Archive for May, 2009

Effective Classroom Management

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Many begining teachers have difficulty in managing their classrooms effectively. In order to manage their student in a classroom, they normally start off with a formal / rigid classroom sitting arrangement, a set of classroom rules (the do’s and don’ts) and a reward and punishment system such as detention. But this is only a temporary solution as the disruptive student will keep on disrupting the teaching and learning, and the overall student performance will still be low.

Effective classroom management is more than that. It is more of possessing certain skills; “common sense” and the courage that professional teachers acquire throughout their years of managing classroom teachings. It is more of a combination of classroom management skills, pedagogical skills, psychological development knowledge and knowling your student  – all integrated together and put into practice.

Dr. Robert Kizlik, Education Information for New and future Teachers (ADRIMA site) has gathered personal experiences and researches done about what works and what doesn’t work in managing classrooms and the behavior of student to come up with the following principles, known as An Effective Classroom Management Context.

  1. Know what you want and what you don’t want.
  2. Show and tell your student what you want.
  3. When you get what you want, acknowledge (not praise) it.
  4. When you get something else, act quickly and appropriately.

1. ROOM ARRANGEMENT:

  • It is very important to have a good room arrangement as poor planning can lead to behavioral problem.
  • Make sure that the room arrangement enable the teacher to observe all student, to monitor student’s work and behavior, and that the student are able to see their teacher without any difficulties.
  • A well ventilated, bright room with learning and activities corners situated at strategic places also enhance student good behavior.

2. SETTING EXPECTATIONS FOR BEHAVIOR:

  • Good discipline is likely to occur if the classroom setting and activities are structured to enhance cooperative behavior.
  • Teachers should identify expectations for student behavior and to communicate it through in a few general, enforceable rules and procedures.
  • These rules / explicit expectations should be posted at strategic corners of the classroom and should be explained carefully; and constantly monitored for complaince.

3. MANAGING STUDENT ACADEMIC WORK:

  • Student should be held accountable for their academic work and their learning.

4. MANAGING INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR:

  • Teachers should monitor student behavior very carefully and frequently in order to be able to detect any signs of misbehavior before it involves others or causes serious disruptions.
  • Any inappropriate behavior detected must be acted on immediately, so that it may not interrupt the instructional activity of the classroom.
  • Unobstructive strategies should be egaged to redirect the misbehaving student to his appropriate behavior by citing the applicable procedure or rule and stating what the student should be doing.
  • Assertive discipline should also be applied whereby the teacher recognized and support student who will behave appropriately and letting them know that you like their positive behavior.

5. PROMOTING APPROPRIATE USE OF CONSEQUENCES:

  • The most prevalent positive consequences are instrinsic students satisfaction resulting from getting good grades. Thus students must be made aware of the connection between tasks and grades.
  • Negative consequences or punishment should generally be avoided; and when used it should be related to the misbehavior.

Dr. Bob Kizlik, (ADRIMA site), listed the following as mistakes new teachers often make. According to him, new teachers often:

  • Have not figured out what exactly they want and don’t want.
  • Don’t know the difference between praise and acknowledgement and when each is appropriate.
  • Fail to do effective long-range and daily planning.
  • Spend too much time with one student or one group and not  monitoring the entire class.
  • Begin a new activity before gaining the students’ attention.
  • Talk too fast, and are sometimes shrill.
  • Use a voice level that is always either too loud or too soft.
  • Are way too serious and not much fun.
  • Using the same teaching strategy day after day.
  • Are ineffective when they use facial expression and body language.
  • Tends to talk and interact with only half the class (usually their favorites).
  • Interrupt students while they are on task.
  • Overuse verbal efforts to stop inappropriate student behavior.
  • Settle for less rather than demand more.
  • Use threats to control the class.
  • Use color meaninglessly, even to the point of distraction.
  • Do not learn and use student names in an effective way.
  • Read student papers only for correct answers and not for process and student thinking.
  • Fail to do appropriate comprehension checks  to  see if students understand the content as it is taught.
  • Use poorly worded, ambigious questions.
  • Try to talk over student noise.
  • Introduce too many topics simultaneously.
  • Take too much time taken to give verbal directions for an activity.
  • Overuse punishment for classroom misbehavior.

Hope the above are some useful guides to help new teachers to reflect on their classroom management techniques.

