Archive for July, 2009

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

The taxonomy of Educational Objectives or Bloom’s Taxonomy, is a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). The taxonomy was proposed in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom, an educational psychologist at the University of Chicago.

Bloom’s Taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains” as follows:

  • Affective;
  • Psycho-motor;
  • Cognitive.

A goal of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all the three domains; creating a more holistic form of education. However, most references to the Bloom’s Taxonomy only notice the Cognitive domain.

1.  Affective domain:

Skills in the affective domain describe the way people react emotionally and their ability to feel another person’s pain or joy. Affective objectives typically target the awareness and growth in attitudes, emotion, and feelings. There are five levels in the affective domain moving through the lowest order process to the highest, as follows:

  • Receiving : The lowest level; the student passively pays attention. Without this level, no learning can occur.
  • Responding: The student actively participates in the learning process; not only attends to a stimulus; the students also reacts in some way.
  • Valuing: The student attaches a value to an object, phenomenon, or piece of information.
  • Organizing: The student can put together different values, information and ideas and accommodate them within his/her own schema; comparing; relating and elaborating on what has been learned.
  • Characterizing: The students holds a particular value or belief that now exerts influence on his/her behaviour so that it becomes a characteristic.

2. Psycho-motor domain:

Skills in the psycho-motor domain describe the ability to physically manipulate a tool or instrument like a handsaw or a hammer.

Psycho-motor objectives usually focus on changes and / or development in behaviour and / or skills. However Bloom and his colleagues never created sub-categories for skills in the psycho-motor domain.

3.  Cognitive domain:

Skills in the cognitive domain revolve around knowledge, comprehension, and “thinking through” a particular topic. Traditional education tends to emphasize the skills in this domain, particular the lower-order objectives.There are six levels in the taxonomy, moving through the lowest order process to the highest:

1.  Knowledge: Exhibit memory of previously learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts, and answers.

  • Learner objectives: To define, distinguish, acquire, identify, recall, or recognize various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit facts, conventions, categories in ways that enable learners to demonstrate knowledge.

2.  Comprehension: Demonstrative understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions and stating main ideas.

  • Learner objectives: To translate, transform, give in own words, illustrate, prepare, read, represent, change, rephrase, or restate various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit definitions, words, phrases, relationships, principles in ways that enable learners to demonstrate comprehension.

3.  Application: Using new knowledge, solve problems to new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way.

  • Learner objectives: To apply, generalize, relate, choose, develop, organize, use, transfer, restructure, or classify various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit principles, laws, conclusions in ways that enable learners to apply what they have learned.

4.  Analysis: Examine and break information into parts by identifying motive or causes; make inferences and find evidences to support generalizations.

  • Learners objectives: To distinguish, detect, identify, classify, discriminate, recognize, categorize, or deduce various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit elements, hypotheses, assumptions, statements of intent or fact in ways that encourage learners to critically analyze information.

5.  Synthesis: Compile information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions.

  • Learner objectives: To write, tell, relate, produce, originate, modify, or document various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit structures, patterns, designs, relations in ways that encourage learners to form new structures of knowledge.

6.  Evaluation: Present and defend opinions by making judgment about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria.

  • Learner objectives: To judge, argue, validate, assess, appraise various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit from learners different qualitative judgments.

Further Readings:

  • Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals; pp. 201–207; B. S. Bloom (Ed.) Susan Fauer Company, Inc. 1956.
  • A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing — A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives; Lorin W. Anderson, David R. Krathwohl, Peter W. Airasian, Kathleen A. Cruikshank, Richard E. Mayer, Paul R. Pintrich, James Raths and Merlin C. Wittrock (Eds.) Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. 2001
  • “Taxononmy of Educational Objectives. Handbook II: The affective domain; Krathwohl, D. R., Bloom, B. S., Masia, B. B.; 1964.

Read more @ :

Teacher Development by R.F.  McNergney and C.A. Carrier, 1981, New York: Macmillan.

