Rumi in the Language Classroom Vol 9
In the last volume of “Rumi in the Language Classroom”, the story of “a man and his cow” in Rumi’s “Masnavi-e-Manavi” is discussed. This is the story of a rural man whose cow is eaten by a lion. The man goes to a barn at night without a light and touches different organs of the lion imagining that it is his cow. The lion thought if the man knew it was a lion, not a cow, he would be scared to death.
This story delineates the danger of over-reliance on one method in teaching. By having little knowledge, it can make you teach every class and every individual the same. You expect everyone to be the same and you are not aware of the threat you are exposed to. A teacher who only relies on one method is like the man who only expects one entity in the barn (his cow). He uses his tactile sense to refer to things and does not use other senses to have a better understanding of his surroundings. This reminds me of a teacher who does not use her “sense of plausibility” (Prabhu, 1987) and follows a teaching method rigidly.
This is what Kumaravadivelu (1994) poses as a problem in teaching methods and therefore, proposes a different teaching method in response. By using three principles of practicality, possibility, and particularity, he defined a new era in language teaching which attacked the arena of methods. He posits that for successful teaching to happen, the method should be adjusted to a particular context (particularity), teachers should be the best theoreticians since they are involved in teaching practice (practicality), and the lesson should be possible with a group of students with different cultures, needs, wants, rights, and the like (possibility).
This story implies that teachers should use different senses to feel the danger—the danger of being unwanted, burn-out, etc. To me, the cow is our self-awareness. When it is eaten by our ego of knowing everything, it can bring our career into danger. This is when we can be beaten by the wild nature of lion of our narcissism, lack of progress, and burn-out.
The only way to stop this process is through continuous professional development where we read, study and attend CPD events (Kamali, 2021).
Kamali, J. (2021, July). 6 Tips for Successful Continuous Professional Development. Retrieved from http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolc/issues/2021-07-01/index.html
Kumaravadivelu, B. (1994). The postmethod condition:(E) merging strategies for second/foreign language teaching. TESOL quarterly, 28(1), 27-48.
Prabhu, N. S. (1987). Second language pedagogy (Vol. 20). Oxford: Oxford University Press.