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Allah [Subhanahu wa Ta’ala] has gifted His most noble creation, the human kind, with five fundamental senses, sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Consequently, all our learning … learning for understanding, retention, transfer and application of the taught/learnt material … is facilitated, streamlined and stored via one or more of these senses.

Educational research presents some very interesting and relevant findings. It is argued that not all five senses are equal in their function of facilitating our learning. Their findings reveal that the extent to which each of the senses is responsible for our learning is approximately as follows:

Senses – Percentage
Smell 00 to 10 %
Hearing 00 to 17 %
Sight 00 to 80 %

As a logical development from the above statistics, it is therefore incumbent upon any Muallim/ah to ask himself/herself the all-important question:

“How do I present my lesson so that I am able to claim with a reasonable degree of confidence, that I have taught, and the pupils have learnt?”

An effective Muallim/ah ought to be presenting his/her lesson/s in such a manner that that a concerted appeal is made to ALL the senses of the pupils. However, this may not be always possible. As a compromise, the Muallim/ah should therefore, be focusing his/her appeal to as many senses as possible in a single lesson.

The achievement of this golden objective in education is totally dependent upon the Muallim/ah’s initiative, creativity and enterprise. The Muallim/ah has to believe in and accept that, Insha Allah:

1.The learning material presented via the pupils’ sense of sight will be better understood, retained with greater ease and will become more accessible to them for easy retrieval, transfer and application;
2. Such learning material will also be retained [remembered] with greater clarity and for a longer period;
3. The retention of any learning material presented only via the pupils’ sense of hearing [orally] will be largely dependent upon the pupils’ regular and ongoing revision and/or repetition of that material;
4. Appealing to a combination of the pupils’ senses of sight and hearing will have an even greater impact on the pupils; and
5. Appealing to all five senses of the pupils, if it is practical, will be the ideal.

As a direct result of the “technological explosion” there are currently, many and different types of teaching and learning resources. Inter alia, there are printed material, audio, visual, audio-visual, the real article or thing and replicas of the real. All of these can be safely classified as effective teaching-learning resources. Some of the more commonly used resources are:
1. the board (black/white);
2. some suitably printed text;
3. carefully prepared worksheets;
4. charts, cards and posters;
5. maps and travel routes;
6. big and bold permissible pictures, diagrams and/or illustrations … black and white or coloured;
7. a simple computer, with all its modern paraphernalia;
8. permissible films;
9. permissible videos;
10. the real article / the actual thing that is being presented in a lesson;
11. replicas of the real article or thing; and
12. the MUALLIM/AH himself/herself.

The following is a brief discussion of the teaching resources listed above.

There are several simple ways of ensuring good results when using the board as well as some tactics that are helpful from time to time. The following simple points, though obvious, are frequently ignored.

1. Use a clean board: If the board is clean, the handwriting stands out better.
2. Make it readable: Pupils sitting at the back row should be able to read what is written. To write small and crowd in information should be avoided.
Have a plan: When writing on the board, have a plan. Often interesting and effective chalkboard presentations are those planned in advance

This is the Ustaad’s most important teaching aid.
a. Start with a clean board at the beginning of the lesson.
b. The Ustaad should always set an example by working neatly.
c. A summary of the whole lesson can be developed on the chalkboard as the lesson progresses.
d. When you are writing on the board and have something to say, you must turn your head to face the class as you speak.

All subjects lend themselves to the use of the board.

This teaching resource includes the planned and discriminate use of textbooks designed and prepared for the different classes and for the different age cohorts. [Page 33]

Additionally, suitably printed text and accompanying pictures, graphs and/or illustrations from newspapers, tabloids, magazines, advertisement flyers and other books can also be effectively used for presenting certain lessons.

As a cautionary note, it needs to be emphasized that a standard textbook, prescribed for use by a group of pupils is NOT a teaching resource! Quite contrary to popular belief, a prescribed textbook is merely a synopsis of the syllabus to be covered in that class over a specified period of teaching time.

An innovative and objective-driven Muallim/ah will have to necessarily extend himself/herself well beyond the scope of a prescribed textbook.

Worksheets, if intended to be used as a teaching resource has to carefully planned and colourfully and systematically presented. They are most definitely not a simple reproduction [photocopying] from some textbook or such similar printed material.

For more clarity on the effective preparation and use of worksheets, a healthy discussion and/or workshop with the teachers of ECD [Early Childhood Development] … the JP [Junior Primary] … classes at the Ordinary Public Schools [OPS] or the Independent Schools [IS] will be most beneficial.

A creative Muallim/ah should also prepare some clear, purposeful and colourful charts. The many and different types of “cards” that the older JP Teachers used, should be researched and selectively followed. A set of well-planned and prepared “cards” can be most meaningful and effective, especially in the consolidation phases of lessons.

