Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

A lifelong passion for teaching

Thursday, May 4th, 2017
Teachers attending regular in-service training courses will form an integral part of their continuing professional development.

REFORMS in the education system are necessary to meet the demands of an ever changing world. As student demographics change and technology evolves, so too must the delivery of education to our children, and this responsibility to deliver lies primarily on the shoulders of teachers.

Belonging to a profession that creates all other professions, teachers are trained to adapt to reforms in education. They possess specialised knowledge to carry out their responsibilities, and before taking up teaching positions, they receive intensive training that prepares them to be lifelong learners. All this is encapsulated in what is widely referred to as teacher professionalism. In addition to possessing expert knowledge in their subjects of specialisation, teachers are also part of a wider professional community which allows them to exchange information and seek support when needed.

Although teachers receive intensive pre-service training, the evolutionary nature of education demands that lifelong learning features prominently in the career path of teachers. This is why we hear of teachers attending regular in-service training courses that form an integral part of their continuing professional development.

Today, the continuing professional development of Malaysian teachers is shaped to a great extent by the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, a document that charts the future direction of education in the country. To ensure that the next generation of Malaysians is ready to face local, regional and global challenges, the blueprint calls for eleven shifts that need to take place within the education system. These shifts have to do with changes in strategy and direction as well as operational changes for a move away from current practices.

The second of the eleven shifts projects a vision that every child that goes through the Malaysian education system becomes proficient in both Bahasa Malaysia and English. This specific reference to language education highlights the important role that language teachers play in addressing national aspirations.

Over the years, a great deal has been said particularly about English language education in Malaysia and the English Language Roadmap 2015-2025 has addressed most of the concerns. There have been extensive discussions about the role of English language teachers in improving the standard of English among our students. If we are to achieve the targets set in the Malaysia Education Blueprint and the English Language Roadmap, significant changes must take place, and English language teachers have to lead some of these changes. However, they must first be equipped with new knowledge and the skills necessary to make changes. The best way of ensuring this is through continuing professional development programmes.

Realising the importance of continuing professional development programmes for English language teachers, the Ministry of Education Malaysia set up and tasked the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) to offer professional development courses for English Language Teaching practitioners including teachers, lecturers, School Improvement Specialist Coaches (SISC+), State English language trainers and English Panel Heads. Numerous courses are offered by the ELTC throughout the year. One of the more large-scale training programmes managed by the ELTC has been the Professional Up-skilling of English Language Teachers or Pro-ELT programme. When the Pro-ELT programme began in 2013, it was indeed a huge undertaking involving some 18,500 English language teachers who needed support in achieving the desired C1 band in a CEFR-linked (Common European Framework of Reference) assessment. Over the years, the programme has seen a significant number of teachers improve in their performance.

The Pro-ELT programme essentially supports English teachers improve their proficiency in English through a blended mode of face-to-face and online instruction. In this way, the programme allows participants to take ownership of their professional development. Also, the face-to-face and online phases of the programme provide space for teachers to ask questions and engage in active dialogue with peers. Teachers are continuously given support for six weeks to engage in language based activities by experienced trainers from ELTC. Up until last year, a total of 16,009 teachers were trained under the Pro-ELT programme. Another 650 teachers are expected to be trained this year, while 800 and 1050 teachers will be trained next year and in 2019 respectively.

Feedback from teachers who have completed the Pro-ELT programme with the ELTC has been largely positive. The participants felt that the course was not just about helping them improve their performance in assessments; rather, it was about helping them identify their strengths and weaknesses and gain greater confidence in using the language. A significantly high number of Pro-ELT participants also reported greater motivation to master the language after attending the programme.

