October 28th, 2012

The push factor

Those who are afraid to tread new waters may sometimes need to be coaxed or even pressured to deal with the task at hand.

HAVE you ever noticed that the minute you decide you cannot do something, you can’t?

I told this once to a reluctant 18-year-old student but he refused adamantly to believe the power of this simple truth. He decided instead to go with the ready-made explanation he often used.

“Teacher,” he reasoned, “I can’t speak well and I get very nervous when I’m in front of the classroom. My mouth goes dry and I can’t remember what I’m supposed to say.”

I had asked him to be give a short presentation on the topic of chromosome mapping in class.

This is a sub-topic in the unit on genetics of the Form Six Biology syllabus.

A brilliant student, he was quick on the uptake and within minutes, could often understand what others took hours to digest.

As his teacher, I had noticed his acumen and intelligence. I felt however, that the one favour I could do him was to hone his oral presentation skills.

I knew he was hoping that I would let him off the hook. He wanted nothing better than to be able to go back to the safe world of his books and the hours of self-study he employed.

But, to me, this was not what a pre-university student should be doing.

Life was bound to get tougher as he grew older and faced more challenges.

At university, even if he sailed through his papers with flying colours, what would he do when hehad to make presentations?

Was he going to hide behind group members and expect them to do the talking for him? As any good teacher or parent will tell you, it is not an easy task to bolster student mood and instil motivation, especially where public speaking is concerned.

Finding your own level

But, if you are a teacher or parent who cares, can you also turn away from the task and hope that somewhere along the way, the student will somehow manage to find his own level (like water does) and survive?

I shared with the student the principle of “expectance versus acceptance”.

I told him: “I can accept your reason and expect nothing more from you. But, I want to do the opposite even if means hard work for both of us. I expect you to perform and I will accept no excuses.”

In life, if we continually accept defeat, deficiencies and defects, we can stop expecting quality.

I know that a good teacher must have high expectations in order for her students to strive and learn.

I used to read a poem about a girl on a swing when my daughters were younger.

It went, You start slow, with lazy pushes, and soon, before you know it, you are high above the bushes.

I loved the poem because my younger daughter at the time was afraid of going on the swing because she was terrified that she would be flung out. I had to cajole her.

There was an incident where she broke her front teeth because she stood too close to the swing.

She came home crying with blood on her lips but went back to “swinging”again, after some persuasion!

Both the poem and the incident emphasise the fact that when we start on a new task or are faced with hurdles that may frighten us, we need to first get the right “push”.

This push can come from teachers, parents or deep within you.

Even though I no longer teach actively at schools, I can see only too clearly how my daughters and students looked to me for direction, hope and courage.

They need and deserve effective mentoring.

Good teaching is, in fact, a spiritual obligation. When I use the word “spiritual”, I mean “imbued with the right spirit”.

When you “push”, do it with good intentions and let experience guide you as to when, where and how much to “push”.

Even if they stumble and fall, the young need to be pushed so that one day, they can turn around to you and say, “hey, look, no hands!” It’s like riding a bicycle, you see.

First you teach, coach, and walk alongside, then you let them make some tentative attempts on their own, correct their mistakes, offer more guidance and then, one day, off they will go!

They might not even look back to say thank you but I believe they will remember who took the trouble and who did not.

Looking for direction

For instance, I know I pushed this student to “perform”. I gave him tips, went through his material and kept telling him he “could”.

When the day finally came, the student did make a few mistakes (who wouldn’t on their first attempt?) and he practically read what was written on several pieces of mahjong paper he had pasted on the board.

He also began by looking mainly at the students in the front of the classroom but upon a signal from me, started to look further afield.

I was seated at the back of the room. When he finished, I stood up and started to clap. The whole class followed suit.

The boy blushed red. But, I could see that his face was also flushed with achievement. All things considered, he had done a marvellous job.

What I liked best and what everyone followed closely was his ability to answer a past year STPM question on the topic.

His intelligence came to the fore and he showed clearly, step-by-step, how the answer was derived.

I told him later: “Did you realise that when you did this, you completely forgot you were ‘on stage’?”

It was a light bulb moment for him.

Truly, it’s all in the mind. So, if you choose to stay absorbed in what you are doing and focus on it, you might even forget your fears.

As the famous American industrialist and inventor Henry Ford put it, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.”

By the way, I think the Inno-vation, Creativity and Business Acumen Skills Challenge segment in the RHB-The Star Mighty Minds Challenge national finals held last weekend proved just that, to those who took part.

Like I said, whether it’s an individual or organisation that takes on a task or challenge, it’s the “push” and quality that matter. 




TEACHER TALK By NITHYA SIDHHU Home Education Sunday October 28, 2012 

Antara nafsu, keadilan dan poligami

SEPERTI Bro duga ramai perempuan yang tidak senang duduk apabila Bro menyentuh bab poligami minggu lalu.

Bagaimanapun Bro tidak boleh siarkan serentak semua e-mel yang diterima. Untuk keluaran kali ini Bro siarkan dahulu dua respons yang diterima dan ikuti juga ulasan Bro di bawah:

KOMEN 1

Saudara,

Poligami sememangnya hak suami. Tetapi hak yang tidak sesekali boleh dipandang enteng. Poligami bukan tiket untuk melampiaskan nafsu semata-mata. Namun, realiti jauh panggang daripada api.

Kaum wanita mengakui poligami ada kebaikannya. Tetapi orang yang mengamalkan poligami itulah kadang kala membawa fitnah atas agama. Itulah yang berlaku dalam masyarakat kita, jika saudara mahu tahu realitinya.

