Archive for the ‘Teacher's Professionalism’ Category

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

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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.”

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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.
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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.


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Teachers Must Foster Unity Among Multiracial Students – Sultan Nazrin

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

TANJONG MALIM, Sept 5 (Bernama) — Teachers must continuously foster unity among their multiracial students although the country had achieved independence 60 years ago, said the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah.

He said teachers had a strong influence in promoting the spirit of ?muhibah\’ (goodwill) among students who came from multireligious, multiracial and multicultural backgrounds towards ensuring the country’s resilience and stability.

“The concept of education excellence is upheld by those who are fully talented, determined and industrious,” said Sultan Nazrin when launching the book, ‘Yahaya Ibrahim; Ikon Pendidikan Negara’ (Yahaya Ibrahim: National Education Icon) at Sultan Abdul Jalil Shah Campus, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), here, today.

The 153-page book on educationist Tan Sri Yahaya Ibrahim or better known as cikgu Yahaya was written by UPSI staff A. Halim Ali, Raja Ahmad Shalaby and Ahmad Janatul Firdaus.

The Sultan said outstanding and dedicated teachers were capable of firing up the spirit of learning among students, besides always working at ensuring their students achieved greater success than they had.

He said teachers who were always spoken well by their students were those who could win their students’ hearts.

The Sultan said the philosophy held by the Kirkby College-trained teachers during the pre- and post-independence period and the role they had played should be emulated and sustained by the current educators in the country.

“My mother Tuanku Permaisuri Bainun is a Kirkby College graduate. As a teacher, she had an open attitude, and accepted and respected her colleagues, friends and acquaintances, neighbours, parents and students from different races and religions.

“She had set a good example for her students to get to know the world better, and she helped my siblings and I not to have prejudices, and to forge friendships within a wider circle across religious, racial, cultural, political and national boundaries,” he shared.


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ICT tool for educators to embrace change.

Monday, September 4th, 2017

TEACHERS must be prepared to change and be digitally savvy to engage with their charges, once the plan for students to bring in their devices to school is implemented.

Education Ministry Teacher Education Division director Datuk Mahmud Karim said it was for this reason that the new module which focuses on equipping teachers with the technological skills was launched.

“The new module allows teachers to be more creative when designing their lesson plans so as to keep their students engaged,” he said after launching the Multimedia Interactive Tools for STEM Education on Monday.

It will enhance the learning process and help teachers embrace change, he reiterated.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid had said last month that students in the country’s 10,000 schools would be allowed to bring certain mobile devices to class, from early next year. The ministry had mooted a policy to allow primary and secondary school students to bring electronic gadgets to class to help with the learning process, in line with the digital age.

The ministry, he said, had not as yet decided what kind of gadgets would be allowed.

Although targeted at those teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, Mahmud said he hoped all of Malaysia’s 430,000 teachers would make use of the free module which is not compulsory.

The first-of-its-kind tool would enhance the teachers’ ICT skills, he added.

Mahmud said teachers must embrace technology if they wanted to keep their students interested in the classroom.

He added that the module does not only focus on creating educational videos but also showed teachers how to incorporate basic ICT devices and tools into their lesson plans.

Earlier, when reading Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof’s speech, Mahmud said the Education Ministry hoped that teachers could spark an interest in STEM subjects by making their lessons more “digital-native friendly” for their charges.

“Using ICT in the classroom is the best alternative for a teacher to improve their teaching efficiency and have a real impact on their students.

“Learning how to use a computer is not enough for teachers to know how to incorporate technology into the teaching and facilitating process,” he said

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Plan to improve teacher education

Monday, September 4th, 2017
(From left) Special award recipients Anny Tang Siew Ung (Co-curriculum), Wan Izzati Wan Ahmad (Practical English -TESL) and Rector’s Award recipient Muhamad Naufal Badarudin are all smiles after the convocation. — Bernama

(From left) Special award recipients Anny Tang Siew Ung (Co-curriculum), Wan Izzati Wan Ahmad (Practical English -TESL) and Rector’s Award recipient Muhamad Naufal Badarudin are all smiles after the convocation. — Bernama

A TECHNICAL committee has been formed to develop a transformation action plan for the enhancement of Institutes of Teacher Education (IPG) nationwide.