In addition to the Pro-ELT, a variety of other continuing professional development programmes are run by the ELTC for English teachers. These programmes serve specific purposes such as ensuring that classroom practices match prescribed standards and competencies. The Highly Immersive Programme and the Program Intervensi Tambah Opsyen Bahasa Inggeris (PITO-BI) run by ELTC are among the examples of professional development programmes that follow a top-down approach necessary to ensure that teachers are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to translate policies into practice. Beyond this, the ELTC also plays an important role in creating localised communities of practice, an important ingredient for professional development. Working closely with SISC+, the ELTC supports the creation of teacher networks at schools and districts so that independent professional communities of teachers are able to address local challenges through a process of reviewing existing practices.

In addition to continuing professional development programmes that are organised by authorities, there is a need for teachers to take ownership of their own professional development. However, the right conditions are needed for this. There needs to be space for teachers to ask questions, identify issues related specifically to their students, and engage in active dialogue. One way of doing this is by promoting a research culture.


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The development of the profession

Monday, January 30th, 2017

PROFESSIONAL social work was introduced to Malaysia in the 1930s, according to the Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW). But it was mainly focused on problems of migrant labourers from India and China, MASW says on its website.

The issues have expanded to cover substance abuse, mental illness, poverty and more, but there is still a lack of professional growth and development in various fields of social work.

A 2004 MASW report states that between the 1940s and 1980s, the Department of Social Welfare (JKM) and government hospitals recruited social workers who had trained in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang to work at its facilities.

In the mid-1980s, changes in government economic policies led to a review of intake criteria for positions which saw non-social work graduates accepted into the department as well as government and semi-government hospitals

“This decision was detrimental to the development of the profession as well as the quality of social services towards clients. Ad-hoc in-service training and supervisory programmes were rushed into place to cope with recruits who had no inkling of the roles and responsibilities they were employed for, or expected to do, in their quest for jobs,” the report states.

MASW secretary Elsie Lee believes that over the years, Malaysia has witnessed a “de-professionalisation” of social work. Anyone with a degree could come in. People with degrees in geography and history were taken in even though they might not know what to do, she says.

One may think that compassion and kindness are enough if a person aspires to do social work, but unfortunately, that is not enough. Lee believes social workers need theoretical and procedural knowledge, and an understanding of the field.

Personal experience and practice, such as that picked up working at a children’s home, for example, is not enough because people can learn the wrong things sometimes, she says.

It is like sending a lay person to a family that reports domestic violence. How would you handle an aggressive spouse? Those who are not trained may be afraid because they do not have the knowledge and experience to deal with a threatening situation.

But it looks like things are taking a turn for the better.

In 2010, a National Competency Standards for Social Work Practice was approved by the government. In 2011, the Social Workers Bill was drafted to register “Social Worker” as a professional title for those who have the required academic qualifications, such as a diploma, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in social work. The Bill has yet to be passed in Parliament.

And to professionalise the industry, MASW, Unicef and JKM have been pushing to establish practice competency through training programmes and courses to equip social workers with the required knowledge and tools.

This year, MASW, Foundation for Community Studies and Development (YKPM) and Alliance of Christian Social Workers teamed up with Methodist College Kuala Lumpur to offer a Diploma in Social Work, which will begin in April.

The competency-based programme, the first of its kind in Malaysia, was designed in reference to the 2010 list of 10 professional standards of practice. Approved by the Higher Education Ministry, it aims to help expand professionally trained human resource in social work practice.

The course will cover topics such as human behaviour and social environment, social work methods, interpersonal and counselling skills, and field placements.

YKPM and MASW are working on raising funds to support those who can’t afford the full fees.

Six local universities – USM, Universiti Utara Malaysia in Kedah, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Selangor, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin in Terengganu– now offer full social work programmes for undergraduates.

Skills learnt from social work courses will give you a better understanding of human behaviour so it helps you deal with people, says Lee. They can also be used in other fields such as human resource management, marketing and employee assistance programmes.

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New staff appraisal system

Friday, June 10th, 2016

THE Integrated Assessment for Education Service Officers (PBPPP) is now fully implemented, and has been proceeding smoothly, said the Education Ministry.

