Archive for the ‘Behaviour / discipline management’ Category

Student Kindness Ambassadors take the lead to prevent bullying in their schools.

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Newly appointed student and teacher ambassadors take their first groupshot together at Kelantan Education Technology Division Center of Excellence with (from middle left) Alexius and Roznita.

Newly appointed student and teacher ambassadors take their first groupshot together at Kelantan Education Technology Division Center of Excellence with (from middle left) Alexius and Roznita.

KELANTAN: The #StandTogether National Kindness Tour inspired the students from the east coast to embrace kindness in their mission to prevent bullying in their schools.

The goal of the tour is to create student and teacher kindness ambassadors to act as leaders in their school and share the information obtained from the Kindness Tour Workshops with their peers.

“I am very excited to be a kindness ambassador,” said student Murni Irsaliza Mohamad Zain, 16, from SM Sains Sultan Mahmud.

“The information I learned today is new and very necessary for my school, and I want to see more of these workshops in Malaysia.”

Murni shared that she noticed the youth of her generation have gotten normalised to behaviors which she discovered after the workshop, is bullying.

The tour is organized by Digi as a part of the #StandTogether National Kindness Week Campaign with main sponsors and partners SP Setia,Star Media Group Berhad and Unicef Malaysia. The #StandTogether Campaign aims to prevent bullying in schools using by using kindness.

Kelantan State Education Department Guidance and Counselling Officer Mohd Shamsul Nazari Isa believes the knowledge provided during the tours equipped both teachers and students to identify and deal with bullying in school in the long term.

“I believe the kindness ambassadors will be good role models for their peers- judging by their reactions, they will definitely go back to school and also share their knowledge with their friends who will be affected.” said Mohd Shamsul.

The second leg of the #StandTogether Kindness Tour kicked off on Wednesday last week in Kuantan and has since reached Terengganu and Kelantan and created 366 new Student Kindness Ambassadors, bringing the total amount of teacher and student ambassadors to over 2,000.

SMK Sungai Soi student, Mimi Hafiza Dzureena Md Dom took her new role to heart and believes that there is a lot that needs to be done to change the perception of her peers towards lesser known aspects of bullying, such as social bullying.

“I don’t just want to be known as a Kindness Ambassador, I want to be an effective one- So when I go back to school, I will go back and propose to run a bullying prevention program in my school,” said the 16-year-old student.

“Through this workshop I learned how to deal with mental bullying, how to help those who are bullied and how to encourage kindness in my peers- kindness doesn’t end because when you are kind to someone, it motivates those people to be kind to others and it will spread.”

The emphasis on kindness in the campaign is a relatively unique concept in Malaysia, International Medical University Senior Lecturer and workshop trainer Alexius Cheang quipped that he has noticed a lot of people are initially sceptical of the concept.

“When you first hear it, it might sound silly but the research that I have read shows that using kindness a more effective way to prevent bullying is to increase focus on the positive instead of the negative, if we do this, eventually we will be able to counter the bad,” said Cheang.

By Myrra Baity

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NST Leader: Taking a new approach

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019
Despite the punitive measures to curtail drug distribution, drug seizures by enforcement authorities are almost a daily occurrence. (NSTP/IQMAL HAQIM ROSMAN)

MALAYSIA has been battling the drug menace for the longest time with punitive measures to curtail drug distribution and programmes to improve treatment of drug users.

While these showed varying degrees of success, the number of drug users, addicts and drug-related offenders continues to rise. Drug seizures by police are almost a daily occurrence.

Furthermore, records from the National Anti-Drugs Agency show that last year there were some 160,000 drug users and they still made up the majority of the prison population.

In February, police said the trend in drug abuse had changed from plant-based drugs (marijuana and heroin) to more harmful synthetic drugs (syabu and ecstasy).

Additionally, the emergence of psychoactive drugs is giving a new dimension to the problem.

