I often hear from
my colleagues that maintaining reading habits (i.e. reading books) in children is getting
increasingly difficult. They do not read due to several reasons,
the most blamed factor being the exposure to the electronic media. They watch
television, play computer games and video games and simply ignore the books.
When I try
to find out whether my colleagues have the habit of reading, I see not a very
encouraging picture. “Tell me the name of a book that you read in the last
three months,” I ask, and I get very few responses. I concede to six months or
even a year but the responses are not very pleasing.
Though I am aware
of the limitations of my colleagues, I want to know why these teachers who want
their learners to read and read extensively have a poor habit of reading. There are obvious reasons: they can’t afford
to spend on books; they are already overworked; there is no time. But I
discovered one very strong reason. They do not want to try to find out whether
a book is worth reading. They will read a book if they hear a lot about it.
They need to know in advance that the book is very good.
In one of the
workshops I facilitated, I did a trick. I arrived early and made sure that the
soft board was empty. I tore foolscap paper into three pieces. I stood at the
door and gave a piece to each one who was entering and asked them to write the
name of a book they like best and stick the piece of paper on the board. Some just
ignored but the number of the paper pieces on the board was encouraging. Later,
I asked the participants to share why they liked the particular book. Because
the participants said something about the book in such a spirited way that
others thought they must read those particular books. At the end, each
participant had a good list in their notebook.
I kept a track of
some participants to know whether they actually read any books they had noted
the name of. I found out that many teachers tried to get a copy of To
Sir with Love by E. R. Braithwaite which they could not. Four teachers
reported that they read The English Teacher by R K Narayan.
Teachers do not
read because they do not have information about which book is worth spending
money and time on. So, sharing about good books is helping colleagues to read.
A query: How can we inspire teachers to run for a book?
Laxman from Nepal
- Teaching resources
- Teacher development
- Teacher training