Archive for the ‘Teacher's Professionalism’ Category

We treat civil servants as our slaves

Sunday, July 15th, 2018
Civil servants attending motivation seminar. FILE PIC

ARE civil servants disappointed and demotivated? As a person from the private sector who deals with the government side, it is my opinion that they are, and I sympathise with them.

Changes must be implemented to help them. First, we should stop using the words “civil servant”.

These words have caused much problem to the public service. “Civil servant” gives a wrong perception to the people, who consider public service workers as their servants.

The Public Complaints Bureau (PCB) was established to achieve public service excellence by resolving public complaints.

My question to PCB is, are there protections for civil servants?

It would seem that PCB caters only for the public, and while civil servants are the target of many complaints, it is powerless to act against them. A balance must be struck.

There are videos showing civil servants acting rudely to the public.

When that occurs, the public criticises civil servants, but what the videos do not show is how the matter has reached that extent.

The department acts on the personnel without finding out what transpired.

From my observation, many consider civil servants their slaves. Whenever civil servants explain procedures, as laid down by the law, if it’s not in the person’s favour, the public refuses to listen.

They are only interested in having their way. The oft-quoted phrase by the public: “You are our servant. You must serve me. You must listen to me because I am paying your salary.”

Civil servants are not exempt from paying taxes. Some have support letters from political parties, while some throw the name cards of political secretaries or special officers of ministers to civil servants, demanding that they follow the person’s wishes.

In this context, I believe political secretaries and special officers do not have any authority to interfere with the administration of a government department.

Many civil servants get threats from the public that their names will be reported to the minister, PCB and the press for matters that are not their fault.

Some like to make a scene or use vulgar words for their demands to be entertained.

It is suggested that a complaints bureau for civil servants be set up to handle the public’s misbehaviour.


Read more @

Teachers urged to take own initiative to deliver their best performance

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
“Even with the absence of SKPMg2, teachers should prepare their own complete checklist, for self-monitoring and deliver their best performance.” said Negri Sembilan Education Department director Pkharuddin Ghazali (three from right). Pix by HAZREEN MOHAMAD

SEREMBAN: Negri Sembilan Education Department will follow any order issued by the Education Ministry following the suspension of the second wave of Malaysia Education Quality Standard (SKPMg2) auditing exercise.

Its director Pkharuddin Ghazali said teachers in the state were however urged to take their own initiative in making preparations and checklist to ensure continued systematic management.

“Even with the absence of SKPMg2, teachers should prepare their own complete checklist, for self-monitoring and deliver their best performance. It will assist them to identify strengths and weaknesses for improvement.

“I think a lot of miscommunication has occurred with regard to SKPMg2. If we had to do a complete checklist, it could have been a burden. But just to ensure that we have enough basic information as guidance for our work, I think we can always implement the basic from the system,” he said when met at the department’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration here today.

On June 7, the Education Ministry decided to pull the plug on the second wave of SKPMg2 auditing exercise, effective immediately, as an effort not to burden teachers with documentation

The ministry said teachers should instead be allowed to focus on their current tasks, especially those related to the delivery of high quality education to students.

On another development, Pkharuddin said the department had launched the ‘Jom Poie Nolong Sekolah’ campaign in October last year to promote participation from the public to help provide a more conducive environment in schools.

“We have been stressing a lot on ABC through this campaign ‘anak yang baik lagi cerdik’ since last year, which focuses more on a student’s behavior and personality. We give priority to mould their positive behavior instead of stressing on academic achievement as we believe the latter will come naturally if the students manage to behave positively,” he said.

“Among the programmes held at schools organised by parents and agencies were gotong-royong activities, class and science lab beautification projects and motivational talks, among others. We hope these activities which include participation among various parties will motivate the students to become better persons.”

By Nur Aqidah Azizi .

Read more @

Saluting dedicated educators

Sunday, May 27th, 2018
Aminudin (in white shirt) and Tengku Nasariah (fifth from right) with the teachers during the Petrosains’ Teachers Day celebration.

Aminudin (in white shirt) and Tengku Nasariah (fifth from right) with the teachers during the Petrosains’ Teachers Day celebration.

IN conjunction with the national Teachers Day celebrations, Petrosains, The Discovery Centre organised a special event to honour teachers for their dedication and invaluable contribution towards the younger generation.

The celebration was held together with the prize giving ceremony of the “2018 Petrosains Science Laboratory Challenge” competition.

A total of 200 teachers and educators from around the country attended the event.