Police are saying the drug menace has reached a new level. Such accounts do not paint a pretty picture of a country that aspires to join the league of developed nations.

Have we been doing it wrong all this while? It’s time, perhaps, to experiment with a different approach; decriminalise drug users, turn it into a public health issue, but go after the criminals — the kingpins — who supply and distribute the drugs. Drugs is big business.

A report by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) says the global market in drug trafficking has an estimated annual value of between US$426 billion (RM1.7 trillion) and US$652 billion.

Malaysia’s transformation into a modern and globalised society has necessitated a review of the current approach and strategy to the drug problem. But before we go down that path, studies need to be done to get a clearer picture of the problem in the current social context

Why the need for drugs?

Some do it because of peer pressure, a broken family, wanting to experience a new “high”, or to keep up with the Joneses. Others get addicted after taking prescription pain medication and developing a dependence on the very medication intended to help them.

Drug addiction is a substance use disorder, a disease, say some doctors. It is a public health issue, not a criminal justice one. And it should be tackled as such. But, how do we provide an enabling environment for proper care and treatment to reach drug users?

Amend drug laws and policies?

Consider Portugal, which has decriminalised all drugs since 2001; reportedly, there has been dramatic drops in overdoses, HIV infection and drug-related crime.

Portugal’s success, however, could not have happened without an enormous cultural shift, and a change in how the country viewed drugs, addiction, and itself.

For Malaysia to do the same it must be willing to make that “transformation”. It has been said that drugs have the potential to wipe out entire civilisations. And that is why the war against it must go on.

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Cops in school to maintain discipline

Friday, January 4th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: On the first day of school yesterday, pupils of Sekolah Menengah (SM) Maktab Sabah weren’t just greeted by teachers, but police officers, too.

The Kota Kinabalu city police’s ‘Back To School’ programme launched at the school is aimed at preventing discipline problems.

City police chief, ACP Habibi Majinji, said 54 senior police officers and 112 lower-ranking police officers will be stationed at 27 secondary schools and 56 primary schools respectively as school communications officers (PPS).

“Last year, there were seven reports connected with student discipline. This year we hope there won’t be any,” said Habibi.

SM Maktab Sabah principal, Nuinda Alias, said the programme will motivate students to behave well.

Meanwhile, a total of 462,052 students commence their school session for this year at 1,074 primary and 222 secondary schools in Sabah yesterday.

State education director Mistirine Radin said from the total, 32,264 were Year One pupils while 45,883 students were in Form One.

“Another 2,387 primary school pupils are attending the Integrated Special Education Programme (PPKI) while 2,273 are in such secondary schools,” she said when contacted by Bernama.

She added that so far all schools are operating smoothly with monitoring by department officers as well as district education officers.


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Everyone has a role to play in preventing bullying

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

A FEW days ago, a friend shared a 42-second clip of three teens in school uniform brutally beating up another student.

While many such clips are being shared on social media every day, the situation is not just becoming more frequent, but also tragic.

Bullying is a serious matter. It should neither be condoned nor brushed off as something that people have to bear with.

It does not only affect our sense of self-worth, but also our relationships.

It may start with name-calling, teasing and inappropriate sexual comments. It usually degenerates into something more menacing. In severe cases, bullying can lead to suicides, arson and school shootings.

The trend now is cyberbullying.

It has graduated from email and text bullying.

Admittedly, the solutions to bullying are not simple.

Parents, students, administrators, teachers, bus drivers, nurses, canteen operators, office staff and other members of the school community have a role to play.

We can adopt some strategies to prevent bullying, such as:

CREATING a culture of respect;

NOT being a bystander;

KEEPING the lines of communication open;

ENCOURAGING children not to engage in such activities;

MONITORING children’s online activities; and,

MODELLING love and respect for children to follow.


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Arrest social ill before it is too late

Saturday, July 7th, 2018
Mat Rempit are a major problem in the cities. FILE

THE Mat Rempit menace is a social disease. It is so rampant that filmmakers make movies about these people. Some leaders even promoted this delinquent behaviour by building race tracks for them.

