Thursday, August 13, 2009

UnLearning

Have you ever had to sit through a class that made you feel that you actually lost knowledge, instead of gaining it? I remember hearing Muhammad Alshareef say on a lecture CD that even if we can't benefit from an instructor's knowledge, then we should learn from his character. And if his character is bad, then we can still learn what bad character is and, consequently avoid it ourselves. But such situations are hardly fun, and it's difficult to make them seem worthwhile.

The worst part is that it becomes difficult to be a good student, without any sort of respect for the teacher. Maybe it's a deep inclination I have to disrespect those who disrespect me, but that's an awfully lame excuse. But if the teacher treats me as though I am unimportant, what opinion should I have of him? And if he doesn't prepare for class, why should I?

And there's another problem--sometimes the material might be so poorly presented that instead of increasing knowledge on the subject, and strengthening faith (for material on Islam) it might be possible to actually feel my faith goes down with the information.

How can that be?

Perhaps if the instructor frequently answers questions without actual evidence, but with his opinion instead. Or if he doesn't understand the material he is presenting enough to answer questions at all, beyond the material prepared. Or if he mentions things on other subjects during the presentation with the students know to be incorrect. Or in his general presentation he uses circular logic and insufficient evidence to prove his point.

I think it's possible that some people can be so poorly equipped to lecture that the audience's understanding of the material might actually be detrimentally affected. Any thoughts?

2 comments:

The Dynamic Hamza 21 said...

Al Hamdu Lillah I never had to deal with that but just because somebody "knows" something doesn't mean they can teach it effectively to others. However teaching is a skill they can be learned and all "scholars" should know a little of pedagogy. Also western attitudes are different than those born elsewhere as you alluded to.

I would say stick to teachers from the US and avoid foreign born "scholars". Many of those foreign born scholars have US students who can explain the subject better than the scholar.Learn from student not that scholar in that case.

I'm not even going delve into what's wrong with maghrib but I will only say it's not best place to learn knowledge.

Amy said...

Thanks for the comment

I agree that just having knowledge doesn't necessarily make a person an effective teacher. And it's true also that Western styles of teaching and learning are different from those in the East, and that could be an additional problem in this case.

However, I have learned from teachers that are from the West and the East and been able to learn effectively from both. This particular case is just one teacher from whom I have not yet been able to effectively learn, and am only becoming increasingly frustrated with classes that don't seem to benefit me.

I'd also like to point out that this problem I'm having is NOT with AlMaghrib, and the instructor does not teach with AlMaghrib--I've had only good experiences with the institute and its instructors. I only tagged the post under AlMaghrib because I mentioned Muhammad Alshareef early on.