Archive for July, 2009

Instructional Models.

Friday, July 17th, 2009

No single best way exists to teach all things to all people. Different learners and different objectives often require different instructional models. Instructional models are systematic approaches, methods and techniques of teaching. Successful teachers usually have a variety of pedagogical models that they can use for teaching different subjects, contents or objectives to different types of learners (such as low, moderate or high abilities).

B. R. Joyce, M. Weil and E. Calhoun, (2000) identified four families models of teaching as follows:

  • The Behavioural Systems Family Model;
  • The Social Family Model;
  • The Information-Processing Family Model;
  • The Personal Family Model.

1.  Behaviour Systems Family Model.

  • Three approaches in this model are (a) Mastery Learning; (b) Direct Instruction; and (c) Computer-Assisted Instruction.
  • Mastery learning believes that any student can master any objective provided that he/she is given enough time, is motivated to learn, and the teaching is appropriate to their needs.
  • Teacher’s role in mastery learning is to break the content into small manageable objectives, determine students’ needs with respect to learning materials, teach in the ways that meet their needs, and evaluate their progress regularly. Teacher select learning objectives from a list of simple to complex thought processes (recall, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation).
  • Direct instruction is highly structured, teacher-centred strategy. It relies on behavioural techniques such as modeling, feedback, and reinforcement to teach basic skills (reading, writing and mathematics). Teachers using this model must set high but attainable goals for students. Activities and teaching environments should be structured so students succeed at a high rate.
  • Computer-aided instruction uses the capabilities of computers to facilitate teaching and learning. Special software can give tutorials to students on new contents; just like a teacher facilitates direct instruction or mastery learning. Some  software can be used for drill and practice or to review previous contents, or to give tests, test marks, and feed backs to students.

2.  Social-family Model.

  • Pedagogical approaches in the social-family model facilitate students to work together in groups / teamwork to attain both academic and social goals. Teachers only serve as guides, encouraging students to express their ideas and to consider other perspectives as they deal with a variety of issues during group/teamwork. Four approaches in this model are: (a) Cooperative  learning approach; (b) Peer tutoring approach; (c) Project-based learning approach; and (d) Reciprocal learning.
  • Cooperative learning approach promotes group/team efforts to carry out tasks given to the group (instead of each student works on his/her own to understand new concepts, or to master new skills). Cooperative learning is popular because it influences student self-esteem, inter group relations, acceptance of students with academic and physical limitations, and ability to work cooperatively. An example of cooperative learning technique is the Students Team Achievement Division (STAD). In this approach a teacher uses direct instruction to teach certain concepts or skills to the class. Students then (work in four-members, heterogeneous learning team’s) help each other to master the content by using study guides, worksheets, and other study materials.
  • Peer tutoring approach involves teaching/tutoring of other students by a particular student. The tutoring tasks are rotated among students, which indirectly promotes academic leadership among students. The tutor (student) is responsible to make sure he/she understands the contents and masters the related skills properly before he/she is able to tutor other students. This is normally done in small groups, which requires the group tutors to cooperate with each other in preparing tutorial contents, skills, and materials.
  • Project-based learning approach is another form of group learning, whereby students are given a project(s) to do and report back to all members of a class. The project problem(s) or questions can come from students, teachers, or schools. Students then carry out the project by “asking and refining questions; debating ideas; making predictions or hypothesis; designing plans and/or experiments; collecting and analyzing data; drawing conclusions; communicating ideas and findings to others, asking new questions, and creating artifact”. Artifacts are models, reports, computer programmes, etc representing students finding to the problem(s) given. Feedback on their artifacts helps students revise their solutions. The key benefit of project-based learning is that students draw on many different curricular areas, making connections between subject matter disciplines, etc (page 289).
  • Reciprocal teaching approach teaches students four strategies in reading comprehension namely: (a) summarizing the content of a passage; (b) asking about the central point; (c) clarifying the difficult parts of the material; and (d) predicting what will come next.

Research has shown that the reciprocal teaching approach has positive impact for students with far below average in reading comprehension. In reciprocal teaching, the teacher and groups of students began with reading a passage silently.  Then the teacher provides  a model by summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting based on the reading. Every student then reads another passage in small groups, and they take the role of the teacher. Each group then presents the four elements to the class. In the process of preparing the report, the teacher provides clues, guidance, encouragement, etc. (Scaffolding) to the group members.

