schools which share similar characteristics with low performing schools. Some of these high performing schools have large classes, for example. Yet their students learn, they argue, as opposed to students in the same situation in low performing schools. Class size, therefore, is no…

Education in a changing world - what should it look like?

The world is changing and has always been.

Proponents of a critical pedagogy to be used in the teaching/learning process from Paulo Freire in his work Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968) to more recent academics such as Joe Kincheloe and Peter McLaren, among others, have put forward cogent arguments for its use. They believe that if educators employ a critical pedagogy in the classroom they will be contributing to the liberation of students from oppressive influences. This is possible because in employing this critical pedagogy, teachers will be providing students with the tools to interrogate and challenge any facet of life which they believe is oppressive. The proponents of the use of critical pedagogy in the teaching/learning process believe that doing so is necessary for students to become critical thinkers. And critical thinkers have the tools to change their world to a state which they deem to be desirable. And this desirable state is one in which democratic principles are fostered.

Personality types, impeding or progressing performance in public sector organisations (Part 2)

The previous article mentioned the work which psychologists have done on personality and stated that their findings have been used by businesses to fit the “right” types of personalities with the “right” jobs. This article will explore the issue of whether or not personality impacts the performance in the public sector and how. It will specifically focus on the legacy of slavery and how this legacy has shaped personalities.

Slavery is a period of history characterised by lack. There was a lack of autonomy on the part of the slaves. The slaves lacked power. They lacked material things which their masters took for granted. The rulers during that period controlled all power – economic, educational, political, among the other sources of power. They were the examples which the slaves used to measure success. To achieve any measure of power the slaves perceived that education was key.
As such, this message has been passed on to subsequent generations. And there has since then been a determine…

Personality types, impeding or progressing performance in public sector organisations

A number of scholars who are affiliated with the field of Psychology have done empirical research on the concept, personality (Do a cursory online search or consult any management text to interrogate their findings). Much of this research have been applied to the world of business organisations and work as it is believed that personality type is a good predictor of performance on the job.

It has been reported in the literature on management that, as a result of the work done by scholars in the area of personality, personality tests have been developed which have been used by a number of business corporations to screen potential staff. The research has indicated that there may be a link between personality and job fit. So to achieve effectiveness and efficiency in the work place these businesses are attempting to match personality types with ideal jobs. What are the personality types which have been isolated by these scholars? The Myers-Biggs Type Indicator (MBTI) shows us sixteen pers…

You can’t teach old dogs new tricks?

There is a saying that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. To what extent is this saying applicable to teachers who have been in the education system for many, many years?

The educational landscape is continually changing as a result of changes in the wider environment. Let us briefly examine three changes in the educational landscape here.
First, the educational landscape is changing in terms of modes of disciplining students. This is a major change in some educational systems. There was a time when teachers, mostly in the primary schools, would punish misbehaving, inattentive students by issuing corporal punishment. Some teachers swear by the efficacy of this punishment in getting students to display the desired behaviour in the classroom.
Corporal punishment, today, is deemed by the experts to be cruel and inhumane punishment. Instead, these experts suggest that teachers use positive reinforcement to get the desired behaviour from students. However, it seems that for many students b…

One size fits all?

Scholars and politicians in developing societies often complain that multilateral agencies have a tendency to devise “one size fits all” policies to overcome the challenges to development which these societies face. These scholars and politicians argue that the challenges which developing countries face are often unique to them. Therefore, these countries require individual prescriptions, they say.
However, the governments in relation to their responsibility to the different sectors within these countries continue to develop “broad-based”, “one size fits all” policies to correct the maladies they identify in different areas within the sectors of society.
Take the schools for example. There are different types of schools. Each type of school has students with different abilities, academic or otherwise. Each type of school or each individual school has its own problems which, oftentimes, are unique to it.
Oftentimes, the Ministry of Education (MOE) “discovers” a “problem” in a school or s…