There have been different methods of teaching in the advanced level in religious seminaries. These methods have been practiced and tested in the previous centuries. Each of these methods has both positive and negative aspects. That is to say none of them has been flawless thus far. Two of the famous methods are the textual method and method by subject.
The Textual Method
In the textual method, some comprehensive and profound books in the field of Jurisprudence and Osul favored by teachers and prominent scholars would be chosen as text books without there being a concentrated research and decision in their selection. In this method, the lengthiness of the period of teaching, the difficulty of the text and the unfamiliarity of the students with it and their inability in proper utilization would make acquiring knowledge and wisdom painstaking and arduous.
Method by Subject (at the post graduate or Khaarej level)
In this method there is no specific text for teaching. Rather only the subject of discussion is determined and the teacher also points out – according to his talent and understanding – his own points of view while elaborating on the topic. Then he presents evidences and proofs to confirm his stand on the topic. On the other hand, the students also raise their questions and remarks to have a progressive and useful interaction.
Although this method had some privileges and was helpful to the progress of students, it caused the lessons to last longer than it was expected. Sometimes a single topic would last for weeks, months or a year without there being any significant use in it. Also some issues such as, subject of knowledge, concrete (primitive) and derivative known as Jaamed and Moshtagh, Sahih and A’am etc. got into the studies of the religious seminaries which overshadowed the principal topics and added to their size whereas some of these issues have no role in deduction and inference. And if they have some value, it is of little significance compared to the time given to it by the students and teachers.
It is necessary to mention that due to swarming number of students in Khaarej (post graduates) classes, the Khaarej lessons have degraded, quality-wise more than ever before.
Ayatollah Alozma Jannaati being aware of the points of strength and weakness of teachings at the religious seminaries and having fifty years experience of studying, teaching and researching in the presence of Najaf and Qom’s most prominent scholars, founded a new method. In teaching Jurisprudence at the Khaarej level, he applied his own procedure by taking the good aspects of Hawza lessons and cutting off unnecessary, fruitless and time consuming materials in the course of his teachings. In other words, he concentrated on the useful materials of Jurisprudence and Osul and gave importance to discussions of constructive and advantageous nature.
In this method the teacher defends his ideas and the students also attend the class with preparation to criticize their teacher. Through this method not only does the student get his lesson but he also learns the method of Jurisprudence and theorization.
One of the brilliant features of Ayatollah Alozma Jannaati in teaching is that he is “student centered” and not “teacher centered”. Not only does he give his students the courage and opportunity but he also expounds the way of inference with all its ins and outs. In other words, his teaching can be named a combination of traditional and modern methods which can be very constructive and effective for growth and progress of human forces at religious seminaries.
This method is being followed and practiced by His Eminence. Of course, according to him this is a small step towards reforming the educational system of the religious seminaries. He has given many suggestions and theories to help create a desirable educational system in the religious seminaries. These suggestions have been stated in their proper places.