A letter to the teachers of English: 93Why students drop out of schools: A study (2) [Archives:2005/868/Education]

August 15 2005

Dr..M.N.K.Bose ([email protected])
Associate Professor of English,
Faculty of Arts, Ibb.

Dear Fellow teachers,

The study I presented in the last letter is an interesting study, isn't it? The student who undertook this important study deserves a lot of appreciation. In this letter, let's look closely at the academic reasons that drive the students out of schools; we, as teachers, whatever level we teach, should take the responsibility. So let's try to eliminate these reasons putting in a lot of collective efforts in this regard.

The most prominent among the academic – student and teacher related – reasons as pointed out by the teachers and students who participated in the study are these:

– Unsuitable teaching methods followed by the teachers

– Lack of counselling in schools

– The dictatorial attitude of the teachers

– Huge amount of homework given to the students

– Lack of motivating activities in the schools

A few other reasons, though not directly related to the teachers, have a lot of bearing on them and they can be of help to the students in order to eliminate them. They are:

– Students' fear of failure

– Lack of cooperation between the parents and schools

– Lack of educational equipments in the schools

These are the problems about which we, as teachers can definitely do something to find solutions to..

Why do the students find the teaching methods unsuitable? In my view, it is because the methods we follow in the classes are not suitable to their language level and learning needs. Most of us are not careful to make the classroom activities learner-centred; we don't involve them in the teaching/learning activities. This may be due to the fact that we want to be faithful to the ELT methods we were taught in the Faculties of Education without worrying about their suitability to our students; I have discussed this point several times in my earlier letters. What we have to remember is that the only successful method in our classrooms is the one that works with our students, and not necessarily the best of the methods we have learnt, not even the one which has succeeded in our colleagues' classes.

Can we do anything about counselling in our schools? Yes. A personal and friendly attitude to our students, listening to their problems, if any, sympathetically and suggesting possible solutions, if possible, is more than counselling done by a professional counsellor. Do we do that? Most of our students long for a sympathetic listener; let's lend our ears to them. A sympathetic listener can never be seen as a dictator; let's be student-friendly, the number of dropouts will come down.

I have already pointed in one of my letters why we shouldn't load our students with unmanageable amount of homework. It is a fashion in most of the private schools, which charge heavily, to send home the students every evening with a cart load of home work; the more homework a school gives, the higher their fees can be. More in the next letter.

Yours fraternally,