Love and relatedness in teaching and learning

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WHEN you teach you have to be at peace with whoever you are teaching.
This means that the learners have to feel loved and respected, they have to be recognised and appreciated as persons of worth, people of as much worth as the teacher himself.
When people are told that they are not worthy, when they are told they know nothing, something happens, deep inside they feel hurt, but they are as conscious as any that they are worthy, and certainly they do know something, they are thinking, they are reflective beings who can work out things, understand and influence reality.
When someone is hurt they can’t do their best.
The tendency is to feel small and diffident.
For someone to learn they have to be confident as who they are so it was the white strategy to destroy the confidence of the Africans.
This was the greatest weapon in the hands of the British armed robbers in the education of the Africans.
Their pretended premise was that Africans were backward and inferior, they were dirty, they needed to be taught habits of hygiene and cleanliness, they were barbarians who needed to be civilised, they were heathens who did not know God.
This was a calculated attack on the Africans so they could come to whiteness as empty vessels begging cap in hand to be filled by the superior race.
It was meant that the Africans so denigrated and feeling so inferior would take it as normal that the whites would dominate them, but in the end it would not work because deep down in them something didn’t work and they could not be at peace.
And for this reason nothing was ever normal in African education, the majority fell out and carried on with their lives elsewhere unfettered by the insults and confusion of colonial education.
It then became the self-fulfilling prophecy that Africans are stupid and lazy and that the world of critical thinking and logic is way beyond them.
Strenuous efforts had to be made to make this prophecy true hence the utter refusal to credit the Africans with the great ancient architectural masterpiece, the Great Zimbabwe, they had to credit anybody else, but the Africans.
“Without capital, and without collaboration to create capital, no great urban or technological civilisation can be achieved.
“Therefore it is clear that the already ruined civilisation which foreigners noted in the 16th century, could not have been the product of the Bantu then or at an earlier period.
“They had not yet arrived at such a state of evolution of society which made it possible for them to be architects and organisers of such immense public works.
“Even the stupendous nature of the labour involved could not be accepted by a Bantu society, then or now, unless under the lash of the task-master and slave owner.” – (Fredrikse: 1982)
The British armed robbers feared that if they accepted that Africans could produce such a masterpiece then their argument that the Africans are inferior and should accept white rule were baseless, they would find it hard to justify their armed robbery of the land of Zimbabwe and its wealth.
Now that the colonial edifice was destroyed so expensively, it cost thousands of Zimbabwean lives, something has to change fundamentally.
Children have to learn about Zimbabweans and Africans, they have to learn positive things about Africans and Zimbabweans, they have to learn things that make them proud of who they are, things that restore their confidence which was damaged by relentless onslaughts by whites which took place for almost a century.
These onslaughts cannot be swept under the carpet, they have to be confronted and destroyed.
If our children cannot be proud of themselves as Africans, as Zimbabweans, they cannot be their best.
They have to feel good about who they are, their origins, their country; naturally this is who they are, this is what they want, but too much is against them and it disorients them thus this has to be corrected or our nation is moribund.
They have to feel special because they are so and when that happens they will rise to the moon and accomplish great things for all us in Zimbabwe.
So if our children are taught that their people are brave warriors who sacrificed everything and suffered everything, and died in their thousands to free their country, they will realise that they are the greatest people, they have a great history, and that nothing can stop them from achieving even greater things.
They will realise that if children left the comfort and care of their homes and braved the forests and rivers to get to the struggle and endured hardship and death to free their country, they too have a special calling and the capacity to do great things for their country.
They will realise that life is furthest from whining about this and that, but about truly loving and serving their people as so many did during our liberation struggle. That is their heritage.
With this kind of feeling, this kind of pride there is nothing that our children will not accomplish.
Dr Mahamba is a war veteran and holds a PhD from Havard University. She is currently doing consultancy work.

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