To produce graduates of international standing, the committee will focus on improving the organisational system, IPG leadership, facilities, co-curriculum, quality of lecturers, and selection of trainee teachers; increasing research and innovation activities; and boosting the profile of IPG, Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan said before presenting scrolls to IPG graduates at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) last Monday.

He reminded teachers to be patient and passionate as it was the only way to be successful educators.

Teachers of the 21st century must also be mentally strong, innovative, professional, disciplined, and matured in character and idealism, he said.

“Education is becoming more flexible, creative, challenging and complex. The conventional ‘chalk and talk’ teaching method isn’t as interesting anymore, nor is it working.

“We need dynamic and relevant methods that are in line with current developments.

“So teachers of today must be tech-savvy, open minded, knowledgeable in all education-related issues and policies, and devoted to life-long learning,” he said.

Earlier when speaking at the convocation, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid advised new teachers not to apply for transfers before being confirmed to the post.

Mahdzir said he received numerous requests from teachers who wanted to be relocated, even though they had been in the service for less than three years, according to a Bernama report.

Although sympathetic, he said greater priority should be given to the teachers who had been separated from their spouses for a longer period.

“Sometimes teachers who have been married for just a year, want to be transferred nearer to their loved ones. They need to have the three-year mindset, it’s easy for the ministry if we are all (thinking) the same.”

A total of 5,978 graduates received their degrees and diplomas at the eighth convocation of the institute, which was held from Aug 27 to 30.

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A teacher has many roles

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

The role of the teacher has indeed evolved over the years.

NOW think about this seriously. In all honesty, how do you feel each time the term ‘21st century learning’ is mentioned?

Does it instantly get you into education transformation mode, all fired up, eager and rearing to go into classrooms to implement the latest strategies?

Does it make you go the other way perhaps, where you suppress a sigh and grunt inwardly, “Not again – not another new-fangled method of pedagogy with a fancy name which sounds vaguely familiar? Then there are other words that have been making the school education circuits in the past few years — words like “collaborative learning”, “learner centred classrooms”, “digital teaching” and “higher order thinking skills.”

In all likelihood, many of you are now so used to these terms that you can’t even recall a point in your teaching life when they did not exist. But perhaps there are still some who are grappling with it, wishing that at least some of it would fall off and that school life could go back to the way they used to know it. Even so, there is the simultaneous coming to terms with the truth, the slow realisation that no matter how hard you wish, the changes are not going to go away.

Among the modifications which have become integrally and almost unavoidably associated with 21st century learning is the redefining of the role of teacher.

One teacher who had just attended a seminar on the ongoing transformations in the education system had mixed feelings. “I found many parts relevant,” she said, “and I guess it’s true that our roles may have changed in many ways. But,” she added a little wryly, “I just couldn’t agree with the closing statements of one of the speakers. He suggested that with all the changes and redefining of roles, the label ‘teacher’ may not even be relevant anymore and that we should rebrand ourselves accordingly. He said we should call ourselves facilitators, not teachers.”

Another teacher who had also attended the seminar said: “So after having been trained as a teacher and after 25 years of teaching, I am now no longer to be known as teacher. I am now ‘facilitator’! I support most of the changes, but please don’t call me anything else but ‘Teacher’. It’s a teacher I started out as. And that’s how everyone knows me.”

She looked a little distraught — but in a strange way it was heartening to know that the label of “teacher” meant so much to her, and in a way the word “facilitator” never could.

The role of the teacher has indeed evolved over the years and in the 21st century learner centred classrooms, the emphasis on teachers to facilitate the learning experience for their students is even more pronounced than before. Teachers are also expected to facilitate the creation of productive learning environments where students can develop the skills they need for the 21st century global workplace.

Still, to many in the teaching service, the word “facilitator” doesn’t seem to have the same ring to it as the word “teacher”.

“We are teachers who facilitate learning,” quipped one teacher and that simple phrase hinted at the depth behind the word ‘teacher’. “We are all that is required of a facilitator of learning and more besides.”

It is true that teachers are now to be perceived more as “guides on the side” who provide direction and help students to take ownership of their own learning.

