NUL alumni makes  mark

NUL alumni makes mark

ROMA – MPHUTLANE Mositi picks a live frog he has reared and cuts through it with a sharp scalpel blade to expose a beating heart.
In the process, he teaches his students how a real heart operates even as the heart expands and relaxes, pumping blood.
It is just one of his live experiments that have made him a darling of students, teachers, parents and school principals.
He happens to be a former Biology and Chemistry student at the National University of Lesotho (NUL).
He is currently employed at Holy Names High School.

As you can imagine, his students’ eyes are beaming with curiosity as they partake in his experiments.
Most of them are in a state of uncontrolled excitement.
For once, here is someone who, against all odds, is hell-bent on giving them a glimpse into real mysteries of science first-hand.
Never mind that this might seem to be a simple experiment which the privileged folks in other countries may take for granted.
It doesn’t matter anymore.

This is Lesotho, a typical African country.
It is a country where some high school students hardly ever set their feet on science laboratories.
Provided they have laboratories at all.
So being taught in such ingenious ways ignites their love for science—for good.

“After my live experiments with frogs and rats among other things, I have seen students’ love and their appreciation for science grow to levels that have left me dumbfounded,” Mositi said.
Mositi is a rare breed who happens to believe that science, in its truest form, is and must be demonstrated.

“When I took the reins as a teacher in one school, I wanted to approach the teaching of science differently. I was well aware that science and maths are the most failed subjects in high schools,” he says.
“So I wanted to make science fun rather than fearsome.”
What would he do?

As he teaches, he does his best to couple his teachings with demonstrations and everyday examples that students can relate to.
In this way, “an otherwise remote and boring science subject abruptly takes a new life.”
“Students begin to relate what they are studying in textbooks with that they see in real life. In fact some begin to observe the life around them with a different eye altogether and they repeat their stories in class.”

The result is that “previously timid students now want to know more,” he says, “and most importantly, I have seen them beginning to improve their grades in science.”

In this episode, we will focus on his adventures in using rats and frogs as teaching aids in several high schools.
As a fresh teacher in one very new school, he was more than prepared to put his ideas to the test.
At one point, he was teaching a science of what would be a “boring” blood circulation.
So he asked students to bring frogs from home for experiments, which they did.
It was a rainy season so each student went about searching for frogs.
The excitement was just getting started.

Back to school, now it was time to study the frogs, with special attention to the heart.
You see, most of us have been taught what a heart is.
We have been told how it is a machine that pumps blood across our bodies from head to toe, 24 hours a day from conception to death.
Perhaps we have even been shown drawings of these things.

But for most of us, such fantastic teachings are distant because, quite frankly, we have never studied a live heart.
Yes, we can feel it on our chests and we may have seen an animal’s heart before but boy, oh boy, don’t we crave to really study that which is forever pounding our chests!

Some fortunate school laboratories may have afforded a plastic model heart.
Even that just doesn’t quite click.

After all, it’s nothing more than a lifeless plastic toy masquerading as a heart.
“But when students were taught and allowed to dissect a frog themselves, something truly amazing happened.”
For once, here they are, studying in real life, some things they have been told in theory for years.
They witnessed the circulatory system, the digestive system, the anatomy; you name them.
And they study these on things that are as familiar to them as frogs.

They begin to feel like doctors, in charge.
Their lives are changed for good.

Having seen the excitement he generated, he left for another school where he was actually given a chance to have a pond where he reared frogs and a cage where he reared rats.
His principal was more than happy to assist.
And he continued teaching in this way.

When he moved from school to school, some students would follow him.
When there is a spare time in class, which students often see as a time to plot some mischiefs, his students want him to come and teach them science.

In the present school where he is now permanently employed, Holy Names High School, the principal has promised to make his adventures bigger by creating bigger and better ponds and cages for frogs and rats—all for the love of science and for the love of students.

Own Correspondent

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