Archive for the ‘21st Century Teaching and Learning.’ Category

More ‘honest conversations’ needed with Gen Y-ers

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) corporate sector head Jamie Lyon.

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) corporate sector head Jamie Lyon

WE need to talk.

No, not about a relationship break-up. This is about maintaining relationships – between bosses and staff, between an organisation and its employees.

With many young Malaysian employees expressing interest in working overseas, perhaps it is time for more Malaysian bosses to discuss their workers’ plans for the future openly.

Saying that it is a common mistake not to have such discussions, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) corporate sector head Jamie Lyon recommends that bosses have more “honest conversations” with their workers to understand and tackle issues.

“Employers need to find out how quickly people want to move, how many want to and what roles they plan to move to.

“For young employees, they question whether they will be getting any career development.

“How do employers tackle that? They start by having honest conversations with their employees. Ask them: what do you want from your career and what can we do as an organisation to support you in that?” he explains.

Lyon adds that employers should also think about offering their staff more coaching and mentoring.

“This is a generation that wants personalised interventions. They want that collaboration to happen.

“I think just talking to this generation, ensuring conversations flow through leadership and making leadership accessible to them is key, along with breaking hierarchies,” he says.

To harness the entrepreneurial streak in Gen Y-ers, Lyon also encourages employers to tap such interests by offering lateral moves within an organisation.

“If someone comes in as a finance person, it doesn’t mean they have to stay as that. Both employers and workers can consider a rotation or secondment in roles and see how such talent can be honed,” he suggests, adding that it is up to organisations to think creatively about creating opportunities for their staff to grow.

Giving a pay rise to workers may help entice them to stay, but Lyon believes that this is a short-term solution and companies should be thinking of more long-term, holistic solutions.

“If people are going to be happy in their careers, something has to be done about it. The irony is even though we live in a global knowledge economy, the biggest asset of a company is its people,” he points out.

As for his advice to Malaysian youth, Lyon encourages them to think out of the box.

“Sometimes, people think the better option is to go somewhere else. Start by having honest conversations with your employer. Think also about what options you have, not just by leaving office, but about how to build a portfolio of skills, which will be relevant in the future world of work,” he says.

While acknowledging that more open discussions should be held, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan admits Malaysian bosses aren’t very open with employees.

“We are very conservative in this area. But this should be one of our long-term goals,” he says.

Shamsuddin, however, says more employers are becoming more open with their workers, but this usually happens in bigger firms, and, “the reality in Malaysia is that 98% of employers run small and medium sized enterprises”, he says.

Shamsuddin observes that Gen Y-ers generally do not like to be monitored a lot and tend to prioritise a healthy work-life balance.

“As such, if Malaysian employers want to retain young talent in the long run, they are encouraged to create an attractive environment for this group to excel, including allowing them a certain amount of flexibility,” he says.

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Follow Curriculum Prepared For P&P, Teachers Told

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

SUNGAI PETANI, Jan 16 (Bernama) — Teachers have been advised not to wait for or use last year’s examination format as reference in their teaching and learning (P&P) sessions this year, said Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof.

Instead, Khair urged the teachers to follow the new curriculum prepared by the Education Ministry as it had been completed and comprehensively fulfilled all aspects of education.

“The new standard curriculum for primary and secondary schools have been reviewed. Thus, we do not want teachers to wait for last year’s examination format or even use the older format.

“In the curriculum, we have clarified what needs to be taught, what needs to be achieved and what needs to be defined… that is sufficient,” he told reporters after attending the 1Malaysia Young Teachers’ Professional Discourse for Kuala Muda and Yan districts, here today.

Meanwhile, Khair assured that in empowering the 21st century education, students with special needs and Orang Asli children would not be neglected.

“We will continue with what has been implemented and further boost the P&P to ensure these students are not left behind.

“The 21st century is the time for student-centred learning, we evaluate them based on their activities and interaction ability, not focusing only on examinations,” he said.


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Changes in store at schools

Saturday, December 24th, 2016
Time for update: The Primary School Standard Curriculum, which was introduced to Year One pupils in 2011, will be reviewed in 2017.

Time for update: The Primary School Standard Curriculum, which was introduced to Year One pupils in 2011, will be reviewed in 2017.

The Education Ministry is implementing a new curriculum in secondary schools and revising the current one in primary schools.

THE Education Ministry awaits 2017 with much anticipation as it is the year that sees the implementation of the new Standard Curriculum for Secondary Schools (KSSM) for Form One students and a revised Primary School Standard Curriculum (KSSR) for Year One pupils.