Managing Behaviour Strategies Reviews.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Many of the behavioural managing strategies and techniques will be more effective if they become part of your automatic or reflex response. Techniques such as self-calming and non-verbal communication awareness should all be embedded into your own behaviour if you are to be successful in managing challenging behaviour.

Unfortunately, many of us become used to the familiar and well-established models of our behviour,and often find it quite threatening to critically analyze our own strategies. We find it far more comfortable to stick with the longstanding techniques that we have developed over the time, without realising that even small modifications can affect big, positive changes in student behaviour.

Dave Stott in his Behaviour Matters articles offers the following which is intended to be a comprehensive reminder of those tips which you put into your own practice.

Teaching and Learning Environment:

Spend some time looking critically at your teaching area. Consider issues such as appropriate space, ease of movement, heating, lighting and storage (both resources and pupil belongings).

Meet and Greet:

Consider how can proactively help your students, both emotionally and physically to be ready for the demands of the school day and your lesson. Do they have the right equipment? How calm are they? Your responses and mood will set the scene for the students.


The first person who needs to calm down in a challenging situation is you. It is important that you calm yourself down both internally and your outward appearance. Avoid any verbal or non-verbal behaviour that conveys passive or hostile behaviour. You should be focusing on appearing calm and confident.


Avoid “you” messages, such as “Why can’t you get on?” or “It’s always you isn’t it?”. Such messages convey blame. Changing the format of your language can produce dramatic changes in behaviour. Use the word “thanks” when giving a direction, rather than “please”. “Thanks” indicates that you expect compliance, rather than “please” which can be interpreted as pleading.

Also avoid asking questions such as “How many time do I have to…?” This simply invites a reply from the student and you will enter into a dialogue that you really don’t want to!

Personal Space:

Be aware of not just your own personal space – the area all around you; but also that of the student. Standing too far away makes it all too easy for the student to ignore you, while coming too close can be interpreted as intimidating and threatening.

Behaviour Plan / Policy:

Be aware of and constantly make reference to the expectations of your own and the school’s policy. Your planned approach should include clear rules and guidance , together with positive responses and consequences. As a guide to rewards and sanctions, they should be effective and in accordance with the overall school guidance, and they should be something you are comfortable with. Sanctions that are never fully used will be seen as threats by the students.

Be prepared to regularly review, change or modify your existing techniques.

Read more @

Starting Lesson on a Positive Note.

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Starting lesson on a positive note requires more than simply saying the right words (although verbal comments will form a strong basis for the effectiveness of your strategies).

No matter what atmosphere exists in the room when you enter / approach, or whatever the overall behaviour of the students is, focus on the positive.

Make an effort to spot the pupil(s) who are on task / behaving appropriately / following your expectations. When you spot a student complying:

  • Use their name;
  • Make a positive comment;
  • Highlight the behaviour.

By highlighting the behaviour you expect from your class , you not only rewards the individual pupil, but also reinforces your expectations to the others in the group. For example:

“Good morning, everyone; great; well done Ali, you are looking this way. Excellent Wani, you’ve got your books out”.

Comments such as the above, when accompanied by an encouraging look / smile and even physical contact with the student’s desk / table (not body, please) is a very powerful tactic to reward the on-task students, together with a positive reminder to all the rest.

To link the positive comments and body language is the need to move closer to the students. Trying to deliver a “positive start” message from behind your desk, or while standing at the door, is unlikely to be as successful as delivering the comment in close proximity to the named students. The added technique of proximity – praise will be equally powerful for the off-task students; that is naming the student and labeling their appropriate behaviour will also have a positive effect on the behaviour of those around him / her.

Other possible “props” to focus on the “positive start” are”:

  • Tone of voice;
  • Volume of voice;
  • Knowledge of students;
  • Use of planned approach.

Using a “positive start” to the lesson / day gives you the best possible opportunity to turn around any negativity you may be feeling and provide you with a means to reward, reinforce and build relationships with all the students, while setting a firm foundation in making good behaviour choices for the rest of the lesson / day.