Education deputy director-general (Education Operations Sector) Aminudin Adam gave away prizes to the main winners of the competition.

During the event, singer Dayang Nurfaizah sang, “Greatest Love of All” for the teachers.

They were also treated to a special showcase by the top 10 finalists from the competition.

The competition is one of Petrosains’ initiatives to encourage teachers to be more creative in science to improve the quality of learning among students and their interest towards science.

The competition was organised in collaboration with the Education Ministry’s Boarding School Management and the Schools of Excellence Division.

Tengku Nasariah in her speech said: “As an informal learning institution, Petrosains is the support for teachers to help produce students who will have higher order and critical thinking skills of the 21st century.”

“Petrosains has always been the backbone of support teachers in the strengthening of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives in the nation,” she said.

The competition was organised in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025. Sixty nine entries were received. The top 10 finalists competed in the final round and were assessed by experienced judges.

Read more @

Teachers happiest when teaching

Friday, May 25th, 2018
(File pix) Teachers should not be made to do clerical duties.

HAPPY and enthusiastic teachers are effective teachers. Though it is undeniable that salary revisions, promotions and cash incentives are important requisites, true happiness for teachers is derived from allowing them to do what they were trained to do: teach.

The primary function of teachers is teaching and no one else can substitute teachers in the classroom. We need to create a conducive environment for teachers to do their job.

The job scope of teachers entails lesson planning, selecting learning materials, evaluating and grading student work, managing student discipline and supervising extra-curricular activities.

But today, many teachers spend more time on non-teaching duties. The list of extra duties is mindless. Though these extras are related to the job, they are robbing teachers of time in less on preparation and classroom interaction.

Reducing the workload in schools is the only wish of teachers.

Teachers have too many students, too much paperwork, too little time for lesson preparation and too many meetings, courses and deadlines, causing them stress.

Many are stressed over paperwork and datelines set by the education officials.

Teachers should not be made to do clerical duties. Schools should employ clerks or teaching assistants to do the paperwork.

The clarion call in most schools is less paperwork and more time to teach, and this epitomises the grievance of teachers.

Teachers are the strongest influence on students.

Good infrastructure, equipment and facilities in schools complement good teaching.

These factors, however, cannot replace the fundamental and paramount role of teachers in classrooms.


Read more @

Maszlee has vast experience in education – IDEAS

Sunday, May 20th, 2018
Dr Maszlee Malik is the new Education Minister.
KUALA LUMPUR: Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) welcomes the appointment of Dr Maszlee Malik as Education Minister, describing him as a person with vast experience in the field of education, both as an educationist and author.

Its chief executive officer, Ali Salman, in his congratulatory statement said Dr Maszlee was also famous for exhibiting principled stance by speaking on critical issues openly.

He said the Simpang Renggam Member of Parliament had provided fresh ideas for the Malaysian education system during his campaign by proposing teaching assistants in classrooms, reducing class sizes as well as paperwork for teachers.

“He has also shown commitment to education issues affecting the community through his work on the Board of Governors of the IDEAS Autism Centre and other non-governmental organisations such as Teach for the Needs (TFTN) and Downsyndrome Educational Centre (ORKIDS),” he said.

Ali Salman, who is also the chief executive officer of Islam and Liberty Network, a global platform of researchers and academics, said that Maszlee had actively contributed in debate on Islam and policy issues by presenting an inclusive, plural and liberal interpretation of Islam.

He said Maszlee had also shown commitment to IDEAS in the past when he convened its short course on Political Economy in 2014.


Read more @

Dr Maszlee to make learning a joy again.

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

PETALING JAYA: Johor Baru-born Dr Maszlee Malik’s stated aim in the next five years is to ensure the national school system becomes the choice of parents and students.

“We are only playing with numbers, rankings, achievement rates based on exams. In the ‘Buku Harapan’ (Pakatan Harapan’s Mani-festo), we offer a few comprehensive initiatives for the education system, says the newly-named Education Minister.

“We also want to lighten the load of teachers by creating teaching assistants, smaller class sizes and reducing clerical tasks,” Dr Maszlee told Astro Awani in a programme where he was joined by DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong.

The academic, a lecturer at International Islamic University Malaysia, said both teachers and academicians at institutes of higher learning were facing pressure.

“When allocations are slashed and we are burdened with chasing after rankings, doing business and others, we are distracted from our core tasks as educators.

“For teachers and students, the process of learning and teaching are no longer as fun and joyful as before,” said Dr Maszlee.