The appraisal instrument was developed by the ministry’s Competency Development and Assessment Division (Bahagian Pembangunan dan Penilaian Kompetensi (BPPK)) to provide a more consistent and transparent performance appraisal tool.

PBPPP has its roots in 2013, when the pre-delivery task force agreed that the new appraisal system will be introduced to cover all Education Service Officers (PPP) beginning 2015.

PBPPP covers officers who are either in permanent or contract employment for more than six months (180 days). Those who are under investigation for disciplinary matters are still required to undergo assessment, until the Disciplinary Board metes out the punishment or penalty. Officers who are on unpaid leave, or sick leave, or on authorised study leave, for more than six months are exempted from PBPPP, which covers principals, headmasters, teachers and even those working at state (JPN) and district education offices (PPD).

It also covers those who are in statutory bodies affiliated with education, such as Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB), the main educational management institute in Malaysia.

In a circular to all education officers in March 2015, Education Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad declared that PBPPP will be implemented in stages beginning April 2015.

“PBPPP is a comprehensive instrument to evaluate the competence as well as the potential of PPP.

“Other than this, the instrument is capable of elevating the efficiency and commitment of the PPP exhibiting a high-performance to ensure the quality of education is in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025,” added Dr Madinah.

In a recent media briefing at the ministry, Under Secretary of the Competency Development and Assessment Division (BPPK), Md Sani Latip said: “This is the outcome of the move to introduce Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.


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‘Traffic Light’ System In Online Application For Transfer For Teachers From June

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

PUTRAJAYA, June 23 (Bernama) — Starting June 2015, the Education Ministry has created a ‘traffic light’ system in the online application for transfer for teachers nationwide, using the ‘e-GTukar’ method.

Deputy Director-General of Education Datuk Ahmad Tajudin Jab said the ‘traffic light’ system would help the teachers to choose the preferred state or district for transfer based on the colour showed in the system, in which green indicates vacancy and red indicates that the post is not available.

Territory, district and state education offices will play the role of decision maker and approver to applications for transfer, while the Education Ministry would function as policy maker and law enforcer, he told reporters here Tuesday.

Ahmad Tajudin said the approval for transfer would be given based on several criteria.

“The three main criteria are the service requirement, vacancy and option requirement in the preferred state,” he said.

Ahmad Tajudin said among the reasons given by teachers when applying for transfer were following their spouses, suffering from chronic diseases and safety threats.

For the June session, applications approved for secondary school teachers numbered 554 out of 7,969 applications, while for primary school teachers numbered 165 out of 8,327 applications, he said.

He said the transfer of teachers was implemented twice a year, namely in January and June and the e-GTukar module could be accessed at


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Off to a roaring start

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

The first lecture by a CEO under an Education Ministry initiative kicked off at UiTM with an overwhelming response from students.

HE may been the youngest of five children, yet there was no special treatment or pampering from his older siblings or parents.

In fact, Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir worked very hard to get to where he is today, and has no regrets.

The former Proton Holdings Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) adds that there are no short cuts for hard work and he should know better for he studied in many schools during his growing years.

“My father was a civil servant and was transferred to different towns, so in a way we were ‘uprooted’ many times.”

Syed Zainal Abidin learnt to be independent and adapted fast to his surroundings from a very young age.

He worked hard to gain a Petronas scholarship that saw him travelling to the University of Maryland, the United States to pursue his Bachelor of Science in Engineering.

So adjusting to a new country was easier for him. More experiences led to more valuable life lessons, he said when addressing the students of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

Syed Zainal Abidin is the first CEO to lecture at a local varsity under the Education Ministry’s CEO Faculty Programme.

He said his father had advised him to mix with the locals in the United States and not just “stick to” the Malaysian students.

“I lived in a big house with six guys and three girls,” he said, adding that this exposed him to the behaviour and culture of others.