Read more @

New Status for Ethnic Languages.

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Ethnic languages such as Semai of the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia, Kadazandusun in Sabah and Iban in Sarawak could be listed as elective subjects in schools, Deputy Education Minister Dr. Mohd Puad Zarkashi said this after launching a Kadazandusun textbook, Purala Boros Kadazandusun Id Sikul, in Kota Kinabalu recently.

He said the move was aimed at placing the teaching of these ethnic languages at par with French, German and Japanese. However he added that this dependent on whether our teachers are willing to teach these languages.

He said the teaching of ethnic languages was at the moment confined to certain schools in districts where there were large numbers of people speaking those languages.

Dr. Mohd. Puad added that the number of students studying Kadazandusun in Sabah now stood at about 20.000. About 700 students from this group will accessed for their proficiency in PMR examination later this year.

Read more @

Limitation of Education.

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

The quality of a student’s education is so important that it should be the number one goal of everybody – parents, teachers, community, stakeholders. Whether we like it or not, the students today are the leaders of tomorrow. They are getting the torch passed down to them from their elder. The problem is what are they going to do with the torch – if they are not getting quality education?

There are many problems that limit the quality of a student’s education. One problem is that there are not enough skilled and talented teachers to teach, expose and show how exciting education can be.  This plays a huge role in the education and the safety of students. For example if a fight were to take place between students -  a teacher who cares about the students would try to break it up; while a teacher who does not care and is just there for a pay check would let the students fight and destroy each other. This leaves the safety of the students up in the air.

On the other hand, it the students were taught conflict mediation, the students could have squashed the problems between them with a conversation and a simple handshake. In a overcrowded school this does not happen because the good teacher have so many students that some just cannot get to the students in time to stop conflicts. These are all factors that can and will affect the quality of a student’s education.

Government budgets also affect the quality of education. Insufficient budget hinders  school from implementing well-planned after school programmes to keep the students off the streets and out of trouble. Studies indicated that students get into the most trouble between the hours of 3.00pm and 8.00pm. This time-frame spans from school dismissal till evening / night time. If the schools can implement effective after school programmes – this will provide opportunities for students to get the best possible education they can; including giving the extra help to the students who needed most.

Getting a good education is the best and most beneficial thing that a person can do for themselves. The fact is when the quality of a student’s education is diminished the one and only chance that student have at making their dreams come true is also diminished. A lack of good teachers and supplies, combined with insufficient government funding make students’ education more challenging than it need to be.

Read more @

Mind Mapping.

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Mind mapping is a very powerful thinking tool available to both teacher and student. It is a way of notes taking whereby one should start from the main idea and branch out as dictated by individual ideas and general form of the central theme. According to Tony Buzan (1989), the brain works primarily with key concepts in an inter-linked and integrated manner. Thus our teaching notes and our word relations should be structured in this way too, rather than in linear (traditional lines) form.

Once a student or teacher becomes competent in the use of mind-mapping, it usually becomes their preferred way of organising thoughts, planning, preparation and delivery of talks, making notes and communicating information to others. It is important that anyone who teaches Mind Mapping understands the unique capabilities of this specific technique, and has practical has “hands-on” experience in its use, so that they can coach the student in how to use the tool to its full effectiveness.

Specific benefits of Mind Mapping.

Visual maps are better than straight lists or notes. It starts with a coloured image in the centre (the main idea) – very clearly defined. The relative importance of each idea is clearly indicated with the more important ideas being nearer the centre. The printed words should be on lines, and each line should be connected to other lines. The links between between the key concepts will be clearly indicated. The use of colours throughout the Mind Maps enhance memory, delight the eye and stimulate the thinking process. As a result, recall and review will be both more effective and more rapid.

Mind maps  have considerable advantages over the other visual-association- tools (VAT). Mind Maps are designed to help learning and recall.

