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

Teachers as co-learners in class

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

I refer to ‘Shift to student-centred learning’ (StarEducate, March 19). The paradigm shift from traditional teaching methods by focusing on how students learn instead of how teachers teach is called learner-centred teaching.

Educators need to question themselves on “How can I improve my students’ learning?” instead of the oft-asked question “How can I improve my teaching?”

Learner-centred teaching is based on the assumption that students are capable learners who will blossom as power shifts to a more egalitarian classroom. It allows students to critically think about questions using content not just as a collection of isolated facts.

Teachers are like knowledge explorers and students are responsible for their own learning and assessment. This form of education instruction enables educators to take on the role of co-learners. They help in active learning, assist in problem-based learning and, more generally, a thoughtful understanding of what the best teachers actually do in classrooms.

Educators now need to foster critical thinking, have a strong trust in students, and become life-long learners themselves.

Activities expected of the learner-centred teaching is the exchanging of lecture notes and multi-bullet point slides for a more active, engaging, collaborative style of teaching.

Learner-centred teaching involves connecting with knowledge and students at the same time. Educators must be able to learn and understand the way their students understand and analyse.

Students become lifelong learners by developing their critical thinking skills and self-management abilities. By doing so, they are more likely to have success in the “real world” than if they were merely test takers.

Learner-centred teaching requires us to progress from “doing something to students” (teaching) to “doing something with students” (teaching and learning) and to “being with students” (learning).

Utilising small work groups, personal work portfolios, and student-driven classroom experiences, and taking responsibility for their learning are among the measures called for.

A key in understanding the impact of a learner-centred model is seeing through the eyes of students. Collecting data from the students’ perspective is consistent with this approach.

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Shift to student-centred learning

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

THROUGHOUT 2016, we saw a global shift from personalised learning to student-centred learning.

It’s true that students have always demanded an always-on, anytime, anywhere learning experience, delivered by modern learning tools. However, this time we also witnessed an increasing demand from students for a more autonomous, self-directed learning experience.

A recent survey by Canvas highlighted this growing trend as a foundation for working life. The research, which surveyed 500 undergraduates from both public and private universities, found that 65% of students indicated that their university courses play a vital role in increasing their chances of employment, yet only 25% say they’re equipped with the necessary skills required for employment.

Universities took notice of this in 2016 and have begun the evolution process, spurred by the demands on their well-informed students.

Already, 42% of students say that they have fast broadband access to support video interaction with tutors, and 41% say that they have access to Learning Management Systems (LMS), which enable collaborative problem solving and self-directed learning, all crucial in establishing a student-centred learning environment.

Just three months into 2017, there’s already a bigger demand for student-centred learning, spurred by four digitally driven educational disruptions: analytics, open technologies, 24/7 access to course materials and preparatory education.

These four trends are forcing academic institutions to re-evaluate the services they offer, with a focus on enhancing the student experience.

Over the years, we have seen education institutions embrace data to demonstrate student achievement through pass rates or grades, and it was easy to find education leaders who dismissed the industrial use of data analytics in education.

Today, we’ve come full circle, with the education industry broadly embracing data-based decision making and research-based practice. In Malaysia, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation has been championing the nation’s big data and analytics (BDA) initiatives, with aspirations of making Malaysia the leading BDA solutions hub in Southeast Asia.

It’s no wonder we see more industries and sectors adopting analytics-based modelling within the country. The education industry is no exception, using real-time data to inform changes in teaching methods and address student needs as they arise.

This can help increase student engagement and motivation, all hugely important in ensuring continuation rates and, ultimately, improving results and grades. Technology experts are united in the view that schools and colleges can reap the same benefits of cloud services and open application programming interfaces (APIs) as their counterparts in commercial industries. Open APIs allow educators to easily choose applications and resources that best fit their students’ needs.

Malaysia is on the right track, with its higher education ministry offering over 60 open online courses within 20 of its public universities.

This year, we will continue to see educators embrace open technology and move away from proprietary models and products created by a handful of developers to ones built by communities of thousands.

With students calling for always-on access to course materials, more institutions will demand improved availability from their technology partners.

Cloud computing continues to be at the core of this evolution, helping unleash the next wave of tech-enabled innovation in schools by enabling educators to change the way courses are delivered to a new generation of tech-savvy, social students.

In 2016, 41% of Malaysia university students say their number one educational experience is having an always-on learning experience that enables access to learning materials, anytime, anywhere, on any device.

A further 52% of students believe their universities are providing them with modern technology and teaching that delivers a personalised learning experience, and 77% of undergraduates say the teaching methods experienced at universities are more in tune with their learning styles than those experienced at school, and are all delivered through the cloud.

2017 will be no different, and will see an increase in always-on settings, as education institutions continue to provide student-centred learning environments that are conducive preparatory platforms for today’s workforce.

Global research by Canvas showed that just 10 percent of students believe that their education adequately prepares them for the workplace.

Pressure from students, combined with an increasing need for institutions to demonstrate the return on investment from education, will put renewed focus on employability.

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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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