The first cohort of KSSR began in 2011 starting with Year One.

In an interview outlining several changes made in reviewing the KSSR, the Education Ministry’s head for the policy and research sector, Naza Idris Saadon, said: “The first cycle of the KSSR which was implemented in 2011 has ended and we will now do a review of it in 2017, concurrent with the implementation of the KSSM.

“These changes will be done in stages and new textbooks will be provided to students.

“In line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, several changes must be made to our national curriculum in order to produce students who are resilient, curious, innovative and able to communicate well.”

Naza Idris said some of the changes made in the KSSR review and simultaneously the KSSM include the content of the subjects as the ministry believes it has to be up to date with the changing times.

“We want relevant content to be taught to our students.”

He emphasised that the content taught today has to change in accordance, by including new information and content into the subject especially for those that revolve around technology.

“The structure of the subjects taught is still the same but there will be tweaks in its content.

“We are also improving the content of our syllabus in accordance with global trends and international benchmarking to ensure our curriculum is on par internationally.

“Other changes include the organisation and management of the curriculum, changes in the pedagogy aspect of teaching and learning and in the allocation of time for each subject,” he added.

Naza Idris explained that in the past, teachers were required to complete a certain amount of minutes in a week for each subject.

Now, it will be completed in minimum hours per year.

“This is where we want schools to manage the allocation of time for each subject.

“The minimum hours a subject has to be completed within a year depends on the subject itself as different subjects have different requirements. How many hours in a week the teacher uses to teach his or her students their subjects is their prerogative, but they must meet the minimum hours set for the year,” he added.

Merely focusing on the national education’s syllabus isn’t enough as the ministry and teachers must look into how to deliver and teach their students effectively, added Naza Idris.

“Teaching pedagogy is of paramount importance so that the content that has been set for the syllabus will be delivered effectively.

“We want to emphasise on the importance of taking an in-depth and contextual approach in learning as well as problem-solving and project-based approach.

“To execute this, teachers need time to plan and this is why we eliminated the requirement of completing the teaching and learning of a subject in minutes per week and substituted it with hours per year,” he said.

The ministry places significant importance on a teaching and learning pedagogy based on higher order thinking skills (HOTS).

Assessments are carried out continuously through summative and formative methods to ensure the progress and achievements of student.

Naza Idris added that teachers will assess the extent to which students are able to master learning standards with reference to the performance standards.


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Testing and supporting struggling students

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

The Education Ministry has come up with a test that assesses pupils with learning difficulties and helps them define their strengths and skills, to move on to the next level.

THE Year Six boy carefully counts the change and hands the money to his “customer” on the other side of the counter.

The “customer’ has bought some popiah from his “stall’ to have for her mid-morning break.

Just behind him is his teacher who observes the transaction. She takes note of the cash he has as the boy puts it away in the till.

The teacher’s presence at the “stall” is to grade her pupil for his basic counting ability and his interactive and conversational skills with his customer.

Her rating of the pupil is a requirement that has been outlined in the Pentaksiran Alternatif Sekolah Rendah (PASR).

Introduced in February, the PASR is an assessment to gauge pupils with learning disabilities who have between six and eight years of schooling. It is similar in concept to how mainstream Year Six pupils are gauged in the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR).

The PASR objective is to assess pupils’ aptitude for numbers, their ability to interact with others and learn a skill.It also aims to measure the achievement and the development level of special needs pupils using an integrated assessment approach which encourages meaningful learning by using skills that can be applied in real life.

Prior to the PASR implementation, pupils with learning disabilities did not have any alternative to cater to their learning needs.

In fact, there has so far been no centralised assessment at all for special needs pupils.

While no single test or evaluation can capture a child’s full spectrum of strengths and challenges, an assessment like the PASR helps teachers gauge their pupils to some extent.

Examinations Syndicate Alternative Assessment Development Sector head Mohd Satar Ramli says the Education Ministry wanted a fair way to assess these pupils.

“We explored and studied the assessment instruments used in foreign countries and found that they had modified their mainstream syllabus to suit the pupils’ needs,” he adds.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (second from left) presents Khoo Jenny (second from right), a special needs student from SK Bukit Rahman Putra, Sungai Buloh, with her PASR certificate. — File photo

“We didn’t want to modify the national syllabus for special needs pupils just for the sake of doing so,” he adds, saying that the ministry wants to make sure the assessment report has a purpose in helping and defining the pupil’s development to the next level.

He says the ministry is taking a “gentle approach’’ as the children are sensitive.

