Archive for the ‘Teacher's Professionalism’ Category

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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Guru through the decades

Saturday, May 20th, 2017
Mr Bala (seated, left) at an event.

Mr Bala (seated, left) at an event.

WE’VE crossed paths many times. The first was in 1973 at the Methodist Secondary School in Sungai Siput (U), Perak when Mr BalaSupramaniam or Mr Bala became our class teacher.

I was in Form Four then and apart from having him as our “home” teacher, it was such a pleasure to have Mr Bala as our English master.

I enjoyed listening to his many anecdotes even if they digressed from the core topic of his lessons. However, those unforgettable moments enriched his lessons and enlightened our perceptions of life.

Sitting for the Malaysia Certificate of Education (MCE) exam the following year meant the end of my secondary schooling and bidding farewell to our alma mater.

I presumed then with a heavy heart that the academic outing I had over the last two years with this nurturing teacher was to come to an end.

However, it was a wonderful surprise that our paths crossed again when I entered the Teacher Training College. Mr Bala was a lecturer there.

Over the years, we bumped into each other at the mall or the wet market, often exchanging happy and sad news or just reminiscing about our past.

In 2014, during the school reunion we met yet again. Mr Bala was about to retire from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman as a senior lecturer. Upon retirement, he said that he would like to travel around the world. Mr Bala will always be remembered as a counsellor, friend, lecturer, mentor, orator and a source of inspiration, but most of all he is the quintessential teacher. Somehow, he was instrumental in influencing my vocation as a teacher and lecturer.

by Faridah Hanum Ghazali
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Retired teacher shares secret of her success.

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
Proud moment: (From left) Sufa’at, Khuzaimah and Zainuddin showing their awards during the Teachers Day celebration in Johor Baru. — Bernama

Proud moment: (From left) Sufa’at, Khuzaimah and Zainuddin showing their awards during the Teachers Day celebration in Johor Baru. — Bernama

JOHOR BARU: Unconditional love and care has been the secret to retired teacher Khuzaimah Sulaiman’s success as an educator for 46 years.

The 66-year-old received this year’s Tokoh Guru Kebangsaan award from Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for her hard work, dedication and passion in teaching.

“I’ve always worked from my heart, so I am truly honoured to be awarded the title,” she said after the national-level Teachers Day celebration here yesterday.

Khuzaimah shared that sho­w­ing love and care and making students feel important was the best way to engage with them.

Khuzaimah started her career as a Pendidikan Islam teacher from 1976 to 1988 before serving as a senior assistant between 1988 and 1995 in several schools here and in Negri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur.

She went on to become principal before retiring at SM Agama Persekutuan Labu in Negri Sembilan on March 15, 2007.

“Nowadays, I give integrity talks to officers in various ministries with the cooperation of Institut Integriti Malaysia as well as during teachers’ training and courses,” she said.

During the event, former Education deputy director-general Datuk Sufa’at Tumin and Information and Communi­cations Technology (ICT) teacher Zainuddin Zakaria were also conferred the Tokoh Pemimpin Pendidikan and Ikon Guru Inovatif Kebangsaan awards respectively.

Zainuddin, who has won multiple international awards for his contributions to ICT classroom learning, said the introduction of 21st century learning was important for Malaysian students to be on par with their peers globally.

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Teaching, a noble and challenging job

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Today, our educators not only are expected to complete the school syllabus and ensure students score well in examinations but to also help solve problems faced by the nation.

THE Holy Prophet Muhammad said, “Seek knowledge and train to be dignified and calm while seeking knowledge, and humble yourselves with those whom you learn from”.

This is among the sayings or ha­dith of the Prophet on the relationship between students and teachers.

This hadith also indicates the elevated position of teachers in Islamic tradition. The role of teachers and education is crucial in preparing a better and developed nation in the future.

The fate of our young people, the future of society and the nation’s prospects depend, in large measure, upon teachers and the education system.

It is teachers and the education system that produce responsible citi­zens who are able to think critically, behave respectfully, act independently, respect diversities, build social cohesion and consequently construct a united nation.

The duties and responsibilities of teachers to impart and cultivate know­­­ledge have never changed, since the beginning of human civilisation. But the situations have changed. Changes in the socio-environment have made teaching among the most challenging professions.

Being an educator for more than 20 years at the tertiary level myself, I find two great challenges teachers are facing: eliminating social ills and building unity of the nation.

In the current decade, and also in the future, teachers are not only expected to complete the school syllabus and ensure students score the highest marks in whatever examinations are specified within the education system and policies, they are also expected to solve problems faced by the nation.

In the same vein, teachers are ex­pected to develop the young to achieve the highest level of huma­nity.

The nation now has moved very rapidly and rigorously towards the digital era. Meanwhile, development in technologies has made the globe become a village.

As a result, the nation is facing challenges due to uncontrolled inform­ation and communication.

This situation has developed new dimensions within society and to some extent, affects social stability which has caused social ills.

Thus, teachers and education are expected to cure the illness by educa­­ting the young to cope and be resi­lient towards changes in technologies, and at the same time, retain their indigenous identity.

In a melting pot society like Malaysia, we inherit diversity. Thus, apart from fulfilling the expectation to cure social ills, teachers are expected to build unity in diversity; to unite the nation by teaching the young to live together.

Teachers are expected to build a nation with a national identity, who respect one another, work in teams, resolve differences in a peaceful and respectful manner and participate in living together peacefully.

Be that as it may, teaching and learning to live together is not easy. In fact, living together is the greatest challenge in the 21st century.

In order to live together, history, geography, languages and civic education are vital. In addition, the na­tion must also be capable of sharing a common language and aspirations.

Living in the world today, we find that traditional institutions such as family, religious institutions and communities, in general, are under threat. This situation has made teachers’ responsibilities more challenging.

Thus, in assisting teachers to fulfil the expectations of society, education policies must be able to attract, recruit, train and support competent, caring, knowledgeable and committed teachers.

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Teacher goes the extra mile for student

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

A SECONDARY school teacher in Johor Baru was praised for her concern after she went out of her way to look for a student when he did not turn up for his SPM paper, Kwong Wah Yit Poh reported.

The teacher was seen calling the name of the student in front of his house at about 2pm on Thursday during a downpour.

The student’s neighbour, known only as Wang, said the teacher was worried that the student had overslept and would miss the exam.

Wang’s brother climbed into the compound of the house to knock on the door but got no answer.

Wang said the teacher then drove around the area to look for the student before stopping at the house again. She left after failing to find him.

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