Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Random Ramblings on the 21st Century Educator

I am currently completing a teaching degree, in the form of three annual short learning programmes, and my first assignment is on the 21st century Educator - as opposed to the 20th Century Educator or as we used to call him at Orient, Hanif.

There is a quote from Lethal Weapon 4 ( 1998 ) that has helped me understand 21st Century educators. It might seem like an unlikely reference

Capt. Ed Murphy: We're dinosaurs headed for extinction.

Martin Riggs: Speak for yourself...

Capt. Ed Murphy: Gotta make way for the NEW-IMPROVED police department; guys with guns and psychology degrees, like Butters, out there.

Similarly, our roles have been redefined and are constantly changing- the hierarchy or authority as it were, is changing due to technological determinism. The educator is no more seen as being the infallible authority, but rather a sometimes hesitant navigator.

The Visionary (one who sees the potential in new technologies and web developments) is perhaps the most difficult to apply in our context. Creativity versus Practicality - To what extent do we draw on First World tools and empower students with skills that they will not use, for markets that do not exist here. So while its cool that everything is digital and that South Korea is replacing text books with ipads (web 1) - can we implement something like this in South Africa?

I think a visionary in our context should be creative, but within practical limits like NQF outcomes or student levels of comprehension. It isn’t fair to impose and assume that the students will see the bigger picture, when for many of us - it only clicked at postgrad. I know this sounds presumptuous, and I don’t want to dismiss student ability, but I do not want a situation where I use a term like visionary just to feed my own ego.

There is a piece of technology that every student brings to the class-room. Cell-phones. Traditionally, cellphones were something that was frowned upon. Distractions that did not belong in the teaching environment. But how can you be an effective journalist without twitter? Or an Aspiring Account manager without a facebook presence?

Social Media has not only redefined organisational culture, but also the culture of work. We are moving from a monochromatic understanding of time to working with deadlines in mind. One of the students whose B Tech I'm supervising is currently doing research on how twitter has supplanted radio when it comes to breaking news. The world is changing, its up to the classroom to catch up.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Concerning Ramadan 1432

My first Ramadan as a married man.

I feel that Ramadan is something that hits me - like a burst of water from a faucet. Cold water.

I am never prepared for it. I could probably let it run for a bit but I feel like im wasting it. The water, not Ramadan. Ramadan coincided with my promotion at work, so its blessed, but also more challenging. Luckily I have Corpsekicker with me, as I dont think I would enjoy Ramadan alone. Is it bad to say that my Ramadan calendar is actually a Countdown to Eid calendar?

I miss Moulana Yunus Patel.

He is one of the things I associate with Ramadan. Him, samoosas, radio Al-Ansaar, milkshakes, no tv, and my dad taking me to the musjid for taraweeh. I miss my dad. I cant imagine how my friend feels without his. Spare a dua for his dad, and mine. I'l spare one for yours.

Taraweeh in Joburg is weird - because you layer up for the cold, but inside its warm and brotherly. The Sandton musjid is like that - soupy. Speaking of which - I'm never taking naan for granted again. my local checkers does not stock it. Clearly the 'breads of the world' sign needs a rethink. More like breads of France.

I don't use the word faucet - i don't know why I typed it. Tap suffices.