Archive for the ‘Teacher's Professionalism’ Category

Teachers with healthy minds cope well with changes

Monday, June 29th, 2020
Teachers are a priceless asset of the country. Their knowledge is spread to all individuals and professions across the country. -NSTP/MOHD YUSNI ARIFFINTeachers are a priceless asset of the country. Their knowledge is spread to all individuals and professions across the country. -NSTP/MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN

ON average, teachers in Malaysia serve 25 to 30 years before they call it a day and retire. This profession requires not just the dissemination of content of subject matters but also teaching skills.

One can make learning more meaningful only when the delivery is effective. It is the art of teaching that provides the creative aspect of teaching methodology.

So, not just anyone can teach. Trained and experienced teachers know how to deliver the content to various types of students, from the challenging to the gifted ones. They are the experts who know the right techniques, from the variety of teaching strategies based on the needs of their students.

It is challenging to teach in today’s society. The demands from the stakeholders can be overwhelming considering the different needs of students in this millennium, not to mention the challenges of the Covid-19 environment.

No doubt, the Education Ministry is keeping up with the developments in education around the world. The directives and expectations are translated in the curriculum and transferred to the school community to deliver. Thus teachers play the important role of following through the educational transformations.

Teachers are social beings, whose basic trait is to work with people; teach and assist the growth of children. Working with people does not make teachers immune to the challenges of dealing with difficult people, students, parents, subordinates or the superiors.

Teachers feel the effects of Covid-19 just like everybody else. When schools were closed during the Movement Control Order period, teachers were still expected to work with their students. New skills were acquired. Teaching was done online. Using Google Meet or Zoom, virtual teaching was expected to take place.

Among the new things learnt were Padlet, Edpuzzle and Pathbrite.

Keeping up with technology is not easy, yet they prepared for synchronous and asynchronous lessons to ensure students had the alternatives to learn.

Quizzes and take-home tasks were all communicated online. While some people complained of feeling bored and stressed at home due to a lack of activities during the MCO, teachers were busy preparing lessons to be uploaded online to ensure students stayed on task.

On top of that, teachers had to respond to the grievances of students who had issues with poor Internet connection and lack of proper tools and gadgets (computer or smartphone) for effective online learning. However, these didn’t dampen the teachers’ passion to stay connected with their students for the sake of education.

The demands to make adjustments through the new norms continue. Teachers are expected to have the readiness to start school after three months of MCO.

School preparedness demands teachers to do more tasks than just teaching.

School counsellors are expected to work closely with the teachers in providing psycho-emotional support to students. At the same time, it must be noted that teachers need support to stay mentally healthy.

As in any other profession, unexpected work demands can stress out teachers too. Thus they must take good care of their wellness. Teachers will make better educators if they take care of their mental wellbeing. Basically, eat well, rest well, sleep well and practise self-care.

Teachers are a priceless asset of the country. Their knowledge is spread to all individuals and professions across the country. Let us uplift their spirit by celebrating and appreciating teachers (at all levels) as the post-crisis frontliners for our children.

Although today is notTeachers Day, make teachers feel good today!

The writer is a counselor educator at the Dept of Educ Psychology & Counseling, Kulliyyah of Education, IIUM and a crisis counselor volunteer/executive committee of PERKAMA International.

By Dr Haniza Rais.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/06/604259/teachers-healthy-minds-cope-well-changes

Teachers, always in my heart

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

Superwomen: Current headmistress Wong and Azian at the SK Perempuan Methodist 2019 year end school dinner.

TEACHERS play an important part of students’ daily life.

Besides educating us in school, they teach us, build our character and mould us to become good people.

I miss all my school teachers and can’t wait to meet them when school reopens.

I would like to wish my past and present headmistress a Happy Teachers Day!

They are Azian Ahmad Shaharbi who headed my school from 2010 to 2019 and Puan Peggy Wong who joined the school last year.

They are always in my heart with the highest respect.

Being good leaders with clear vision for the school, they are our anchor and have contributed a lot for me and my fellow schoolmates.

They are also very fair and consistent in every action they take.

Our new headmistress Puan Wong constantly helps us improve our studies even when the movement control order was placed.

She always has new activities for us to do and never lets us neglect our studies.

Happy Teachers Day!

by LAKSHMITA VIGNESWARAN.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2020/05/17/teachers-always-in-my-heart#cxrecs_s

Having quality teachers crucial

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020
THE cornerstone of a truly successful nation in the 21st century characterised by the emergence of a knowledge-based economy is undoubtedly its human capital, which, in turn, is greatly shaped by its education system. As aptly stated by American political economist Lester Thurow, “In the twenty-first century the education and skills of the work force will be the dominant competitive weapon”.

Hence, a high-performing school system is crucial for transforming Malaysia into a high-income and sustainable economy. We also need to empower and “future proof” young Malaysians to thrive in the rapidly changing and disruptive workplace of the future that will be the result of the fourth industrial revolution.

We don’t need foreign experts to tell us what ails our school system and how to go about transforming it. What we need is to face stark reality, learn from our past shortcomings, and to muster the political will to institute much needed education reforms. We have sacrificed meritocracy and quality teaching for mediocrity, politics and an overdose of social re-engineering. Failure to transform our school system based upon systemic and brutal change will erode our nation’s global competitiveness, organisational productivity and individual well-being.