Learning and remembering:

The key factors for aiding memory are:

  • Making connections – the brain remembers new material when we make strong connections to what we already know.
  • Triggers – the brain likes to have prompts or triggers in order to find the “knowledge” that are buried deep inside the skull.
  • Pictures – regardless of any preferred “learning style”, the brain always finds it easier to use and remember “pictures” rather than words or sentences.
  • Chunking – the brain likes information to be broken down into small chunks.

Mind Mapping enhances the effectiveness and speed with which we  “put” information into our heads and then retrieve it. Mind mapping technique organises information in such a way that it:

  • keeps all of the connections;
  • consists only of “trigger” words made by the brain, linked together;
  • good trigger words help to create pictures in the mind – and Mind Maps use symbols and images as well.
  • is stored as small chunks – a Mind Map rarely has more than nine main branches and rarely more than five sub-branches flow from each main branch and, therefore, ideas flow from the high level of abstraction to the low.

It is true that other VAT diagrams also maintain connections and break the “whole” down into chunks; but only Mind Mapping is consistent in the way that it uses trigger words, imagery and colour. The key to this is the use of single words. The Mind Mapping principles specify that each branch supports just one word. All the other techniques tend to use phrases not single words in the structure.

Make your own connections.

Students will remember something new far more clearly when they have made connections to it themselves. They have to do this because the Mind Map never contains all the information needed (only trigger words), so they have to fill in the spaces from their own database, thereby automatically making their own connections with the material as they go along. The more mental “processing” they do, in order to read or create the Map, the more they will remember.

Tips for reading a Mind Map.

You read a Mind Map from the centre outwards. Read one branch at a time (from left to right) or (from right to left).

Once you have read the Mind Map get some paper and a pen. Just reflect on the reading exercise and see how much information was contained on it. Next, take your eyes away from the Mind Map and write down as much details as you can remember.

Start by sketching out as much of the centre picture as you can recall, together with any writing that was included in the picture.

Next see if you can recall any of the key words that were associated with the main branches that grew out of the central image and their approximate relative positions.

You may be amazed at how much information it actually contained and how much you remembered.

Other types of visual-association-tools:

We can also use other types of visual-association-tools such as graphic organizer, CoRT 1 (PMI, CAF, C & S, AGO, FIP, OPV, and APC) to enhance reflective and meta-cognitive thinking among students. These tools are useful to help students to recall related information that could be used to assist in incorporating new information.

1. Graphic representations or organizers are visual illustrations of verbal statements. Some familiar graphic visual are flow charts, pie carts, and family trees. The more sophisticated ones include spider maps, fish-bone maps, network trees, and compare/contrast matrices.

To construct graphic outlines the students first survey the title, subheading,  illustrations and their captions, the initial summary or abstracts, and the objective of the text to determine what the passage discusses and how the discussion is structured. The students begins to form a hypothesis about the structure of the text and mentally searches the graphic structures that best “fit” – the use of compare or contrast diagram, predicting consequences of options, spider map or problem solving outline.

Graphic representations are used to :

  • help students to comprehend, summarize, and synthesize complex ideas;
  • help students to select important ideas as well as detecting missing information and unexplained relations;
  • help students to solve problems and making decisions.

2. Cognitive Research Trust (CoRT) is a programme designed by Edward de Bono. The CoRT programme teaches thinking skills through the use of thinking “tools” in a formal, focused, and deliberate manner.

CoRT 1 is designed to encourage students to broaden their thinking by encouraging students to “explore” rather then to “judge”.  CoRT 1 consist of:

  • Treatment of ideas (PMI – plus, minus, interesting);
  • Factors involved (CAF – consider all factors);
  • Consequences (C & F – consequences and sequel);
  • Objectives (AGO – aims, goals, objectives);
  • Priorities (FIP – first, important, priority);
  • Alternatives (APC – alternatives, possibilities, choices);
  • Other People Views (OPV).

PMI is used to examine an idea for good, bad or interesting point; instead of immediate acceptance or rejection. The steps involved are:

  • List down all the plus points;
  • List down all the minus points;
  • List down all the interesting points.
  • What is your decision after considering all the factors?

