My Head, My Shoulders, My Knees, My Toes!

Here is a trip down memory lane, to our earliest childhood educational experience when we were too young to know the importance of education.

I cherish those days in nursery school, when, as pupils, we were farms on which our very patient teachers sowed and nurtured fertile seeds of education and discernment. What about you?

Then, popcorn, ice cream, cake, biscuits, candy, pastry and other confections, as well as fun and cartoons, were of greater value to our unlearned minds than literacy. It was a period school, class work, assignments, tests and exams were absolute monsters to us; pencil, eraser, exercise and text books were carriers of boredom, documentation of nonsense; they made us angry, terrified; we cringed, screamed and cried at the mere mention or sight of any of them; we wished breaktimes, weekends and holidays were eternal; therefore, to create a more attractive pedagogic environment, to successfully develop our interest in education in the midst of our thick unwillingness, teachers used very appealing pedagogic resources.

Visuals: graphics, paintings, drawings, counters, crayons and other colourful sights of virtually everything children were familiar with were employed to defeat our listlessness; they were flexibly catchy, highly motivational, boosted presentations and demonstrations, facilitated productive classroom interaction, active learning and enhanced our performance effectively.

Besides, we were made to sing, jump up and dance to every form of lyrical composition constructed as workable teaching methods to suit our kiddish mindsets. As little children that barely knew anything useful outside food and play, we were mildly instructed to learn something new every new day, including the names of the physical parts of our bodies.

Frequently, a radiantly composed and nimble teacher took us out of the classroom, to the school playground or field. We were made to encircle them, warm up, shape our general disposition to a cheerful one, set our minds in motion for a vigorous exercise in the process, watch them simultaneously sing and rehearse, and imitate same on the spot.

The very first imitation was thrilling. At first, we put our two, tiny hands on our heads, after which we placed them on our shoulders, stooped and swiftly positioned them on our knees, and finally, brought them very down and touched our toes. We did all of these with all pleasure and sang,

“My head, my shoulders, my knees, my toes,

My head, my shoulders, my knees, my toes,

My head, my shoulders, my knees, my toes,

They all belong to Jesus,” along with the teacher, excitedly.

We repeated the task severally, breathlessly, and caught great fun. Such a blissful exercise was one of the reasons why we reluctantly agreed to go to school at those times.

Everything we were taught, either in the spoken or written form, appeared like puzzles which we would never be able to solve, like magic performed by our magician instructors, except they were visibly, melodiously packaged and presented.

Kudos to our teachers who despite our obvious disinterest, tactically oriented formal education to us. A successful, progressive educational experience has made us who we are presently.

Our situation has changed forever. We have outgrown, almost forgotten the nescient stage of life. We have outlived the age of ignorance. We are academically developed; now, we see and help emerging generations to see education not as a matter of choice but a necessity.

Education is a mountain and we, the educated are the delighted mountaineers. We are mature students, graduates, teachers, advocates and planners and realisers of education as a right to every child in the world. If education is magic, then, we are more than glad to be called magicians. If education is a game, we are proud to say we are accomplished hunters.



Graduate, Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; Writer,

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