Madrassa: Islamic institution of education — 13

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Dr M Athar Khan
THE Qur’anic principles and methods of teaching are based upon the nature of human nature. They are absolute and applicable to all humans regardless of their nature, culture, race, sex, place and time. From the Qur’anic concepts of teaching described earlier and in view of the ‘nature of human nature’ as stated in terms of strengths and weaknesses of man, it is inferred that the major objective of teaching is development and use of human strength to augment his capabilities to fulfil the responsibilities that have been placed upon him by his Creator (SWT) and the society (the Ummah) of which he is a member. In the same context teaching also aims at training and transforming human weaknesses into his strengths.
Principles of teaching, as we understand and read them in the literature of education, have not been specifically stated in the Qur’an. However, they are easily derivable from the verses of the Qur’an. The principles of teaching which Allah (SWT) has used in the Qur’an, and which have been used by the Holy Prophet (SAW) are those that have been used exclusively for teaching humans in natural human settings. History of Islam, Seerat of the Last Prophet (SAW) and biographies of his Sahaba (RA) provide evidence to the effectiveness, universality and absoluteness of the Qur’anic principles of teaching as they had been used to teach and convert the stubborn unbelievers of Arab, African nomads, barbarians and the civilized people of the Eastern and the Western worlds alike. The Qur’anic principles of teaching include the following:First Principle: Ni’yat, the first principle of teaching, serves as the basic motive and determinant of the teacher’s action in the classroom. In English, Ni’yat means intention. The Hadith “innamal aa’maal-o-binniyat,” meaning “actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended…” makes reference to both actions of the teacher and the taught and outcomes thereof in any teaching-learning situation. Outcomes of all actions are determined by, and resultant of one’s Ni’yat. Second Principle: Presentation of the Subject Matter relates to presenting the subject matter is derived from the method of revelation of the text of the Holy Qur’an.
It consists in dividing the subject text into lessons, which are teachable within a fixed period of time and which can be easily absorbed by students. Third Principle: Rearranging Subject Lessons to relate it to the circumstantial conditions of time (students’ ages, environmental factors and conditions), and needs and mood of students. Fourth Principle: Specifying the Subject Context to focus attention of the students on the text of the subject by (1) creating a general context for learning, (2) By relating the subject matter with the life experiences of the learner and (3) making teaching meaningful and purpose oriented for the target group by sequencing, and step-by-step instructions. Fifth Principle: Teacher’s willingness to attend to, and care for the student relates the teacher’s self (Constantly increasing academic and professional knowledge and competence) and his relationship with the student (Being affectionate, kind and helpful to the student and treating him as his own child: and attending to, and facilitating the student’s all round development and well being).
Sixth Principle: Teacher should apprise the student of the purpose and outcomes of the subject lesson. It includes introduction to the lesson and the objective or objectives envisaged to be achieved. Seventh Principle: It consists in preparing and making students ready for the subject lesson (e.g. paper, pen, books etc. material and equipment for practical and so on) and instructions about student’s conduct during lesson (e.g. being attentive, taking notes of important points, seeking timely clarifications, avoiding irrelevant and distracting question and the like). Eigth Principle: Clarification (Tash’reeh) of ideas, statements and subject lessons in ways that make them clear, free from ambiguity and intelligible so that the students fully and clearly understand them. Principle of clarification necessitates: (1) Clear and complete concept of what is to be taught. It demands that the teacher possesses or acquires full knowledge of the subject and the subject lesson before he ventures to teach it; (2) Organizing details or main points of the subject lesson in logically sequential and associative order so that the students form correct and clear picture of what they are taught; and (3) communicating the subject lesson in ways that help students clearly conceive and understand it. Effective communication, of which the language that suits to the knowledge level and the kind of students is the main medium, is essential. It also involves imaginary as well as observable signs, events and objects for conveying ideas and information to the students.
Ninth Principle: Simplification (Tas’reeh) as it concerns teaching plainly means presenting lesson in ways that it is easily understood by the students. Things and statements could be made simpler and easily comprehensible to students by reducing their complexities which could be achieved by reducing things to their parts and making statements simpler by emphasizing its main points. Simplification in the present context is achieved by (1) Presenting the object or making reference to the known object or events, (2) Addressing individual experiences, feelings and emotions and (3) Use of similes and metaphors.
—The writer is Prof & Advisor to the VC, Sarhad University, Peshawar.