The fact that our school system needs immediate and drastic transformation is clearly evident. In the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, Malaysia (Form Two students) scored merely 465 in Mathematics and 471 in Science as compared to Singapore that scored 621 and 597 respectively. According to the Programme for International Students Assessment 2015 report, Malaysian students ranked 50th out of 72 countries in terms of reading proficiency, 45th in Mathematics and 47th position for Science, all below the corresponding OECD mean scores. Malaysia’s quality of school education even lags behind that of Vietnam (a lower-income nation) by a wide margin.

English proficiency has also deteriorated over time and this is one of the causes of the unemployment (besides a lack of soft skills and the required technical competence) of more than 200,000 Malaysian graduates.

Another area of grave concern is teacher quality: 46pc of principals report a lack of qualified teaching staff as a constraint in enhancing teaching quality. In 2011, researchers from Akademi Kepimpinan Pengajian Tinggi observed 125 lessons in 41 schools across Malaysia. They found that 50pc of the lessons were delivered unsatisfactorily with a focus on passive and surface learning rather than on active and deep learning, which are necessary to cultivate higher order thinking skills in students.

In short, the products of our school system are generally ill-prepared either for higher education or work. Our students lack critical and creative thinking skills because our education system promotes conformity and uniformity. Worse still, they have been “conditioned” to be spoon-fed.

The first step in transforming our school system is to determine the desired outcomes of Malaysian education: “What kind of knowledge, skills, values and personal traits should students have to enable them to thrive in a dynamic workplace and to function productively in society as ethical citizens?” To my mind, Malaysian students should possess adequate disciplinary knowledge (conceptual understanding); be self-confident and achievement-oriented; persuasive and effective communicators; demonstrate integrity and a strong work ethic; be fast, self-directed, self-reflective and lifelong learners; be resilient; demonstrate good interpersonal and teamwork skills; be good problem solvers with analytical and creative minds; be computer and information literate; and be productive and responsible citizens with inter-cultural tolerance.

Towards this end, schools should provide a high quality, broad-based and holistic education with emphasis on cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, moral intelligence, spiritual intelligence, and physical well-being.

Learning in Malaysian schools should shift from rote learning to conceptual understanding (deep learning) and real-world applications (authentic learning); from classroom learning to lifelong learning; from students as passive learners to active learners; from one-size fits all to customized learning; and from lower-order thinking to higher-order thinking. In the 21st century school, teachers need to function primarily as facilitators of learning and mentors and not merely as dispensers of knowledge.

Second, we need to recruit teachers based strictly on meritocracy and certain core attributes such as willingness to learn, strong communication and interpersonal skills, and being passionate about teaching. Hiring proper candidates into the teaching profession is extremely important as teacher quality is the most significant school-based factor in determining student outcomes.

Research findings show that over 30pc of the variance of school student achievement resulted from professional characteristics of teachers, teaching skills and classroom climate. Indeed, students placed with high-performing teachers are likely to progress three times faster as those placed with low-performing teachers. Simply put, the quality of a system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.

In this regard, the world’s top-performing school systems recruit teachers from the top third of their academic cohort, pay good starting salaries, and undertake high quality teacher professional development programmes to ensure effective instruction in the classroom. Take heed that poor selection decisions can result in up to 40 years of poor teaching.

Third, we must ensure effective school leadership as the quality of school leaders is the second biggest school-based factor in determining student outcomes, after teacher quality. Effective school leaders can raise student outcomes by as much as 20pc to 25pc. Transformational school leaders have a strong focus on instructional leadership and are visionary, inspirational, change-adept and, more importantly, they nurture a high-performance school culture which brings out the best in others.

Fourth, it is important to adopt an integrated and systemic approach – and not take a piece-meal approach – towards transforming schools. School transformation efforts must encompass clear student outcomes; a broad-based and holistic curriculum; competent teacher recruitment and development; effective school governance; varied and student-centric instructional strategies; optimisation of e-learning, appropriate assessment and feedback, and a high-performance school culture committed to excellence and continuous improvement.

Fifth and finally, both the Education Ministry and schools must ensure that there is a constructive alignment between learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities, and the assessment tasks.

To conclude, our nation’s future and the wellbeing of its citizens are greatly dependent on high quality education in our schools. Take heed that no amount of education reforms will bring about the desired outcomes without first having quality and dedicated teachers, high-performing school leaders, and a nurturing school climate that brings out the best in both students and teachers.

By: Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/read/3468/having-quality-teachers-crucial/

Having quality teachers crucial

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

THE cornerstone of a truly successful nation in the 21st century characterised by the emergence of a knowledge-based economy is undoubtedly its human capital, which, in turn, is greatly shaped by its education system. As aptly stated by American political economist Lester Thurow, “In the twenty-first century the education and skills of the work force will be the dominant competitive weapon”.

Hence, a high-performing school system is crucial for transforming Malaysia into a high-income and sustainable economy. We also need to empower and “future proof” young Malaysians to thrive in the rapidly changing and disruptive workplace of the future that will be the result of the fourth industrial revolution.

