ITEP C103K: Module 2 – Teaching in an Islamic School

ramzyajem

Assalamualaikum WBT. Alhamdulillah, Solatan wa salaman ‘ala Rasulillah. Amma ba’du.Alhamdulillah, like everyone else, I benefited a lot from watching Sheikh Ramzy Ajem’s lecture, plus the handbook on Islamic Pedagogy which after its completion and perhaps made available into public, will definitely fill the current vacuum in Islamic Education.

From Sheikh Ramzy’s lecture, he outlined 4 important characters that we should considered when dealing with the Prophetic method in teaching:

1. Muhammad PBUH is a Messenger and he also introduced himself as a teacher.

“The Messenger of Allah came out of one of his apartments one day and entered the mosque, where he saw two circles, one reciting Qur’ân and supplicating to Allah, and the other learning and teaching. The Prophet SAW said: ‘Both of them are good. These people are reciting Qur’ân and supplicating to Allah, and if He wills He will give them, and if He wills He will withhold from them. And these people are learning and teaching. Verily I have been sent as a teacher.’ Then he sat down with them.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Book of Sunnah, Hadith no 229, Classified as Daeef By Allama Albani)

Teaching is noble. Associating teaching with the Prophethood is essential to develop a good esteem among teachers teaching in Islamic Schools, especially in dealing with underpaid issue. Teaching is perceived as not only a profession but a jihad which ‘unfortunately’ requires  the person to live in modest.

2. The Prophet PBUH has the quality of fatanah.

Fatanah is defined in arabic (al-Mu’jam al-Wasith) as the (قوَّة استعداد الذِّهْن لإدراك ما يَرِدُ عليه) which means the strong readiness of thinking in its ability to see a subject or problem foresight.

It is a high form of intellectuality which teachers should possess to make them proactive in detecting the needs and deciding the appropriate responses. Perhaps countries like Finland took an action aligned with this requirement, when putting a very high benchmark for a candidate to apply the teaching post in primary schools.

A Muslim teacher is a smart teacher who is proactively always in a standby mode.

3. Unspoken pedagogy contains a spiritual barakah that will last.

The element of barakah is not easy to be quantified, but obviously seen in quality. The word barakah itself means (الخير الكثير) ‘the infinite goodness’. Barakah is the sign that Allah is with us. The Prophet PBUH did not say or do anything from his own lust or desire, but from Allah’s revelation. Following the Prophet’s path in teaching means, we are intended to have Allah along our teaching path.

4. Tremendous amount of narrations, resourceful pedagogy

Every single detail of the Prophet’s life (PBUH) is available through the traditions (al-Sunnah). This huge resource gives a 360 degree access for us to understand the complete picture of what Prophetic pedagogy is all about. This is a unique character characterising us as Muslims. We should not abandon the treasure.

QUESTION: How should Islamic school teachers be introduced the approach and nuance of teaching in an Islamic School?

Islamic Schools need a research and development unit to continuously work on developing the teachers training. It could be part of the school itself of like in my school, the R&D unit is under the Khalifah Education Foundation who owns the school.

I like the framework suggested by Lee Jenkins that a transformation in a school must take place in a form of “from systems thinking to systemic action”. It means that, the transformation must not be done in random and patchy but should be harmonized in a system. (Lee Jenkins; From Systems Thinking to Systemic Action: 48 Key Questions to Guide the Journey).

My suggestion is, the first think that we need to tackle in terms of introducing the Islamic School teachers to the Prophetic approach, is to build a good understanding and faith in Islamic Worldview. Without the ‘world view’, a Muslim teacher might silently have a secular mind and a materialistic value which will fundamentally contradict with the Islamic pedagogy derived from the Prophet’s tradition.

Secondly, the routine in teaching among teachers is dangerous. I recently read a PhD dissertation wrote by Kimberly E. Matier titled, “A Systems Thinking Approach to Educational Reform: Addressing Issues Surrounding Teacher Burnout Through Comprehensive School Change” (Oregon State University). I am worried with the high turnover rate among teachers in Islamic Schools, which makes any form of transformation nearly impossible. So, we need to keep our teachers in high spirit. In our humble school, we allocate Friday as a non academic day, which students will have their halaqah among themselves (the seniors lead the halaqah) and teachers will have our weekly halaqah. So far, almost every week, I share the ITEP contents I learnt with our teachers to make sure they are always in a constant learning process. The knowledge must also be perceived as ‘rizq’, apart of the salary.

By having an Islamic worldview, the teachers will become auto navigators who always check their teaching and learning if they are following the right path or not. The contemporary ideas on pedagogy will also help the teachers to sense and identify the silent pedagogy in a hadith. We cannot see what is not in our mind. So we need to instill the pedagogical senses in our mind.

For example:

Narrated Malik bin Huwairth: I came to the Prophet with some men from my tribe and stayed with him for twenty nights. He was kind and merciful to us. When he realized our longing for our families, he said to us, “Go back and stay with your families and teach them the religion, and offer the prayer and one of you should pronounce the Adhan for the prayer when its time is due and the oldest one amongst you should lead the prayer.”  [al-Bukhari]

This hadith is common to be found when we discuss about Fiqh of Salat regarding who is more preferred to become the Imam. But when we look from the pedagogical point of view, we will see how Rasulullah PBUH being kind and merciful, alerted with the decline of attention among his ‘students’ due to their longing for family. He did not accuse them for being chinless or weak. He acknowledged their emotional conditioned and opted the learning to be switched into practice, at home. I always remember Dale Carnagie’s How To Win Friends when reading this hadith.