The government must be advised that the usual Malaysian malaise towards this has not worked and will not work in the future.

Mat Rempit used to occupy byways to cause havoc and mayhem in kampung, but now they have graduated to highways.

Just before the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays, I saw a group of them racing in the fast lane on the North-South Expressway. They were committing transgressions, oblivious to the danger they were causing to themselves and other road users.

I am sure the police are aware of this, but they have either given up or are not up to it.

Perhaps the new government can give birth to a “New Malaysia” by getting rid of these young miscreants.

There are three approaches that need to be taken. Mat Rempit are a threat to themselves, to others and the nation. Therefore, solutions to the Mat Rempit problem need to take this three-pronged approach

Firstly, the Mat Rempit are a danger to themselves. One must find out why this is so. The theory is that these miscreants come from broken homes. If so, the government needs to arrest the problems that lead to broken homes.

The Mat Rempit menace needs to be tackled at the source and at an early stage. Otherwise, it will spiral into a crisis. Today, children as young as 10 display delinquent behaviour in public.

Peer pressure, too, is a critical factor. Teenagers and young adults are susceptible to peer influence in their attitude and action.

A 2006 research by the police showed that most of the Mat and Minah Rempit were aged between 16 and 25. First, they watch; then, they follow; and finally, they teach this delinquent behaviour to others. This vicious cycle must be broken if we are serious about putting an end to the menace.

Mat Rempit are not just a problem in the cities, they are a menace to kampung folk too. Many cases of Mat Rempit riding into crowds had been reported over the years.

To an extent, the Mat Rempit problem continues to exist because they are allowed to gather in large numbers.

Some form of anti-social behaviour law or amendment to illegal assembly law is needed.

By Z.I.

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Create culture of respect to fight bullying

Sunday, April 1st, 2018
Twenty-three students from a Terengganu vocational school pleaded guilty to injuring three fellow students in a bullying incident last year. FILE PIC
A few days back, a friend shared a gruesome 42-second clip of three school-going teens in uniform bullying another student.

Such incidents are not only frequent but are also turning into tragedies.

Bullying should neither be condoned nor brushed off as something that people have to bear with.

It does not only affect the victim’s self-worth, but also his future relationships.

Bullying may start with name-calling, teasing and sexual comments, before degenerating into physical action, and sometimes ending in fatalities.

When does an act turn into bullying? The use of strength or power to harm, intimidate, assault or harass others, verbally or physically, constitutes bullying.

It can happen to anyone irrespective of race, sex or position — whether at home, school, workplace, on the street, playground or online.

Road bullying is also frequent. I see it almost every time I drive in cities.

As for bullying at schools, one estimate says 80 per cent of pupils have been bullied

My son complained about being bullied until I put him in another school.

There are many reasons for falling prey to bullies.

One of these is being different from what is considered by the bullies as the norm.

For example, students who are considered fat are bullied.

Sexual orientation and ethnicity are also contributing factors

Research indicates that if bullying persists, the victim will become isolated and depressed, and this may lead to mental disorders and suicidal tendencies.

It is not going to be easy to stop bullying.

Nevertheless, we can adopt strategies to prevent bullying:

CREATE a culture of respect;

STOP being a bystander;

KEEP the lines of communication open;

PARENTS must teach their children to respect others;

PARENTS must monitor their children’s activities; and,

PARENTS should teach their children not to be bystanders.


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Dealing with bullying the right way

Sunday, March 25th, 2018
The students and teachers of SK Kota Dalam in Johor pledge to prevent bullying in their school. Find out how to join them by going on to

The students and teachers of SK Kota Dalam in Johor pledge to prevent bullying in their school. Find out how to join them by going on to

When handling bullying situations, there are some basic dos and don’ts everybody needs to know.