Teachers are also called on to provide opportunities for students to lead, collaborate, discuss and even assess themselves and their peers. Instead of direct instruction, teachers are now encouraged to use questioning to allow students to discover their own knowledge. Apart from managing the classroom environment and facilitating the students’ learning, the teacher of today needs to be keenly aware of the group dynamics in the classroom and make the necessary adjustments in the learning scene. At different points, the teacher also becomes the walking resource, the coach, prompter and assessor.

Are all these really new things? Many teachers would be quick to say “No”. I remember some of my own teachers in the 60s and 70s whose lessons had many of the essential features of 21st century learning. Nevertheless there were and probably still are many others whose teaching technique consisted mainly of standing in front of the class and delivering information or instruction for the whole period — definitely not the way to go in the 21st century.

Still, there is something to be said about a teacher who can stand in front of the class and impart knowledge in such a way that students are completely engaged and imaginations are made to soar above and beyond the classrooms. Although this form of “teaching” where the teacher is his only and own resource, may not be recommended in classrooms of today, there could be much value realised when the limiting of teaching resources causes minds to expand beyond what is tangible.

I remember sitting in classrooms where the teacher’s compelling personality and oral presentation skills made the pages of literature, and history come alive in our heads. We formed our own images and heard the voices of the past in our minds, made our own mental associations and devised personal methods to store information. Many of these things we were thus taught without the aid of external visuals or resources have lasted till this day. In fact, looking back I am not sure whether the presence of more resources would have enhanced or impeded our personal discoveries.

I think that even now, despite the changing needs of students of this century there has to be some place for the sage on the stage. If we consider differentiated needs in students’ learning, there could possibly be students who learn best by listening first, asking their own questions and internalising the content and skills later. There is a time for collaboration and cooperative learning but there also needs to be sufficient time for individual thinking and personal reflection. We are after all individuals first before we become groups.

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Teachers must embrace lifelong learning

Sunday, June 11th, 2017
Teachers are required to develop their skills and abilities throughout their careers in order to make up a quality English teaching force

THE national-level Teacher’s Day celebration 2017 was held in Johor Bahru on May 16. The theme for this year’s Teacher’s Day is “Guru Pembina Negara Bangsa” or “Teachers Foster Nation Building”. This theme emphasises the impact of teachers upon a nation.

Teachers’ contributions and commitments have always been appreciated and therefore, it is not surprising that Malaysian National Laureate Usman Awang also held teachers in high esteem in his poem, “Guru Oh Guru”. In it, Usman describes the teacher’s role in shaping a child’s journey up until he enters the working world.

Teaching is a noble profession whereby teachers play a critical role in building, developing and moulding the future generation. With the advent and advancement in education over the past decade, teaching is becoming more challenging and demanding. Teachers need to keep pace with the fast-changing world of education and meet the demands of the ever-evolving education system.

Teachers who are in the education system, be it those who are beginning their career or currently serving, need to be constantly equipped with new knowledge and skills related to curriculum change, assessment, integration of technologies and resources to meet the educational needs of the 21st century.

The teaching and learning approaches and strategies must empower our children with the Four Cs — Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity. Teachers are at the forefront in delivering 21st century education in the language classroom.

The English Roadmap 2015-2025 addresses several important components which directly impact the quality of English language teachers in its aim to raise the standards and quality of English language teaching and learning in schools and higher education institutions to international levels.

The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) has been adopted for selection into the teacher education programmes, pre-service ELTE curriculum, in-service training programmes and the accreditation of English language teachers.

All English language teachers should achieve CEFR C1 as a minimum requirement. Teachers are required to develop their skills and abilities throughout their careers in order to make up a high quality English teaching force.

The Professional Upskilling of English Language Teachers or known as Pro-ELT is one of the initiatives carried out to uplift the standards of proficiency.

Change is inevitable. If teachers are to remain relevant, they need to move with the times. They need to embrace change and be the agents of change. To uphold this profession and its demands, teachers should make continuing professional development a top priority in their agenda.

Annually teachers who serve in government schools are required to fulfill seven days of professional development by attending courses, seminars or conferences to upskill and upgrade their professional self.

The programmes are well-developed and designed so that teachers are able to transfer their knowledge and competencies into classroom practices which will benefit their students.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) provides a menu of courses that teachers can choose from throughout the year. Most of these professional development and in-service courses are organised and managed by the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC), Ministry of Education.

