At the first superficial glance the aforementioned question seems very commonplace and hackneyed; yet it is indeed a question of sufficient complexity to tax the power of the wisest. “Why God Made Teachers” is basically a title of a famous poem by Kevin William Huff, in which he beautifully elaborated in poetical accent the reason why God made teachers. Every year October 5 is marked as ‘World Teachers Day’ to celebrate the divine role of human beings as teachers worldwide, which is also an attribute of the Creator of this Universe and a quintessential human instinct peculiarly reserved to draw a subtle distinction between what is right and wrong; what is vice, what is virtue, what is humanity and what is humiliation.
Pedagogy is a prophetic profession related to the attribute of God and His nature. Dr Jeffrey Lang, a converter and Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Kansas, after embracing Islam narrates an incident as to how he was made to accept the truthfulness of Islamic faith. He said, while reading the Holy Quran he came across the verse, “And, He taught Adam the names of all things” and so he adumbrated that Adam not just is He a creature who knows how to name things, but He is also a “learning creature”, God is teaching Him. Dr Jeffery Lang then remarked that the first thing the Quran is going to emphasize is ‘men’s intellect’ and time and time again the Quran calls upon men to use their intellectual faculties. Moreover, he made his apprehensions explicit by saying that he never came upon a scripture that put so much emphasis on the correct use of our intellectual faculties on the harnessing of reason.
Of course, we Homo-sapiens are a learning creature; and are a result of 3.8 billion years of evolutionary success. Success is always a combination and result of learning and evolving in accordance with the circumstances. We learned, we evolved and this process is still running. Surprisingly, the phenomena of learning starts from the very first day of our development; not only after our delivery in this world, but while still in the womb. Many scientific studies and researches have been made in this regard which illustrate the very fact. For instance, A study by the ‘Institute for Learning and Brain Science’ at the University of Washington says that the babies listen and learn the languages spoken around them while still in the womb, and, henceforth develop distinctive cries that reflect this when they are born. Thus babies cry with an accent, the accent which they learns while still in the mother’s womb. A similar study also published in the journal ‘Current Biology’ showing that the melody of an infant’s cry matches its mother tongue which is a result of babies’ learning process which starts in the womb.
In modern terms, learnability means developing the ability to learn new skills quickly, to identify emerging trends and adapt to them. It also refers to having an agile mind, which is always ready for new challenges. Learnability has become the need of the day as most of the jobs of the future have not been invented yet and people will need to keep up constantly reskilling. As Alvin Toffler puts it:
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
However, a learning creature by using its intellectual faculties could learn good as well as bad things in a similar pattern. This learning process runs in both ways. That is the reason a mentor or a teacher is always needed to guide us the right path in any form whatsoever. Firstly, the God, His nature and His selective Messengers serve as our teacher and thence comes the general Humans. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Behold your Lord said to the Angles, I am going to place a vicegerent (Khalifah) on earth”. Henceforth, the humans earned the sobriquet “Ashraf-ul-Makhlooqat”.
The true purpose of teaching in the world is basically the study of nature and intellectually use the resources and forces of nature for the betterment of humanity. Kevin William Huff in his famous poem “Why God Made Teachers” placed emphasis on the purpose of teachers as the special friends who make students understand the nature and thence making them a better person.
“When God created teachers,
He gave us special friends
To help us understand His world
And truly comprehend
The beauty and the wonder
Of everything we see,
And become a better person
With each discovery.”
Moreover, in the annals of history, the purpose of teachers has been discussed several times which identify multifarious attributes of a teacher. However, the three C’s in the profession of pedagogy remained the same in any age and in any land. The three C’s are generating ‘confidence’, making ‘creative’ and building a ‘character’ in the students. Whatever the system of education is, either it be formal, informal or non-formal; either it be the Cambridge, Oxford or any other; either it be primary, secondary or higher education; the perquisites for a good teacher are generating these three C’s in students anyway. And, whosoever could guide for the attainment of these three essence of education truly renders the services of a teacher.
Confidence is the very first ‘C’ amongst the three. Confidence comes with faith; faith comes with understanding. When we understand the nature of this world and comprehend the physical phenomena of nature in true sense, we become confident. Teachers who fails in generating confidence amongst the students lacks in their capacity as teachers. The astonishing evidence which corroborate the very fact is that although America is the superpower of the world yet, according to OECD, American school children ranked 25th in math, 21st in science out of top 30 developed countries, but ranked 1st in confidence that the outperformed everyone else. Another fact in this regard is a research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology which shows that 85% of our financial success is due to our confidence; that is skills in “human engineering,” our personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. And, shockingly, only 15% is due to technical knowledge.
The second ‘C’ relates to “creativity.” The more creativity is embedded in the students; the more purpose of teaching is achieved. Creativity is basically the noble instinct of human beings which needs to be brought forth at the earliest in students. Creativity is linked with our insatiable curiosities. And, our natural curiosities compel us to ask questions. So, the more we have questions, the more we analyse; the more we analyse, the more we find logic; the more logical we become, the more we attain knowledge; the more we attain knowledge, the more we discover; the more we discover, the more we invent; the more we invent the more technology we get and so on. That’s why the teachers are those who never stop students asking questions. As George Carlin remarked:
‘Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything.’
Furthermore, many findings and researches reveal that the crucial difference between apes and humans is the ability to ask questions. It is found that, although apes have been taught sign languages and can answer questions, they have never asked a question themselves. Henceforth, asking questions is the principle difference between humans and apes. Other research studies say that a 4 year old child asks 437 questions per day. And, on average the 4 year children ask 300-to-400 questions per day. So the purpose of a teacher is to quench the thirst of students by responding to their questions and thence making them more creative.
The thirst ‘C’ is character. Character is something which is considered the ultimate outcome of any educational system. The teachers who fails in building a strong character cannot respond to their due purpose. It is basically an amalgamation of all the attributes which ought to be emerged in a student as a result of a perfect teaching. Character comes in two ways; one by a strong systems, second by seeing towards a role model. Firstly, a strong system could make a way for the students in which they travel to get a strong character. A strong system provides the optimum path and compels in anyhow for the attainment of a character which comes with beneficial ramifications for society as a whole. Secondly, by seeing towards a role model, as a student always tries to make him/herself a replica of that. Hence by making a right role model students could reach the pinnacle of glory. As Brian Greene puts it:
“When kids look up to great scientists the way they do to great musicians & actors, civilization will jump to the next level.”