A lecturer’s primary concerns are teaching, doing research, and engaging community service. As a matter of fact, his essence and career progression are built around them. And that is exactly what universities and other tertiary institutions exist for.
Ability & Willingness to Learn
Learners are taught and mentored by lecturers in institutions of higher learning. For a successful learning exercise, especially in the experiential learning domain, the learner must possess the ability and willingness to learn. This is where concepts like ‘learning disability (LD)’ and ‘intelligent quotient (IQ)’ come in. Jumping the experiences and mounding of a step in an academic ladder also poses challenges in later attempts at learning.
Dyslexic learners or persons with learning disabilities may not be able to learn alongside rather normal learners successfully. An individual’s ability to learn can be tested and is reflected in academic capabilities. Similarly, a learner’s willingness to study is exemplified in his study habits, class, and related activity attendances and participation, etc. Well set and moderated public examinations devoid of popular machinations are a good measure of an individual’s willingness or ability to learn.
Students are admitted into a school with little or no lecturers’ involvement. IQs are not tested routinely in Nigeria. Varying forms of learning disability are glossed over by the various examination manipulative skills that have become a regrettable, part of our society. Even, the admission process is sometimes bedeviled by the so-called ‘Federal Character’ and the concept of ‘Educationally Less Developed States (ELDS)’. I read an amazing analysis the other day. My state considers an Elementary (primary) School candidate who sits for the High (secondary) School entrance examination as eligible if he or she scores an average of 61 out of the 100 available marks. A state in the country considers a female candidate eligible for the same placement if she scores 7 out of 100 available marks!
The lecturer’s dilemma
Dyslexic, playful, dexterous, mediocre, very dull Federal Character or ELDS candidates, name them, all end up in schools. The lecturer bears the brunt of the whole corrupt or ill-assessed system. He stands to teach. He pours out his mind to students who sit at their desks looking blankly at him – either not understanding or never able to understand him. He teaches until he almost collapses. He assesses and a certain percentage fails his course. School authorities think he doesn’t teach well. Students think he is a wicked soul – a sadist who enjoys his students’ failure. Nobody factors in the capacity of the student to learn. Nobody considers that the learner may have had a faulty foundation. Only a few consider that some students prefer reveling, or just lazing about, to the religious study of their books or learning materials.
The teacher changes his method of delivery over and over again. The result is still the same. He feels lonely. School authorities and his students are ‘against’ him. Nobody defends him. He tries to let people understand him; but who cares. So he does his things his way and dares everyone to do their worst. The agony of being a lecturer!
The learning problem is a fundamental one. Until we treat it as such. The end to our academic menace is not yet at sight.