3. Information-processing family model.

  • The information-processing family model stimulate the development  of thinking skills such as observing, comparing, finding patterns, and generalizing. The approaches in this model are : (a) Concept formation; (b) Inquiry learning; (c) Synectics. These approaches are based on information-processing and constructivist theories that explain how information are gathered through our senses, stored and retrieved from our memory, and explain how we process the information and take action.
  • Concept formation approach is used to help students analyze and synthesize data / information to construct knowledge about a specific idea. For example, during a unit on plant classification – a teacher would ask students to observe a variety of plant specimens, group the plants according to some characteristics, and give a name for each of the plants. Students are then asked to classify other plants into existing groups or to create new groups or to create new group(s) of plants.
  • Inquiry learning approach helps students to do research to solve problems given to them, based on facts and observation.They think and act as scientists doing experiments. Students construct their own knowledge based on their research or inquiries. The teacher’s role is to guide students through the five steps: (a) define the problem; (b) formulate hypotheses; (c) gather data; (d) organize data and modify hypotheses accordingly, and (e) generalize from findings to form new theories.
  • Synectics is a teaching approach that helps students to increase problems-solving abilities,  creative expression, empathy and insight into social relations. The method begins with the understanding of certain basic concept; followed by an in dept understanding of the concept. For example, a teacher may introduce the concept of pollution; and asks students about the effect of pollution. Later, the teacher may ask students to compare the effects of chemical pollution compared to construction-waste pollution (for a deeper understanding about pollution).

4.  Personal-family model encourages students to decide what they want to learn and how they want to learn. This is to help students to develop or discover effective learning styles and positive self-concepts. Two approaches in this model are: (a) Individualized instruction and (b) Non-directive teaching approach.

  • The individualized instruction approach is a teaching method that is tailor-made to a particular student, depending on his/her ability, interest, motivation, learning style, or achievement.
  • In non-directive teaching, a teacher helps a students to learn based on student’s own interest and goals. The teacher may ask students to identify a problem, be responsible to solve it, to explore own feeling when solving personal problem, to explore his/her feeling about others when dealing with social problem; and to determine his/her own interest and competence when solving academic problems. Teacher would meet a student one-to-one so as to give time for the teacher and student to have a proper discussion.

Read more @ :

Robert F. McNergney, Joanne M. McNergney, Foundations of Education – the challenge of professional practice, Fourth Edition, Pearson, 2004.

Pupils Warned Against Posting Smear Videos

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd. Dom  said students who post videos on the Internet which smear their school’s name can be charged under the Communications and Multimedia Act for defamation. They should realise that posting such materials was not a harmless prank and that they could face a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a year’s jail if found guilty. “Posting such videos on You Tube was an act of defamation and students should realise they could be charged under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act,” he said after handing out the National Nilam (a programme to promote reading among students) awards on July 14,  2009 in Kuala Lumpur.

He was commenting on a video posted on You Tube showing three female students from a secondary school in Dungun, Terengganu beating up a classmate. Alimuddin said the June 18 incident, which involved five students, had caused the school to be seen in a bad light when the video was posted on the Internet.

“The school subsequently sacked three Form Two students , the assailants in the case, and suspended their victim, a Form One Student who was found to have provoked her attackers first.”  “The student who had recorded the incident using her hand phone camera was suspended for two weeks”.

He said the school came to know of the incident only on July 1 and its disciplinary committee, which investigated the matter, took action a week later.

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/11srm/Article/in...

Knowledge of Student Characteristics.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Research has revealed the importance of adjusting learning styles to the learner. The closer the match between students’ learning styles and their teachers’ teaching styles – the higher the grade point average (R. Dunn, Griggs, Olson, Gorman, and Beasley, 1995).

R. Dunn and Griggs (1995) in his Learning Style Model indicated that students are affected by five main factors:

1.   Students’ immediate environment such as sound, light, temperature,  and furniture setting / design.

  • Many students require quiet while concentrating on difficult information, while others literally learn better with sound;
  • Many people concentrate better in brightly illuminated rooms, while others do better in soft light;
  • Some students achieve better in warm environments , while others in cold environments;
  • Some people prefer studying in a wooden, plastic, or steel chair, but others find conventional classroom seats so uncomfortable and are preventing them from learning.

2.   Students’ own emotionality affect their ability to learn.

  • Students’ inner motivation;
  • Persistence to complete assignments;
  • Ability to take responsibility for their own behavior and work;
  • The opportunity to do things in their own way.