We don’t need foreign experts to tell us what ails our school system and how to go about transforming it. What we need is to face stark reality, learn from our past shortcomings, and to muster the political will to institute much needed education reforms. We have sacrificed meritocracy and quality teaching for mediocrity, politics and an overdose of social re-engineering. Failure to transform our school system based upon systemic and brutal change will erode our nation’s global competitiveness, organisational productivity and individual well-being.

The fact that our school system needs immediate and drastic transformation is clearly evident. In the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, Malaysia (Form Two students) scored merely 465 in Mathematics and 471 in Science as compared to Singapore that scored 621 and 597 respectively. According to the Programme for International Students Assessment 2015 report, Malaysian students ranked 50th out of 72 countries in terms of reading proficiency, 45th in Mathematics and 47th position for Science, all below the corresponding OECD mean scores. Malaysia’s quality of school education even lags behind that of Vietnam (a lower-income nation) by a wide margin.

English proficiency has also deteriorated over time and this is one of the causes of the unemployment (besides a lack of soft skills and the required technical competence) of more than 200,000 Malaysian graduates.

Another area of grave concern is teacher quality: 46pc of principals report a lack of qualified teaching staff as a constraint in enhancing teaching quality. In 2011, researchers from Akademi Kepimpinan Pengajian Tinggi observed 125 lessons in 41 schools across Malaysia. They found that 50pc of the lessons were delivered unsatisfactorily with a focus on passive and surface learning rather than on active and deep learning, which are necessary to cultivate higher order thinking skills in students.

In short, the products of our school system are generally ill-prepared either for higher education or work. Our students lack critical and creative thinking skills because our education system promotes conformity and uniformity. Worse still, they have been “conditioned” to be spoon-fed.

The first step in transforming our school system is to determine the desired outcomes of Malaysian education: “What kind of knowledge, skills, values and personal traits should students have to enable them to thrive in a dynamic workplace and to function productively in society as ethical citizens?” To my mind, Malaysian students should possess adequate disciplinary knowledge (conceptual understanding); be self-confident and achievement-oriented; persuasive and effective communicators; demonstrate integrity and a strong work ethic; be fast, self-directed, self-reflective and lifelong learners; be resilient; demonstrate good interpersonal and teamwork skills; be good problem solvers with analytical and creative minds; be computer and information literate; and be productive and responsible citizens with inter-cultural tolerance.

Towards this end, schools should provide a high quality, broad-based and holistic education with emphasis on cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, moral intelligence, spiritual intelligence, and physical well-being.

Learning in Malaysian schools should shift from rote learning to conceptual understanding (deep learning) and real-world applications (authentic learning); from classroom learning to lifelong learning; from students as passive learners to active learners; from one-size fits all to customized learning; and from lower-order thinking to higher-order thinking. In the 21st century school, teachers need to function primarily as facilitators of learning and mentors and not merely as dispensers of knowledge.

Second, we need to recruit teachers based strictly on meritocracy and certain core attributes such as willingness to learn, strong communication and interpersonal skills, and being passionate about teaching. Hiring proper candidates into the teaching profession is extremely important as teacher quality is the most significant school-based factor in determining student outcomes.

Research findings show that over 30pc of the variance of school student achievement resulted from professional characteristics of teachers, teaching skills and classroom climate. Indeed, students placed with high-performing teachers are likely to progress three times faster as those placed with low-performing teachers. Simply put, the quality of a system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.

In this regard, the world’s top-performing school systems recruit teachers from the top third of their academic cohort, pay good starting salaries, and undertake high quality teacher professional development programmes to ensure effective instruction in the classroom. Take heed that poor selection decisions can result in up to 40 years of poor teaching.

Third, we must ensure effective school leadership as the quality of school leaders is the second biggest school-based factor in determining student outcomes, after teacher quality. Effective school leaders can raise student outcomes by as much as 20pc to 25pc. Transformational school leaders have a strong focus on instructional leadership and are visionary, inspirational, change-adept and, more importantly, they nurture a high-performance school culture which brings out the best in others.

Fourth, it is important to adopt an integrated and systemic approach – and not take a piece-meal approach – towards transforming schools. School transformation efforts must encompass clear student outcomes; a broad-based and holistic curriculum; competent teacher recruitment and development; effective school governance; varied and student-centric instructional strategies; optimisation of e-learning, appropriate assessment and feedback, and a high-performance school culture committed to excellence and continuous improvement.

Fifth and finally, both the Education Ministry and schools must ensure that there is a constructive alignment between learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities, and the assessment tasks.

To conclude, our nation’s future and the wellbeing of its citizens are greatly dependent on high quality education in our schools. Take heed that no amount of education reforms will bring about the desired outcomes without first having quality and dedicated teachers, high-performing school leaders, and a nurturing school climate that brings out the best in both students and teachers.

