• Malvern Madondo

    Malvern Madondo

    Harare, Zimbabwe
    Mathematics & Computer Science

    Malvern's Bio:
    I have heard that the average human being uses 10% of their brain's potential. Whether that's true or not, this blog is a mirror of at least part of my brain's functionality and activity. It is an outlet through which I share my experiences and escapades here at CSS. I hope that in between the mixed metaphors and rambling in my posts, you find something valuable. I have an overwhelming interest learning new things and expanding my horizons (which is why I am here). Wait, I just lost my train of thought... Welcome to my 'Pensieve' ~ thinking out loud..

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Ode to teachers…

Investments for life: The task of modern educators


Two quotes drive the academic vehicle at CSS: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” ~ Benjamin Franklin and “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.” ~ Aristotle.

It is now exactly two months since I landed in the U.S. and almost seven weeks since I took my first shower of the U.S style of teaching and learning. One of the biggest transition from high school to college is the difference in the way students are taught and knowledge is shared between teachers (known in college as professors/lectures) and students, between students and between teachers themselves. It is a learning environment.


This semester, I have experienced new ways of teaching and learning, some that can shake your mind to the core, challenging your wits by all means, and others that can make you quake with excitement and desire to expand your knowledge base. Here are some of my observations:


  1. Learning is a two-way process. The acronym, ‘The teacher is always right’, belongs to the jurassic era not at CSS. Here you find professors who delight in teaching and learning from their students. Each person knows something that others don’t and no one will ever know what that something is until it is brought to the knowledge platform, the classroom, where wisdom is passed on from one mind to another, just as how a fire is passed from one candle to another, benefiting all and depriving none. Students teach and learn from other students. Professors teach and learn from other professors. Students teach and learn from professors, and the inverse is true.

    A scene from 3 Idiots, a personal favorite and a must-see movie for all college students. At CSS, professors are open to student opinions and ideas on ways that make the learning process enjoyable and worthwhile . While they teach us, to some extent we also teach them how to teach… Fair game, isn’t it?


  2. Professors are not out to get you, they are there to get you from your first step to the finish line and beyond. Although some may let you know from the onset that a course is going to be challenging, none will ever say they are going to make it worse for you. They are there to help you learn and point to you the right direction toward fulfilling your academic goals.
  3. How classes are taught is as important as what is taught in classes. My calculus professor always start his classes with mathematical and mind-provoking jokes that will get you off your seat, crack your ribs and put you on an ‘ease-mode’. My Dignitas instructor (also my CIS professor) involves you in the learning process and takes you on a journey where you look at one thing through several lenses and in he always makes it a point to individually chat with every student (Intro to Databases class) while asking about feedback on the course content, how he teaches it, how the students want to learn it and so forth. Another professor adds some background music when students are doing group projects or exercises and whenever we just feel we need some food for the soul! In one of my classes, we often sit on the floor in a big circle, like how folks sit around a fire to tell and hear stories, to discuss a particular subject or play interactive games! I can go on about the different ways students are educated but they are just too many and professors are always trying out new ways of teaching and learning.

    Classes do not have to be like this-- one person teaching and the rest absorbing the information. People usually sleep, daydream or doze off in such scenarios. Good thing, CSS professors are aware !

    Most students might agree with me that one person teaching and the rest absorbing the information is not a good way of educating young and eager minds!                                                                        

  4. Professors and students are not objects, they are humans. This basically means everyone is humane enough to know that every other person is a human and has to be regarded as such. We form bonds in and outside the class. Professors have their office hours, and usually extend these especially when students really need help, and meet with their students to talk about issues related to the subject matter and often other aspects of college life. Professors also understand that students have hours too, anytime when the student needs help during the day and sometimes in the evening and over the weekends as well, and always have their doors open — it’s called the Open-Door Policy ‘Thou shall not occupy a room and shut the world outside, unless it’s a restroom!’
  5. Students are some of the best teachers you will ever have. One student often has many teachers and that student often represents those teachers just like how an artwork represents the genius behind its creation. Thus many students coming together is like having the ideas of many great minds compacted and brought to one place. You often learn more from your peers than from faculty.

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” ~~ C.S Lewis

Walking down memory lane to the past couple of months, I realize how having great mentors and teachers can be a huge leap towards excellence. Sir Isaac Newton once remarked and I quote, “If I have seen further than other men, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants“. I am more than pleased to say that in my life I have had lots of shoulders to stand on, from my parents and teachers, friends, employers, and those whose path at some point collided with mine, and the spark produced was nothing more than motivation, determination and inspiration.

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. ~ Plutarch  (46 – 120)

When the going gets tough in college...

When the going gets tough in college…




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