Once upon a time, I wondered why we did comprehension for almost 12 years as part of our curriculum. From Primary school, we did comprehension every morning. We read short stories and answered questions about who, why, when.
I lived for English classes and those stories in Primary school, but by the time I got to secondary school, I didn’t see the point of reading stories just to answer who, where, when, and why questions. I enjoyed the part where we found ‘new words’ broke them down to their roots/origin, got synonyms and antonyms of the same word, made our own sentences with them, yeah, but the reading to answer who said this, to whom annoyed me. Sometimes I was tempted to write ‘look at line 4’ for who said this in my exercise books but I went to a school where punishment for sassiness included working in the school farm for weeks so I answered these questions always with a sigh in my head.
Years later, with the emergence of social media I totally understand now why those who built our curriculum included comprehension in it. English is hard. Comprehension is difficult. How many times have you scrolled through social media where somebody made a post and you see confusing comments beneath? I am always amazed. Is it that people don’t understand English, or they can’t comprehend what the person has said?
Sometimes, some Good Samaritans even take their time to explain what was said beneath a post but no, Nigerians really do have a comprehension problem.
Next thing, you’ll see people fighting under a post, clearly not understanding anything the original writer said. Plus, the thing with Nigerians is that instead of owning our ignorance, asking questions or going to study, we come to social media with so much arrogance, a.k.a ITK (I too know) insult people front, left and centre. Even when people point out these errors, nope, only a few can manage to apologise for their errors. The rest carry on as though it is your fault they can’t understand simple English.
All of this is on top of the 10-12 years of doing ‘comprehension’ from primary to secondary school. What if it was removed totally from the curriculum?
Other times it is not as if people don’t understand, it is the rush to reply, to show off newly acquired knowledge or new words they just learnt. A news headline may read “government to consider building a house for poor folks,” comment following will be ‘FG is tribalistic, why are they building a house for only people in Benue?’
Please, before making comments on social media or on trending issues, read slowly first, make sure you understand, do not be in a hurry to reply, understand what is being said. If they are words you don’t understand, take a step back to check, google for translations. If you don’t understand the concept of what is being discussed, trust me the whole discussion will be fine without your input. You can actually just quietly observe the discussion or go and do research before you ask questions or join in.
Tuck in your ignorance and please stop embarrassing your ancestors on social media.