Dr Rabia Mughal's Book On 'Joyful And Burden-Free Learning' Launched

Everything apart, the pedagogy of love must rule supreme while teaching students: Author

By Farooq Shah

SRINAGAR: “When love is rooted in our pedagogical practices, we equip students to identify that their needs, their desires, or whatever it is that motivates them, matter,” said Dr Rabia Naseem Mughal, author of her new book, “Modern Learning Approaches And Teaching Techniques,” launched at a glittering function here on Saturday, December 4.

Set in the backdrop of a theme based on “Joyful and burden-free learning,” the author has dedicated her fifth book to her daughter, Kibria, who she declared, ‘has taught me to communicate love’.

“Since love is present in all human lives as an emotional experience and may be present in all human lives as an intellectual idea as well, it should constitute the very foundation of whatever pedagogy you’re trying your hands on while teaching a child,” the author said.

Dr Mughal works at the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) as an academic officer.

On a cool misty Saturday afternoon, brightly lit-up and packed almost to its capacity, the auditorium of the Jammu and Kashmir Information Department at the historical Residency Road gleefully presented an ambiance deserving a book launch event.

The sprawling auditorium suddenly wore a festive look, the smiles flashing across the joyful faces of the gathering comprising academicians, teachers and students bringing with it an offering to the event waiting eagerly for the book to be unwrapped.

Holding the book in their hands, dignitaries announce the launch of the book authored by Dr Rabia Naseem Mughal. Photo Farooq Shah

A meticulous Kibria, who read out the preface of the book to the audience before being unwrapped, had bedecked several copies in beautiful covers probably to express her unspoken love for her mother.

“As a daughter, your mother is one person who will always be able to understand you,” smiled an emotional Kibria while unsuccessfully hiding her tears. “Mothers have the opportunity to teach their daughters how to grow up in this world. They are there to be their daughter’s guide, confidant, and friend for life.”

On the stage, a string of eminent dignitaries, who were given the wrapped copies of the book, gently tore off their covers and aligned themselves in an arc behind the massive banner announcing its formal release.

The group comprised Director School Education Kashmir, Tassaduq Hussain Mir, former Director Radio Kashmir, Syed Humayun Qaiser, Director News Door Darshan, Qazi Salman, Professor Manzoor Ahmad Rather from the School of Education & Behavioural Sciences, University of Kashmir, Principal MPML Higher Secondary School, Romana Qazi and Fazal Elahi, a teacher from the Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, M A Road, Srinagar,

Many of the author’s relatives including her uncle Er Abdul Aleem Moghul and her aunt, Shahi Taj Mughal, bore witness to the perseverance and hard work that eventually culminated into the cherished event.

The author couldn’t stop herself from making a mention of her grandmother, Mahatab Samad Mughal, who, she said, inspired her in many ways especially through her poetry.

“She helped plant the seeds of creativity inside my virgin brain much before my formal schooling had begun,” the author while tearfully reminding herself of her silent contribution, said. “She unwittingly helped nurture an atmosphere of learning well within the bounds of our home.”

The audience, amid a thunderous applause, rose from their seats and clapped in unison to pay their obeisance to the author for the ‘much-needed’ piece of work.

“Adapting to new teaching trends and learning approaches has become essential for teachers,” Director Tasaduq, while recommending the book to be read ‘religiously’, said immediately after its release. “Books are being published in tens of hundreds but the manner in which the author has touched upon the intricacies of various teaching techniques is commendable.”

“The book has come at the right time and could be helpful not only to the teachers in school education but for teacher educators working in SCERT, university departments of education, and IASEs as well,” Fazal Ilahi, while conducting a pithy analysis of the book, said.

Ilahi dealt with the chapters on ‘Bringing Joy to Classroom’, ‘Multiple Intelligence’ and ‘Emotional Intelligence’ with greater detail, saying that ‘they must form a basis of our teaching-learning processes.

"The check lists provided in the book for emotional intelligence and assessment of various intelligences could be administered in a select cluster of schools by the SCERT and DIETs to begin with,” he said. “This assessment could help teachers to alter their pedagogies according to the needs and learning styles of students.”

However, he delineated the “downside” of the book declaring “it does not follow a good sequence in its chapters and the readers would be at loss to grasp the holistic understanding and the theoretical basis of the teaching techniques.”

 "The book surprisingly misses to even mention "Behaviourism" as a philosophical and psychological basis of many of the teaching techniques in the book," Ilahi, while insisting on updating the book possibly in its next version, said.

Constructivism", he further added, "too, does not get a detailed treatment with brief text on "scaffolding" put together hurriedly and separately".

While critically evaluating the book, Professor Manzoor, said that joyful learning provides the panacea for many of the ills of monotonous, drudgery and passivity of the classroom atmosphere.

“There’s a definite paradigm shift from some sort of a banking system where students are merely treated as knowledge containers by filling their brains with all sorts of stuff,” he said.

Prof Manzoor called out the ‘theoretical, reproductive and descriptive’ text of the book which he believed should have been more ‘innovative and fascinating’ in its approach.

The book launch featured a cameo by Firdous Ahmad Fida, a government school teacher, enthralling the audience with his wit and humour while satirically exposing the menace of boredom that the typical classrooms are filled with.

A scene from the play. "Lottery Ticket". Photo Farooq Shah

Similarly, a brief theatrical performance based on the play “Lottery Ticket” offered an example of how joyful and burden-free learning could be achieved by empowering the teachers to become great storytellers.

“Using drama and theatre as a tool to teach is not only effective; it will also bring the necessary change in the learning process for students,” the author said. “It is particularly a better way to learn how to think on your feet, to identify problems, evaluate a range of possible solutions, and figure out what to do.”

The author rounded up the day’s proceeding with quoting a note from her book:  “We’re pretty habitual of undervaluing the influence of a sincere smile, a tender touch, a compassionate and candid compliment, a wise word, an empathetic ear, or an altruistic act.”

Before the audience left for their homes, everyone in the hall rose from their seats and gave the author another round of thundering applause for making their evening a memorable one.

“I’ll keep the memory of this wonderful evening clenched to my heart for a long time,” Rehana Qussar, a teacher said.

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