The Persatuan Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) MP, who won the Simpang Renggam seat in Johor, received his Bachelors and Masters in Islamic Jurisprudence and Prin­ciples of Islamic Jurisprudence from University Malaya and Jordan’s al-Bayt University.

He received his doctorate in Political Science from Durham Uni­versity in the United Kingdom, and is a board member for think tank IDEAS’ Autism Centre.

He is among the 14-member Cabinet named by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.

The proposed list was approved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V at Istana Negara yesterday evening.

PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was named for two posts, namely that of Deputy Prime Minister and Women and Family Development Minister.

Pribumi president Tan Sri Muh­yid­din Yassin was named Home Minister while Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu was named Defence Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as Finance Minister.

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali was surpri­singly named Economic Affairs Minister.

Also in the list were Pribumi’s Rina Harun who was named as Rural Development Minister and PKR’s Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin who will be Housing and Local Government Minister.

DAP lawmakers Anthony Loke Siew Fook was named Transport Minister, Gobind Singh Deo as Communications and Multimedia Minister and M. Kulasegaran the Human Resource Minister.

Amanah’s Salahuddin Ayub will head the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry while Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad will be Health Minister.

The new Cabinet ministers will take their oath of office before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara at 11.30am on Monday.
Read more @

Students need firm, friendly teachers

Sunday, December 24th, 2017
Rote learning, drilling and spoon-feeding were once popular techniques in the classroom. In today’s learning environment, teachers are to take a back seat to let students become autonomous learners and make calculated decisions. FILE PIC

WITH the new academic year just around the corner, parents have begun making a checklist to prepare their school-going children, while shopkeepers may expect a large number of customers flooding their stores. As for teachers, they need to gear up for a new adventure in their careers

Today’s generation is too obsessed with following unhealthy trends that influence the way they speak, write, dress and think. Their thoughts and actions may sometimes take us by surprise. Their varied personalities may be interesting to explore, yet they are challenging to deal with.

Thus, it is important for teachers to equip themselves with strategies and skills to survive this bittersweet journey together.

Rote learning, drilling and spoon-feeding were once popular techniques applied in classrooms as examinations were the main focus. Now, students are expected to be creative, innovative and imaginative individuals who are able to lead, communicate effectively and develop multiple talents through co-curricular activities, school programmes and co-academic competitions. Teachers are to take a back seat to let students become autonomous learners and make calculated decisions.

Every lesson has its fun elements and flaws; it is nice to have enthusiastic learners participating actively in class, but uncooperative, disruptive and lackadaisical students may make it difficult for a lesson to proceed smoothly, resulting in other students getting distracted. To make learning happen and to make students behave is a great challenge, especially when it comes to classes with demotivated, weak and problematic students. Therefore, it is advisable for teachers to prepare alternative plans to solve the problem.

To conduct lessons using varied teaching methods in the first few weeks of the year may help teachers learn about students’ personalities and learning styles. This strategy will help teachers prepare better plans for future lessons to keep students intrigued and motivated during lessons.

All students share something in common. They wish to be seen, heard and appreciated. While some students may volunteer to ask or answer questions to be noticed, others may choose to cause trouble to get attention. It is easy to jump to conclusions and decide which learner is interested in learning and which one is not, but teachers need to be smart in analysing their students’ behaviours before working on solutions.

Students come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and they have life experiences. Their behaviours and attitudes are influenced by their upbringing and surroundings. Their low self-control and peer pressure make them feed their curiosity, satisfy their desires and relieve their stress in the wrong way, resulting in bullying, smoking, abuse of drugs and sexual offences.

By Muhamad Solahudin Ramli

Read more @

Inspiring the next generation

Monday, November 13th, 2017
Students are constantly challenged to look at things from different perspectives and defend their stand in the classroom.

Students are constantly challenged to look at things from different perspectives and defend their stand in the classroom.

DO you remember the teacher who made a difference in your life? A good teacher does more than just impart knowledge to their students — they inspire them to give it their best and to dream bigger.

Many educators who devote themselves to educating their students hope to leave a positive impact on their lives. In addition to helping them find academic success, some educators encourage and help them achieve personal growth as well.

Here are the stories of two lecturers who devoted many years into educating the next generation.

Taking bold, new steps for the future

“After working four years as an engineer, I decided to switch to teaching as I decided that job satisfaction is more important,” he said.

Seo’s interest in teaching began when he was in school. While he enjoyed helping his classmates with their lessons, he enjoyed the challenge of making difficult concepts easy to understand.