Read more @ :

http://www.google.com.ph/intl/en

http://www.adprima.com/managemistakes.htm

NEA Code of Ethics

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

The National Education Association (NEA) or the American teacher union, acknowledge in their codes of ethics teachers’ responsibility to perform their work. The NEA’s 1975 preamble to its Code of Ethics describes this responsibility as follows:

“The educator, believing in the worth and dignity of each human being, recognizes the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence and the nurture of the democratic principles. Essential to these goals is the protection of freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal educational opportunity for all. The educator accepts the responsibility to adhere to the highest ethical standards.”

PRINCIPLE I – Commitment to the Student

The educator strives to help each student realize his or her potential as a worthy and effective member of society. The educator therefore works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.

In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator:

  1. Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning.
  2. Shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to vary points of view.
  3. Shall not deliberately supress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress.
  4. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety.
  5. Shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement.
  6. Shall not on the basis of race, colour, creed, sex, national origin, marital  status, political or religious beliefs, family, social, or cultural background, or sexual orientation, unfairly-
  • Exclude any student from participation in any program
  • Deny benefits to any student
  • Grant any advantage to any student

7.   Shall not use professional relationships with students for private  advantages.

8.  Shall not disclose information about students obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.

PRINCIPLE II – Commitment to the Profession:

The education profession is vested by the public with a trust and responsibility requiring the highest ideals of professional service.

In the belief that the quality of the services of the education profession directly influences the nation and its citizens, the educator shall exert every effort to raise professional standards, to promote a climate that encourages the exercise of professional judgment, to achieve conditions that attract persons worthy of the trust to careers in education, and to assisst in preventing the practice of the profession by unqualified persons. In fulfillment of the obligation to the profession, the educator-

  1. Shall not in an application for a professional position deliberately make a false statement or fail to disclose a material fact related to competency and qualifications.
  2. Shall not misrepresent his/her professional qualifications.
  3. Shall not assist any entry into the profession of a person known to be unqualified in respect to character, education, or other relevant attribute.
  4. Shall not knowingly make a false statement concerning the qualifications of a candidate for a professional position.
  5. Shall not assist a noneducator in the unauthorized practice of teaching.
  6. Shall not disclose information about colleagues obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.
  7. Shall not knowingly make false or malicious statements about a colleague.
  8. Shall not accept any gratuity, gift, or favor that might impair or appear to influence professional decisions or action.

Read more @ :

“The Code of the Education Profession,” National Education Association, Washington, DC. Available at: http://www.nea.org/info/code.html

Tobert F. McNergney. Joanne M. McNergney, Foundation of Education – The Challenge of Professional Practice, Fourth Edition, Pearson, 2004.

Etika Kepimpinan

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

TANGGUNGJAWAB:

“Menjalankan tugas dengan bersih, cekap dan amanah, setia, dengan penuh minat, disciplin dan dedikasi”

“Sentiasa memberi keutamaan kepada kepentingan negara dan tidak mementingkan diri sendiri”

“Sentiasa berusaha meninggikan imej perkhidmatan dan organisasi”

“Membuat pertimbangan yang teliti dan adil sebelum membuat keputusan dan tegas dalam melaksanakannya”

SIKAP

“Sensitif terhadap persekitaran kerja dan alam sekeliling dan berusaha menyesuaikan diri dengan keadaan sekeliling”

“Sentiasa bersikap positif dan bertanggungjawab”

“Mempunyai fikiran yang terbuka dan sedia menerima teguran dari semua pihak untuk faedah organisasi dan negara”

“Mengambil berat tentang masalah yang dihadapi rakan sejawat, baik pihak atasan mahupun rakan sejawat dibawahnya”.

PERAWAKAN DAN PERIBADI:

“Mempunyai peribadi yang mulia, berbudi perkerti dan perawakan yang baik”.

“Sentaisa bersabar dan tenang dalam menghadapi masalah dan cabaran”.

“Sentiasa berusaha menambah ilmu pengetahuan”

“Menjaga hubungan baik bagi setiap golongan masyarakat”.

Read more @ http://www.moe.edu.my/hariguru/etika.htm

Effective Learning.

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Students are always thinking of ways to learn better and faster (more effectively) in order to be successful. Within the limited resources available – students need to be able to learn new things; be able to understand it; and is abled to recall and to ultilize their learning effectively whenever needs arise.

