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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Can you teach ambition?

One of the hardest things to do is to teach someone something that he does not want to learn. Teaching someone to change from the inside. How does one do it? and can you teach someone to be ambitious? to be inquisitive? to be active? and all other traits and charactersitics that are usually either there or not in the first place?

It would be easy to blame one's habits and attitudes on genetics. Yes some kids are naturally funny, quiet, naughty, bad tempered, cautious, etc etc. And I do admit, that genes are a big part of how we are. But from what I know, our basic personality comes from three things: genes, environment, and personal effect: either your own, or family. The point is: We can change. we are not mould in stone. "Innama al 7ilmo be alta7allom, wa al 3elm be al ta3allo", means being patient, comes by practicing being patient, and being knowledgable comes by learning. (I think that is the correct translation).

And teaching ambition, and the will to learn, is one of the hardest for me. Yesterday I was talking to my nephew. Ahamd is 11 and a half years, I know it is a tough wierd age, but he has to get through. Ahamad is really smart, I get that clearly when we are playing a game, thinking of something (that is not school related), or when he catches on very quickly. but when it comes to school, he just would turn it off.

He just told me: "I do not really like school, I do not like science either". this in response to a note from his teacher that his attitude and work are dropping, and his grades are slipping miserably. His answer just indicated that he does not really care. that scared me, because how is he going to succeed in life with an attitude like that? without the will to get better?

I talked to him about the future, how to have a good job, and be successful in life, how you need to work hard. you can not not care. he seemed to listen, but then when we were studying, his mind wanders off. His mother was monhara, she was the Type A student, she can not undrstand this attitude. And Trying to teach him to want to be the best! sure he wants to be the best in alot of other things, ex. in games and stuff, but not the serious stuff. I remember I used to like it that my teachers loved me. It was important for me. I wonder if when he tries it once, excelling at something, that he would cling to it.

Same in the university; some kids want to learn and are very eager, and others just could not be bothered. a colleague of mine was told by her student: "matet3ebeesh nafsek ya doctora, ehna hanetgawwez we no3od fe elbeit. el scaling (teeth cleaning) hayfeed al awlad fe eih?"

So why are you here? with an attitude like that? don't you want to learn well what ever you learn?

do you just want a college education to hang on the wall? some how that doesn't encourage teachers to put their best effort. We do it for the few who care, but it saddens me...why waste your life like this? when you have the ability to get better? Is it motivation that is needed? more competition? what? somehow I think this attitude of not caring to excel, is what is wrong with the whole nation. The mafeesh fayda attitude (like the universtiy students), or the "i am too cofortable to try" attitude (by my nephew). what ever it is, i really want to know, how to get to push their buttons!


  • At 12/02/2005 3:01 AM, Blogger Dalulla said…

    hxxDoshar, I believe that the teacher has a great role in the motivation process, so do many other factors. Teachers may help a kid like a subject he/she hated or did not like. But unfortunately many teachers in the education systems are not fit for their position.
    That is in Ahmed's case.

    The students you have may have tasted the same medicine Ahmed is as well. I believe strongly that a teacher must sometimes allocate at least a 5 minute interaction between herself/himslef and the students. To befriend them and be able to make them like her. In addition of course to the educational skills and the way the subject is being taught. It makes a drastic difference.

    Back in school i had that problem along with all my classmates (almost all). I used to hate chemistry and then came this teacher from whales who totally changed that. Not just with me, but all my classmates, all our grades rose immensly. We even used to look forward to her lesson.

    The teacher should also be a second mother or father to the students. That way, she can grab their attention. If a teacher even if outside class speaks to her students for at least a minute with a smile and shows them she is teaching them because she is happy to and that she wants each one of them to master her studies and do great, there will be a massive difference in the students attention and motivation.

  • At 12/02/2005 3:40 AM, Blogger Dalulla said…

    sorry the hxx was supposedly a hii

  • At 12/02/2005 4:29 PM, Blogger Rain said…

    I really think that ur nephew is right..I know that sounds strange , but schools are not necessarily the measure to ur ambition in life, he may have great dreams of his own .

    Sure school is important, but it doesn't fill his imagination or meet his own ambition!!