In 2016, 2,550 pupils from 738 schools took the PASR.

One of the ways the ministry is using a gentle approach for this assessment is to do away with grades.

Instead, candidates are given a competency level ranking.

“They are either “not competent”, “competent” and “more than competent”.

Under the PASR, there is no “fail” or “distinction”.

“We are not judging them by grades, neither are we trying to sugar-coat and give false impressions,” he adds.

“This is what we call an authentic assessment.”

“The ministry believes that if a candidate is rated “not competent” in a skill, but continues to be taught and guided, he can become competent in that skill.

“We also do not want to draw comparisons among candidates as this will cause competition and that is not what the PASR is about,” he points out.

A comprehensive report is also given at the end of the assessment.

The PASR provides a holistic and comprehensive overview of what a child has picked up in primary school, says Mohd Satar.

Mohd Satar says that the candidates will receive a physical activity, sports and co-curricular assessment, and psychometric assessment reports as well.

Those who sit for the PASR must be from national, national-type and schools with special needs classes and integrated schools that are following the Primary School Standard Curriculum (KSSR) Special Education also known by its Malay acronym KSSRPK.

Only children who have completed the KSSRPK Level 2 can sit for the assessment.

Examinations Syndicate Alternative Assessment Development Sector assistant director Ku Azman Tuan Mat says candidates must also be in their final year of primary school, and since they have learning disabilities, they are allowed to take the exam between the ages of 12 and 14.

Assessment instruments

Mohd Satar says that the only thing “centralised” in the PASR is the assessment instrument and the scoring rubric used.

The PASR consists of two integrated assessment instruments carried out at the school level, better known as school-based assessments.

Pupils are given eight weeks to complete the instruments known as Special Project (ProKhas) 1 and four weeks to complete ProKhas 2.

ProKhas 1 consists of Bahasa Melayu, Mathematics and Life Skills carried out for eight weeks throughout July and August.

All the subjects are integrated and assessed concurrently through an activity.

Life Skills can be divided into four areas – farming (perkebunan), cooking (masakan), animal husbandry (penternakan) and sewing (jahitan).

For this year, the cooking assessment was based on making, marketing and selling popiah, and it was held in conjunction with Entrepreneur’s Day at the schools.

It is kept very flexible for these pupils as the teacher has a choice of assessing all four life skills or choosing only the best score.

Pupils with special learning needs undergo the PASR at the school level when they finish their primary education. — File photo

“It all depends on the candidate’s capabilities,” he says, adding that the life skill taught to the child would also depend on the facilities available in the school.

He adds that it does not matter how much popiah they sell but rather, whether they can communicate effectively, measure the ingredients correctly, follow the recipe taught to them and count the change meant to be given to their customers.

“What we want to measure is how they fare – whether they can read, write, speak and count correctly, as well as the knowledge, skills and values demonstrated in the 20 constructs in a holistic and integrated assessment,” he adds.

“They need to talk to their customers, they need to design a poster with words to promote their product — these are ways we assess their Bahasa Melayu skills.”


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KBAT: Right Track To Holistic Generation – MB Perlis

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

KANGAR, Dec 14 (Bernama) — Applying High-Level Thinking Skills (KBAT) in the teaching and learning process in schools is the right effort by the government to create a generate that is excellent and holistic.

Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man said these skills needed to be introduced from the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) level to prepare the young to become strong and be able to face any challenges.

He said attention should then be drawn to the bigger picture where Malaysians are open to global competition.

“This competition is not getting any easier, but becoming harder. There are many challenges and obstacles which must be faced for our country to continue progressing, so we need to prepare the (next) generation to be able to think at a high level and transform challenges into opportunities,” he said.


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Sharing ideas through tech tools

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
Carlson says that with the changes, teachers too must make sure they have relevant content that’s engaging for students.

Carlson says that with the changes, teachers too must make sure they have relevant content that’s engaging for students.

GROUP discussions used to take place with students sitting in circles with scribblings on sheets of paper. Now, collaborations involve staring intently at handheld devices while furiously typing or voicing out their ideas into tiny microphones.

In today’s era, students are no longer confined to just discussing topics with their classmates.

“They can even speak to their counterparts on the other side of the world,” says Microsoft Asia Pacific education lead Don Carlson after the British Education Technology and Training Asia 2016 conference recently.

Carlson was illustrating the point that technology can bridge barriers, and cross time and geographical zones.

“They can even speak to the researchers in research camps in Antarctica. That’s what happened when students in Thailand used their Skype-a-thon session last year to speak to these experts,” he adds.