Effective learning can be mastered. Students need to understand their own needs and interest; their ability to learn; their best way of learning and their understanding of the subject.

According to Alan Mumford, most people do not learn things, unless there is a purpose to the learning.The purpose may include :

  • A wish to increase their competence in their current work / study.
  • A wish to develop their competence in new areas of skills or knowledge.
  • A wish to improve their career prospects.
  • A wish to improve their personal satisfaction they get from their work / study.
  • A wish to gain the rewards associated to any of the followings : financial, psychological, social, etc.

People / students do not learn as effectively as they should due to:

  • They do not recognise an activity as learning – they simply see it as “doing a piece of work / exercise”.
  • They partially recognise something as involving learning, but fail to use the opportunity fully.
  • An off-the-job learning experience (homework/etc) is badly designed and/or poorly implemented.
  • The opportunity for learning is provided in a way which fits poorly with the way in which an individual likes to learn.
  • The learning opportunity is not perceived as relevant to the needs of, and benefits sought by the learner.

Learning is a process. It is built upon in stages. By analyzing how you study; you can figure out how to learn. It can be by memorizing, reading, speaking, summarizing, or by other methods.

Honey and Mumford, The Manual of Learning Styles, stated the following levels of learning:

  • Having an experience
  • Reviewing
  • Concluding
  • Planning

By giving sufficient attention to each stage of learning one could increase the chances of learning effectively. It can done in a quiet place by yourself or with a group.

Effective learning for individual requires a recognition that one of the reasons why individuals do not learn fully from any particular experience is that it may not match in the way they like to learn. So teachers have no reasons to be surprised by the facts that different students have different reactions to an apparently similar experience which could involve learning. Teachers instead should encourage students to find out how they learn/study best; be it in a quiet place, with music, with friends, early in the morning, late at night, etc.

Some principles of learning (and teaching) as outline in Science for All Americans Online – that teachers can use as guides to encourage their students learning – are as follows:

  1. Learning is not necessarily an outcome of teaching. Effective teaching emphasis on the  important concepts and skills ,so that the students can concentrate on the quality of understanding and not on quantity of information presented.
  2. What students learn is influenced by their existing ideas. Effective learning requires more than just making multiple connections of new ideas to old / exiting ones. Students must be encouraged to develop new views along the perspective of how such views help them to make better sense of the world.
  3. Progression in learning is usually from the concrete to the abstract. Most people dependent on concrete examples of new ideas, as the ability to understand abstract concepts; manipulate symbols; reason logically; and to make generalization - these skills develop slowly. Therefore, teachers should not overestimate the ability of their students to handle abstractions, or the use of the right words as evidence of their understanding of new concepts.
  4. People learn to do well only what they practice doing. Students must be encouraged and given the opportunity to learn to think critically, analyze information, communicate scientific ideas, make logical arguments, work as part of a team, and to acquire other desirable skills in different situational settings.
  5. Effective learning requires feedback. Students learn best when given the opportunities to express ideas and get feedback from their peers. These feedback must be analytical, suggestive, and to come at the time when needed by the student. The student must then be given time to reflect on it and be allowed to make adjustments or to try again.
  6. Expectations affect performance; students grow in self-confidence as they experience success in learning. So teachers need to provide students with challenging but attainable learning  situations and help them to succeed. Other than that, the positive and negative expectations shown by parents, counsellors, teachers, peers, etc – also have effect on the students expectations and behavior.

The following guides are listed by Kendra Van Wagner,  About Com. Psychology - to help students to become more effective learner.

  1. Memory Improvement Basics: To improve learning efficiency, students need to improve memory – through improving focus, avoiding cram sessions, structuring study time, etc.
  2. Keep Learning (and Practicing) New Things. An effective learner simply keep practicing and rehearsing new information learned.
  3. Learn in Multiple Ways. Find different ways to learn new information – discussion with friends, drawing mind maps, making notes, poems, etc.
  4. Teach What You’ve Learned to Another Person. One of the best way to learn is to share what you have learned to friends .
  5. Ultilize Previous Learning to Promote New Learning. In order to be an effective learner you have to relate new knowledge to things that you already know.
  6. Gain Practical Experience. Effective learning involve putting new knowledge and skills into practice.
  7. Look up Answers Rather than Struggle to Remember. If one has problem of forgetting certain facts learned, it is better to look up for the correct answer than trying to recall it.
  8. Understand How You Learn Best: One way to improve your learning efficiency is to recognize your learning habits and learning styles.
  9. Use Testing to Boost Learning. Research show that students who studied and were then tested can recall the materials learned better.
  10. Stop Multitasking. Research also indicate that students who focus their attention on the task at hand and continue working on it for a certain length of time are more effective learner than those who switched between tasks.

