One day, I was having a conversation with friend who had recently graduated from the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. During our discussion, he mentioned that he was very happy to have completed his studies without having to repeat a year. When I inquired about the method ( secret) he used to achieve this, and he answered by saying, “I simply memorized the notes (handouts) given and prepared by teachers. I read them as many times as I could, and made sure to even memorize the page number of each title“. Of course, this is the answer I was expecting. For many generations, the common way of learning was simply to memorize the information from the teachers and to regurgitate it back on the exams.
Curious, I asked him if he had ever learned a lesson by himself, without the aid of a teacher. He responded with a story. When he was in Senior 6 , his class had lost their Physics Teacher at a very unfortunate time, when the national exams were to take place in one month. With only one chapter of modern physics remaining to cover the whole program , he decided to study it with his friends. They divided the chapter contents, giving each group member a different section to study. During this time, my friend was assigned the topic of X-Rays, and in order to be able to teach it to his friends, he read as much as he could. He spent nights in the library reading and researching X-Rays. “At the end of it all,” he said, “ If I have any part of physics that I still remember, it is part about X-Rays. Since I enjoyed learning about it and I learned it on my own initiative, it’s not easy for me to forget.”
Though his personal experience, I now better understand “ the student centralized teaching methodology” a lot better. I now can see the monumental impact of allowing a learner to get involved in his own pursuit of knowledge, instead of simply giving out all the information. In Kinyarwanda, we have a proverb that says, “Ntafi iryoha nkiyo wirobeye”. This means, “There is no delicious fish like the one you catch yourself”. This is definitely the same for learning .Through hard work, research, investigation , learners are able to attain a deeper knowledge. This greatly differs from the shallow understanding that learners receive when all the information is provided and they simply memorize the information. This kind of knowledge rarely lasts for long time. Most learners will forget the information as soon as the exam has been completed. In other words, easily got is easily lost.
( Next post “ learning improvement at Kagugu)