Traditional Texts and Contemporary Teaching Techniques

Traditional Texts and Contemporary Teaching Techniques

Imran Mogra (Birmingham City University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8528-2.ch004

Abstract

This chapter provides a synopsis of teaching techniques gleaned from traditional texts represented in Muslim canonical ḥadīth collections. To begin with, the life of Prophet Muḥammad is surveyed from a teacher's perspective. Thereafter, narratives which illuminate pedagogical strategies are analyzed to emphasize the need for teachers to have a repertoire of teaching methods. It is argued that the techniques derived from traditional texts are relevant as they resonate with contemporary educational ideas.
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Introduction

Muslims believe that they are guided by the practice of the Messenger Muḥammad in various aspects of their life and work. It is therefore relevant to consider his practice in the context of teaching, learning and education. This chapter aims to surveys his life from a teacher’s perspective and focuses on selected traditions which illuminate pedagogical strategies he used, demonstrating the need to take into account individual needs when teaching. Some of these methods are relevant as they resonate with contemporary educational ideas.

The article begins with a consideration of the meaning of ḥadīth and proceeds to present an overview of literature related to the life of Muḥammad to show the ways in which his life has been studied, indicating the significance of what he did and taught. Thereafter several teaching methods are analysed and principles highlighted. The article concludes by highlighting the need for Muslim educators, in particular, to maintain such principles and incorporate these methods in their repertoire of teaching methods. For the purpose of this article it must be taken as read that the author considers Prophet Muḥammad to be a good teacher.

Ḥadīth literally means communication, conversation or something new. Technically, it stands for what can be attributed to Prophet Muḥammad of his deeds, sayings and tacit approvals (Mattson, 2013; Saud, 2013). Sunnah is the way of life of Prophet Muḥammad and sunnah means a recommended course of action. It also refers to the model behavior of Muḥammad (Azami, 1992; Burton, 1994). In common parlance, ḥadīth and sunnah are used interchangeably.

Muslim tradition also emanates both from Muḥammad, as developed and inspired by him, and from those around him. This became the basis for an ongoing tradition in which scriptures are interpreted and reinterpreted (Mattson, 2013). So the Prophet and the traditions he initiated and inspired offer complex insights into ways of teaching, learning, understanding and remembering the scriptures that are still beneficial for students today. Taking such an approach makes learning and teaching to be more contextualised, cumulative and personally integrated.

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