Read more @ :

http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/online/chap.13

http://books.google.com.my/books?id=Q6yn7yLNrN4C&dq=EFFECTIVE+LEARNING

http://www.studytips.org/effective_learning.htm

http://psychology.about.com/od/edcreationpsychology/tp/effective-learning.

Tatasusila Profession Keguruan Malaysia

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Kami, guru-guru Malaysia, yakin bahawa tujuan utama pendidikan ialah berusaha menuju ke arah pembentukan warganegara yang berilmu, yang taat setia, yang bertanggungjawab dan berkebolehan, yang menyedari betapa pentingnya usaha menuju ke arah kebenaran dan ke arah pencapaian hasrat yang gemilang dan yang percaya kepada demokrasi, kebebasan perseorangan dan Prinsip-Prinsip Rukun Negara.

Melalui pendidikan, masyarakat dapat membantu anak mudanya memahami kebudayaan mereka, memperolehi pengetahuan yang telah terkumpul sejak zaman berzaman, dan menyediakan mereka untuk menghadapi cabaran pada masa hadapan.

Dengan menyedari betapa besarnya tanggungjawab membimbing anak muda untuk mencapai kemajuan sepenuh-penuhnya, maka dengan ini kami menerima tatasusila berikut sebagai panduan untuk membolehkan kami menyempurnakan profession kami ke taraf kesusilaan yang setinggi-tingginya.

I. TANGGUNGJAWAB TERHADAP PELAJAR:

  1. Lebih mengutamakan kebajikan dan keselamatan pelajar kami daripada hal-hal lain.
  2. Bersikap adil terhadap setiap orang pelajar tanpa mengira faktor-faktor jasmani, mental, emosi, politik, ekonomi, sosial, keturunan atau agama.
  3. Merahsiakan maklumat ikhtisas atau sulit mengenai pelajar kecuali kepada mereka yang berhak mengetahuinya
  4. Membimbing atau mengajar seseorang pelajar dalam darjah sendiri atau dalam mata pelajaran-mata pelajaran yang diajar di bilik darjah tanpa sebarang bayaran.
  5. Menunjukkan satu cara pakaian, pertuturan dan tingkahlaku yang dapat memberikan contoh yang baik kepada pelajar.
  6. Memilihara dan memperbaiki kecekapan ikhtisas melalui pengkajian, lawatan dan menghadiri kursus ikhtisas, persidangan, mesyuarat atau seminar supaya pengajaran kami mencapai mutu yang setinggi-tingginya.

II. TANGGUNGJAWAB TERHADAP IBU BAPA:

  1. Menghormati tanggungjawab utama ibu bapa terhadap anak-anak mereka.
  2. Berusaha mewujudkan hubungan mesra dan kerjasama yang erat di antara institusi pendidikan dengan rumahtangga.
  3. Menganggap semua maklumat yang diberikan oleh iu bapa mengenai keadaan rumahtangga atau mengenai anak mereka sebagai sulit dan tidak akan membocorkannya kepada sesiapa kecuali kepada mereka yang berhak mengetahuinya.
  4. Memberikan maklumat kepada ibu bapa demi kepentingan anak-anak mereka, dan menggunakan maklumat yang diterima daripada ibu bapa secara teliti dan bijaksana.
  5. Mengelakkan diri daripada menggunakan atau dipengaruhi oleh kedudukan sosial dan ekonomi ibu bapa pelajar.
  6. Mengelakkan diri daripada mengeluarkan kata-kata atau melakukan sesuatu yang boleh menjejaskan kepercayaan pelajar terhadap ibu bapa atau penjaga mereka.