Posters can sometimes also serve as excellent ready-made and easy-to-use teaching resources. For example, just ponder about the many and different ways in which a simple poster advertising:
• A Seerah Jalsa of our beloved Master Nabee Muhammad [Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam];
• An attractive Umrah or Hajj package enticing the Muslims to undertake this journey of a lifetime;
• A welfare organization’s drive to attract ones’ zakaat, lillah or sadaqa; or
• A concerned organization’s plea to the ummah to supplicate for the return of our Holy Masjid-ul-Aqsa to its former glory and vibrancy;
• Etc.
can be used in a lesson with outstanding pupil participation and the achievement of the Muallim/ah’s desired outcomes.

Maps and simply prepared travel routes are an invaluable teaching resource for most subjects. It is indeed a fallacy that only History and/or Geography lessons lend themselves to be supplemented by clear and colourful maps, travel routes and time-lines.

It is and an educationally proven fact that any lesson in any subject or discipline may be supported and supplemented by good and clear pictures and/or illustrations. The most vague and abstract concept, for example; in a poem lesson, can also be supported by some sort of illustration.

However, care needs to be taken that in preparing such illustrations; the pupils’ own imaginative and creative potential is not stymied and/or restricted.

If discriminately used, the computer is indeed a great blessing. Every lesson one might think of can be presented with the help of a simple computer. Software packages and other very exciting programmes are easily available.

Tons of outstanding teaching materials are available, which lend themselves to the presentation of lessons with the help of these teaching resources … i.e. films and videos.

Do consult your local Ulama for guidance with regard to what is permissible and what isn’t.


This resource is self-explanatory.

However, as an example, do ponder about the illogic of explaining away the Glory of our Creator [Subhanahu wa Ta’ala], for the magnificent and majestic “artwork” on the multi-coloured wing of a small insect or bird, without the pupils being exposed to an example of the real thing! Consider also for instance, the illogic of a lesson on the proper and Islamically correct way of tying an amaamah/turban [males] and a burqa/niqaab [females], without the real articles being present for the pupils to get a real and pragmatic experience.

Like this, many other examples may be presented, whereby the senses of touch, taste, sound and smell could also become a living and real learning experience for the pupils. As a matter of fact, the use of this resource is advocated for the entire spectrum of learners … juniors, seniors and adults.

In the absence of the real, a replica will be far more meaningful than a mere chalk-and-talk or a lecture approach.

Our beloved Master Nabee Muhammad [Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam] is reported to have stated: “…Verily, I have been sent upon you as a teacher…”

When one ponders over this beautiful hadith, there remains no doubt that in the final analysis, the Muallim/ah is the best teaching resource in any teaching-learning environment.

That our predecessors succeeded without the use of teaching resources is ascribable to many and different reasons. Their success stories should not and cannot be used as justification for us not using these Allah-given technologies. In the present-day educational climate, it is virtually impossible to achieve our desired objectives with our lessons without the correct and planned use of suitable and appropriate teaching resources.

The use of teaching resources is not some kind of “window dressing” to make our lessons appear or sound good and exciting.

The vitality, verve and excitement of an effective lesson, presented with the aid of appropriate resources, is totally dependent upon the prudent, planned and productive use of the resource/s in question.

Professor W Wragg, an eminent educationist, puts it quite succinctly. He is of the view that an appropriate teaching resource is an indispensable “lubricant” in any successful lesson and more importantly it is:

“…an educational bridge facilitating the transfer of meaningful information and [life] skill … from the teacher [Muallim/ah] to the pupils… .”

While there is no formal prescription with regard to the effective use of appropriate teaching resources in order to make our lessons exciting, the following is a tried and tested guideline that one may follow:

Plan your lesson carefully and well in advance; [1]
Prepare you lesson diligently; [2]
Formulate your SMART objectives for the said lesson or series of lessons; [3]
Carefully select the “educational bridge” that you intend to use; [4]
The classroom [teaching-learning] climate has to be adequately prepared; [5]
The pupils too, need to be prepared for what they are soon to be exposed to … in fact they could also be drawn into assisting with the preparation of the teaching resource/s to be used; [6]
When the teaching resource/s is/are eventually presented to the pupils, it should necessarily attract their active participation in the lesson/s; [7]
In order to maximize the benefit from the “educational bridge” being utilized, it should also lead to some planned follow-up or consolidation activity/ies; [8]
An interesting and stimulating “educational bridge” should preferably be left in the classroom for a planned period of time so that pupils can be exposed to it for a sustained period; [9] and
The Muallim/ah should not hesitate to re-use an effective “educational bridge” if the need arises … e.g. during a revision, remedial, enrichment or a special lesson. [10]