Tuesday, 4 November 2014


If you don’t have the skill, teaching could be a difficult task especially if your pupil or student is a kid that performs very poorly at school. Sometime ago, a parent sought for my services. I was to brush up his three kids. All the kids had their peculiar challenges. 

There was a twin of boy and girl both in primary one. While the other kid was in primary two. The twins had serious academic problems: they could not write numbers 1 to 10 correctly, they could not write the alphabets. To worsen the situation, they could not read two-letter words.

This was a big problem for me as their teacher. For weeks I was frustrated. They only made minimal progress. Also, they had very low retentive memory. Sometimes I went home with headache. After many months of coaching, they soon started to make observable progress. At last my patience started to pay off.

1.       What are the challenges the teacher faces?
How do you help students with poor retentive memory?


Teaching kids at school is not an easy task. The teacher needs a lot of training in this regard to be able to pass knowledge effectively to the young minds. It is important to understand children behavior and psychology. A lot of hardwork and patience are also required to achieve a  better result. Sometimes the teacher is faced with the challenge of explaining certain concepts in a manner that is easy to understand.

At one time, I was having this challenge. I was teaching a six year old pupil mathematics. The topic was ‘arranging numbers according to their size starting with the biggest’. The pupil didn’t know the meaning of the terms ‘arrange’ and ‘biggest’. Explained the two terms the best way I could. Yet, he didn’t understand. Then I paused and thought long how to explain it using familiar terms. Suddenly I realized I could use a simple illustration he was familiar with. 

I used three oranges: a whole orange, half cut orange and one quarter orange. I placed them on the table for him to see. I asked him to pick out the biggest. He quickly picked the whole orange. Again I asked him to choose the smallest; likewise it was easy for him. Then I further asked him to arrange all the oranges from the biggest to the smallest. He did the right thing. Indeed, he understood the topic.

Do you think the use of illustration is an effective teaching tool?


Nigerian school system needs to be thoroughly reviewed. Over the years it progressively changed from good standard to a terribly poor system. Following are the reasons why our education system has collapsed:

1.       Increasing rate of examination malpractice: this is perhaps the worst situation in the country. From an early stage children learn how to cheat during examination. Children writing primary school leaving certificate examination are often assisted with the answers. This is negative programming. They carry this habit through to secondary school and the university.
2.       Too much emphasis on paper qualification: it is quite funny to observe that we glorify certificates and despise those without it. As a result, students cut corners just to have it at all cost.
3.       Overwhelming learning programme: private schools in particular are known to overwhelm pupils and students with too much academic work. Besides, they close late from school and arrive home late, weak and exhausted. Hence, they have little or no time to study their books.
4.       Our curriculum lags behind time. Unless our curriculum is regularly updated we will always have a mismatch between it and reality. Application of what is taught in school in real life is difficult.
5.       Change of learning behavior in the classroom. The advent of so many technological gadgets have uttered students learning pattern. Our curriculum needs to key into the technology drive.
1.       Any hope for our education in Nigeria?
2.       What is the permanent cure to exam malpractice?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


Academy in Nigeria is quite complex. Authors in particular makes it very difficult to learn. They cant explain new concepts  on easy to understand terms. They often assume that the reader has some knowledge about the subject matter.  Based on this they use complex or rather strange terms which at best end up confusing instead of convincing the reader.

Sometime ago, I was preparing for an external examination, that is, Petroleum Training Institute(PTI). Having gone through their past questions I discovered I needed to learn some further mathematics. I grabbed a textbook from the bookshop, paid for it and left excitedly. When I got home, I did not hesitate to start studying it. The topic I started with was calculus. For a long time it has been my desire to know this topic. I was happy to hold a book containing it.

 However, discouragement started to creep in. For the first twenty minutes I was totally confused, unable to understand any of the terms in the book. The more I tried, the more complex it seems to be. Another day, I also made attempt to comprehend it but got the same result. That was how I dropped the good-for-nothing textbook. 

On the other hand, when a friend gave me a foreign textbook( Engineering Mathematics), I was simply amazed about the simplicity of the textbook. It made learning fun. I totally enjoyed it. Wow! What a huge difference with our own local books.

What advice do you have for Nigerian authors?


Teachers are blessings to the society. Every individual in all walks of life owe their success to teachers who lay the foundation for them. Painfully, while others celebrate their success, teachers are having a hard time making both ends meet. A lot of them do not feel the joy and fulfillment associated with their calling. Most of them are plagued with austerity  and living from hand to mouth. This situation drain away the feeling of satisfaction and sense of achievement.

Many teachers are only the on the job simply because there are no other job option open to them. To worsen the matter, school owners or proprietors have cashed in on the situation. They employ graduate teachers and give them a token at the end of the month. They labour and toil for the school for almost seven hours everyday. When they get home, they feel utterly weak and exhausted owing to the days work. For this reason, they do not joyfully look forward to the next working day.

Some school proprietors do not pay their salary on time. As a result, affected teachers barely survives each day, and often gets into debt. Teachers who face this situation hardly give their best. Hence, they teach merely out of duty. Should you expect them to make sacrifices when they are least appreciated? Off course not.

1.       What factors contribute to teachers happiness and fulfillment?
2.       What should school owners do to change the situation?