III. TANGGUNGJAWAB TERHADAP MASYARAKAT DAN NEGARA.

  1. Mengelakkan diri daripada menyebarkan sesuatu ajaran yang boleh merosakkan kepentingan pelajar, masyarakat, negara atau pun yang bertentangan dengan Rukun Negara.
  2. Memupuk dalam diri setiap pelajar sikap dan nilai yang boleh membantu dan membimbing mereka untuk menjadi warganegara yang taat setia, bertanggungjawab dan berguna, menghormati adanya perbezaan kebudayaan, keturunan dan agama.
  3. Menhormati masyarakat tempat kami berkhidmat dan memenuhi segala tanggungjawab sebagai seorang warganegara dan sentiasa sanggup mengambil bahagian dalam sebarang kegiatan masyarakat.
  4. Menggalakkan kerjasama dan persefahman di antara guru dengan ibu bapa, institusi pendidikan dengan masyarakat.
  5. Memberi sumbangan cergas untuk meningkatkan kehidupan moral, kebudayaan dan kecendekiawan masyarakat.
  6. Berpegang kapada tingkah laku yang sopan yang diterima oleh masyarakat dan menjalani kehidupan sehari -hari dengan baik.

IV. TANGGUNGJAWAB TERHADAP RAKAN SEJAWAT DAN PROFESSION KEGURUAN:

  1. Mengelakkan diri daripada membuat sebarang kenyataan atau ulasan yang boleh mencemarkan nama baik seseorang guru di hadapan pelajar atau ibu bapa, atau berbuat sesuatu yang boleh menjatuhkan maruah seseorang guru.
  2. Tidak melibatkan diri dalam kegiatan yang boleh menjejaskan kecekapan kami sebagai guru.
  3. Berusaha dengan sepenuh-penuhnya menunaikan tanggungjawab kami dengan rajin dan bersungguh-sungguh dan mengekalkan sejajar dengan kemajuan ikhtisas dan sosial.
  4. Sentiasa bersedia membantu rakan sejawat kami terutamanya mereka yang baru dalam profesion keguruan.
  5. Sentiasa mengawasi diri kami supaya tidak mencemarkan nama baik profession keguruan.
  6. Akan menjadi ahli sesebuah pertubuhan guru

CATATAN:

Guru yang dimaksudkan dalam konteks tatasusila ini ialah orang yang menyebarkan ilmu pengetahuan di sesebuah institusi peringkat rendah, menengah dan tinggi, termasuk guru terlatih yang bertugas dalam pentadbiran organisasi dan penyeliaan pendidikan.

Read more @ http://www.moe.edu.my/hariguru/tatasusila.htm

Effective Teaching

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Teachers, like students, are always learning and applying skills in new ways to be more effective in their unique situations. Sometimes even the best teachers do not know how or why they are successful.  This is because teaching is a set of crafts, skills, values, beliefs and practices that can be improved through time and experiences. It is through experiences that they learn to combine the best information available (knowledge, methods, practices) about teaching and learning with their prior teaching experiences.

Effective teaching and learning will help students to achieve the intended or desired educational outcomes; ie teaching that helps students to learn. These teachers have a clear understanding of how and why certain activities lead to learning, and what factors influence their effectiveness. They have the abilities to understand students goals, create learning environments, evaluate students learning and to communicate effectively with the students.

1. Understanding Students Goals:

Effective or good teaching is about understanding :

  • What students already know
  • What students can and cannot do
  • How students think
  • What they value
  • What gets in their way of learning

Teachers often overlook the “bored”, the “tired”, the “restless” students who may be “telling” these teachers a great deal about what works and what doesn’t in their teaching.

2. Creating Learning Environments:

Effective teaching is helping students to get involved in the work and stay that way. They are able to help students to create learning environments in all subject areas by:

  • Helping students to create a clear structure at the begining of the year –  to learn to be effective learners
  • Organizing the yearly plan into units – consisting of : the overall class lessons; a menu of independent activities; pair work or group work; etc.
  • Focusing on basic facts and emphasizing on reasoning and critical thinking activities.
  • Talking less in class and have students to talk more.
  • Homework as a means to communicate with parents about children’s learning. (Marilyn Burns, 1995, pp87-88)

3. Communicating:

Effective teaching is being able to communicate clearly (verbally and written) to students, parents, administors and other teachers. They are able to communicate their expectations for students performance, and indicating their wilingness to help. They state their expectation clearly for their students to understand. They also recognize students successes and acknowledge their failures; and help students to judge their own progress.

4. Adapting Instruction for Students with Special Needs:

Effective teaching is aknowledging that every child is special; and understanding their needs, abilities, interests, etc  is important to determine how best to plan for and to teach them. In another word, finding out what students know and can do before moving them forward according to his or own level of understanding.