3.   Students’ sociological preferences also affect learning.

  • learning alone, in pairs, in small groups, as part of a team, with either an authoritative or collegial adult;
  • wanting variety as opposed to patterns and routines.

4.   Students’ physiological characteristics can also affect when and how students learn best such as:

  • time of day;
  • outside stimulation;
  • energy level;
  • mobility while studying;

Understanding students’ physiological characteristics will let teachers  help students learn based on their perceptual strengths. For example teachers could encourage students to study at their best time of day, which might be early in the morning; before they leave for school; during lunch or study halls; immediately after school; or in the evening before they go to bed.

5.   The way students process information can also affect learning abilities. For example, more analytical students tend to be persistent. They may not always start an assignment immediately; but once they start doing, they have a strong emotional urge to continue until the task is done, or until they come to a place where they feel they can stop. As for global learners, they tend to prefer learning with what conventional teachers think of as distractions such as:

  • sound : music, tapping, or conversation;
  • an informal design : lounging comfortably;
  • soft illumination : covering their eyes or wearing sunglasses indoors;
  • peer orientation: wanting to work with a friend;
  • a need for food (snacks) while study;
  • left-brain mode students: process information sequentially and analytically;
  • right-brain mode students: process information in a holistic, simultaneous and global manner;
  • impulsive students: will not spend much time in learning;
  • reflective students: will spend time thinking about the information, understanding the content being taught.  (R. Dunn and K Dunn, 1992).

6.   The Learning Style Model and its benefits:

R. Dunn and K. Dunn (1992) indicated the benefits of a comprehensive model of learning styles because not only are many individuals affected by different elements of a learning style; but so many of the learning elements are capable of increasing academic achievement.

Using the Learning Style Model, teachers can test and identify students’ learning styles accurately (Beaty, 1986). The Learning Style Model is a reliable and valid instrument and the only comprehensive one that can diagnose the many style traits that influence individuals (Shaughnessy, 1998).

  • Students having a knowledge of their learning style – improved self esteem.  When children understand how they learn and how they struggle to learn, they can be more in control of their environment and ask for what they need (Martin and Potter, 1998).  O’ Brien (1989) stated that “perhaps schools should spend more time developing students awareness of their study style rather then pushing teachers into more in-service workshops about adapting curriculum”.
  • When students understand their learning style, they no longer need to feel different. “Students can learn almost any subject matter when they are taught with methods and approaches responsive to their learning style strengths; these same students fail when they are taught in an instructional style not inline with their strengths” (R. Dunn, 1990). De Bello, (1996) argued that “principals and teachers have a responsibility to make parents aware of their children need for a study environment that reflect their learning styles strengths”. “Perhaps the most important people who need to understand the concept of individual style are parents” (Guild and Garger, 1985).
  • Students achieve more when their teachers teach according to students’ learning styles. Studies conducted by R. Dunn revealed that students whose characteristics were accommodated by educational interventions responsive to their learning styles could be expected to achieve 75 percent of a standard deviation higher than students whose styles were not accommodated.

Read more @ http://www.intime.uni.edu/model/teacher/teac 1 summary.html

Gardner’s Theory and Its Impact

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist, proposed a theory regarding the nature of intelligence – Frames of Mind : The theory of multiple intelligences (1983) - which stressed the importance of not viewing intelligence as uni-dimensional construct, but rather as a series of seven independent intelligences. These seven intelligences enable the individual “to perform transformations and modifications of one’s perceptions” and “to recreate aspects of one’s experiences”.

The original seven types of intelligences are as follows:

1.  Verbal / Linguistic Intelligence:

  • The capacity to employ words effectively, whether orally or in writing;
  • According to Armstrong (2000), a highly verbal / linguistic learner would enjoy reading, writing, telling stories, and playing games.

2.  Logical / Mathematical Intelligence:

  • The ability to use inductive and deductive reasoning, solve abstract problems, and understand the complex relationships of interrelated concepts, ideas, and things;
  • Also includes the skills of classifying, predicting, prioritizing, and formulating scientific hypotheses and understanding cause – and- effect relationships;
  • These critical thinking skills are taught in most schools’ curricula, but need to be emphasized through active learning activities.

