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A New Generation Of Teachers!

17 March 2016

By Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi

The neoconservatives who gained control of American foreign policy during the administration of George W Bush were instrumental in unleashing political and economic crises that the world is still dealing with. The Bush presidency also witnessed the killing and displacement of millions of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries. These American policies resulted in creating a new Middle East, afflicted by chaos and anarchy in many countries such as Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. This was envisioned and marketed by Condoleezza Rice, who served first as national security advisor and then as secretary of state while Bush was in office.

In this article, I contrast the emerging new generation of teachers who have gained control of today's high-tech world with the neoconservatives who gained control of American foreign policy. While the neoconservatives were infamous for acts leading to war, bloodshed, invasion of nations, killing of innocent people and pursuing the policy of ''those who are not with us are against us'', today's new generation of teachers have become famous for making a tremendous contribution to the education of adults.

Before talking about the new teachers, I must briefly describe the neoconservatives. They are a rightwing political group, which believes in the power and hegemony of the United States over the world. This group is comprised of major strategists, thinkers and war veterans who are associated with the ideals of Leo Strauss, a German Jewish thinker who emigrated to the United States before World War II and worked as a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. He propagated there his political and social ideas. It was Liberals who started using the term ''neoconservative'' to rebuke those Liberals who had switched over to the rightwing and called themselves Liberal Straussians.

Though neoconservatism originated in the 1960s, it peaked in influence during the administration of George W Bush. He had close proximity with them and cherished their ideas based on ''creative chaos'' which is based on bloodletting, preemptive war and the weakening of opponents. Similarly, neoconservatives are closely associated with Zionism, the state of Israel, and evangelical Christians. They firmly believe that Israel's interests are virtually the same as the interests of the United States. Most prominent among the neoconservatives were Dick Cheney, former vice president, Donald Rumsfeld, former secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams and Paul Bremer.

As for the new generation of teachers, they are today's children. I don't know if anyone before me has ever called them this since it is well known that children are students and not teachers. But in the modern age, characterized by fast developments in technology and digital culture, children today have become teachers of technology at least for their parents. In the past, it was the father or mother or both whose help was sought by their sons or daughters to solve any problem or to teach them any lesson that they did not grasp. But now, the situation has been drastically changed. It is now the father or mother who asks the son or daughter how use a computer to access the information that they require. Similarly, parents (the so-called new students) resort to their sons and daughters (the new teachers) to get information about how to use social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others to help them solve difficult problems.

A friend of mine told me: ''Until a few years ago, I did not have any idea about how to use a computer nor did I really know what the Internet was. Furthermore, I was not keen to go to an institute to learn about such things. I never really thought that something could rival books in helping me to obtain knowledge and that could provide entertainment at the same time.

''One day, I paid a visit to one of my friends, who was then working on a computer. He asked me some questions related to the computer but I told him that I did not know anything about it. He thought for a while that I was joking. When, I asserted this fact, he admitted that he too had been a computer illiterate despite being the holder of higher degree certificates.

''Then, he explained how he became computer literate. One day, he sought the help of his children and it was they who taught him how to use a computer. The response of his children was swift and decisive. One of them mischievously told him: ''You must be an ideal student, fulfill your duties and listen to the words of your teachers!''

This is the way the roles have been changed and teachers have become students while students have become teachers. There is no longer any doubt that this is the era of a new generation of teachers.

Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi is a former Saudi diplomat who specializes in Southeast Asian affairs. He can be reached at algham@hotmail.com


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