Monday, April 14, 2008

The Wooden Tablet Method

For my son's Hifdh class he uses the "wooden tablet method" (LauHa). That is, he has to write the chapter he is memorising on a wooden tablet, with a home made ink, they call Smaagh. DH is convinced this method is superior for memorising the Qur'an, lol. He used to get his chapters dictated to him though.
We used the dictation method too, when I was young. But we used regular pen and paper.

DS had to get a wooden tablet, a feather pen 'reeshah' or calligraphy pen and make 'Smaagh', before he finished reciting his first Hizb (most of which was just repetition). This is brown 'Smaagh', as it is when bought.
It is grinded and mixed with boiling water, and then left to cool.
After writing what he's managed to get down in one day (it takes a lot of patience to write even one stroke with those pens), he then takes the tablet with him to the mosque, 'memorises' it (he already knows most of it, he just learns to recite it in Warsh instead of Hafs), recites it to the sheikh, and then he has to reread it 100 times.

The writing goes very slowly, and he's now tried four different pens, plus faking it with a pencil and a calligraphy pen for regular ink! The best pen is the one made of a kind of bamboo stick, called qsab. It retains the ink for longer, making the dipping in the ink farther apart.

His hand writing and reading skills are getting better, inshaa Allah, although he forgets his glasses more often than not, and he still makes mistakes of the kind I've mentioned before (in the posts on dyslexia). The biggest problem I'm having is getting him to spend time with me, though, so I can't really tell where he's having a hard time or if there truly is a problem, nor can I help him where he needs it.

I thought it would be to his advantage to learn Warsh too, but I think sometimes that they are held back, not advancing as fast as they could. For example, when they turn in the tablets, they're not allowed to write any more until two 'mosque'-days later (he goes four to five days a week), and on the days he's off he rarely does any memorising or writing. With the pace he's writing in, he doesn't learn half as quickly as when he used to listen to cassettes only.

The other issues I have with this class, is the lack of instruction in the tajweed rules. DS has only sat down with the sheikh once in four months, to go through the differences between Hafs and Warsh. He would have benefited with some repetition!
The unbelievably fast pace they recite in! How on earth can the shuyukh hear if (and when!) the kids make a fault?!
And they do no tafseer, whatsoever. It's purely, and only, taHfeedh, unfortunately.


Nadia said...

oh mashaallah! hmmm i'm reminded of this technique but using pen and paper, by an iraqi sister when she taught at the summer school. What do you think? Do you think this method helps them better?
What I've been advised so far (by somali sisters mashaallah) is to have them have personal mushafs, listen to audio rcitation with mushaf in hand, and that's it. My problem is, I do hifdh and QUran reading with tajweed. For the hifdh part, my husband handles most of it..and the kids are at diffeernt husband dictates and the listen. We used to have H listen to the recitation on before but now bec the site is always slow he doesn't want to use it anymore. So my 'logic' is, if they know how to read by themselves with tajweed, this can help them work on their hifdh portions by themselves..but handling the reading part for me is the tough part as I have to do it one on one with each of them, bt i have solved that by doing one person after 3 salat (whichever it happens to be) (at least in theory..not done consistently so far)..but yeah, right now because we have 3 kids at different levels, it's a little hectic around here LOL..we have them check each other too (my well, my husband does) while we work with one of them.

Oum Anas said...

I think the best is to try all the different approaches we can think of.
That way we can find out what kind of learners we are and/or what technique suits best for memorising Qur'an.
All the kids in this mosque go to school, except my son and a few toddlers, so I can understand why it's lacking, since they have lots of homework and sometimes even tutors outside of school.
I'd like to try the unit study approach, inshaa Allah, maybe with scrap or lap booking, when I get the chance.

ummi said...

I used to used bamboo stick and ink. It's just bring back memories. I used to learn calligraphy before when I was small.

From my experience, to produce a hafz do need a technique. I remember, we had two madrasah near my house in malaysia before. I madrasah had a teacher which is also a hafz from Pakistan( for boy). And the other madrasah ( for girl) which is a malaysian sister and she's not a hafz her self. She might do lots of memorization but never been to tahfeez herself.

When the madrasah with the pakistani teacher open the girl section which a teacher is also from pakistan and was a hafz her self, some student from the madrasah with malaysian sister wanted to transfer to this madrasah with a pakistani teacher.

When he do a test to one of the children which only 5 at that time and already memorize al baqarah, this pakistani teacher said, if like this I can produce 100 hafz a year.

My brother finished his hafz with this pakistani teacher alhamdulillah. For every student come to learn at this madrasah, even they already cfinish khatam the whole quran, they will had to go back to learn alif, baa, taa. Usually to learn only alif until ya will take around one to one and half months for every student before they can move. Also when they start to memorize surah, they can only had 3 ayat a day and stay on the same ayat until they got it proper.

When I ask my brother how is the memorization when he finish, he said, when he start to recite the quran anywhere anytime, the ayat will appear in front of his eyes in his mind. It's like a computer screen in front of you. But, listen to every student which had finish from this madrasah, masya allah..they not just be a hafz but, also discipline because one of the important things to train a hafz is to had a teacher whom you respect and whom you fear.

Also the difficult time always in the middle and the end. My other brother had already half way through his hafz but decided he can't take it anymore and continue with alim course. Another thing from my experience, tafseer usually learn after hafz. That's why always after hafz than continue with alim course.

I don't had much experience with my own as I don't get them to do memorization on big surah as me my self or hubby as a teacher as we are not proper teacher to teach our children to become hafz. May be it's different if my first language is Arabic, but it's not. I just get them to memorize the surah they need for praying.

From my experience surrounding with hafz and hafizah back in Malaysia, the quality of memoriation is very important. That's why it takes lots of patient to produce a proper one.

I wish I can send one of them to madrasah sometimes..
Insya Allah.

Nadia said...

jazakum allah khair for sharing that finie...

oum anas...i am thinking about what you said...jazakillah khair!