WHILE it’s the community’s responsibility to step in when witnessing a bully intimidating a victim, to blunder in could make everything worse.

Bullying situations can get highly emotional – and that means victims, bystanders, teachers and parents alike need to know how to handle it with sensitivity and tact.

Unicef recommends the following steps to successfully diffuse bullying situations:

If you’re the one being bullied, tell the bully to stop and walk away. Remember, you are not doing anything wrong – you have the right to feel safe and secure at all times.

Tell a trusted adult. This can be anyone you feel comfortable talking to. If talking face to face is difficult for you, you can also write down what happened and pass it to that adult. Even if you believe you have successfully dealt with it on your own, make sure an adult is aware. They have the power to permanently end the bullying, but they first need to be aware that the bullying exists.

If you’re a bystander, speak up. Tell an adult or teacher. Remember, reporting a bully is the right thing to do, even if the bully is your friend. The bully might be having personal issues of his or her own, and reporting the incident could result in your friend getting the help he or she needs, as well as ending the aggression.


Listen and try to get the whole story out of the student, but don’t interrogate him or her. The student shouldn’t end up feeling attacked – it already took a great deal of courage to report the situation.

Make sure the victim/whistleblower understands that the school is on their side, and will take appropriate action.

When addressing the bully, avoid being overly negative and blaming them for their actions. Rather, try to focus on the bully’s positive characteristics – bullies sometimes act out as a result of emotional hurt. Reinforcing their positive characteristics can help to alleviate their pain and help them refocus onto something positive.

However, a severe case means teachers must firmly reinforce the school’s policy on bully prevention, in order to protect the victim. While teachers should be kind, bullies must still learn that their actions have consequences.


It requires a lot of courage for a child to tell you he or she has been bullied, so don’t demand to know why they didn’t defend themselves, or encourage them to physically fight back.

Instead, discuss ways they can respond, like walking away, using humour to discourage the bully, or taking firm action and saying “Stop that.”

Try not to interrogate your child about the incident. Instead, listen actively and assure your child that it’s the bully who is at fault, not your child. Don’t tell them not to worry, because it can seem dismissive and discourage your child from confiding in you aagain.

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Fighting bullies with empathy

Monday, February 5th, 2018
It is a noble idea to have programmes to create awareness about the effects of bullying, one must understand why empathy, a basis for caring, is essential in life. FILE PIC

LAST year, several articles were written on bullying, especially on how to stop bullying through prevention campaigns. While it is a noble idea to have programmes to create awareness about the effects of bullying, one must understand why empathy, a basis for caring, is essential in life.

Let us begin by educating people on developing empathy before caring for others.

According to American psychologist Martin Hoffman, empathy is congruent with caring.

As empathy helps in the development of prosocial behaviour in a child, it plays a crucial role in the development of altruistic concern or caring for others. Children with problematic behaviour will benefit from this because empathy reduces hostility and aggressiveness.

So, when does one develop empathy? Does it exist when we are born or develop as we grow up? Researchers argue that empathy is innate and needs to be developed.

Hoffman said there are five empathy-arousing modes. Three of them are primitive, automatic and involuntary, which are important for rousing empathy, while the other two are more cognitive-based. These five empathy modes progress according to age.

When a child is born, the first empathy-arousing mode is “mimicry”, which is akin to imitation. The infant imitates its mother’s facial expressions. Another example that empathy is innate and affective is that when a baby hears another baby cry, it will start crying, too, as an element of empathic distress.

The second empathy-arousing mode is “classical conditioning”, which develops in preverbal children.

Apparently, children receive feelings of distress as conditioned responses if they observe someone in distress. For example, when a mother feels sad or anxious, her anxiousness may be transmitted to the child and therefore the child becomes distressed.

The third empathy-arousing mode is direct association. Direct association refers to situations where a child’s experiences evoke feelings in him if he connects or associates with a victim’s situation.

The fourth and fifth empathy-arousing modes involve cognitive aspects that are “mediated association” and “role-taking”.