With technology, the most inspiring speakers and the best minds can be brought right into the classroom from the other end of the world, and these are the kinds of changes in the way teaching and learning are being championed by the company, he says.

“We want to become partners in these kind of changes. How are we equipping education systems to be ready for the next wave of innovation?” asks Carlson, who adds that the company has been working closely with the Education Ministry to ensure students enjoy the educational benefits of using Microsoft’s tools such as Skype, a video and voice call service.

Teachers are also not left out in the equation, with Carlson saying that the company wants to connect educators to fellow educators so that they could easily share best practices, whether or not they are connected to the use of technology.

“We want them to share ideas even if they conduct their lessons creatively without technological tools.”

In any case, the company has worked closely with the ministry and schools to ensure that teachers receive the right type of training.

“We want to make sure teachers have relevant content that’s also engaging for students,” he adds.

One such collaboration is the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Programme to recognise global educator visionaries who are using technology to pave the way for their peers for better learning and student outcomes.

With almost 500 MIEs in the Asia Pacific region (about 70 in Malaysia) from both private and public schools, Carlson says response to the programme has been “very positive”.


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Malaysian students show good improvement under Pisa

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian students have improved in Mathematics, Reading and Science under the Programme for Inter­national Student Assessment (Pisa) 2015.

According to results released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Malaysia scored 446 in Mathematics, 431 in Reading and 443 in Science in Pisa 2015. This was a marked improvement over Pisa 2012 where Malaysia was below the global average score.

Under Pisa 2012, Malaysia scored 421 in Mathematics, 398 in Reading and 420 in Science. In 2009, Malaysia scored 404 in Mathematics, 414 in Reading and 422 in Science.

Deputy education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin said the results achieved in Pisa 2015 survey showed that Malaysia was moving towards hitting the global average score of 490 in Mathematics and 493 in Reading and Science.

“We are on average, 50 marks from the global average in each domain. I am very pleased with the results and wish to congratulate all teachers, principals and students. Their commitment is commendable,” he told reporters following the release of the survey results at the ministry yesterday.

Pisa is administered by the OECD every three years on 15-year-olds in both OECD and non-OECD countries and offers students questions in the main language of instruction in their respective countries. Each round focuses on either Reading, Mathematics or Science.

For Pisa 2015, Dr Amin said 9,660 students from 230 schools were chosen at random to ensure a good representation. Malaysia was compared to 72 other countries.

Based on the survey results, he said more than 60% of the students who participated grasped the basic knowledge and skills of all three domains.

He attributed the improved results in Pisa 2015 to the implementation of the higher order thinking skills (HOTs).


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Graduates urged to think out of the box

Sunday, November 27th, 2016
Dr Vijay presenting Faculty Academic Award for Faculty of Business, Management & Social Sciences to Ng.

Dr Vijay presenting Faculty Academic Award for Faculty of Business, Management & Social Sciences to Ng.

QUEST International University Perak (QIUP) held its second convocation ceremony, awarding degrees to 120 students from the Faculty of Business, Management and Social Sciences, and Faculty of Integrative Science and Technology earlier this week.

The convocation also saw the very first batch of Engineering, Master in Business Administration, Accountancy, Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, and Teaching English as a Second Language students receiving their degrees.

The graduating students from the Faculty of Business, Management and Social Sciences received their scrolls from the Chairman of the University Council Datuk Seri Dr Vijay Eswaran.

Vijay, who is also the co-founder and executive chairman of QI Group of Companies also presented the outstanding scholastic achievement award to Racheal Har Ann Li, who was announced as the valedictorian.

Addressing students during the convocation, Vijay encouraged the new graduates to always think outside the box and be different.

“If there is one thing I would like our students to have, as they leave this campus and go out there into the real world, it is the ability to not to simply be able to answer every question they encounter but rather to have the ability to question every answer”, he added.

(From left) Goh, Dr Raman and Dr Vijay Eswaran observing the convocation.

Racheal, who gave a speech during the convocation, said that if God closes the door on something, he opens the window for something greater and if her case, he left it wide open.

“I’m forever grateful to the God almighty. I would like to dedicate this award to my mother, who has been an avid supporter during my studies.

“She is the anchor and fountain of common sense in my life. If my mother had not made the sacrifices, I definitely would not be standing here up today,” she told the crowd made up of QIUP Council members, faculty members, senior state government officials and students as well as their families.

Council member Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Khas presented the scrolls for the diploma programme graduates while council member Kuna Senathirajah presented the scrolls for the graduates of Faculty of Integrative Sciences and Technology.

