Education: The Basics

Principle 2: The Teacher and the Trainer

God is man's first teacher and trainer. He has also sent His prophets to educate man. The fact that the word "rabb" (meaning lord, creator, nurturer and trainer) has been frequently mentioned in the Koran shows that God is man's teacher and trainer. On one hand, God has given man the potential to gain science and knowledge and reach perfection, and on the other hand He has sent prophets to educate and purify man. 

We must keep in mind that man has three forms of teachers and trainers:

One: Some teachers merely take into account man's mechanical aspect, considering man as tools and devices needed by those in power. Such teachers dry out all feelings of freedom in their students or trainees, and inhibit their development. 

Two: Some other teachers and trainers consider themselves as facing a group of people influenced by their own specific social circumstances; they do not care that man can be improved. Such teachers believe that their students are creatures with certain needs, which if fulfilled, the students can have a satisfactory life. Man's evolution is of no importance here. Alas, most teachers in today's societies believe in only this kind of education.

Three: Some teachers and trainers believe that their students have both mechanical aspects and spiritual aspects – the human soul. They try to activate man's hidden talents and potentials, which are like seeds planted inside the human nature. There are certain conditions to qualify as such a teacher:

a)The teacher or trainer must have what he wants to teach. He must know what he is to teach the students/trainees, and how human character develops. The teacher must not act without knowledge.

b)The teacher or trainer must be committed and devoted. He must realize that sooner or later, he will see his efforts produce results.

اين جهان کوه است و فعل ما نداسـوی مــا آيـد نــداها را صــدا

(This world is like a mountain, and whatever we do is like shouting; they are reflected back to us.) 

Jalal-addin Mohammad Molawi (Rumi) 

a)The teacher or trainer must believe in the job. Education is impossible unless the teacher believes in the facts he is to present with eagerness, love and faith. 

b)He should realize that his observable manners and actions are even more important than his words. His external behavior shows that, first of all, he believes in what he is doing.  Secondly, the materialization of an action requires certain conditions that words do not have. It is when the teacher actually does things that it is revealed how he has conquered the barriers and left them behind. Thirdly, words are the means and actions are the end. By carrying out what he says, the teacher shows that actions are of crucial value.

Seeing the teacher or trainer actually do something and proceed with it, shows how much that action is to be done. The student realizes that his teacher would never spend his time and energy on that action without having knowledge about it. 

c)The teacher should continue his endeavors to develop himself. Teachers and trainers must always consider themselves in need of education. "The best teacher is always the best student himself." As God as said to the Holy Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H.):

قل رب زدنی علما

"Say 'God, increase my knowledge.”(Ta-Ha, :114)

In our daily prayers, we ask God ten times a day to guide us to the right path, which reiterates how crucial this point is. 

d)Love and devotion toward the completion and development of the student or trainee: If the teacher has no other motive to teach besides making his living, or showing off, he will never be able to develop anyone. Many of the great figures of history have had teachers who were devoted and committed to their jobs. 

e)Asking God for help: The teacher – or trainer – should always depend on God, and ask Him for help. In education, we must ask God to help us succeed, for here, we are dealing with the development of the character of a human being. We want to change a heap of flesh, blood and bone into a Plato, a Socrates, a Jalal-addin Mohammad Molawi. Also, education is one of God's actions, so we must ask Him to allow us to deserve to be his representative in doing so.

By asking God for help, here we mean that people are very diverse – despite the great many points mankind has in common – thus, meeting the quota in education may mean having one teacher for each student. When we are facing a person who, though having many things in common with everyone else, has specific characteristics of his own that we may not even be able to totally discover throughout a long period of several years, we will have no other way for educating him but ask God to help us. 

چيست  اين کوزه؟ تن محصـــور ماو انــدر آن آب حـواس شـــــور  ما

ای خداونـد اين خم و  کـــوزة   مرادر پذيـــر از فضــــل الله اشتــری

کوزه ای با پنج  لولـه، پنــج حــسپـاک دار ايـــن آب را از هر نجــس

تا شود زين کوزه منفــذ سوی  بحـرتا بگيــــرد کـوزة ما خــــوی بحـر

(O people! What does the jar of our existence contain? Salty water, which is transferred inside us through our senses, filling up our inside and making us suppose this is the best existence possible in the universe. Dear God! Accept our physical jar, for You are the Kindest, and have promised us that You have bought the faithful's lives and possessions and given them heaven instead. The jar of our physical existence includes five pipes – in fact, five senses. These five pipes are mainly employed by our animal-like instincts, and thus tends to keep in itself merely mortal pleasures that leave, on the long run, nothing but bitter results. Dear God! If You bless us and safeguard the water in our jar from contaminations, our jar can penetrate into the endless world of Your Love; then, our meager jar will be like a great sea.)

Jalal-addin Mohammad Molawi 

f)In the realm of education, the teacher must not be discouraged by the student's stubbornness, or react with anger. The educator must not behave in a way that makes the person being taught resist his lessons, for if that happens, even the best of teachers cannot bring about the least mental development in the student. Even the shocks the teacher gives the student must be administered in a way that leaves no negative impact on the student's soul. The gentle, logical mental 'taps' that we believe to be one of the greatest factors in human education, if administered crudely and thoughtlessly, can make the soul of the student react in defense if it doesn't disable it. Not only will the student fight back, he will also take an offensive position against the lesson.

Thus, the mental shocks and reminders should be given after childhood, when mental maturity has been achieved. Also, the student must realize that the main goal is his development and perfection, nothing else. 


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