By: Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/read/3468/having-quality-teachers-crucial/

Thank you for going the extra mile

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

Compared to other professions, it is teachers who are likely to hear the most number of “thank you” said to them each day. — 123rf.com

GROWING up in the 1960s, there were traditions connected with festive seasons that still stick out significantly in my memories of childhood days. One of these was the giving and receiving of festival cakes and cookies that went on in our neighbourhoods. These and other traditions probably still exist but have evolved into different forms. Also, they have more likely become so predictable and routine that people just do them without thinking too much about their significance.

I remember the trays of festive goodies that would come from our neighbours during these festival seasons. Someone from the family next door or down the street, usually a younger person, would march up to our front door with a very important look on their face bearing in their hands a candy tray with different compartments, covered auspiciously with a beautifully embroidered lace cover. Bits of kuih baulu, jam tarts, ghee biscuits or love letters would peek through the eyelets in the lace, promises of the delights in store for us as we received the tray with both hands from the person at the door. It was a solemnly important event, this giving and receiving of festive cookie trays. We thanked the giver, wished them Selamat Hari Raya, Happy New Year, Merry Christmas or whatever the occasion warranted and asked them to wait in the living room or wherever was available. It was an important wait and the bearer of the tray sat basking in his own honoured position for several minutes while waiting for the tray to be returned. We had to return the trays immediately because they would be needed for the next house and the next giving. This was not yet the age of plastic bags and convenient disposable packs.

In the kitchen our mother would lift the delicate cloth protecting these cookies, take them out and lay them gently in a special container with a look in our direction which meant no touching or tasting yet till the whole ritual was done. Then she would wash the tray, dry it properly and before she covered it again with the tray cloth, she would add a little bit of sugar in the middle compartment. “We never return an empty tray.” This lesson stuck with us all our lives.

When it was time for Deepavali, it was our turn as the family’s children to be the bearer of cakes. We each had our turns at gift bearing when we were considered old and responsible enough to carry the gift tray properly and this we did with pride and great care. We made sure to balance the tray so that our lace tray cover cloth would not get stuck between the muruku pieces our mother had carefully arranged and that the agar-agar wouldn’t slip off the tray. And this time it was our turn to wait for that all-important moment when the tray would be returned to us minus the goodies but with sugar in the middle.

Looking back, I think of how special that whole event was beginning with the choice of the tray. Only the finest was good enough for this all-important mission of festive cookie giving. The tray was special, stored carefully and taken out only for these special occasions. There were no convenient éasy plastic packs or disposable boxes for the purpose of giving festive goodies. No handy wraps and gift bags which you didn’t have to wait for in the living room to be returned for the next giving. And there was no sugar in the middle.

When we returned the trays with the sugar in the middle to our mothers, they knew exactly what it meant. It was a way of saying thank you for sharing your special celebration with us by giving us all these cakes and cookies.Thank you for taking the trouble to select them carefully and arrange them in this beautiful tray and to send your son or daughter over to hand it to us personally. Thank you for covering them with this lovely lace cloth. And this sugar is a little bit of sweetness from us to show our appreciation to you in return.

We do things differently these days of course and sugar now seems to have earned a bad reputation. The act of giving and receiving during festive seasons has continued through the years and in many ways the task has been expedited, made easier by the ready to use pre-wrapped gift packs and food hampers, beautifully decorated cookie jars and bottles with ribbons which we find crowding almost every department store all year round with themes for every festival. Saying thank you also comes in myriad forms, many of which are electronic or virtual with amazing animation.

It is quite likely that compared to many other professions, it is teachers who are most likely to hear the most number of “thank you” said to them each day. After each lesson each day, some 30 voices or so lift up in sing-song unison and chant after their monitor “Thank you teacher/Miss… or Terima kasih Cikgu.” At the risk of appearing a little strange or soliciting unwanted questions about their personal stress or emotional state, I wonder if any teacher has ever stopped after that chorus of “thank you” and asked the students: ‘Well, what exactly are you thanking me for?” We ourselves may say “thank you” several times a day; to different people; when someone does us a favour, gives us a compliment, keeps a door open. Sometimes we just use these words to end an official e-mail when we can’t think of any other way to end the letter. “Thank you. Best wishes..”

But it is not very often that we back up our thank you with reasons for these words. What are we saying thank you for. Granted it may seem a little obsequious or overly ingratiating when the showing of appreciation goes overboard and when too much is said with a thank you. In fact, at times the two words “thank you” themselves can convey a universe of untold meanings which only the person who says it and the one who receives it understand. Superfluous words are almost always unnecessary, undesirable even, especially when they hint at insincerity.

At times I have even wondered at the appropriateness of the words “thank you.” I always feel a little amused whenever I see a school sign with the words in bold display. “Terima Kasih kerana datang ke sekolah hari ini. Thank you for coming to school today.’ I remember the comment made by one of my ex-colleagues, a much harried discipline teacher in a school well-known for its ‘notorious’ suspension list of students and various disciplinary problems.“ Hey, they should be the ones thanking us for allowing them to come to school. Or better still, the “thank you” should be for us teachers for coming in to work each day despite all we have to go through.”

Still, it would be nice sometimes if we could add a little more meaning to our words of appreciation. “Thank you for getting that file for me. You really saved me a lot of time. Thank you for the compliment. It really makes my day. Thank you for sending this on time. Now I can get on with my compilation.”