3. Visual / Spatial Intelligence:

  • The capacity to perceive the visual world accurately and to be able to recreate one’s visual experiences;
  • Visual perceptions are mixed with prior knowledge, experience, emotions, and images to create a new vision for others to experience;
  • Students with spatial intelligence have the ability to keenly perceive: colour, lines, shapes and forms, space, and the relationship that exists among these elements.

4.  Bodily / Kinesthetic Intelligences:

  • The intelligence of the whole body, particularly the hands, enables us to control and interpret body motions, manipulate physical objects, and establish harmony between the mind and the body;
  • This intelligence includes athletes skills; skills as a surgeon’s fine small-motor control when performing an intricate heart operation; or an airplane navigator’s ability to fine tune delicate navigational instruments.

5.  Musical / Rhythmic Intelligence:

  • This intelligence starts with the degree of sensitivity one has to a pattern of sounds and the ability to respond emotionally;
  • This intelligence grows as students increase their sophistication when listening to music: the capacity to perceive, discriminate, transform and express musical form.

6.  Interpersonal Intelligence:

  • The ability to quickly grasp and evaluate the moods, intentions, motivations, and feelings of other people;
  • It include sensitivity to facial expressions, voice and gestures: the capacity for discriminating among many different kinds of interpersonal cues; and the ability to respond effectively to those cues in some pragmatic ways  (Armstrong, 2000).
  • This intelligence “involves verbal and nonverbal communication skills, collaborative skills, conflict management, consensus building skills, and motivate others to the achievement of a mutually beneficial goal” (Bellanca, 1997).

7.  Intra-personal Intelligence:

  • This intelligence includes having an accurate picture of oneself  (one’s strengths and limitations); awareness of inner moods, intentions, motivations, temperament, and desires; and the capacity for self-discipline, self understanding, and self-esteem (Armstrong, 2000).

8. Naturalistic Intelligence:

  • In 1994, Gardner added Naturalistic Intelligence to his original seven intelligences;
  • Naturalistic Intelligence, the intelligence of  students who learn best through nature;  most learning need to take place in outdoor settings;
  • These students enjoy doing nature projects; such as bird watching, butterfly or insect collecting, tree study, or raising animals – that is studying about ecology, nature, plants and animals;
  • Armstrong (2000) argued that it is very beneficial for these students to have greater access to developing their naturalistic intelligence inside the school building. So the school’s task is to bring the natural world into the classroom and other areas.

Gardner’s suggested possible additional intelligences as follows:

  • Spiritual / Existential – religion and “ultimate issues”;
  • Moral – ethics, humanity, value of life.

In applying the theory of multiple intelligence to the classroom, the curriculum is organized around the eight capacities : linguistic, logical/mathematical, bodily/kinesthetic, spatial, musical, interpersonal, intra- personal, and naturalistic. The advantages of this approach include the following:

  • More opportunities for developing the children strengths and achieving mastery;
  • More time for connecting the content areas;
  • More provision for improving assessment.

Gardner’s work has provided an important directions in educational practice related to the construct of creativity. By emphasizing the importance of the field in recognizing a creative achievement, he is endorsing the value of real-world applications that are subjected to expert judgment. Gardner’s insights have also given additional impetus to the fostering of habits of mind and the importance if intrinsic motivation (Gardner and Avery, 1998).

Read more @ :

http://www.intime.uni.edu/model/teacher/teac 1 summary.html

http://www.businessballs.com/howardgardnermultipleintelligences.htm

http:www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm

Math and Science Back to BM and Mother Tongues.

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

The Cabinet has decided that the medium of instruction for Maths and Science will be revert to Bahasa Malaysia in national schools and mother-tongue languages in national-types schools from 2012 onwards.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd. Yassin who made the announcement on July 8, 2009 said that the policy will be implemented in stages for Year One, Year Four, Form One and Form Four in 2012. However, the changes do not involve Form Six and Matriculation students.

All examinations for Science and Mathematics will remain bilingual until 2014, so as not to jeopardize the performance of students under the current policy – Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English or its official abbreviation PPSMI (Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris)

Education Minister added that “The Government made this decision after studying in detail the result of studies and close monitoring of the PPSMI by the Education Ministry and independent bodies since the policy was implemented in 2003.”

He said studies showed that PPSMI was never implemented as originally hoped. Instead, teachers were using both English and Bahasa Malaysia to teach Science and Mathematics, and the gap between urban and rural schools in the two subjects grew wider after PPSMI was implemented.

