Religious teachings on Television have been around since the early 1950s and now serve as a source of experience that teachers of science can copy or learn from.
The COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation in January. Since then, various countries worldwide have taken drastic measures to deal with the pandemic. Uganda, like several other countries, opted for a country lockdown approach.
As part of the lockdown, the President directed a shutdown of major social and economic activities except for essential services. The President's directive did not spare the operations of government and private education institutions (from kindergarten to university).
Since March 20, when the educational institutions were closed, the teachers, students, and parents have been struggling to find alternative ways of teaching and learning from home.
Some alternatives to conventional schools' teaching and learning have been proposed. Among the proposed alternatives are the Television (TV) channels, where lessons have been scheduled to be delivered to the learners in their homes. Although the TV is applauded as a mass media educational tool, and indeed some teachers have been seen attempting to teach from the TV, many of them are struggling.
Their struggle is because the teaching and learning through the TV is new for both the teachers and the learners. The teaching and learning from the TV do not permit the physical interface of the learners with the teachers. It is a single-blind channel of communication, where the learners see the teacher but the teacher does not see the learners.
This restricts the teacher from seeing the physical expression of the learner which if it was in the physical would have permitted the teacher to assess the body language of the learners in order to gauge whether they have understood or not and where the emphasis is needed and where repetition can be made.
Also, it does not allow the learners to ask questions to the teacher during the lesson. The science teachers even find it more difficult as they convey complex and abstract concept and often require hands-on practices by the learners but whose work cannot be supervised by the teachers. In this article, I argue that science teachers can copy from Televangelists and give reasons why.
Religious teachings on Television have been around since the early 1950s and now serve as a source of experience that teachers of science can copy or learn from, for their TV science lessons.
Televangelists harness the outreach power of the TV, reach out and teach millions of people daily. Current examples of popular Televangelist channels include the Catholic broadcasting channel (EWTN) the Anglican televangelism channel (Trinity Broadcsting Network). Televangelism now occupies a central part especially of Christian life in globally.
So, why should science teachers copy from televangelists?
You will realise that teaching and learning occur through communication.
Televangelism represents a hybrid genre of communication in which faith converges with contemporary media culture. This is similar to education where the teaching and learning on TV where it is converged with modern media.
Also, the communication strategy of televangelists is based on the science of lasting thing (referred to as Eschatology) which resonates with the principle of life long teaching which underlies science education programmes where teaching is not a thing of the now but forever, associated with the destiny of humankind.
Additionally, many televangelists do not have a known congregation as they work primarily through television. This is typical of TV science teaching where a teacher will not have a physical but a virtual unknown class without even taking a roll call on who is absent or who is present just like televangelists do.
The assumption is that the audience is there and indeed is usually there. A televangelist reaches out to over 10,000 times the audience of the conventional teacher. Billy Graham, one of the renowned televangelists, is said to have stated that he can reach to many people in a single TV show than Jesus did in his entire life. Actually, research shows that Jesus never preached to more than 30,000 people in his entire lifetime.
Put it in another way, a teacher can teach a number of students in a single TV lesson that can supersede the number of students that she would be teaching all her life in the conventional classroom and school set up.
Furthermore, there is a relationship between a televangelist and a science teacher. The mission of both is to convey information aimed at changing beliefs, knowledge and understanding and enhancing a certain behaviour. The only difference has been the methodology and the medium (which in this article I show that teachers should copy).
Besides, major televangelists programmes have an educational component. Both the Televangelist and the teacher are considered to have an influence on individuals' choice of salvation and individual's choice of perspective respectively where the previous foundations of both practices assume that such a choice rests with God.
Through the television, there is a possibility of the students sending messages and other feedback to science teachers just as the flock sends messages, gifts, donations and testimonies to televangelists.
The final point why teachers should copy from Televangelists is evidence that some successful educational institutions and universities have developed from televangelism a case in point is oral Roberts healing water ministry that founded the schools of arts and science, law, medicine, theology and the school for life long education.
Oral Roberts University, which is a fully-fledged charismatic university based on God's authority and the holy spirit. Therefore, copying from televangelists can be the beginning of an era of TV-based education institutions linked with the internet which will overtake the traditional four-walled classroom teaching and learning.
Prof. Moses Muhumuza, PhD, is a lecturer at the School of education Mountains of the Moon University and founder of the Miracles of Science Initiative (MISI)