Sometimes it is nice to know what it is you are being appreciated for. It would mean so much more to hear a genuine “thank you” from our students each day other than during Teachers Day celebrations. Thank you teacher for taking the time to explain this problem to me. Thank you for going the extra mile. Even though it is our job and we are paid to do it, it would feel good to hear words of appreciation for what we do more often.

Sometimes a little sugar is good with the tray you give back and if sugar is not appropriate, then something else which evokes that feeling of sweetness in the heart and in the ears will do just as well most of the time.

by  Dr G Mallika Vasugi: Teachertalk
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/12/01/thank-you-for-going-the-extra-mile#RxfFC3JyQmC9S8OO.99

Still teaching at 83

Sunday, October 6th, 2019
Dr Maszlee Malik (right) greeting the HIP mentors and school principals at the certificates of appreciation award ceremony. (NSTP/AIZUDDIN SAAD.)

WHILE we hear many teachers are leaving the profession, we cannot say the same for Datin Siti Hendon Abdullah Bajrai. At the age of 83, she is still enthusiastic about teaching and learning.

She volunteered to join the Highly Immersive Programme Mentor (HIP Mentor) – a programme by Ministry of Educationto that engage retired English language lecturers or teachers who are willing to assist primary or secondary schools with English language activities on a voluntary basis.

She has also recently graduated from Unitar International University obtaining her Master’s Degree in early childhood education.

Siti Hendon was one of the 28 HIP mentors awarded with certificates of appreciation by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik at the Perdana Leadership Foundation recently.

The pilot programme was conducted at 27 selected schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Sarawak and Sabah from July until September.

“Teaching kids today is not the same as teaching the kids in the 80’s, which is why I want to keep learning and upskill my teaching methodology,” said Siti Hendon who was a mentor at Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Tunku, Petaling Jaya.

With decades of experience in teaching English, Siti Hendon believes that reading is key to learning.

Datin Siti Hendon Abdullah Bajrai

“During my sessions, I purposely chose to focus on kids who can’t read. I started by introducing them to nursery rhymes to help the pupils to recognise different rhythms, rhymes and sounds. After that, I started to familiarise them with alphabets then guided reading.

“When I was young, I didn’t have a good command of English as well but, I forced myself to read. With proper instruction and motivation, it is not impossible to attract pupils to learn and love English,” she added.

“It is quite hard to gauge the pupils’ progress in reading within two months’ time. However, I noticed that there is a change in their learning attitude. The kids seem to enjoy English classes more,” she said.

Having retired as a lecturer in her 50’s, mentor Teen Pek Chin, 72, said the reason she joined HIP Mentor programme is because she missed classroom interactions.

“When I first came to know about it, I decided to give it a try. I thought that this would be a refreshing experience. Through this programme, I would like to share my knowledge and experience to the pupils.

“Despite this being my first time teaching in primary school, I find the experience very enlightening. Teaching the kids is not like giving lectures to adults. They are very active and you have to know how to engage them with the lessons.

“I like doing fun activities with the kids. Although some of them struggle to write and read, they love singing along to the songs I played I the classroom. Along the way, I helped them with the pronunciation,” said Teen who volunteered at Sekolah Kebangsaan Perdana Jaya, Selangor.

During the event, Maszlee commended the mentors’ effort serving as volunteers and partnering with schools to create the English language rich environment in the pilot programme.

“The HIP mentors programme epitomises the true passion of educators regardless of age. I am absolutely astonished that our volunteers are of 60 to 83 years old. All of the mentors are exemplary educationists who have proven that age is only a figure.

“The success of the HIP Mentors programme requires the synergy of various stakeholders, working together harmoniously towards a unison goal. The goal is for our Malaysia students to be proficient in English and to communicate confidently using the language.

“Students must be exposed to various types of English language activities and use English during lessons. Immerse students in the language and encourage them to use English in different contexts and situations,” said Maszlee.

HIP was introduced by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in 2016 with the aim to create a highly immersive, language-rich environment that promotes the use of English in school. Through HIP, students are exposed to the English Language through a varietyof activities and have vast opportunities to use the language

By Murniati Abu Karim .

Read more  @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2019/09/525861/still-teaching-83

For the love of teaching

Monday, July 1st, 2019
Mohd Sirhajwan (standing) says he pursued teaching as his career to help others the way his teachers had helped him.

Mohd Sirhajwan (standing) says he pursued teaching as his career to help others the way his teachers had helped him.

Every now and then, news of teachers doing wonders and sacrificing for their schools and students break the Internet.

But not all of these stories have a happy ending. Some unite the nation in sorrow, like in the case of Sibu teacher Yap Hue Ling, who fainted while giving additional Man­darin lessons in school. She died soon after being admitted to the hospital.

Malaysians are fortunate to have many educators who are more than willing to go the extra mile for their charges. Though their stories may not have gone viral, their dedication is no less inspiring.

Special education teacher Dr Muhamad Khairul Anuar Hussin, 41, has been in the service for 22 years.

“I love teaching. For special needs students, I use approaches that depend on individual interests, abilities and tendencies.

