Teaching or confusing pupils?


On Monday, I turned my television to TTT and at 1.10 p.m. there was this man, presumably a teacher, explaining the concept of tens and ones, using ones blocks and tens blocks. I said to myself, ‘Very good, very good,’ his use of tactile materials in his illustration of the ones and tens group was well done, and could be understood by a Second Year infant or a Standard One child.

Then, to my dismay, the ‘teacher’ suddenly displayed his definition of addition for the six- or seven-year-old to read and conceptualise. What is addition? Addition is the process of calculating the total of two or more numbers or amounts. No accompanying explanations of the meanings of ‘process’, ‘calculating’ or ‘total’, and no use simple words such as ‘way’, ‘putting together’ or ‘joining’.

In his effort to explain a very simple method, the ‘teacher’ had just complicated the ‘process’ and confused all pupils who were trying to understand what he was illustrating in the first place.

This will invariably develop in young, impressionable minds a blocked mindset and a hatred for mathematics. Now, when school re-opens, legitimate teachers and parents will have to undo these negative effects and re-teach this concept.

Note to ‘Sir’: ‘big words’ or so-called impressive words can be used by anyone who has a dictionary or thesaurus. However, ‘teaching’ is imparting wisdom and knowledge through the ‘process’ of breaking down or simplifying information so that it could be understood by learners at their various levels of cognitive and experiential development.

Additionally, these ‘TV teachers’ should understand that when they are teaching their national audience, they are not teaching a national audience, but young minds trying to grasp the essentials of education.

Note to the Ministry of Education: please monitor or pre-record these ‘teaching sessions’ so that your aims and objectives are not compromised.

Indar Dhaniram