Three general approaches for adapting instructions to children with special needs:

  • To remediate students’ with learning problems: eg. using concept mapping techniques;  to help students to acquire and and to apply new knowledge.
  • To compensate student deficiencies; eg. students with poor eyesight, or any other physical or mental setback by putting him closer to the front of the room, etc.
  • To capitalize on what students do well and prefer to do. Effective teaching is to use students existing interest and abilities to further pursue learning experiences. This will make students feel proud of what they already know, thus making them more willing to pursue something new.

5. Evaluating Students Learning:

Effective teaching is to make judgements daily about students’ academic performance; their attitudes and interests, and their ability to work with others. This is done by using two (2) types of assessment:

  • formative assessment which is conducted while a lesson is in progress.
  • summative assessment which is conducted at the end of a lesson, unit, or a course.

From these assessment, the teacher can:

  • determine the students’ background knowledge.
  • plan instructions that is appropriately challenging.
  • motivate students performance.
  • assess progress towards affective and cognitive goals.

Thus effective teaching is the teachers abilities to:

  • understand students.
  • communicate to students.
  • create learning environment.
  • adapt instructions for students with special needs.
  • assess students progress, give feedback and reinforces desirable behavior.

Effective teachers are also good managers who are always helping students to take control of their own learning.

Read more @:

Robert F. McNergney. Joanne M. McNergney, Foundation of Education – The Challenge of Professional Practice, Fourth Edition, Pearson, 2004.

Cluster Schools

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has taken a bold step forward by rebranding some of the existing  schools in order to spearhead effective school improvement. One of it is the idea of having Cluster Schools (Sekolah Kluster) as outlined in the National Education Blueprint. The announcement of the first 30 cluster schools by MOE on April 8, 2007 (Sarah Chew, The Star) is a visionary step towards effective school improvement.

Cluster Schools in Malaysia has been defined as centres of excellence (within each school grouping) focusing on niche areas such as music, sports, ICT, science, language, and other discipine of studies.

To ensure that all schools in our education system are represented in the Cluster Schools of Excellence, the schools are grouped as follows:

PRIMARY SCHOOLS:

  • National schools
  • Chinese schools
  • Tamil schools
  • Orang Asli schools

SECONDARY SCHOOLS:

  • Residential schools
  • Technical schools
  • Religious schools
  • Day schools
  • Putrajaya and Cyberjaya schools
  • Special model schools

SPECIAL EDUCATION SCHOOLS:

POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS:

  • Matriculation colleges
  • Teacher training institutes

INTERNATIONAL AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS:

The schools are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Academic performance
  • Excellence extra-curricular activities
  • Effective leadership
  • Effective resource management
  • Effective teaching and learning
  • Historical pedigree
  • Conducive environment for learning and character development
  • Effective implementation of ministry programmes
  • Strength in specific areas such as music, sports, etc.

Each cluster school will have a particular niche area of expertise for it to excel and also to be a role model / catalyst for improvement to the other neighbouring schools.

Neighbouring schools should identify their strength or potential areas to start their ESI Model. They should take the opportunity to benchmark , adopt and adapt the Cluster School Model of their neighbouring Cluster School to implement effective school improvement in their own schools.

To magnify the casading effect of the cluster school improvement to other  schools, it is hope that more cluster schools based on different niche areas of specialization and in different categories of schools be announced by MOE in the very near future.

Read more @ :

http://www.thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2007/4/8/education/1

http://educationmalaysia.blogspot.com/search/label/cluster%20schools

Vision Schools

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

MOE implemented eight (8) Vision Schools (Sekolah Wawasan) throughout the nation in 2002. At present there are 5 successful Vision Schools  in operation as follows:

  • Vision School Pekan Baru, Parit Buntar, Perak
  • Vision School Taman Aman, Alor Setar, Kedah
  • Vision School Tasik Permai, Penang
  • Vision School USJ 15, Subang Jaya, Selangor
  • Vision School Pundut, Seri Manjung, Perak.

Concept:

The essence of the Vision School concept is putting a national school and one or two other vernacular schools together at the same site to share common facilities such as the school canteen, assembly hall, playing field, etc. For example the Vision School in Subang Jaya, which encompasses three schols as follows:

  • SK Dato Onn Jaafar
  • SJK(C) Tun Tan Chen Lock
  • SJK(T) Tun Sambanthan

Each school has its building, its own administrators, teachers, etc. These schools also maintain its own medium of instruction – Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese or Tamil respectively. The different buildings are linked together by a link-way of some sort.