“Each pupil has his or her own strengths which every teacher must know.

“Applying different teaching techniques and having individualised teaching and learning methods allow us to reach out to these students based on their individual needs. This paves the way for us to have a more personal connection with them,” he said.

Muhamad Khairul was among 50 educators shortlisted for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019. He knew special education was his calling after he saw how much the group wants to be part of society.

Teh (in red) says providing additional guidance to deaf students is not an obligation but a necessity.

Teh (in red) says providing additional guidance to deaf students is not an obligation but a necessity.

With big dreams for the education system, he began his journey by introducing several programmes for special needs students. He started with what was within his capacity.

Some of his efforts include opening a preschool for visually impaired children while he was a teacher in SK Pendidikan Khas Princess Elizabeth, Johor Baru. He also proposed a home visit and an early intervention programme in the district’s villages.

“The programme allowed me to channel important information, like education opportunities provided by the government, to parents of special needs children.

“The programme has opened many doors for special kids to go to school, and for their parents and communities to get help.

“Many parents who live in poverty are not aware of special education schools,” he added.

His love for teaching is evident. Muhamad Khairul has even created braille books, newspapers, magazines and reference books for visually impaired students.

His initiative was met with high demand among teachers who educate the visually impaired and soon, he was sharing soft copies of his braille reference books across the country.

On why he goes out of his way for his students, he said he understands how difficult it is for them.

“I lost my hearing when I was only nine, so from a very young age, I’ve been exposed to the disabled community. Now, I want to give back.

Teaching is an altruistic profession, as many go the extra mile to ensure the success of their students, at the expense of their health.Harry Tan

Teaching is an altruistic profession, as many go the extra mile to ensure the success of their students, at the expense of their health.Harry Tan

“I really like to teach. My free time is filled with plenty of additional classes as I live within the school area and most students live in dorms, so it’s easy for me to go over and spend time with them.”

Despite being constantly occupied with planning lessons and attending classes, he makes sure he’s mentally and physically fit.

“Being a teacher requires so much time, effort, energy, brainpower and emotion. It demands so much of you,” said the father of four.

To be effective in the classroom, teachers must first take good care of themselves.

“It’s important for teachers to learn how to have a balanced lifestyle because of the demands and challenges of the job.

“The teaching profession provides a stable salary but our duties are challenging. So it’s important to lead a balanced life.

“Time management is crucial. Work done with commitment, sincerity and effort will lead to greater opportunities.”

In his current role as his school’s special education department senior assistant, Muhammad Khairul is working with the department to prepare a module that focuses on bread making, farming and cooking.

“This is a specially designed teaching and learning module that provides students with learning disabilities the chance to equip themselves with basic skills,” he said.

For Sabahan Mohd Sirhajwan Idek, who is an English Language teacher in Keningau Vocational College, teaching is a profession that allows a person to give back to society while encouraging them to be creative.

Mohd Sirhajwan has several awards under his belt, including the International Innovation and Entrepreneur-ship Excellence in Teaching Award. He, too, was among the Top 50 Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize finalists in 2017.

It’s personal satisfaction that drives the 31-year-old to put his students first.

“I find it very fulfilling to explore the many ways of educating the younger generation and society.

“My English was bad when I was a student. It was my third language since my mother tongue is Bajau and Bahasa Malaysia is our national language.

“Although I found it difficult to learn, I was so passionate about wanting to master the language that my English Language teacher in secondary school believed in me and gave me all the support I needed,” he said.

The experience made him realise how powerful teachers can be and it motivated him to pursue teaching as his career to help others the way his teachers had helped him.

“Many of my students lack confidence in English as they don’t have much exposure to the outside world.

“They have low self-esteem especially since we are from a rural area

Special education teacher Dr Muhamad Khairul Anuar Hussin spends time with his students during a scouts camping trip to promote social inclusion among mainstream.students. Muhamad Khairul says the trip is a compulsory activity in his school.

Special education teacher Dr Muhamad Khairul Anuar Hussin spends time with his students during a scouts camping trip to promote social inclusion among mainstream.students. Muhamad Khairul says the trip is a compulsory activity in his school.

“So I spend after-school hours to train and manage them for competitions to push them out of their comfort zones and gain experience in the real world.

“Initially they were reluctant to participate but with continuous support, their motivation grew.”

He often spends his nights and weekends training his students for these competitions, frequently reminding them that they are not defined by where they come from or who they are, but by what they are capable of doing.

“And there is no limit in what they can do.”

Mohd Sirhajwan connects classroom learning to the real world by conducting innovation competitions, entrepreneurship programmes, conference presentations and community events.

But these initiatives require time and funding.

“Students must be pushed to grab the opportunities that are out there because it will help them reach their fullest potential and enable them to discover and develop their capabilities and talents.

“I want them to realise that nothing is impossible so long as they put their minds and hearts into it.

“I push myself extra hard, too, because I want them to see that the world is their stage,” he said.

Excellent teacher (Guru Cemerlang) Teh Kean Hoe feels the added weight when he gives his students additional lessons but he tries to balance his work with enough rest and recreation.