His interest in doing so carried on even as he began his career as a lecturer at Taylor’s College. When technology was first introduced in enhancing education in classrooms, he was among the first enthusiastic early adopters. Seo recognised the potential technology had in improving the way students could learn.

His enthusiasm landed him an award for innovative learning, along with an opportunity to share his knowledge and experience with his fellow colleagues. They soon followed his example and started incorporating technology in their classes.

The changes soon had their effect. Student learning improved after the introduction of technology in classrooms.

“With the use of technology, education is now more flexible and convenient. Students can study anywhere at any time with their mobile devices. The Internet allows them to access information instantaneously.

“They can also interact with the lecturers easily using WhatsApp or FB messenger,” he said.

In the early years of his career, his teaching methods were limited to the old chalkboard and overhead projectors. Today, the innovative lecturer practices the Flipped Classroom method.

The method reverses the traditional approach to learning whereby students now watch the lectures outside the classroom instead of in class.

In class, students go through quizzes and ask the lecturer any questions they may have about the lessons. Seo discusses different questions while highlighting correct approaches in solving them.

“During class, I will summarise the important lesson points and clarify any questions that the students might have.

“Students need the lecturers more when practising questions than when watching a lecture being presented,” he explained.

Seo’s willingness to embrace new technologies and learning methodologies are part of his drive to constantly improve himself as a lecturer.

“We have to teach them to fish, not give them a fish every day. With the proper guidance, they will achieve their true potential,” he said.

For a better future

Wendy Loo, who has been with Taylor’s College since the start of her career, has seen many students come and go. Seeing them move on to start successful careers fills her with a sense of pride.

Over her 31 years at Taylor’s College, Loo has been a witness to the ever-changing landscape of the education field. Loo recalls that over the years, many programmes have changed to cater to the needs of students.

Loo, who teaches Legal Studies for the SAM/SACEI programme, believes that education today focuses on more than just academics. Classes today also encourage developing soft skills like teamwork and leadership. Loo has taken steps to reach out to her students and encourage them to pursue personal growth.

“In Legal Studies, students are constantly challenged to look at things from different perspectives and defend their stand in the classroom.

“It is my proudest moment to see them transforming from being shy and timid into confident individuals with perceptive analytical skills,” she said.

Ultimately, Loo hopes to equip her students with knowledge and life skills that will help them in their futures.

“Teaching is more than just imparting facts or knowledge. It’s about raising a new generation that will be equipped to take their productive place in the world. Teaching is about the positive transformation of young people’s lives – moulding their characters and instilling the right moral values.”

Read more @

Teacher-training crucial

Monday, November 13th, 2017

TEACHERS must take the initiative to improve themselves.

Just because a teacher’s English is good, doesn’t mean he or she can teach math and science effectively, SMK (P) Sri Aman principal Misliah Kulop points out.

Misliah, who implements the teacher mentor system in her school, says students saw a drop in their math and science results when the senior teachers retired or were transferred out.

“That’s why I put the mentor system in place. It’s to ensure that new teachers who come in are properly guided. They’re only given the lower forms until they’re confident and effective enough to take on the upper forms. We need to make sure our new teachers can delivery.

“Yes, they may have to use their own money and spare time to do it, but it’s for their own personal and career growth. I tell my teachers the same thing. Next year, I want to introduce a special prize to acknowledge teachers who take the initiative to attend courses to improve their skills.”

She says schools with BM and English classes for math and science need more teachers. It’s too taxing to expect the same teacher to teach and prepare questions in two languages. The terminologies are very different, she opines.

Teacher training, and greater collaboration between subject and language teachers, will determine the DLP’s success, Universiti Malaya (UM) Language and Literacy Education department head Assoc Prof Dr Juliana Othman feels.

“You can have a good science teacher, but if the students are weak in English, how’s he going help them understand the lesson? A science teacher who speaks English may not have the skill to teach the language aspects. You need a language teacher for that.

“So, in a class where the students aren’t proficient in English, the science teacher and English teacher must work together to prepare materials for the class,” she suggests.

The training of teachers must also be improved. Existing online courses are insufficient, she thinks.

The DLP and its predecessor the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) are essentially similar, she says. Some of the teachers trained under the PPSMI are now teaching DLP. In 2012, some 1,125 primary teachers were trained in UM, Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia in collaboration with Teacher Education Institutes.

These teachers majored in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and minored in math or science.

“They’re now training their colleagues and teaching in the DLP. These teachers are proficient in English, and can teach math and science subjects. The ability to speak English alone isn’t enough. Teaching math and science subjects in English requires a specific approach and methodology. Otherwise, they won’t be able to teach the academic language aspects well.”