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Muhyiddin Advises Education Ministry Staff To Discard Silo Mentality

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

News Pic

PUTRAJAYA, March 3 (Bernama) — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today advised Education Ministry personnel to discard the mentality of working in silos or within their own communities so as to help boost the national education sector.

Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister, said all heads of departments and agencies under the ministry should work as one team in realising the mandate to create a knowledgeable society with high moral standards.

“We have to avoid the creation of silos; heads of departments and agencies under the ministry should not become Little Napoleons as this negates any measure to work as one strong team.

“As such, I advise everyone to establish a strong working team that can realise the mandate in an organised manner based on praiseworthy acts and discretion,” he said when addressing the monthly assembly of the ministry, here.

Muhyiddin said the role and responsibilities of the education ministry were much different and more challenging than those of the other ministries and agencies because these were associated with shaping human character.

Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh; deputy education ministers Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching and P. Kamalanathan and ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad also attended the assembly.

Muhyiddin said the responsibilities of the ministry staff became all the more difficult because they had to undergo several challenges to realise the desire of shaping knowledgeable human beings with high moral standards.

As such, he said, the ministry staff could no longer work in any one scheme of the ministry but would have to encompass a wider eco-system that covered other departments and agencies because each one of them had their respective roles that had to be realised together.


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Focus and put things in perspective

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

REFRAME YOUR THOUGHTS: By devoting their daily time to re-examination of the self, many have regained their calm.

THE  trick in life is to be aware, and this says many things. There are people walking around as if in sleep, unaware of what’s happening, feelings, attitudes, scenes and, worst of all, themselves.

“Is that all there is?” asks linguist and experimental psychologist Steven Pinker. “Are we doomed to picking our thinkable thoughts, our feeble feelings, our possible moves in the game of life, from a short menu of options?”

The truth is that that short menu is a long one. But start at the beginning, and that is yourself. Last week we saw how our minds go adrift into its default network as soon as we relax. We are at the sink and our mind starts to think about yesterday and tomorrow and 20 other possible problems. We are sometimes laden with thoughts, sometimes flitting among daisies, sometimes traipsing in fields unknown. The present short term memory is as important as your flights of fancy and deeds long done. There’s this song by Donovan — and one of my favourites — bewailing the thought of an impossible thing and then he sighs, alas, “I may as well try and catch the wind”.

Catch the wind if you must, look at it, hold it and examine it because we don’t do that often. Walk the street as I urged you last week, and look. This looking is seeing, not just training your eyes to go through things but examining. The streets will come alive, the road that you have travelled through often will now stand out and maybe you’ll notice for the first time that the huge writing on that notice-board is written in sans-serif.

Thoughts running wild, as they do when you’re simply walking to the train station in the morning, is a useful adjunct to your being, but no, it’s not just a supplement but something germane to the path. Without it you’ll be overburdened, take it away and creativity flounders because your thinking parts are what you are aware of and what runs silently beneath. They work in tandem.

Some advocates of thinking are now asking us not to dispel stray thoughts but to reframe. This simply means that you should pull and harness them as part of your present thinking but to do that you must first gain control of the present. How can we do that? How can we stop our minds wandering, or, to put it in technical language, how do we stop it falling back into the default network? The answer is you must train yourself to be aware of the present. Focus.

Focusing also brings things into perspective, analysing takes you away from it for a while and lets you look at anything almost detached. There is an old prescription for people who worry: write down what’s worrying you, write down the possible solutions and it will make your load feel light. You stood back to examine, you looked at ways of solving it. In other words, you’re re-framing by projecting your present into all sorts of possible avenues, taking the reality before you and the notions that are hanging and crashing into each other in your head.

From self-conscious to self-constructive

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

CREATING REALITY: Taking photographs goes beyond narcissism these days isn’t just for posterity’s sake these days.

SOMETIMES we fail to see the deep irony: when cameras and camera persons obliterate your view of the stage because they want to show an unobstructed view of the view in another medium. We are truly living in a world within worlds, when the real becomes just a statement of our desire to show this  “reality” within another where the picture is less cluttered than in the real.

