From the Book

Excerpts from The holy Quran for Educating the Child

Excerpt from chapter 13 - Democracy And Society

Is it permissible to innovate?

يَوْمَ تَأْتِي كُلُّ نَفْسٍ تُجَادِلُ عَن نَّفْسِهَا وَتُوَفَّى كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا عَمِلَتْ وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ 

سورۃ النحل, آية 111

One Day every soul will come up struggling for itself, and every soul will be recompensed (fully) for all its actions, and none will be unjustly dealt with.

Surah 16, Verse 111

Rim is a hard-working, good-hearted teacher who loves her pupils and invests great effort in them. One day, surprisingly, the principal summoned her for a talk, and Rim was uneasy because she didn’t know the reason for the summons. She entered the principal’s office, and sat down quietly.

Principal: Good morning, Rim. Let me speak straight out. I’ve heard that you are teaching by a different method to our accepted teaching method. The parents are complaining.
Rim: I know what I am doing.
Principal: But you don’t have permission to do as you choose.
Rim: Yes, I’m aware of that but I’m not just doing what I fancy. I examine the class and decide what is suitable for them and that is what I do.
Principal: Listen, I want to call in the counselor. I like to consult other people – particularly the counselor.

They went into the counselor’s office and she sat them down in her seating corner which was decorated with flowers and books.

Principal: I am torn between what Rim has to say and what the parents say.
Counselor: Tell me about it.
Principal: Rim is employing different teaching methods. She divides the into groups and relates to each group separately. The parents have complained about her method.
Counselor: What do you say, Rim?
Rim: I didn’t choose this method at random. I chose it because I discovered that it is suitable because it stimulates the pupils’ interest.
Counselor (to the principal): What are you going to decide?
Principal: I don’t know. I believe Rim, and I identify with her but the parents are also part of the study process. I can’t ignore them.
Rim: But I can explain my method to them.
Counselor (to the principal): If you are convinced by Rim’s methods, I think you should accept responsibility and support what you believe in.
Principal: Yes, but I’m apprehensive.
Rim: There’s nothing to fear. I’m ready to explain to the parents.
Counselor: Listen please, both of you. I want to read you a verse from the Quran: “One Day every soul will come up struggling for itself, and every soul will be recompensed (fully) for all its actions, and none will be unjustly dealt with”.
Principal: Yes, as the Quran says, I have to face the parents with what I believe, and I believe that Rim is an excellent teacher who is employing new teaching methods in order to arouse the pupils’ interest. Perhaps the parents are scared of any innovation. They are accustomed to the familiar methods they remember from the time when they were at school – the teacher stands at the center of the classroom and talks and everyone listens. But when you divide the children into groups, more children can take part and express their opinions. If it is done correctly, it is a very refreshing method. Thank you.
Rim: Yes, thank you.

many important innovations fail because people are afraid of them and cling to what they really believe in. The principal had need of the Quran verse in order to accept Rim's different teaching method. The Quran explains that at the Day of Judgment every soul will struggle for itself and will be left with its own truth. The principal's truth, which the Quran helped him to uncover, is that it is permissible and necessary to seek new teaching methods so as to catch the pupils' interest. But in order to accept this, he needs to face the parents without fear and to explain the change and its significance. Perhaps he should invite the parents for a meeting and start by reading them the verse. Then each parent will discover within him what the principal has discovered - that it is permissible to try new methods, particularly if one believes in them.

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