The students from these three seperate schools only get together during break time (at the canteen); weekly assembly (at the assembly hall); sports and games competitions (at the playing field) or during other organised activities.

Aims:

It is hoped that the close proximity between these students from different back ground, races, religions, etc through such a pre-arranged school setting, and through well organised formal and informal activities such as through games, sports, and other co-curricular activities will encourage greater interactions; better understanding; among them and thus to foster national unity in the long run.

Basically it is an approach towards educating students to understand and accept the cultural diversity of Malaysia and at the same time – still participating the Malaysian mainstream culture.

The whole concept of the Vision schools is excellent, but more time and effort is needed before it can be fully understood and accepted by all.

Read more @ :

http://pmr.penerangan.gov.my/index.php?option=com_content_view=article&id=99%3Asekolah-wawasancatid=180%

http://educationmalaysia.blogspot.com/2006/01/vision-school.html

Teacher Professionalism

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Teachers are the most important and significant  change agents in schools. Teachers can be both the change agents (to bring about effective  schools  improvement) and also be the object of change. This is because teachers are individuals leading a classroom. As an individual leading a classroom – the teacher’s conduct, performance and areas of professional expertise - all of these will influence what is taught and learned.

Teaching is not a matter of just imparting or transmitting knowledge to the students. It is more than that. It is a matter of helping students to construct, to interpret knowledge or to make meaning for themselves. It is more about the teaching approaches, strategies and techniques used to delivery the knowledge; be able to organize the content of the lesson in order to fit the students level of knowledge; instead of letting the students struggling their very best to keep up with the teacher.

When the teaching is stimulating and is able to hold the students attention, the knowledge: curriculum/content/lesson is likely to be absorbed, adapted and applied by and with other students. This require teachers who possess three essential characteristics : competence, performance and conduct. Teachers who are competent in their studies, are able to perform effectively in classroom /school and are able to maintain good conduct, are able to implement quality teaching and effective learning.

A trained, good teacher becomes a better teacher by continuing to learn while on the job (on the job training). They develop their competence by reflecting intelligently while on the job (and after a job is completed) in order to understand what and why they are doing it, and to progress and improve further as an effective teacher. With time and experience these teacher are able to apply their professional knowledge effectively and differently to different students they teach.

To be a professional teacher – means are able to think clearly and is able to perform his teaching in ways that can effectively support students learning. Professional teachers, apart from knowing the “what” also know the “when”, “why”, “who” and “how”. Donald Schon (1983) has  coined the term “reflective practitioner” as the professional who acquires expertise by learning through their action environment. According to him, effective teachers develop by maximing what they learn through experience.

The five steps of Professional Practice or Reflective Teaching Process by R.F. McNergney, J.M. Herbert & R.E. Ford, 1994, Journal of Teacher Education, 45(5), pp. 339 – 345 are :

  1. Perceive
  2. Value
  3. Know
  4. Act
  5. Evaluate

PERCEIVE:

Professionals are always mentally alert as to what is going on around them. While teaching, they identify issues, problems, dilemmas and opportunities such as : students’ moving around unnecessarily; students playing with handphones; students academic failure, etc. All these need immediate attention and solutions. A professional teacher will perceive these as opportunities to increase students’ chance to excel in the subject / classroom that he is handling.

VALUE:

Professionals always consider different, relevant perspectives or take into account into the values underlying individual’s actions. They always consider views of others (staff, parents, guardians,students) that they work with or that they serve. They consider values / views of others, including taking into account the values underlying an individual’s action before taking action against the person concerned.

KNOW:

Professionals possess some specialized knowledge that non-professionals do not; both formally (from books, periodicals, researches, etc) and informally (their values, beliefs, personal standards). Professional teachers know the pedagogical-content-knowledge. They know how to communicate their knowledge in ways that students will understand and accept it.

ACT:

Professionals act on the basis of their perceptions, values and knowledge. They continually apply their knowledge and demonstrate their skills (in ways that non-professionals cannot) to make decisions.

EVALUATE:

Professionals evaluate their actions to determine its effectiveness and to plan for the future. They reflect intelligently on their practices, assess the consequences of their decisions and outcomes of their actions. They enjoy doing important work as best as they can and turn their jobs into career.