UM Faculty of Languages and Linguistics Assoc Prof Dr Jariah Mohd Jan stresses on the importance of parental involvement in creating an English proficient generation.

“DLP only gives students more exposure to English. You still need an ecosystem that supports it.

“Parents must participate. Help organise activities in schools. Be part of the programme. You cannot expect your child to improve just because he or she attends a DLP school.

“Those in rural areas may not be able to participate in their child’s academic journey the way urban parents can but that doesn’t mean they can’t play a role,” she suggests.

SMK (P) Sri Aman senior assistant Norliza Mustapa believes that parental participation is very important not only for DLP, but everything the school does.

Both parents and the school only want what’s best for the child but in the process, boundaries must be respected.

“A principal is given the mandate to run the school but we need both financial and moral support from the parents. We are lucky because the parents here are very involved. They’ve contributed generously to send our students for SPM and PT3 camps, and to help improve the infrastructure.”

Parent-Teacher Association vice chairman Leong Mun Yoong, whose three daughters attend SMK (P) Sri Aman, agrees.
Read more @

Holistic education: Evolving roles of teachers

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
Educating the nation is a huge responsibility, and everyone is expected to contribute. FILE PIC

TEACHERS, lecturers, too, can never escape being blamed for everything that goes wrong with our students.

They are blamed for not doing enough if students do not perform well in examinations. When students play truant, teachers are not doing enough to liven up the class. And, when students fail to submit their assignments or homework, again, teachers are blamed. The list of blame is endless, and never once are students at fault.

I remember attending seminars in my early years of teaching that focused on our roles as educators. The messages are clear cut. Educators are responsible for developing the nation’s human resources. Often, the speakers make us feel guilty if we do not do our best for our students. And, over the years, we have diligently adapted and adopted different teaching approaches to ensure learning takes place.

With the changes in teaching approaches, new assessment rubrics come into place. Measuring students’ achievements has become more systematic, sophisticated and, at times, complicated. Assignments, too, get tougher to complete, much to the chagrin of students who take things lightly. For students who choose to look at things differently, all the challenges that come forth are confronted systematically.

Teachers and lecturers need not be reminded that helping our students is their No. 1 responsibility. Even if they have given their best, despite the heavy administrative and teaching workload, the public expects a lot more. That is why educators are at the centre of all controversies, and will continue to share the blame for weaknesses in our education system. As such, it is imperative that we continue to find new strategies to improve our vocation to benefit students.

Over the years, many teaching concepts have been experimented on and implemented. One of the most significant ones is the outcome-based education (OBE) philosophy introduced by the Higher Education Ministry in 2008. It is partly aimed at addressing the issue of unemployed graduates. Studies have shown that graduates lack communication skills and qualifications relevant to the job market.

OBE is an educational theory where each part of an educational system is based around goals or outcomes. By the end of the educational experience, each student should have achieved the goals. This method has been adopted in education systems around the world, at multiple levels. Australia and South Africa adopted OBE in the early 1990s. Malaysia implemented OBE in public schools in 2008.

Now, we are moving full gear towards implementing the integrated cumulative grade point average (iCGPA) assessment scheme, which measures students’ overall abilities. All public universities will implement the iCGPA assessment in their faculties, alongside the existing academic-driven CGPA system, in 2019.

Announcing this in July, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh stressed the importance of the policy — to groom students to become holistic graduates in accordance with the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The aim of the iCGPA is to produce graduates who not only excel in their fields of study (academically), but also equip them with soft skills (such as English proficiency), knowledge (of the world at large, the sciences and arts), values (ethics, patriotism and spirituality), leadership abilities (including the love of volunteerism), and the ability to think critically (accepting diverse views, innovation and problem-solving).

Through the iCGPA, students can have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as continuously improve themselves based on that knowledge. For prospective employers, the iCGPA enables them to identify potential employees based on skills and more holistic measurements, and understand the continuous professional development needs of new graduates.

At the secondary school level, we are re-emphasising the creation of a scientific and innovative society, as envisaged under Vision 2020. One of the priorities identified in our national education is STEM.

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects enable students to learn skills to gather and study information (investigative skills of science), evaluate and make sense of information (analytical skills of mathematics) and determine how the information can solve a problem (inventive skills of engineering) by using the technology available to them.

STEM allows students to draw reference from their experiences or contextual learning. By allowing students to construct their own meaning and understanding of an area of study, they will be able to strengthen their learning.


Read more @