By Prof Moses Muhumuza
Following my previous articles on why science teachers should copy from Televangelists for their TV science lessons during and after COVID 19 lock down (https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1518822/covid-19-lockdown-science-teachers-copy-televangelists), in this article I focus on what can teachers actually copy.
Regardless of the ambivalence nature and practice of televangelists, we see a pattern in their approach and methods of work that should be of interest to the science teachers. I present below nine of such approaches and methods that televangelists use that teachers of science delivering lessons on TV that teachers can copy:
High energy, physical power and forceful voice
Just like televangelists, science teachers on TV should let learners see that they feel, what they are teaching deeply, that they fear for their students' ignorance in science just as the televangelists fear for the people's eternal state.
The science teachers should show that they are anxious over their students and that they love them deeply. Let that be communicated not only in the teacher's words, but also in their facial expressions, their body language, and their tone. Let their teaching, just like preaching, be powerful, bold, and with authority but which does not necessarily have to be divine.
Charismatic lessons just like sermons
The science lesson delivered by the teacher should be charismatic, just like a sermon delivered by a televangelist.
By charismatic, I draw from the secular use of the word as possessing great personal magnetism, able to attract and hold an audience.
Therefore, the teacher should exhibit the capacity to enable the students "glue" on TV science lesson from beginning to the end without having a feeling of getting a remote and changing to another channel showing cartoons.
Tailor the content as televangelists tailor scripture with the contemporary situation
Televangelist do not simply dwell on the teaching of ancient prophets or the interesting story Moses and the Ten Commandments but they relate those issues to the present situation on personal, national and global, aesthetics, businesses, and political issues.
Therefore, the science teachers should not simply make a tale of the history of scientific discoveries about how Archimedes ran in the streets naked shouting Eureka Eureka (meaning I have found it, I have found it) but should show how the scientific concepts apply to the current real and practical aspects.
Introduce Interactive sessions of talk shows and interviews, debates, question and answer
Televangelist TV programmes are punctuated by talk shows on some topical issues. Science teachers should also intersperse their science lessons with talk shows where invited guests are interviewed and discuss topical issues dealing with, for example, question approach, marking or scoring of scripts, and application of concepts in real-life settings.
The talk shows can be presented in form of debates on science on alternative views on some methods of answering some questions and through question and answer on some scientific facts.
Persuasive and transformative
The science teachers just like televangelists should be persuasive. It is not just a matter of "here are some facts; take them or leave them," as if they are just dispassionate conveyors of information.
Televangelists are there to persuade and science teachers should copy this. It is common for science teachers to present scientific facts and mathematical formula as if there were just created like that and nothing to add.
In persuasion, science teacher should show how they are at their best state of knowledge and how what they present is the best alternative point of view.
Storytelling and entertainment
It is an established fact that teaching through stories leaves a big impact to the learners, and Televangelists have mastered this. They teach based on stories for instance from the Bible.
However, we see the trend that stories and entertainment are common in kindergarten and lower primary classes, reduce in upper primary and completely disappear in secondary school classes.
Many science teachers think that stories are for subjects like Hi[story]. Televangelists today use charismatic sermons with stories and entertainment to attract both the young and the adult and hence keep them hooked to their TV programmes. This should be copied by scientists especially in presenting a story behind the discovery of a certain scientific concept that they are teaching about.
Integration of video shows in the televangelist programme give added information. This should be adopted into TV science lessons by science teachers. Such videos can be on the experimental demonstration or on practical application of a concept. The videos could be linked internet or youtube where the students can play and replay.
Televangelists use testimonies to enable the non-believers to gain faith that even their situation can improve for the better. The science teachers should integrate in their lessons of testimonies of science students that excelled, and testimonies of successful personalities that apply the scientific concepts in real-life situations. "Someone needs your testimony to strengthen their faith" is a statement that is common on the popular televangelist TV station in Nigeria. This could be adopted by science teachers as "Someone needs your testimony to study harder".
Televangelist sermons are also characterised by perseverance. They preach, no one is converted, they do it again. They preach, no one is converted and they do it again, and again, and again. Science teachers should also not tire for repeating a concept again and again and again until they bring about a required knowledge or skill in the learner. This is what perseverance is about.
Generally, in the Science TV lesson just like the televangelist sermon, there should be "no personal attachment, and no particular political direction" as pointed out by the Rex Humbard, of the Humbard's cathedral of tomorrow, but should be entertaining, inspirational, educational, and practically oriented to real-life situations.
Prof. Moses Muhumuza is a lecturer at the School of education Mountains of the Moon University and
Founder of the Miracles of Science Initiative (MISI)