Teachers can select the courses based on their needs and related to their field of work. More importantly, teachers are given the autonomy to chart, reflect and assess their own professional development and success.

It is the aspiration of the MoE to raise the percentage of school-based professional development activities or on-site training grounded in the classroom.

Schools are empowered to deliver professional development courses.

The Ministry of Education introduced professional learning communities (PLCs) to schools in 2012 as a professional platform for teachers to work together to improve upon the teaching practices in the language classroom.

The mentoring and coaching system is encouraged among teachers to provide continuous support. This system also enables teachers to learn from one another by sharing best practices.

The support systems to enable schools and teachers to manage changes in the education system are via School Improvement Specialist Coaches (SISC+) and FasiLINUS.

These officers facilitate, coach and mentor teachers by working hand-in-hand with them to address the challenges and issues in the classroom. This collaboration and communication among teachers to improve the quality of education delivered to students epitomises 21st century education.

Such initiatives have shown remarkable improvements in teachers’ professional development through the spirit of collegiality and inculcate a positive and conducive environment.

Becoming a teacher is a lifelong journey with true commitments. This journey includes equipping oneself continually with the knowledge and skills to be an effective and quality teacher.

Having high values and being passionate in teaching and learning is central for sustaining interest in the job.


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Proud to be a daughter of educators

Saturday, May 27th, 2017
Teachers are not defined by the clothes they wear, but by the knowledge and the values they impart to students. FILE PIC

I AM blessed to be born into a family of teachers. My uncle would proudly regale us with the story of how our late grandmother taught one of my brothers to read.

Each time I listened to that story, it is as if I’m being taken through a magical experience.

I imagined atok mak (as we fondly called our grandmother) persevering in making sure that my brother, Azad, was able to catch up in his lessons.

Apart from my parents and grandparents, many of my uncles and aunties have also become teachers.

For them, educating others does not stop after school.

It is their way of life and it is not limited to books and exams, but also involves other aspects, such as household chores, playing, singing and even a thing or two about relationships.

My elders, as well as my school teachers, played a huge role in my life and I am forever grateful to them. I would not be where I am today if not for their guidance.

Some of my sweetest childhood memories came from schools. I learned how to play hockey from a teacher in primary school (I can’t remember his name, though).

Despite being beaten to a pulp by Kluang High School (STK) in our first outing, I held on to the memory of that game. This was despite me unashamedly admitting that I can’t play hockey to save my life.

Of course, some of us would have encountered that “teacher” whom we do not want to remember. Despite this, I have always had high regard for my teachers.

Even after years of leaving school, when I bump into my former teachers, I still have a lively and friendly banter with them.

For this reason, I naturally get upset each time I come across derogatory comments and remarks about teachers.

One recent example is when someone posted a Facebook comment describing educators from a certain school, who wore school uniforms on Teachers Day on May 16, as clowns.

The last time I checked, there is nothing wrong with wearing school uniform to celebrate that special day, nor is it illegal to do so.

Teachers Day is the one day they can have things their way (within the law, of course) after a year of sweat and toil, and there is no harm in having fun on the day that is dedicated to them.

And, if all you can see is a group of people making a fool of themselves, then shame on you.

Teachers are not defined by the clothes they wear, but by the knowledge they impart and the values they inculcate in students.

Being raised by teachers, I have witnessed the late nights my parents put in to mark exam papers, the efforts my mother made in preparing teaching materials and how my grandparents were beaming with pride when talking about their former students.

There were also hilarious moments that some of my uncles had encountered in their classrooms.

The invaluable contributions of teachers were aptly described by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah during a tribute luncheon recently.

He said teachers played a crucial role in shaping the minds of the youth and that the development of a country would come to a standstill if the education system was a failure.

Sultan Nazrin wanted the voices of teachers to be heard, as they are the ones who were in constant contact with students, and could give input that might help the government to draw up solid educational policies.

He also urged parents not to depend solely on teachers in raising their children.

In the past, albeit rarely, there were parents who would show concern during parent-teacher meetings, and make it a point to visit their children in school.

But today, we hear of busy folks sending text messages to teachers, asking them to stay back after school to look after their children because they will be late in fetching them.

by  Nuradzimmah Daim.

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