My Trip to LONDON

For EDUCATORS and Management
April 22, 2010
5 Things You Must Start Doing for Yourself
June 20, 2014

My Trip to LONDON

Edris Khamissa

 I have no idea who will have access to my reflections .One of my regrets has been my aversion to record the many highs in my life. I cannot say Jazakamullah enough for the opportunities to grow, reflect and most importantly to meet and interact with beautiful human –beings-yes indeed people who have such a happy grip on life and the challenges   associated with it. For the last 30 years or so friends and colleagues have been asking me  to write on matters pedagogical and even perhaps a novel(In fact I have conceptualised this …May be it should be entitled What If . ) This exercise requires a great deal of discipline and self-discipline. Anyway for now I will focus on my reflections.

My flight to London was restful and as it is in my nature to strike conversations with fellow inmates (as those who are averse to flying are wont to be described.) I enjoy their company, I hope not out of expediency. After all those who have a romantic notion of flying must experience it and will quickly realise how prosaic and boring it can be. Being a motivational speaker I try to authenticate my presentations with real -life experiences. The conversations with very ordinary people like taxi –drivers etc can be very humbling and insightful. I suppose all human-beings want to be affirmed and acknowledged. When I learn of the challenges that many people face psychologically, emotionally, economically and even in the workplace I truly appreciate what Allah (SWT) has given me .Then I am loathe to change my state with kings. (sounds familiar). I often call myself a doctor of love –trying to heal people. In doing so I meet many people who wear a mask. Beneath that veneer is often a frightened and need I say frail human –being who is often brusque and who enjoys wielding his authority .Happiest is he that is contented … neither wealth nor position are the ingredients for a life of bliss. I also meet individuals with low self-esteem who are either control –freaks or blithely become spectators in their own life. No matter how one is perceived one has to switch the lights off..and there one is confronted with the real you. One of my abiding questions is -what is it that keeps you awake at night? We have just one life and if we do not fight our demons no one else will. I am no different from the rest of humanity my prayer is to leave a legacy .Hopefully family, friends, colleagues, employers and anyone who has interacted with me will have positive memories. Life is just too short …it is like waiting at a departure lounge at the airport. Only a fool would act and believe as if his life on this earth is eternal.

Another thought. I have full-conviction that Allah (SWT) is the provider .As Sheikh Ahmed Babikir(London-Islamia) reminded me that we must not close any door …but be rest assured that if that door is closed by Allah(SWT), many doors will be opened. Allah (SWT) tests those that HE loves. I came across the following powerful quotes.

A throne is just a bench covered with velvet-Napoleon Bonaparte

Success is not permanent and neither is failure final.

A few of my favourite quotes which I often inter-lard in my presentations

  • Experience is not so much what happens to you but rather what you do to what happens to you.
  • No one can make you feel small without your permission. How small you feel depends on you.
  • If you do the same things the same way everyday expect the same results.
  • The time for excuses is over folks .Losers rationalise.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity to grow.
  • We have no control over the outcome but we have complete control over the effort we make.
  • People will forget what you told them but they will not forget how you made them feel.
  • It is not so much what you want your learners to be but do they want to be you.
  • Fear creates its own self-fulfilling dynamic – as people give in to it, they lose energy and momentum. Their lack of confidence translates into inaction that lowers confidence levels even further, and so on… the edge is your attitude…if you view everything through the lens of fear, then you tend to stay in retreat mode…”

Throughout my flight I was going over what was going to be a hectic trip. My itinerary attests to this.

