By Aisha Vicky Koolen
Every parent wants the best education for their children, but as Muslim parents, this responsibility gets multiplied, as we need to keep in account not just their worldly education, but also the education and tarbiyyah for their akhirah. We need to find the best channels to raise and educate Muslim children who can adapt to new situations positively, and without losing their identity. In order to do this effectively, what are the criteria we must have, and how can we achieve this productively?
Enquiry based learning is based on the theory of a curriculum design that prepares for a life full of surprises, events, and challenges. The five phases of Enquiry based learning are engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration and evaluation. This model is as well rooted in the six etiquettes of learning by lbn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah ( رَحِمَهُ الله) him. He said:
“There are six stages to knowledge”:
First: Asking questions in a good manner.
Second: Remaining quiet and listening attentively.
Third: Understanding well.
Sixth: And it is it’s fruit- Acting upon the knowledge and keeping to its limits.
How do these principles connect with the 5 E’s of enquiry based learning?
- Asking questions in a good manner is what children do naturally. They are always curious, and as teachers, we need to keep this curiosity alive by integrating Question-Answer sessions in our lesson plans. We need to facilitate looking for answers, and children should be encouraged to think to solve problems. This is the first stage in enquiry based learning: E of engagement and the E of exploration. The children will be active, play and explore together with lots of opportunities to communicate. To make sure they grow up as a confident problem solver, teachers need to train in meaningful situations social skills like expressing adequately and listening with respect, and feed a child’s imagination, which is another important ingredient for successful problem solving.
- E of explanation
After the kids have been adequately engaged in the subject, and they are given the opportunity to explore the subject, they will now be ready to remain silent and listen attentively. This is easily achieved because during the first phase of engagement and exploration, their natural curiosity has been satisfied. They are now ready to make connections and have developed the right mindset to listen to further explanation of the topic. They can readily join in the discussion and grasp the reason behind it.
- E of elaboration
With the new input and the connections that have been made, facts can be more easily memorised. Children can organise presentations and basically teaching others orally or via written work like a lap book/scrapbook etc., which means children are able to present their ideas. They can extend their understanding by applying the knowledge on new situations or challenges.
- E of evaluation
In this phase, children are encouraged to start acting upon all acquired knowledge and skills and they can ‘teach’ or instruct others. With new meaningful questions, the journey of learning will continue successfully and again rooted in the natural abilities given to children; curiosity, emotional stability, and confidence. These abilities are naturally given by Allah to children. We need to make sure to strengthen these core abilities with the correct methods, and avoid general parenting and educational mistakes.
We can’t deny that Muslim children face greater challenges now, especially due to the constant presence of non Islamic influences that find their way through every loop hole into a child’s life and leave traces on their pure fitrah. The reality is that we can’t protect them from every bad influence, because the force of evil, despite being weak in its essence, is spread like a web in our everyday life. We can support them by preparing them to think critically, and keep the guidance from the Qur’an and Sunnah as the solutions to their problems. We need to train them to strengthen their identity as a Muslim, which will decide their true success. Children with careful training will, because of their knowledge and love for the Qur’an and Sunnah, and their critical thinking skills, be able to keep this love and fear of Allah. They will be able to identify what is wrong and what is right. They will be Insha’Allah of the people who won’t give in under any pressure.
The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah (His Words, the Qur’an) and His Messenger (peace be upon him), to judge between them, is that they say: “We hear and we obey.” And such are the prosperous ones (who will live forever in Paradise).