Providing additional guidance for his students is not obligatory but is necessary, said the Bahasa Melayu teacher from SMK Pendidikan Khas Persekutuan, Penang.

Because there isn’t enough time to cover every aspect of his subject during normal school hours, additional classes are important.

Muhamad Khairul watches over an autistic student during a one-on-one individual lesson in his school designed for autistic students.

Muhamad Khairul watches over an autistic student during a one-on-one individual lesson in his school designed for autistic students.

“Deaf students need more time to understand the subject matter and these classes are important to help them prepare for exams.

“I often conduct additional classes on Saturday mornings for the Form Five students, which begin in January until they sit for their Bahasa Melayu paper.

“Most become more confident to face the exam after attending these lessons.

“I care about my students’ achievements so I need to provide additional classes for them.

“It brings me great joy and satisfaction to see these students succeed and pass their subjects, especially those who many consider ‘hopeless’,” he said.

Muhamad Khairul gives a talk to special needs students from SMPK Vokasional Indahpura, Johor Baru. He says special education was his calling because he saw the needs and desires of the group to be part of an inclusive society.

Muhamad Khairul gives a talk to special needs students from SMPK Vokasional Indahpura, Johor Baru. He says special education was his calling because he saw the needs and desires of the group to be part of an inclusive society.

Teh, 56, went through an arduous path before graduating as a full fledged teacher.

The Penangite recalls how despite scoring excellent results for his SPM and STPM, his application to enter public varsities was rejected.

“It wasn’t until after Federation School for the Deaf former principal Datuk Saleena Yahaya Isa wrote an appeal for me to the then Universiti Sains Malaysia vice-chancellor that I was offered a spot there.

“But it came with a condition that I must pass my first semester in order to continue my tertiary education with them.

Teh (in pink) balances his work with enough rest and recreation.

Teh (in pink) balances his work with enough rest and recreation.

“Saleena reminded me that because my entry into university was not easy, I should become a teacher to guide deaf students and become a role model to them,” he shared.

Teaching is an altruistic profession, said National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan.

Often, he said, teachers become emotionally attached to those under their care.

“Once there is attachment, we will do whatever necessary to ensure the success of our students, even at the expense of our health.

“We give extra classes, spend more time on the field to train athletes, train choral speakers after school hours in the hall, walk the streets to get funds to repair the school, and make many other sacrifices.

“We even have teachers who offer their homes as temporary shelters to children who come from broken families, and pay for students’ books and stationery from their pockets.

By Sandhya Menon
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/06/30/for-the-love-of-teaching/#bP7OKijfmzSsfdSr.99

Transforming teaching, learning methods

Monday, May 20th, 2019
Dr Kee (centre) with her College Chemistry class from the American University Programme.

Dr Kee (centre) with her College Chemistry class from the American University Programme.

HIGHLY experienced faculty are the most valuable assets to an institution and often, the qualifications of university lecturers impact students’ decisions about where to study.

In addressing the upskilling of academicians, INTI International University and Colleges has integrated the world-class learning methodology Blackboard Learning Management System across its six campuses, with almost all programmes now being taught through a combination of both online and face-to-face lessons and activities.

The outcome has enabled today’s students to learn in an environment that leverages the platforms and technologies they use the most. It has also empowered lecturers to transform their teaching and learning methodologies to leverage new ways of teaching, assessments, monitoring and analytics.

“Besides advanced lab equipment for science experiments, I am using Blackboard tools such as ‘Discussion’, ‘Blog’ and ‘Self-Peer Evaluation’.

Dr Geeta said Blackboard allows students to view and create their videos safely, which are easily shared with all members of the class.

“Besides that, Self-Peer Evaluation helps students to see how they are faring in their work compared to their peers and this encourages them to work harder,” she added.

Completing her bachelor’s degree in Science majoring in Genetics at Universiti Malaya, she went on to complete her Master’s in Philosophy and PhD in biology at the same university. Dr Geeta was awarded the Toray Research Grant in 2005. In 2013, she undertook a Master’s in higher education majoring in teaching and learning from Walden University in the United States.

Senior Lecturer Dr Kee Hooi Ling, who has been teaching for 10 years at INTI International College Subang said: “The classroom delivery of subjects do not have to be passive and dry.”

“I advocate active learning methodologies as part of my teaching and learning approach,” she said.

Since 2012, Dr Kee has successfully used flipped learning as part of her teaching and learning strategies in all her courses, which includes Introductory Chemistry and Organic Chemistry for the American Degree Transfer Programme at INTI’s Centre of American Education.

“I like to explore different technological tools as I encounter them. Some of the tools I have utilised are ‘Raptivity’ to create interactive learning items, ‘Kahoot!’ and ‘Socrative’ to create engaging in-class formative assessments. “I’ve also used ‘Camtasia’ to produce online video resources, Google and Microsoft Forms for feedback and Blackboard as the learning management system at INTI,” said Dr Kee, who obtained her PhD in Chemistry from Washington University in the US.

She said that INTI has been supportive in providing ‘Camtasia’, for flipped learning. All these tools strengthen the learning process as they provide a “non-threatening” environment for assessment, and promote student engagement and participation.