Saudara tahu, Rasulullah sendiri tidak menggalakkan menantu baginda, Saidina Ali untuk berpoligami kerana poligami ini amat berat amalannya. Rasulullah telah melalui semua itu maka baginda tahu ada sedikit sebanyak kesusahan yang dialami oleh baginda sepanjang hidup berpoligami.

Poligami ini kalau tidak dilaksanakan dengan baik, boleh menzalimi hak orang lain. Kita tidak bercakap sekadar soal hak suami semata-mata, saudara. Bagaimana soal makan minum anak-anak dan isteri? Sudah terlaksana atau belum? Soal isteri kedua lagi. Yang ketiga, yang keempat. Soal pakaian, tempat tinggal. Rasulullah sendiri tidak meletakkan isteri-isteri baginda di bawah satu bumbung.

Isteri tidak mungkin reda dengan suami yang terpaksa menanggung semua beban itu kerana lahirnya kasih dan sayangnya kepada suami. Saudara pernah terfikir tentang hal ini apabila merujuk kaum perempuan sebagai makhluk emosional? Berlaku adil sangat-sangat jerih, saudara pun tahu. Hendak berlaku adil dengan makhluk lain payah, inikan pula melibatkan hak orang lain.

Maka, sanggupkah si isteri untuk reda dengan suaminya yang berpoligami? Sanggupkah si lelaki menanggung beban poligami? Perkara ibadah jangan dibuat main-main saudara kerana di akhirat kelak suami berpoligami yang mengabaikan hak isteri dan anak-anak akan dihidupkan tempang kakinya.

KOMEN 2

Salam, Kucing Jantan...

Tolong fikir panjang sebelum menulis. Cara awak berfikir macam budak mentah. Ingat, tulisan awak mungkin mengguris hati perempuan. Jangan lupa, ibu awak, kakak awak, adik awak ialah perempuan. Relakah awak jika hati mereka terluka gara-gara poligami? Benda macam ni memang ringan di mulut, tapi bila dilaksanakan, mungkin menyebabkan penganiayaan dan penderitaan.

Saya menegur kerana saya melalui kehidupan itu. Saya penah diugut kerana tidak beri kebenaran berpoligami. Masa untuk keluarga amat terhad, nak bahagi masa lagi? Duit pun bukan banyak sangat pun... sampai hujung bulan dah pokai.

Dulu memburuk-burukkan saya sebab saya tak boleh beranak lagi. Tengok-tengok isteri muda tak boleh bagi anak pun selepas berkahwin. Dalam keluarga suami pun dah banyak poligami yang punah-ranah. Dah tua-tua bangka masuk pusat gangguan mental gara-gara poligami. Isteri-isteri pun dah lari.

Allah itu Maha Adil dan Maha Mengetahui. Poligami dibenarkan atas keperluan, bukan dibuat saja-saja. Kalau tidak tahu asam garam poligami, tak payah la buat kenyataan macam dalam surat khabar tu. Kecuali kalau diri sendiri tu gatal sangat nak berpoligami..

Emosi

Kalau apa yang ditulis membawa kepada keburukan, segala dosanya akan dicatat. Kalau nasib tak baik, dosanya berterusan sampai ke kubur, selagi orang lain mengikut jalan yang kita tunjukkan tu.

Saya bukanlah orang yang alim, tapi apa yang saya cakap berdasarkan pada ilmu yang saya kutip sepanjang hidup saya. Nak berpoligami, buatlah sorang-sorang, tidak payah nak seru orang buat juga. Kutiplah dosa sorang-sorang, tapi tak ada masalah kalau nak tolong share dosa orang lain sama.

Ya... saya sebagai seorang perempuan memang dilahirkan dengan emosi. Emosi yang berguna untuk mendidik anak-anak. Kalau saudara mendakwa perempuan begitu beremosi bila sebut pasal poligami, lelaki pula begitu bernafsu bila sebut pasal ni kan.

Kalau setakat nak tegakkan nafsu sendiri, tak payahlah tulis macam tu. Pergi la uruskan nafsu tu baik-baik ok...

KOMEN BRO

Bro menyerahkan kepada pembaca untuk mentafsirkan sendiri dua komen ini, komen yang pertama nampak ilmiah manakala komen kedua sekadar mahu melepaskan geram kerana pengalaman hidupnya dimadu.

Tak apalah Bro orang yang bersikap terbuka, Bro terima semua teguran, kritikan dan kutukan, cuma Bro nak minta puak-puak perempuan yang hantar e-mel itu baca kembali tulisan Bro minggu lalu.

Bro dah kata bahawa poligami ini hanya untuk suami yang mampu zahir dan batin, beriman dan berakhlak!

Bro beri syarat tersebut kerana Bro yakin bahawa lelaki seumpama itu mampu untuk mengendalikan rumah tangga tidak kira berapa pun isterinya.

Selain itu, Bro lihat kalau perempuan tuduh lelaki gunakan ikut Rasulullah SAW dalam soal bab kahwin, perempuan juga siap keluar sirah kisah baginda untuk mempertegaskan hujah.

Inilah masalah perempuan, tak mahu faham betul-betul apa yang Bro tulis, tak payahlah ikut perasaan sangat, kalau tak setuju dengan Bro pun.

Satu lagi paling kelakar komen kedua kata, lelaki pula begitu bernafsu bila sebut hal poligami. Memanglah, kalau tak ada nafsu macam mana nak kahwin!

- JUMPA LAGI.




Kucing Jantan Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 28/10/2012