CAF is used to look as widely as possible all the factors involved in a situation, instead of only immediate ones. The steps involved are:

  • List down all the factors;
  • Consider each factor
  • What is the appropriate decision to be made?

C & S deals with the consideration of the immediate, short, medium and long term consequences. The steps involved are:

  • What are the long term effects?
  • What are the risks I have to face?
  • To what extend the new plan would bring changes?

AGO is used to pick out and defining objectives so as one is clear about his own aims and understanding those of others. The steps involved are:

  • What is the AGO of the plan?
  • Are the implementations out of the AGO?
  • How do I make sure that the AGO is achieved?

FIP is used to choose from a number of different possibilities and alternatives, – putting priorities in order. The steps involved are:

  • What are the important matters involved?
  • Which is the most important one to be considered?
  • Which one should be given priority?

APC deals with generating new alternatives and choices, instead of feeling confined to the obvious ones. The steps involved are:

  • What are  the other alternatives to overcome the problem?
  • What are the implications incur if every step is taken?
  • What is the best solution?

OPV means moving out of one’s own viewpoint to consider the view of all others involved in any situation. The steps involved are:

  • Will this idea influence others?
  • Other people’s opinion on this matter?
  • Is your idea relevant before actions are taken?

Read more @ :

Classroom Seating Plans.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

The layout and organization of your teaching and learning areas is a major factor in successful behaviour management. Ranging from the “sit where you like” approach, to the carefully structured social or ability grouping systems; system plans and layouts in classroom can vary tremendously.

Unless a seating plan is school policy and should be adhered to all times, it isn’t necessary to have a seating plan for all occasions. However, do consider the positives and negatives of such an approach and then decide how to structure your classroom.

Some important considerations when attempting to provide the ideal teaching and learning environment:

  • access and movement;
  • individual needs;
  • distractions;
  • social groupings;
  • curriculum requirements;
  • safety.

A more effective approach to the seating arrangement is to involve the pupils in the decision making process; apart from your own knowledge and requirements for activities such as:

  • group discussions;
  • one-to-one pupil meetings;
  • peer mentoring;
  • ability groups;
  • social groups;
  • inappropriate pairings.

Agreed seating plans should be recorded and made available to all teachers  teaching in the room, and should be consistently adhered to.  The plan should also state clearly what is expected and will put an end to potential confrontations about who can sit where.

The teacher should make sure that at the end of each session,the students leave the seating and desks in an organised and neat fashion, ready for the next group to us the room.


Basic Classroom Skills.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

According to Dave Stoff in his “Behaviour Matters“; teaching basic classroom skills early is a simple and essential way to instill good behaviour principles in students.

Basic classroom skills need to be taught in just the same manner as any other part of the school curriculum. They need to be highlighted throughout each year, clearly taught, practised and regularly referred to. Teachers shouldn’t fall into the trap of assuming that all students  (new/existing) have been taught these skills; and that they can all put them into practice faultlessly. Some will still be struggling to cope. There will others who know perfectly well how to behave, but simply choose not to.

The  first step in teaching basic classroom behaviour is to identify what you consider to be the essential skills. These may include:

  • Entering and leaving;
  • Beginning written or practical work;
  • How to ask for help or to  seek the teacher’s attention;
  • What to do when their work is finished;
  • Taking joint responsibility for the overall appearance of the school / classroom (picking up litter, clearing away books, paper, equipment).

These may seem simple skills that students should have mastered before they move to your school / classroom; but it is worth checking because they are essential skills that, if not understood and practised, will be the source of disruption throughout all the semester.

Try to treat each skill you are teaching in exactly the same manner as the material on your curriculum. Identify the key areas and work out the essential components that the student needs to both understand and master.  Go through each of the components or stages of the skill with the pupils ( as a class and individually) and check for their understanding at each step. Once the stages have been clearly understood, give them plenty of opportunity to practice the skill, rewarding with appropriate praise when they get it right. Regularly refer to he skill and have visual reminders around your teaching area.