  1. Land at Heathrow Airport at 11-35 on Friday 14TH November. Meeting with Nida Trust.
  2. Saturday 15th – Leadership Programme for Young Professionals in Wolverhampton
  3. Sunday 16th-Meeting with ‘Fuad Nahdi-Founder of organisation called Radical Middle Way
  4. Monday 17th -Meeting with Sheikh Ahmed Babikir –shopping at Foyles ,Darul Taqwa,Borders and Blackwell for resources for the school.
  5. Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th .Auditing Al-RISALA Secondary in Balham ,London
  6. Thursday 20th —Parenting Programme  at Shaksiyyah School in London
  7. Thursday 20th -Evening .Inter-faith Dialogue at Goodmayes .London
  8. Friday 21 st .Inset Programme at Al-Noor School
  9. Saturday 22 nd at Goodmayes..Part of a panel of speakers..Creating a smooth transition from Childhood to Adulthood
  10. Sunday  23 rd -..Unleashing Children’s Potential. Coventry
  11. Monday 24 th- …Address Headteachers in London. Topic Challenges and Solutions. Meeting Yusuf Islam later that evening-always my highlight.
  12. Tuesday 25th -Meeting with ‘Fuad Nahdi and a Brother from Jeddah who wants set up a model school in JEDDAH. Leave for home.
    It will be impossible to encapsulate my visit .Suffice it to say that Muslims are facing challenges throughout the world .UK is no different .The efforts of many individuals and organisations like RADICAL MIDDLE WAY ,NIDA TRUST and many others in developing programmes in social cohesion is salutary .In fact all schools are expected to do the same. It is not uncommon for schools to organise visits to churches, temples, synagogues and mosques. My recommendation is that we should be more aggressive with programmes of a similar nature .We could as a start invite learners of other faiths to our school .Inter-faith programmes are very common.The other big challenge in the UK is bullying including cyber-bullying.2009 has seen many more incidents of bullying at Al-Falaah. This sadly reflects our degenerating society and specifically the impotence of the family to empower our children with the right kind of attitudes and values. The school is in this invidious position of fulfilling this responsibility of sharing with our charges effective antidotes. Otherwise we will erroneously believe that the only recourse we have is to expel the so -called perpetrators of unbecoming behaviour. The question is: do we have a coherent programme to address these issues? I am so glad that when I met head teachers in London this issue was raised. It was concluded that-

    1. The school can do many more programmes in Tarbiyah and that all educators must be on the same page. Sadly many of our schools have become pockets of academic excellence and that the vision is relegated to the background. There is growing evidence that modern schooling is doing little or nothing to prepare our loved ones for a future that is unknown to us.
    2. Another challenge the schools in London face is the apathy of most parents on the one hand and on the other the over-zealousness (euphemistically speaking) of a few. This I am aware resonates with most of our schools. Parents are partners in education. We need to cajole them and even implore them. If all else fails then as they say, we need to get compliance. This can happen if our schools move from Good to Great. The three stages that are critical are:



If we do not win the hearts and minds of our learners then they will not have a sense of belonging. Another area of grave concern has been the lack of motivation of learners. The school can offer the best programmes but if our students are just not interested then we have a crisis. This appears to be a global trend. Instant gratification informs all activities of many of our children. Work ethic, perseverance, ambition and sense of responsibility all appear too painful to embrace. In some way this reinforces the following observation of days gone by ,that students travelled distances to seek answers from scholars …now scholars travel distances looking for students. This is an observation shared by all. We perhaps need to continue to have a conversation with our learners, connect with them and inspire them. If we wait for parents to support and motivate their children then we will be clutching at straws. We need to ask the following questions:

  1. Is learning becoming too theoretical?
  2. Are we embracing creativity?
  3. Do we understand the experiential world of our learners?
  4. Have we become too hidebound by departmental requirements?
  5. Are we inspiring our learners?
  6. Can we fill the vacuum created by parents?
  7. Are we making effective use of modern –day technology?
  8. Do we have a coherent programme to promote reading?
  9. Is modern day schooling becoming increasingly irrelevant?

Yes if we continue to do the same things the same way then we must expect the same results. We have to ensure that we do some things differently in 2010.I am thrilled about a few of the curricula changes which is to be effected in the new year, eg The Leadership Programme.

I have no doubt that, we as a collective can have a positive impact on our learners. I, too, look forward to 2010 with optimism and much hope.

Finally, all I can say is that if we fail to plan them we plan to fail.

Take care


Edris Khamissa

29 /11/2009

P.S. Those of you want me to share the details of my programme in the UK, kindly call upon me.

Ponder Over This

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.  The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.  ~Carl Jung

The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort.  The tough problem is not in identifying winners:  it is in making winners out of ordinary people.  ~K. Patricia Cross

If we teach children how we were taught then we would rob them of their tomorrow.

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