INTI International College Penang School of Business, Law, Communications and Accounting senior lecturer Yee Aik Phoay teaches economics across foundation, diploma, bachelor’s and master’s programmes.

He said technological tools should be used in a timely manner to yield the best results in student engagement and knowledge retention.

“My current experimentation with ‘PearDeck’ has been very positive. This enables me to gather real-time feedback from the students.

“It allows me to design multiple choice questions to check their understanding during class.

“In addition, there is an option for students to share their thoughts by writing short texts. The drawing feature also helps me to gauge students’ mastery in illustrating graphs for economics,” he added. Elaborating on his teaching methodology in improving students’ overall performance, Yee said: “In my opinion, simplifying the content into a structured flow helps the students to grasp the essential concepts of a particular subject.”

This is then complemented by formative and summative assessments to reinforce their understanding, he added.

On completing his first degree in Economics, an external bachelor’s degree awarded by the University of London, Yee who has been teaching at INTI Penang for 13 years, obtained his Master’s degree from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/05/19/transforming-teaching-learning-methods/#8OZUBF2D1lIyKW4p.99

25 get Inspirational Teacher Awards

Monday, May 20th, 2019
Dr Amin (middle) shares a light moment with several of the Inspirational Teacher Award recipients. - Bernama

Dr Amin (middle) shares a light moment with several of the Inspirational Teacher Award recipients. – Bernama

THEIR stories are about sacrifice and commitment in nurturing their students and for their efforts, they were recognised for being among the nation’s best educators in conjunction with the National Teachers Day celebration held in George Town.

The 25 teachers, recipients of the McDonald’s Malaysia Inspirational Teacher Award were selected because they had gone the extra mile in carrying out their duties, said McDonald’s Malaysia vice president and chief marketing officer Melati Abdul Hai.

She said they were selected from among 7,500 nominations sent in by the public in March.

“The increase in the number of nominations from 1,000 to 7,500 since the award was introduced in 2017 only shows that Malaysians see the importance of appreciating our teachers,” she said.

Melati invited Malaysians to read the stories of the 25 teachers at bit.ly/mcd-agi2019winners because their stories would encourage and inspire other teachers to help improve the country’s education system.

The Inspirational Teacher Award is a collaboration between the Education Ministry and McDonald’s Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Melati said McDonald’s Malaysia would provide complimentary breakfast vouchers worth RM4.5mil to more than 42,000 teachers in Malaysia in appreciation of their services in educating the children of the nation.

Bernama
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/05/19/25-get-inspirationalteacher-awards/#M3FutxSoFih0QWEQ.99

Retired teacher happy student took his advice seriously

Thursday, May 16th, 2019
Retired teachers Nawi Ismail, 62, and Datuk Asariah Mior Shaharuddin, 66, after receiving their 2019 Tokoh Guru awards at the National Level Teachers Day celebration held here today. (Pic by SHAHNAZ FAZLIE SHAHRIZAL)

GEORGE TOWN: “I still keep the RM50 given by a student who said I inspired him to succeed in STPM,” said 62-year-old retired teacher Nawi Ismail after receiving his 2019 Tokoh Guru award at the National Level Teachers Day celebration held here today.

With a teaching career spanning 37 years, he began at SMK Panji Alam, Kuala Terengganu in 1980 and retired in 2017 at SM Teknik Kuala Terengganu. He currently gives motivational talks at the schools in the country.

Some time in the middle of last year, he delivered a speech at a school in Kemaman which sparked huge motivation for a student who was going to sit for his Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM).

“It was my usual speech. I could not recall what exactly I said to the students at that time which became a source of inspiration for one particular student.

“I also stressed that students who are weak in their studies but work hard to be successful are better than clever students who are lazy. I guess that piece of advice resonated in him,” he said.

As it turned out, the student received 4As for STPM. To express his gratitude, the student forked out RM50 for Nawi which was delivered through a teacher at his school.

Nawi initially refused to take it as he believes that it was part of his responsibilities as a teacher to help the student do well in examinations.

However, the student had insisted that Nawi keep the money.

“I learnt that he came from a poor family and earned the RM50 while working at a night market.

“I will not use the money, I will keep it to remind myself of an unknown student whom I have not even met personally, someone who took my motivational speech to heart and did well in the STPM.’

Nawi said he was proud to have made an impact on a student even after his teaching career had ended.

The former Bahasa Melayu teacher is one of two who received the Tokoh Guru award from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Another former teacher who also received the award was Datuk Asariah Mior Shaharuddin.

Both of them received RM50,000 cheque, RM10,000 worth of gold medal and a plaque, courtesy of Bank Simpanan Nasional.

For Asariah, 66, her proudest moment was when she was appointed deputy-director general at the ministry in teaching professionalism development sector, where she was part of the team that proposed for the Maktab Perguruan to be upgraded to Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG).

She said she worked hard with her team to ensure that IPG produced competent and quality teachers and improved the teaching standard in the country.

National-level Teacher’s Day celebration was held here at Setia Spice Convention Centre involving 3,500 teachers from around the country.

By Audrey DermawanMohamed Basyir.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/05/488954/retired-teacher-happy-student-took-his-advice-seriously