An example of outline plan for teaching a basic classroom skill:

Skill: Responding appropriately when teacher requests your attention.

Teacher: “When I want you to stop work and listen to me, I will clap my hands and say – “Look here students – I would like you to put down your pen, stop work, no talking, look at me and listen”.

After giving your clear instructions, the teacher can now check for understanding of the students  by asking related question (s).

It is worthwhile spending time on the basics at this early stage of the school year. The teacher and the  students will reap the benefits as the year progresses.

Read more @

Preparing the School Environment.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Preparing the emotional and environmental details of the school or the classroom for the coming semester can have a very clear impact on student and teacher behaviour.

Upon finishing a semester examination, teachers should start to prepare for the next schooling term ahead. That is certainly not to say that teachers should not enjoy their well-earned semester holiday, but there are some preparatory jobs which can be addressed immediately, and which will relieve the pressure that teachers will face in the new semester.

Class lists, new schemes of work, timetables and staffing are all part of the end-of-term organization and changes. Once all the information has been shared / agreed upon; everyone will know where he will be working (which classrooms, etc) which groups or classes they will be teaching and which members of staff will be part of the subject panels / teams. With that information clearly in place, one can make some individual preparations. It is easier to map out a plan of action rather then trying to squeeze in all your preparation into the final weeks/ days before the new semester begins.

A clear and informed timetable of preparation means that one can give sufficient consideration not only to the teaching and learning issues, but also the emotional and environmental details that have a very clear impact on the student and teacher behaviour.

Devise an environmental checklist and apply to your classrooms or teaching environments. Identify the issues that need to be dealt with; whose role is it to to deal with the identified problems.  The following can be consider as a baseline for you checklists:

  • repairs to or replacement of furniture, decoration, fittings and electrical items. Make sure to give the maintenance team in the school enough time to rectify the problems;
  • appropriateness of resources, equipment;
  • old display from the current semester on the walls, which should be taken down unless they will serve clear purpose for the new class;
  • the removal of old name tags, and property left behind by this semester’s class groups;
  • up to date information on any students with special educational needs, including effective and essential strategies.

Make sure that your school rules and classroom rules are clearly displayed and are in both written and pictorial format. Rules and guidance are to be phrase in a positive manner, and avoid signs such as “No running around inside the classroom!”. Instead, use positive phrases such as “Thanks for walking…!”. Also, it is good to reinforce these signs with some form of self – explanatory picture or illustration.

Timely and thorough preparation will ensure that one is able to provide the most effective environment for the students whom you have spent time getting to know them, and have included that knowledge in your planning.

So prepare as much as you can before you leave for your holiday; and set a clear time-frame before your new semester starts. It is important that the person to feel most calm and prepared is you.


Multicultural Education.

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

We have said that effective teachers think about teaching and learning from all kinds of diverse perspectives. The viewpoints of males, females, multicultural, and economically disadvantaged students,  must be in the mind of a teacher when he/she walks into a classroom. To be both successful and fair, teachers must be able to perceive students and situations from multiple perspectives and tailor their teaching styles and methods accordingly.

Surah Al Balad verse 8 – 10, “Have We not made him a pair of eyes? And a tongue, and a pair of lips?  And shown him the two highways?” reveals that besides giving us the faculties, Allah also gave us the judgment by which we can choose our way. We should not be clouded by racial contempt when deciding the best for the education of our students as the repercussion of our decision is irreversible. Multicultural education might be the answer to the racial diversity to produce a united Malaysian national and any direction to promote it should be protected (Netty Yushani Yusof, Socyberty,  2008).

Multicultural education emphasizes on values and cultures of different groups of people. The main aim of multicultural education is for students to appreciate values and cultures of groups of people based on: gender, class ethnic or religion. This aim can be achieved through multicultural instruction.

Five general approaches to multicultural education are outlined below (Sleeter & Grant, 2002):

  • “Teaching the culturally different”;
  • “Human relation approaches”;
  • “Single-group studies”;
  • “Multicultural approaches”;
  • “Education that is multicultural and social re-constructionist”.