    I don't know if I had kids someday .. how will I convince them of school ??!! esp. that I'm not convinced myself with our education system....

  • At 12/03/2005 12:36 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    Doshar, I always thought motivating children to be ambitious and eager to learn and competitive in what school is concerned is the hardest thing to do. But this should not be only handled by parents and relatives, but also by teachers. The parents shoudl find a good motivation, indeed to stimulate the children, and this depends on every child. For some is fear of disapointing their family, or maybe a nice cany-shaped reward.

    When it comes to University, things change. If they're there for the wrong reasons, that's pretty much it. They are almost grown-ups and they really should motivate themselves. If not, why bother? If they are freshmen, this might change after the first flunked exams, but if they got through uni with this attitude, I doubt anything can be changed.

    As for your nephew, just try to first find one school subject that he is interested in, there must be one, then try to connect it with the others. Maybe it will do the trick! Good luck with all this, I can see you are trying very hard!

  • At 12/04/2005 8:16 PM, Blogger tota said…

    I think attitudes are not related by genes, our attitudes is something we gain it through our life & because that the first place in which children are grown up in is their home among their family they start to be attached to the family's attitude
    and it depends on the negotiation between the whole family & that child, talk, direct ... make him aware of the things that he cant notice in life, coz of his limited experience in life & so on

    it's on family if the school was a disaster to motivate their children
    i believe a wise arrangement for our children life, in only their first steps to direct them to the right way, then we leave them on theses principles that we planted it inside them will make them see the right way in the end

  • At 12/04/2005 8:22 PM, Blogger tota said…

    Ahh Doshar
    i want to say :) everytime i open ur blog & try to read that post just reach its middle
    wxactely at that line

    The point is: We can change. we are not mould in stone

    and something interrupts me & i just dont go on .. now we already had visitors, but i said it's enough with Doshar i have to make
    and i think i did :D

  • At 12/06/2005 10:54 PM, Blogger doshar said…

    dalulla, i thanx for the input ya habibty. maybe we can talk about it some more in person!

    rain; i unerstand that school might not be a good scale, but it is the willing to learn that i feel is lacking, that iswhat is scaring me.

    kayla: good idea. now if they would just invent a subject that involves yo gi oh caracters!!

    tota; hey i am glad you got to post it finally :)

    schools are not the same as when we were there at all. mish kida?

  • At 12/08/2005 9:49 PM, Blogger Charismatic Soul said…

    I dont blame your nephew Doshar, with how teaching is in Egypt, kids run away from studying.

    Bu then again, all kids in this age are the same, they find any other stuff more interesting then studying, allah yer7am when we were their age, studying always came first or else no going out on the weekend.

    As Rain said, school can never be a determination of ambition, how many of us had really implemented what we studied in school in our career lives? how many of us really were ambitious in school? we just waned to finish school to go to university, and when we did, we just wanted to graduate to start work, he's normal dearie, dont worry about him :)

    Let him enjoy his life, there is nothing to be taught now, ambition gets created by a person's personality and ubrining and what surrounds him, but most importantly it is really a self created trait, you should see what he aims for and help him persue it, as for now, in studying, just push him to do the basics, insha'allah bokra yekbar and proves to you that his amibition exceedes what you even wished for him. :)

  • At 12/10/2005 12:52 AM, Blogger Wonderer said…

    Dear Doshar,
    The problem lies in two aspects, the school syllabus and the teachers. I will give you an example of myself. I hated school … Yes, it was hell for me. I hated science and Math, I was a complete idiot when it comes to these subjects. On the other hand, I excelled in the university subjects, cause I loved them. The point is, why don't we create a kind of specialized school?. If you like science go to this school, if you like literature, go to that school …etc.

    The second aspect is the teachers. I remember, back during the university days, we had this subject called "Essay Writing". All the students in different sections used to hate this subject as its sessions were extremely boring. However, the students of my section including me of course, adored the subject and the teacher. To most of us, it was the best subject ever. In fact, I am here because of this teacher. She taught us how to love writing … how to express our feeling and ideas through writing.

    I guess, I wrote too much … I hope you got my point:)


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