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Getting ready for International Education benchmarking

Sunday, November 27th, 2016
Eagerly waiting for Tuesday: Dr Habibah (left) and Dr Ahmad Rafee feel that taking part in global benchmarking schemes is important as it allows the system to be refined in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Eagerly waiting for Tuesday: Dr Habibah (left) and Dr Ahmad Rafee feel that taking part in global benchmarking schemes is important as it allows the system to be refined in the spirit of continuous improvement.

THE Malaysian primary and secondary education system will come under the spotlight next Tuesday when the TIMMS 2015 (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) result is released.

Either more good news or bad news will ensue one week later, when the result of the PISA 2015 (Programme for International Student Assessment) is released.

TIMMS is a large-scale survey to give an international overview on the teaching and learning in mathematics and science so that participating countries can make informed decisions about educational policy and practice. TIMSS conducts comprehensive assessments of mathematics and science for students in Year 4 and Year 8 (Form 2 in the Malaysian context), while taking into account data about country, school, and classroom learning environments.

First conducted in 1995, TIMSS reports every four years on the achievements of Year 4 and Year 8, and Malaysia has been participating in this exercise since 1999 by allowing its Form 2 students to be assessed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), which in turn is directed by the TIMSS International Study Center at Boston College of the United States in collaboration with the network of organisations and representatives from participating countries.

In 2015, TIMMS surveyed the education systems across 39 countries, and in the case of Malaysia, the researchers randomly chose 9,726 students from 207 schools.

Meanwhile, PISA is administered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on 15-year-old pupils from more than 80 economies to determine their performance in mathematics, science, and reading.

In 2015, PISA assessors chose 9,660 students from 230 schools, also in random fashion to ensure good representation when Malaysia was compared to 71 other economies in the round of assessment focusing on science.

According to Dr Ahmad Rafee Che Kassim, deputy director at the Education Ministry’s Educational Planning and Research Division, these international benchmarking exercises are very different compared to school-based assessments (such as UPSR and SPM) as the latter are nationwide exercises involving everyone.

“TIMMS and PISA are about sampling a cohort of students, with the students chosen on a random basis by the agencies behind TIMMS and PISA.

When the results are announced, it can be extrapolated to the whole cohort. However, there won’t be factors like which one is the best performing state or school as it (global benchmarking) is not that kind of exercise,” he said in an interview last week at the ministry accompanied by his fellow deputy director from the same division, Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim.

For Dr Habibah, TIMMS 2015 is a test not just for students, but also for the primary and secondary education system.

“This was because the 2015 assessment came two years after we implemented the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025), where things like Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) were introduced. We shall see the outcome of this soon,” she said.

The Education Ministry’s cautious optimism at the impending release of these two global indices is understandable, as the country did not fare too well in the TIMMS 2011 and PISA 2012 cycles.

“Earlier on, we were above the international average (in TIMMS) by being in the top one-third of the grouping. But in 2011, we slid down to the bottom third, and that became a push factor for us. Our target is to claw our way back to the top-third by 2025. If we can see improvements in the latest results, it would be a great achievement for us,” said Dr Habibah.

In TIMMS 2011, Malaysia came out in the 26th place for Mathematics, and 32nd for Science, when compared to 44 other countries – placing


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Poor ratings for fresh graduates

Sunday, November 27th, 2016
Sharma and Chook (front row, fifth and seventh from left), with INTI students at the varsity’s career services centre.

Sharma and Chook (front row, fifth and seventh from left), with INTI students at the varsity’s career services centre.

IN a recent survey, employers expressed their dissatisfaction over the standard of fresh graduates today.

At least 70% of respondents said the standards of fresh graduates were just average.

The ratings were not linked to their academic qualifications but to their poor attitude and communication skills shown during interviews or at work.

Therefore, took the opportunity to launch its first Graduate Employability Programme in collaboration with INTI International University and Colleges (INTI) to tackle the issue.

The programme consists of four segments – a Career Corner, student ambassadors, career services and an executive review.

These segments function as a centre for students to prepare themselves for their first job. country manager Chook Yuh Yng congratulated INTI for its effort in empowering students to build bridges for their future careers as well as preparing them to enter the workforce.

“ is proud to have INTI as its partner to set up a Career Corner, making it easier and more accessible for students to get assistance on their first job,” she said.

INTI chief executive officer Rohit Sharma said the counselling skills received by its Career Services team and student ambassadors will enable them to work closer with its students be it through the preparation of resumes, mock interviews and providing feedback for the students’ improvement.

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