Wallahu a’lam

HASRIZAL
kmss.edu.my

ITEP C103K: Module 1 – Importance of Principles of Teaching

Assalamualaikum WBT.

Dear teacher and friends. Alhamdulillah. Solatan wa salaman ‘ala Rasulillah.

It is a blessing from Allah for allowing me to continue the journey with ITEP which has now embarking our third and last modul, C103K. May Allah guide us and make the path fruitfully smooth and effective.

khalifahmethod

What is teaching if it is not guided by principles? 

Beforehand, perhaps we should ask, what is life if it is not guided by principles? We cannot separate our teaching from other aspects of our life. When a teacher teaches without principles, the teacher might doing it only to fulfil the bread and butter. The satisfaction relies solely on the external reward. The schooling is easily influenced by industry and other non-educational interests.

But how do we develop principles? 

We develop principles from a world view which is the blue print for any system including education. The world view which shapes our belief system sets the fundamental truth to serve as the foundation where teaching, learning and school administration are working in harmony.

What principles have guided your teaching?

In Q17:70, Allah declared that He honoured the children of Adam and positioned them with definite preference over other creatures. This statement made teachers and students our major capital among the professional capitals we have. Education is human-centered, mainly the learners. The teaching and learning are both characterised with the process of developing and perfecting the full meaning of ‘insan’. Anything that dehumanise student, teachers and staffs, must be removed from all theoretical and practical levels.

Teaching also is part of my belief that the ultimate reason of me being created by Allah is for me to be His servant (‘abd) and vicegerent (khalifah). My integrity is the reflection of me being His servant, and my competency is the reflection of me being His khalifah. Therefore, I must teach according to Allah’s guidance, both from His Syariatullah (al-Quran and al-Sunnah), and Sunnatullah (the Science of teaching and learning). 

What principles guide teaching in your school?

Our school (Khalifah Model School) runs as a demonstration project to showcase the full extent of the positive holistic growth children can make under an educational system completely based on the Khalifah Method. This will include a unified curriculum for the revealed knowledge and scientific knowledge delivered using the modern Islamic psychology based on the Law of Learning by which all human characteristics develop. 

The Khalifah Method relies heavily on the style of interaction with and training of children according to the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The positive benefits of this warm and loving, although firm, method of relating to children will be maximised by directing all communication with children according to the Laws of Learning, given to us as a Mercy by Allah to enable us to guide ourselves and others toward all that Allah has told us is right in the Islamic way of life.

The founder of our school, the late Professor Muhammad al’Mahdi Jenkins once said:

“If you were to give to any individual or social group just two things, a positive, accurate, and motivational world view, plus a good understanding of the Laws of Learning by which all human characteristics are developed, then that individual or social group would move naturally and inevitably toward everything good and right.”

Wassalamualaikum WBT.

Hasrizal
Malaysia.

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  1. http://www.hasrizal.com/2014/11/23/video-law-of-learning-by-prof-muhammad-al-mahdi-jenkins/
  2. http://www.hasrizal.com/2014/11/22/khalifah-model-school-secondary-speech-day-2014/
  3. http://kmss.edu.my/the-founder/
  4. https://www.facebook.com/KhalifahModelSchoolSecondary

The ‘No-Integration’ Integrated Islamic Schools

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Nowadays in our country, integrated schools are flourishing everywhere.

The word ‘integration’ becoming a hot item on sales. Perhaps in the ‘educational business’.

The term ‘integrated’ led the parents to imagine how nice to have their children to go to only one school which provides everything. The academic is there, the religious study is there, too. We have fardhu kifayah, we have fardhu ‘ain, all under one roof. Our children will no longer need to go home at noon, change their school uniform, take the 4 daily bus trips  to attend the separated Islamic and public school. It is safer, and cheaper too.

The integrated school is the answer to the parents’ need.

However…

We might not do enough justice to what it means by the word integration. Integration to us is just to have two at one place, even if the two  do not interact, do not integrate. We might not realize that our integration means appended, and far from integration.

We want al-Quran only in al-Quran’s lesson.

We have not yet think in depth, how much do we need al-Quran to also exist in subjects other than the Quran’s lesson.

Al-Quran in mathematics?

Al-Quran in science?

Al-Quran in history?

Al-Quran in geography?

Al-Quran in economics and accounting?

Al-Quran in languages?

Al-Quran in arts?

Al-Quran in not just the subjects taught, but also al-Quran in the way they are taught?

Is it Quranic the way the teachers teach?

Is it Quranic the way the Quran teachers teach al-Quran?

We overlook, at the end of the schooling process, a graduate from an integrated Islamic school is still a person who has two items in his mind and self. The n0-interaction two and the no-integration two. His academic has nothing to do with his religion, but shadowed by the good akhlaq which might not resulted from any form of integration.

A graduate from an integrated Islamic school is a person who still has the secular mind, no matter if he becomes an adult who wears a neck tie, or a turban.

A ‘hafiz’ engineer is still a secular in mind person, because his engineering is the non Quranic engineering. While his hafiz side, does not influence anything on his engineering at philosophical and epistemological stage.

The question now is, how important is this matter? Is it so important to investigate if the mathematics we learnt is based on an Islamic world view or incautiously we fail to notice any concern? We believe there is no struggle at theoretical and ideological level behind the knowledge we learn!?

“Well, I don’t know. My child seems okay. What are you nagging about?” a parent ask.

It egged me to silence.

If what parents want is only a school that offer the two without any need for the two to interact and integrate, what is then the value of this jihad to integrate Islam and knowledge, in education?

Integrated Islamic schools are springing up like mushrooms after the rain . Some of the mushrooms are poisonous.

Hasrizal
KMSS.EDU.MY