The Education Ministry who monitored PPSMI implementation in 2008 found that only 8 percent of teachers used English completely when teaching Science and Mathematics. On average, English usage was only 53-58 percent of the total time allocated for teaching the two subjects.

The percentage of students that received grade A, B, and C for Science and Mathematics in the Ujian Penilian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examinations also declined last year, both urban and rural schools.

The Minister added that the Trends  in Mathematics and Science Study  in 2007 revealed that Malaysian students in Science slipped from 20th place in 2003 to 21st in 2007. For Mathematics, Malaysian students dropped from 10th placing in 2003 to 20th in 2007.

“Based on these data, the Government is confident that Science and Mathematics should be taught in a language that is easily understood by students, which is Bahasa Malaysia in national and secondary schools, and Chinese and Tamil in vernacular schools.” Muhyiddin said.

“With this decision, the Government is offering a new approach in the teaching of Science and Mathematics. The Government believes that this new approach will strengthen Bahasa Malaysia and increase the capability of students to master science and technology, which is important for the country’s future,” Muhyiddin said.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad expressed his dismay over the decision to revert to teaching Mathematics and Science in Bahasa Malaysia and vernacular languages. “I am sad for the future  of our young, who will find it harder later to master the fields of Science and Mathematics,” he said.

He said that learning English from Mathematics and Science was to prepare students for the globalization in the fields of Mathematics and Science. He added that it was the implementation,and not the policy itself, that should be blamed. He added that “I suggested that even if they don’t have to have (teaching Mathematics and Science in English) at the primary level, they could always do it at the secondary level.” But, “That too, was dismissed.”

Read more @ :

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Wednesday/Frontpage/20090708145125/Article/index_html

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/7/8/nation/200907081445351&sec=nation

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Wednesday/NewsBreak/20090708204306/Article/index_html

Caning can Still be Carried Out.

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Wee Ka Siong said that caning can still be carried out in schools; as provided for by the Education (School Discipline) Regulations 1959.

However, he added that caning must be carried out in a confined area; the parents of the student had been informed, and, caning must only be for a repeated mistake or very serious offence.

He also said that, ” We don’t encourage caning for primary students, but caning is allowed at the secondary level by the principal or a person to whom he delegates the power to”. On whether girls could also be caned, he said, “so far girls are not allowed to be caned”.

Director-general of Education, Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd. Dom said a teacher should not touch the students except for caning in private where the power has been delegated to him. “Even if it’s using a ruler to hit the student’s palm, this could lead to injury”. “So even though the intentions may be good, this could bring about undesirable results”. he said. He also added that teachers could also discipline the students by asking them to write lines, clean the classroom or pick the rubbish from the school compound.

In 2006, the Education Ministry banned public caning in schools after the Education Regulations (Student Discipline) 2006 came into force.

According to Datuk Wee, “We are a ministry, not a prison. Enforcement alone will not solve a problem”. ” You must remember that education covers everything, including counseling”.

It was reported in March that the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry was working on improvements to the child Act 2001, which included abolishing caning and incorporating community service.

Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the Ministry recommends the use of positive methods to discipline children (as opposed to caning); which she said would have positive effects on children development and encourage good behaviour. “We cannot expect children to correct their behaviour over-night. We should focus on methods of discipline like counseling and community service which can instill new values and skills”.

Read more @ :

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST?Saturday/National/2598986/Article/index_html

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News?NST/Saturday/National/2599052/Article/index_html

Professional Development

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Professional Development, from Wikipedia, refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement. It is also known as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which is defined as the conscious updating of professional knowledge and the improvement of professional competence throughout a person’s working life. It is a commitment to being professional, keeping up to date and continuously seeking to improve. It is the key to optimizing a person’s career opportunities; both today and for the future (Chartered Institute of Professional Development (2000))

Professional development may come in the form of pre-service or in-service professional development programmes and it encompass all types of facilitated learning opportunities – ranging from professional degrees to formal coursework, conferences and informal learning opportunities situated in practice. Professional development on the job may develop or enhance process skills, sometimes referred to as leadership skills, as well as task skills; eg. “team functioning skills”, “systems thinking skills”, “effectiveness skills” .

WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE AND WHY?:

A wide variety of people should participate. As for educators, it range from administrators; teachers; support staffs.

Individuals participate in professional development because:

  • an interest in lifelong learning;
  • a sense of moral obligation;
  • to maintain and improve professional competence;
  • enhance career progression;
  • keep abreast of new technology and practice;
  • to comply with professional regulatory organizations.

