By Noorasikin Ali
As students, schools are like second home for us. Teachers are among the people who are always with us besides our family members. More or less, we must hope for a touch of love and affections from this people that resemble mom’s touch. It brings me to the module that is being introduced by one IIUM lecturer entitled, ‘Love Pedagogy at School Setting’ in this write-up.
At first I was clueless about it. What is ‘pedagogy’? Never heard about it before, what is it all about? I asked my friend. Same as me, she also never heard about it before. Well, by doing some research, I got some clue, what it’s all about. As a writer, we must seek for any information before we carry out an interview. That’s the rules and regulations we need to follow to become a good writer.
In seeking for further information concerning this module, I bumped into someone who gave me concrete explanation. Associate Professor Dr. Che Noraini Hashim, from Kulliyyah of Education, was the one who invented this module in collaboration with three other lecturers from the same Kulliyyah.
At the beginning I felt rather awkward because it was the first time we met each other. But then, we began to enjoy the encounter. I started the conversation with a bit of ice-breaking. Then, the first question that I asked her was how to pronounce ‘pedagogy’ correctly? And of course, I was wrong. Her module resembles the inner side of her. She welcomed us with a warmth touch.
Then, I asked her, “What is this module all about?” She said, first of all, ‘pedagogy’ refers to a method. So, ‘Pedagogy of Love at School Setting’ basically was designed to guide teachers to explore their own strengths and creativity in empowering teaching and learning through the pedagogy of love and care.
I further asked her, “Where did she get inspirations to come out with this module?”
She suddenly stands up from her chair and grabbed a thick album that contains all the pictures and information about her module. I was amazed by all the pictures in there. She highlighted a few pictures that were memorable to her. When I saw them, it touched my heart. There were pictures that showed her with a blonde woman and a small kid in the picture. I asked her, “Who are they?”
“This is where I get the inspiration to invent this module,” she added.
Then, she began her story.
“In short, during 2011, I was on my sabbatical leave and was attached to the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, to conduct a survey at primary and secondary schools there. There was one school, Kingsbury Primary School, which left a memorable impression that touched my heart and mind. I was given the opportunity to conduct an interview with the school’s principal, Barbara Hinsley. While I was interviewing the principal, a small kid in the picture knocked on the door and wanted to see her,” she explained while flipping the album.
“On the spot, the principal approached that six-year old kid. That little boy told Barbara that he fell down from a bicycle and showed his injured fingers which was swollen. At first I thought she would tell the clerk to treat that kid, but I was wrong. The principal herself told the clerk to bring the antiseptic, while she brought the boy to the restroom and dressed his wounds without hesitation. The boy whimpered in pain and the principal started to sing the birthday song and asked him to sing along to ease the pain,” Prof Noraini explained. I nodded to show that I understood what she was talking about.
“Afterwards, the principal brought him to the sickbay and put on a bandage for his wound. Then, Barbara asked whether that boy wanted to stay in the sickbay or go back to class. The boy spontaneously said that he was fine and wanted to go back to his classroom.”
I was amazed with her story. How that was possible for a non-Muslim to put into practice what has been taught in Islam, to treat others nicely, regardless of their status, age, gender and religious practice.
Plus, in their culture, they used to call their students with words like love, darling, sweetie, my dear, in which sometimes even parents here do not practise that. Instead of all those words, parents or even teachers used to call children with harsh words, such as lazy, stupid, dumb and so on. Those words would not make them better but worse. Plus, in Malaysia, there have been many cases of child abuse among students and teachers. Children were beaten up rather than being loved by adults. There is no sense of love and affections that we are actually supposed to be exposed to the kids.
“So, basically this module will build the sense of love and affections between students and their teachers which is so meaningful to create a good environment to study. The teachers have been given a task where they need to make their subject interesting. No matter what subject they teach, they must make it interesting.”
Then, I asked her, “Is it suitable for primary and secondary schools only? What about us at the university? We also need love and affections in campus.”
We burst into laughter. “This module was not specifically for primary and secondary schools, but we can also apply it in campus, to build a sense of togetherness between the lecturer and students,” Prof. Noraini clarified.
I was impressed by her noble intention in inventing this module in order to have a good and pleasant environment in schools. Teachers will feel happy to teach as students will adapt to what has been taught by the teachers.
One hour had passed. She needed to go somewhere else. So, I ended our conversations with the last question, “What is your hope on this project?”
This was her response. “Based on great response from the teachers, I want to add a few more modules in bilingual and I hope this love and affection module will be implemented in all schools in Malaysia.”
The module has brought a few achievements to her and her team. She won a few awards, for instance, a gold medal for Commercial Potential Award (CPA) in IIUM Research, Invention and Innovation Exhibition (IRIIE) 2015 and she was also the receiver of gold medallist of Invention and Innovation Awards in Malaysia Technology Expo 2016 that was held recently.
That one-hour conversation I had with her I shall never forget. It was filled with knowledge that would not only benefit the readers but for me personally.
I hope it wasn’t too late to wish Happy Teacher’s Day to all teachers and lecturers in this world, especially in IIUM.***