1.  “Teaching the Culturally Different approach” tries to assimilate people into the cultural mainstream. A teacher will teach students of different races, low-income students and special education students, for the purpose of assimilating students with different background into mainstream values and cultures. Here children are taught mainstream/common knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are needed for successful life ; which may be different from their own values and cultures. While teachers attempts to accommodate all skill levels and backgrounds in a single classroom community, it may create conflicting values  for the students in relation to their own values. The task of meeting the needs of every student can be seen as impossible.

2.  Human Relations Approaches to multicultural education try to help students from different backgrounds to understand and accept each other on a personal level. These approaches can be informal such as teachers assigning a “friend” to a new student; forming work or play groups to improve understanding and acceptance.

The formal procedures include conflict mediation; which will help students to solve daily conflicts that arise, due to the differences in their backgrounds. An example of mediation programme is “Teaching to Be Peacemakers,” which prepare students to apply negotiation and mediation procedures whenever a conflict arises. When students are trained to be their own peacemakers, discipline problems handled by teachers decrease by about 60 per cent (Johnson, Johnson, Dudley, Ward, and Magnuson, 1995).

3.  Single-group studies are the teaching that emphasize on values and cultures of a particular group of people. The goal of single-group studies is to help young people feel proud of their heritages and recognize that their accomplishments do not depend on their race, gender, or culture. In the simplest or most traditional approaches, students participate in activities that feature the food, dress, and customs of different cultural groups / foreign countries . The major drawback of single-group studies is that students tend to value diversity of values and cultures more than unity.

4.  Multicultural approaches try to reform education by revising curricula, integrating school staffs, and acknowledging the importance of families and family languages. The major purpose of multicultural approaches is for students to appreciate other values and cultures, and mostly use the contents of the single-group studies. One example of multicultural approach is the way Robert Moses teaches algebra to sixth-grade African American students in the Mississippi delta. Moses uses a variety of multicultural approaches to help students succeed in the course and to see themselves as thinkers. He teaches some lessons using the contrasting rhythms of African drum-beats, while other lessons are taught by having students construct their own recipes. Moses believes these and similar methods help hold student interest and make content understandable.

5.  Education that is multicultural and social re-constructionist.

The purpose of this approach is to restructure educational institutions in order to change the society towards social equality. Teachers who want to achieve these goals use students’ life experiences as opportunities to discuss social inequalities. They encourage students to think critically about classism, sexism, racism, and social inequities that may be present in textbooks, newspapers, and other media sources. Students are encouraged to consider alternative points of view and to think about ways they might work constructively to achieve social justice for all people.

Marzuki Mohammad (2006) pointed out that “Multiculturalism is a delicate and multifaceted issue.” In order for multiculturalism to penetrate into our education system, proper planning and implementation should be done to ensure that multicultural education become effective and meaningful to the students and the society. “People want to change: yet they are also afraid of change, especially if it comes quickly or if they feel they have little control or influence over it”, Ornstein and Hunkins (1993) acknowledged.

When the Ministry of Education proposed the Vision Schools,  where a Malay primary school would share a compound and facilities such as canteen, hall, playing field with a Chinese and a Tamil school to promote ethnic interaction and integration of the races outside the exclusive classroom environment, the idea was met with some opposition from various educationalist movement which suspicious of the government “hidden agenda… to have a single medium of instruction in all schools.”

If change needs to be done especially when it deals with multiculturalism, the information about the change should be clearly expressed and spread widely as to avoid the information from being distorted and misunderstood by the society. Meeting with the different racial groups should be done earlier before the implementation of multicultural education to take into account what the groups have to say about the programme. The outcome of these meetings might benefit the Ministry of Education as changes could be made to the programme to “tie up the loose ends” before being implemented (Netty Yushani Yusof, Socyberty, Oct 26, 2008).


Robert F. McNergney, Joanne M. McNergney, Foundation of Education-The Challenge of Professional Practice, Fourth Edition, Pearson, 2004 (Page 58-69).