BENEFITS OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:

Professional Development is a continuous process of improvement of practices. It empowers teachers to make complex decisions; to identify and solve problems; and to connect theory, practice and student outcomes. Professional development also:

  • deepen and broaden knowledge of content pedagogical skills and increase one’s reflection of classroom practices.
  • provide a strong foundation in the pedagogy of a particular discipline.
  • provide knowledge about the teaching and learning processes.
  • contribute to measurable improvement in students achievement.
  • intellectually engaging and addressing the complexity of teaching.
  • provide sufficient time, support, and resources to enable teachers to master new content and pedagogy and to integrate this knowledge and skill into practice.
  • to be designed by teachers in cooperation with experts in the field.
  • take a variety of forms, including some that have not been considered.
  • be job-embedded and site specific.
  • increasing the contributions made as a teacher  to the work of the school.
  • increasing one’s focus and understanding of your career development.

SOURCES OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:

  1. Within the school:
  • induction programmes.
  • coaching and mentoring.
  • lesson observation and feedback.
  • collaborative planning and teaching.
  • shadowing.
  • sharing good practices.
  • whole school development events.

2. School Networks:

  • Cross-school and virtual networks.

3. Other External Expertise:

  • External courses
  • Further study.
  • Briefings, talks, updates, by local education authorities.
  • Higher learning institutions, universities.
  • Other agencies.

SOME PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES / MODELS TO CONSIDER:

Professional development activities should include activities that teachers can learn from and use to develop professionally while carry out their duties as teacher such as:

  • collaboration with colleagues to solve problems, plan or teach.
  • run classroom-based / action research.
  • coaching and mentoring.
  • having professional discussions with colleagues or engaging in peer review.
  • observing others teach and discussing what been observed.
  • being observed and receiving feedback through the performance management process (KPI).
  • shadowing colleagues.
  • working with advanced skilled teachers, coaches or mentors.
  • Leading or contributing to staffs, departmental or team meetings.

CRITERIA FOR SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Set goals that are relevant to the school / organizational context and priorities.
  • Work in small groups to encourage hands-on application and analysis (encourage team- building and problem solving).
  • Promote a positive self – image by considering his sensitivity, learning styles, values of the participants and the issues discussed.
  • Let the participants see results and receive feedback – through providing technical help, free interactions with facilitators, colleagues, etc.
  • On-going learning opportunities are presented.

TRAINING NEEDS ANALYSIS AND ACTION PLAN:

The school should allow a period of time for the creation and implementation of a thoughtful action plan before rushing to implement a training programme. Such a plan should comprise of the following:

  • Determining needs whereby heads of subject panels meet together with their subject teachers , teachers from nearby schools, etc – going through a familiarization activity regarding their core activities.
  • Evaluation of ones strength and weaknesses.
  • Work together to outline the needs of individuals and the training programmes; prioritize and sequence the needs identified.
  • Workout a timescale / time line for achieving the target.
  • Identify resources implications – (materials, financial and personals).
  • Determine the training approaches and models to be used.
  • Determine the logistical details – when, where, how the activity will take place.
  • An assessment  plan to determine the effectiveness of the professional development and its impact on students’ performance.
  • A record of the teachers professional development to date.
  • Details of responsibility areas and the current job description of individual teacher.

Teacher quality is the essential variable affecting student achievement. Well-prepared, highly qualified teachers are essential if we are to ensure that all students achieve the high standards set by the school. Continuous professional development is essential to ensure that effective teaching is being implemented and effective learning for every child.

Read more @ :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional-development

http://www.aft.org/topics/teacher-quality/prodev.htm

http://www.tda.gov.uk/teaches/continuingprofessionaldevelopment/what-is-cpd.aspx

Inclusive Education in Malaysia.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

The Ministry of Education, Malaysia in its report entitled  ”The Development of Education” for the International Conference on Education in Geneva on November, 2008; stated that “inclusive” means creating schools which welcome all learners, regardless of their characteristic, disadvantages or difficulties. It is including the traditionally excluded or marginalized groups: such as disabled children, girls, children in remote villages, and the very poor. These invisible groups are excluded from governmental policy and access to education. So it is making these invisible groups visible in schools.

