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Feature Article of Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Columnist: Odoom, Andrews Afforo Kwasi

One Minute Teacher

In an attempt of teachers to hurriedly complete their overly loaded syllabus, it is quite easy to understand why most of them tend to grabble over the most important things:
? To effectively convey information to their students
? To meet their students at the point of their interest
? To device strategic teaching methods that achieve the best results

Without number, I have found myself motivating young kids with how Dr. Ben Carson’s life story transformed from below average student to the medical genius who made history in 1987 as the first man to successfully separate Siamese twins.
How could the world ever know that he was gifted surgeon with eye-hand coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills if not for her mother, Sonya Carson. Ben had a very bad temper and had lots of trouble with his friends at school. He was probably scorned by his peers as an academic misfit and lost every interest for learning. But his mother believed in him and inspired him to read although she herself was an illiterate. She was simply passionate about igniting the potential in his kid and went down the trench to weave all the necessary strategies to equip him to be the world’s celebrated icon he became.
My dear reader… Ben’s mother was his one minute teacher. Are you a one minute teacher?

The prime duty of every teacher is to impart sound academic knowledge to his students to equip them to develop their skills and talents. However, in his pursuit to accomplish the above objective he’s faced with a basic challenge.
This challenge is nothing but COMMUNICATION BARRIER.
Kids just as adults have many things that compete for their attention. While the teacher is busily teaching, that child is thinking about when class would end for break so he could eat, chat and play with friends; when school would close so he could go home and play his video game, watch movies and play with friends and attend to their personal interest.

This is where the strategies of the one minute teacher are critical.
The one minute teacher is passionate about making learning easy and fun for his students.
His teaching style commands attention and sustains the concentration of his students. The one minute teacher is more than a “trained” teacher; he is an actor, demonstrator and motivational speaker. He is able to encourage his students to read broadly and study ahead.
He inspires confidence in his students to ward off every fear that intimidates them from developing their talents- to become their very best!

For the purpose of clarity, I would use one of my personal teaching experiences to demonstrate the effectiveness of the one minute teacher concept.
In my expedition as a teacher, my passion for teaching has inspired me to device tactfully effective teaching strategies to make learning simple. Parents have nearly worshipped me for my results. School administrators and managers have wished I stayed forever.

Kojo Afrane was one of my students in class five at Springs of Life Int. School. According to the perception students had about him including his own mother, he was academically DUMP.

By looking at his stature, one could easily tell, he was the oldest among his peers due to several class repetitions. However, he was the most physically and mentally abused by his “young” mates and even teachers.
No matter how much he loved to play the school drums and be part of the cadet, he had no hope that he could ever have the opportunity.
He confided in me the first day I announced to the class he was my best friend. He told me that he HATED school more than his worst enemy. He said school was boring and sucked out every passion in him.
What would you like to be in future, I asked him? With his face bowled, he quickly responded, “PILOT...I want to be a pilot” When I told him he looks like one he jumped several times BUT stopped abruptly. He shyly told me, “I can’t be a pilot because I’m dump”
After I told him about Ben Carson, he told me he would prove to his friends that he is not a dumb boy.
I later realized that Afrane lives with his mother, an illiterate market woman who lives home at dawn and gets back very late in the evening. As a result Afrane had no academic supervision in the house. His father abroad floods him with a lot of video games and playing materials.
Finally, I decided to teach him after school in his house. I would sometimes play video games with him before we begun studying.

It takes a lot of patience to teach a class five pupil as if he was in KG. After one month, Afrane could spell most of the three letter words and I got very excited about that.
To build his confidence, I made him the class captain and enrolled him on the school cadet. Well, he felt embarrassed anytime he had to share their books because he couldn’t mention their names well. Amazingly, he learnt their names and improved academically. He even became one of the best in the cadet.
The last day before vacation I was preparing their terminal reports when Afrane walked up to me and told me, “I wished school NEVER vacates”.
Three weeks after vacation I received an international call from a stranger who seemed so excited talking to me. I later realized that it was Afrane’s father from USA who was calling to thank me for his son’s sudden academic improvement after seeing his results. Well, I’m sure it will interest you to know he sent me $100 (2007)
Today, Afrane is in his 3rd year at the Senior High. He may not rise to be a pilot but I’m glad I was able to inspire and give him the opportunity to believe in his dreams.

My dear reader, the one minute teacher concept is not limited to the classroom. It is good for businesses who want to boost workers enthusiasm for increased productivity. When the skill of the one minute teacher is employed, people who are desperate for basic literacy education could read and write in 3 months. If you think I am lying, just try me!!!

ANDREWS AFFORO KWASI ODOOM
andrewafforo@gmail.com

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