Good teachers are not just born with the above five steps of the professional practice. They acquire it systematically (not all at once) through their training and also through their successful and unsuccessful experiences. It is a life long learning process since knowledge and skills cannot be mastered in a day/ a short time.

Professional teachers too, possess professional conduct / aura. The manner in which a teacher carries himself / herself is a reflection of his / her teaching in the classroom, in school and the overall role in the education system. Conduct includes how the teacher takes care of himself/herself; communication with fellow teachers, students, parents, and the school administration.  Teachers who possess the professional aura are able to communicate energetically and effectively with their students, fellow teachers, parents, and thus to achieve the desired educational goals.

Teachers, no matter how professionally capable they are, will never single-handedly teach our students all that they need to know and need to do.They must work together with their fellow teachers, students, parents and members of the community to maximize their efforts. By working together as a team to help our students (who need our service) we are also modelling them to do the same for others in future.

A good teacher is like a good student who gained success from doing their hard work. They stretch their time and again to be creative, innovative and technically proficient towards developing the potential of individuals inline with the requirement of NPME. They are the “sun shining brightly after a dark rainy or cloudy day”. Congratulations teachers! Keep up with your good, professional work.

Read more @ :

Robert F. McNergney, Joanne M.McNergney, Foundation of Education- The Challenge of Professional Practice, Fourth edition, Pearson, 2004.

http://students.ed.uiue.edu/vallicel/Teacher_Professionalism.html

Comprehensive School Improvement Model

Friday, May 15th, 2009

In order to achieve Comprehensive School Improvement, the Center for Effective Schools in the Intermountain Center for Ecudation Effectiveness at Idaho State University listed the following three (3) steps to be taken to ensure support programs, services and activites coordinates with the Effective Schools Correlates.

  1. Identify current supporting programs, services, and activities currently being implemented or being proposed.
  2. Determine the overall quality of programs, services, and activities through the following set of screening questions – Each program, service, and activity is to receive a positive response to each question.

Quality Screening Questions:

  • Does this program, service, or activity have evidence/data to indicate that it directly contributes to increase academic performance for ALL students?
  • Does this program, service or activity align with school/district/state/national mission and goals?
  • Is this program, service and activity research based?
  • Does this program, service, or activity have an evaluation process? If not, can one be developed?
  • Do the outcomes and contributions of this program, service and activity justify the amount of resources (time, money, staff) required?

3. Align the programs, services and activities with Effective Schools Correlates. Programs, services, and activities that do not have positive responses to the quality screening questions and do not align with and support the Correlate(s) framework should be modified or abandoned.

When new programs, services and activities are proposed, they should also be examined using steps 2 and 3.

The School Head / Principal need to play a central role in managing school reform. The whole school improvement processes must be aiming towards enhancing the quality of instruction in classrooms.

The school message need to be transmitted through an organised and systematic “learning organisation“. Setting up a systematic schedule to provide regular on-site training; benchmarking other effective schools; group discussions and seminars using both internal and external speakers, peer coaching on relevant hands-on strategies, issues, etc related to and with immediate classroom aplication.

Effective School Improvement calls both effective team collaboration and individual commitment. Allowing teachers to work independently without a school vision, mission, goals and objectives can never promote uniform and lasting changes in the school.

Care too need to be taken so as not to overload teachers with too much workload. Under normal situation; large classes;  teaching too many subjects; a large amount of teaching hours; too much involvement in extra co-curricular activities; too much paper work to be done (clerical jobs) do not contribute to the motivation to improve.

Quarterly Progress and Evaluation Report should be provided by teachers. The report should include outcome data that reflects the impact and success of the project. The report should also include a comprehensive  review of student achievement progress throughout the project.It should also provides recommendations for change, adjustment, and improvement of the school reform process. These recommendations should be based on input and data accumulated throughout the year.

The school need to make sure that there will be sufficient financial resources for the project. With sufficient financial resources, improvement will succeed more easily.

Close networking with the authorities, parents and local communities will be of great  help and indirectly “push” the school to improve  by giving concrete suggestions; comments; ideas; of what and how to improve effectively.

It is my sincerce hope that more schools management will adopt or adapt the ESI/CSI model to improve their schools effectively.

Read more @ http://icee.isu.edu/EffectiveSchools/ComprehensiveSchoolImprove.pdf.