Measures taken to improve the rights to education and Inclusive education of Malaysian Citizens:

  1. Since 2003 – compulsory education was implemented, aimed at ensuring every child has the right to be educated in the formal institution at primary level.
  2. In 2008, free education was introduced; whereby education was fully funded by the federal government and students do not have to pay any kind of tuition fees.
  3. The Ministry allocated nearly RM 1.0 billion yearly to provide support programmes to needy students such as:
  • Food Nutrition Programme to increase students’ health, safety, discipline, and well-being. In 2006, nearly 707 thousand  children enjoy a daily breakfast before school; and a School Milk Programme to nearly 570 thousand students;
  • School Health Programme;
  • Guidance and Counseling;
  • Boarding facilities;
  • Trust Fund for poor students. In 2005 about 29.4 million USD were allocated to 857,319 needy primary and secondary students.

4. Free Textbook Loan Scheme: Beginning 2008 school session, all students irrespective of their families’ income (about 5 million students) benefited from this scheme.

5. Scholarship and Loan facilities: About 230,000 secondary school students benefited from it.

6.The Ministry of Education provides standardized national curricular which is cultural, gender and disadvantages bias.

  • For children with special educational needs – special curricular have been set up to cater for the individual needs of the child.
  • The Curriculum Development Center (CDC) has developed alternative curriculum eg. the Integrative Curriculum for Pupils of Orang Asli and Penan. In March2007 – the curriculum was piloted in six (6) Orang Asli schools and in 2008, it was piloted in six (6) Penan schools.

7. Remedial and enrichment Programme : Remedial and enrichment programme was introduced to address the issues of bridging the gaps between:

  • Rich and poor;
  • Rural and urban;
  • Interstate diversity.

8. Increase the right to education for at risk children:

  • Student with special educational need are provided with special education through 32 Special Schools and 1,282 Integrated Programmes (special classes in a mainstream school) for visual and hearing impairment, and learning disabilities. Total enrolment for those programmes are 29,169. Among the facilities provided by these schools are:
  1. Residential facilities;
  2. Two (2) vocational special education secondary schools to provide skill base education for disable children (2 more will be built in the 9th Malaysian Plan);
  3. Flexi educational programmes;
  4. Disabled Students Allowance: In 2006, RM 7.8 million Ringgit Malaysia has been allocated – benefiting the 29,169 registered disabled students.
  5. Vocational subject (MPV) – a programme for non academic inclined students.

STATUS OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION PRACTICE IN MALAYSIA FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS.

1. Students with hearing impairment.

  • Primary level of education – are segregated from mainstream learning. They received their primary education either in special education school or in Integrated Special Education Programmes (SEC) in mainstream schools.
  • Lower secondary education – They are integrated into SEC in mainstream schools.
  • Upper secondary education – Students could proceed with upper secondary education in either special education secondary school or integrated programmes in mainstream schools for academic option. Students opting for academic subjects is SEC are usually taught separately from their mainstream counterparts. Students in secondary technical / vocational schools are taught separately from mainstream students for three (3) subjects (Malay Language, Religion/Moral Studies and Mathematics). They are fully included in mainstream classes for vocational and technical subjects. On average about 90% of the students education in these schools take place in mainstream classes with their mainstream peers.
  • At tertiary level – there are three (3) polytechnics which provide higher education for students with hearing impairments.

2. Students with Visual Impairments:

  • Phase 1 of primary education: During the first three years of primary education – students with visual impairments in integrated programmes in mainstream primary schools are usually segregated from mainstream learning.
  • For the next 3 to 5 years of their primary education - various degrees of inclusion are being practiced for these students.
  • The degree of inclusion for each of these individual depends on the student’s ability to cope with mainstream learning.
  • The majority of visual impaired students in integrated programmes are included in mainstream learning for all subjects as intellectually, these students are perceived able to cope with mainstream learning and their ability to follow verbal instruction.

3. Students with Learning Disabilities:

  • All students with learning disabilities are educated within integrated programmes as no special education schools were established for children with learning disabilities (mental retardation).
  • The decision to include these students rest entirely on the school’s administrative prerogative based on advice by the school’s special education teachers.
  • Two generally accepted criteria for inclusion of children with learning disabilities:
  1. They are able to manage themselves without help;
  2. They do not have behavioral – conditions that could caused disruption to mainstream learning.

4. How does Malaysia address the Unreachable Children:

  • Malaysia sees the indigenous people and the minority ethnic children living in the very interior as the unreachable pupils.
  • One of the challenges in ensuring participation among this pupils is having a customized curricular as an alternative to the national curricula.
  • To prevent drop-outs during the transition from primary to secondary, a special comprehensive school model was launched. The Comprehensive School is actually a primary school with extended lower secondary education and usually equipped with residential facilities.