Life is becoming like reality television, for instance, as cameras are becoming more abrasive and obscure your view because clarity belongs not to those who are there at the real event, but to those who are watching far away. The people in this real world become mere actors while reality, as an event that is uncluttered by  “eyes” that are self regarding, is in the box, the cinema or the video that is played back later.

Have you noticed how we are now becoming more eager to broadcast ourselves? The hurrah in a restaurant when food is served is often the exclamation mark of instant photography. A snap for Facebook, a shoot for instant despatch to friends everywhere and a record of ourselves being ourselves for others to see us playing ourselves to others.

Some say this is the panopticon society where we’re constantly recording ourselves so others can watch us too. Ah, the people’s panopticon, ah the narcissism.

Already our reality has been blighted by the obsession to record ourselves. In times past cameras were discreet, recording only from unobtrusive angles because reality was staged for the people present. Nowadays, cameras take precedence. They strut in front of us, cameras and camera people, so they can show a clean, unobstructed picture that we who are there cannot see. Most do not mind this of course because we often define ourselves nowadays by the display of ourselves to others.

Facebook now has a library of more than 140 billion photos, an accumulation 10,000 times larger than in the Library of Congress. How many selfies, how many groups, how many silly poses, how much food on tables? We are becoming public figures and our diet is known to all.

English teachers learn new skills

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

PROMISING: 9,000 more to participate in programme next year.

KUALA LUMPUR: THE proficiency of English of the teachers  participating in the Professional Up-skilling of English Language Teachers (Pro-ELT) programme has improved.

Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said these teachers had learnt new methods of teaching.

Idris, who visited one of the training centres yesterday at SK Cochrane Perkasa here, said 4,957 teachers attended the one-year programme, which began in November last year, and another 9,000 teachers will participate in the second programme in January.

“Teachers attending the programme are effective and well-qualified.

“To raise the standard of English of students, we must ensure teachers are fluent and competent enough to guide them.”

He said teachers who enrolled in the programme were expected to reach a C1 level based on the Common European Framework of Reference as far as proficiency was concerned.

Preliminary findings by the ministry’s research team, comprising Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Teacher Training Institutes and the ministry’s English Language Teaching Centre, into the programme showed promising results with an upward trend in three areas — teacher proficiency, teacher pedagogy and student performance.

by Tasnim Lokman.

Hijrah in Islam signifies renewal

Friday, November 8th, 2013

EXODUS: The Prophet migrated to Medina after 13 years of campaign in Mecca.

HIJRAH, migration or exodus, initially of Prophet Muhammad and his companions from Mecca to Yathrib (later renamed Medina), features prominently in the Quran and the teachings and Sunnah of the Prophet himself.

The Prophet and his followers migrated, after 13 years of campaign in Mecca on 1 Rabi’ al-Awwal/Sept 13, 622, arriving in Yathrib 11 days later on Sept 24.

The commemoration of the Hijri calendar was instituted, however, 17 years later by the second caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab. The new calendar dates from the first day of the first lunar month of the year, that is, Awwal Muharram.

Although Umar instituted the official era, the custom of referring to events and happenings to before or after the Hijrah originated with the Prophet himself.

Hijrah in the early history of Islam is also discussed in conjunction with the migration of a group of Muslims from Mecca to Abyssinia in 615 AD. They were subjected to persistent persecution by the pagans of Mecca so much so that the Prophet advised them to seek asylum in Ethiopia where they could live in peace under Christian emperor Negus.

They migrated and stayed in Ethiopia until the time was right for them to join the Prophet in Medina. Although migration to Ethiopia was voluntary and limited in scope, the one to Medina was obligatory and involved the entire Muslim community.

No Muslim was supposed to stay behind except for the very weak, women, children and the sick, who could not afford to travel the 270km distance to Medina.