In “mediated association”, language plays an important factor.

Verbal messages from a distressed person must be semantically processed and decoded, which act as a mediator between the distressed person and
the observer.

Therefore, the observer who decodes the person’s message and relates it to his experience will respond empathically to the distressed person.

In role-taking, an advanced level of cognitive processing takes place, where a child puts himself in another person’s shoes and imagines what he feels.

Researchers have found that making children imagine a victim’s distress will arouse more empathic feeling than making them observe the victim’s distress.

In enforcing role-taking, teacherscan boost empathy in students through subjects such as Moral Education. Students are made to understand the perspectives of other people by making them act out roles, either through role playing or drama.

Researchers believe that empathy training in the form of role-taking can cultivate students’ cognitive, emotional and social development. This is one measure to prevent one from becoming a bully.


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Parents will suffer if they overlook children’s formative years

Friday, February 2nd, 2018
(File pix) Children are innocent and receptive to new ideas and influences.

THE issue of discipline in schools has attracted much attention from parents and academicians.

Two years ago, I shared my views on to how to bring up children and groom them into well-balanced and academic individuals.

As a parent of two adult children, I would like to share my experience on how I guided them to behave responsibly and inspired them to do well in their studies.

From their childhood to adulthood, they were never scolded or caned to discipline or correct their behaviour.

Instead, I guided them to develop a character that could lead them to the right path. Since young, they understood the importance of discipline and good behaviour.

Children are innocent and receptive to new ideas and influences. They will gain wisdom as they grow.

A child’s character and personality are established by 7. It is important that parents shouldn’t overlook this period of development

My children were not pampered, instead, they were guided to learn good behaviour as they grew.

When they were 1½ years old, they were taught to fiddle with pencils and were exposed to fun learning. They were also guided when to have fun playing with their friends.

I cannot recall any moment that my children had not done their best to impress me in their studies when I began coaching them as toddlers.

Although the journey was tedious and challenging, I cherish every moment of our time together.

Learning together was also time for us to bond.

Children emulate parents’ positive and negative traits, more so when parents are their first teachers and guardians.

If your children misbehaved and are reprimanded by the school authorities, you shouldn’t overreact.

You should examine what had gone wrong in the character development process before overcoming the problem.

To cope with the increasing cost of living, many parents are working hard to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, if you overlook the character-building process of your children during their formative years, not only do you have to pay a high price, you will also feel guilty for your oversight.

Many parents thought that schools could turn problematic children into a well-behaved people in a short period of time. Teachers, too, are humans.


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Copy of rule book a must for schools.

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Every school must have a copy of the Education Ministry’s disciplinary guidelines.

Teachers, especially new ones entering the profession, aren’t aware of what they’re allowed to do and the standard operating procedure for disciplining students.

The two books — general discipline guidelines in schools, and discipline guidelines for teachers and schoolheads — were published in 1981 and 1988 respectively.

There are over 10,000 schools nationwide but many don’t have a copy of the books.

But legal action, he said, is detrimental to children as it’s emotionally distressing.

“These books make clear what teachers are allowed to do but many schools don’t have copies of them anymore.

“We couldn’t even find them in bookshops.

“The books, however, must be updated in line with the changing times,” he said, adding that parents could also read the books to know the role and limits a teacher has in meting out punishment.

The books, like the 200,000-strong union’s newly completed code of ethics on parent-teacher relations, would promote better understanding between parents and teachers, he told a press conference here yesterday.

On Jan 7, NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan told Sunday Star that key points in the code include disallowing helmets, or other items that could be used as a “weapon”, in school.

The code, Kamarozaman said, called on parents who have issues with a teacher to see the schoolhead first before going to the authorities.

But the police, he said, would be called in if parents entered with helmets, or items that could cause harm.

“We’re waiting to present the code to the ministry.

“It can be distributed on registration day so that parents and teachers are on the same page.”

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