Implementing inclusive education in Malaysia is not an easy task. It challenges the present educational practices and administration. Education for all without discrimination is crucial in developing country to produce citizens who are productive and are able to contribute to the country’s changing economy. Further improvement of the present system requires systematic change and full support from all parties concerned.

Read more @ :

http://www.ibe.unesco.org/National_Reports/ICE_2008/malaysia_NRO8.pdf

http://www.isec2000.org.uk/abstracts/papers_h/haq_1.htm

Malaysian Teacher Standards

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Education Deputy Director-General (General Professional Development) Datin Asariah Mior Shaharuddin, said that the much-awaited list of standards that touch on a teacher’s level of skills, knowledge and basic values; or better known as the Malaysian Teacher Standards will be launched soon. The list will serve as guidelines for teachers to develop professional values, knowledge and understanding while acquiring the relevant skills in teaching.

” Once it is launched, teachers can take a self – appraisal which will be a part of the teaching standards, and gauge what level they are at”,  she said. The teachers can then plan and take the relevant steps to ensure they can meet the teaching standards.

Datin Asariah also added that as a start, the self appraisals will be carried out on a voluntary basis. Headmasters and principals would also be encouraged to take part in the self-appraisal to gauge what levels they are at.

Source:

by Karen Chapman, The Star Online, 28 June 2009.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2009/6/28/education/4201502&sec=education

Inclusive Education.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, summarized “Inclusive Education” as education of all children in mainstream schools and classrooms. It is about the child’s right to participate and the school’s duty to accept them. It is also about:

  • Rejecting segregation or exclusion of learners for whatever reasons – ability, gender, language, care status, family income, disability, sexuality, colour, religion or ethnic origin;
  • Maximizing the participation of all learners in the community schools of their choice;
  • Making learning more meaningful and relevant for all, particularly those learners most vulnerable to exclusionary pressures;
  • Rethinking and restructuring policies, curricula, cultures and practices in schools and learning environments so that diverse learning needs can be met, whatever the origin or nature of those needs;

Inclusive education practices reflect the changing culture of contemporary schools with emphasis on active learning, authentic assessment practices, applied curriculum, multilevel instructional approaches, and increased attention to diverse student needs and individualization. Inclusive schools no longer provide  “regular education” and “special education”. Instead inclusive school is open to all students, and to ensure that all students learn and participate together. Thus teachers, the schools and the education systems need to change so that they can better accommodate the diverse needs of the pupils and to include them in all aspects of school life. It also means that efforts need to be made to identify, remove or reduce whatever barriers within and around the school that hinder learning and participation of all students. Inclusive education is a process of enabling all students, including the previously excluded groups, to learn and participate effectively within mainstream school system.

Some Inclusive Education Principles:

  • Every students has the right to education on the basis of equality of opportunity;
  • No students is excluded from, or discriminated within education on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political, national, ethnic or social origin, disability, birth, poverty or other status;
  • All students can learn and benefits from education;
  • Schools adapt to the needs of students, rather than students adapting to the needs of the school;
  • The student’s views are listened to and taken seriously;
  • Individual differences between students are a source of richness and diversity, and not a problem;
  • The diversity of needs and pace of development of students are addressed through a wide and flexible range of responses.

Inclusive Education Practices:

  • Understanding of inclusion as a continuing process and not as a one-off event;
  • Strengthening and sustaining the participation of all students, teachers, parents and community members in the work of the school;
  • Restructuring the cultures, policies and practices in schools to respond to the diversity of pupils within their locality;
  • Providing an accessible curriculum, appropriate training programmes for teachers and for all students, the provision of fully accessible information, environments and supports.
  • Identifying and providing support for staff as well as students.

Factors that determine the Success of Inclusive Classrooms:

  • Family – school partnerships;
  • Collaboration among educators;
  • Well constructed education programme / plan;
  • Team planning and communication;
  • Integrated service delivery;
  • Ongoing training and staff development.

Techniques to build Classroom Communities:

  • Games designed to build community;
  • Involving students in solving problems;
  • Songs and books that teach community;
  • Openly dealing with individual differences;
  • Assigning classroom jobs that builds community;
  • Teaching students to look for ways to help each other.

Read more @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclusive_classroom