Archive for October, 2010

Make schools safe for teachers and students

Monday, October 25th, 2010

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in Parliament last week that some 1,650 of 55,000 school buildings were found to be severely damaged and required immediate attention.

Five percent of the number was found to have wiring problems.

This revelation is a matter of grave concern not only to the Education Ministry, but also to the teachers, parents and students.

What immediately comes to mind is how soon will this be rectified as the safety of teachers and the students are at stake.

Over the years a number of accidents had occurred in schools which resulted in injuries to students.

The latest incident involved SK Gunong in Kedah where a classroom floor caved in while a class was going on and 10 pupils and a teacher were injured.

According to Muhyiddin, the Government allocated RM8.85bil for his ministry to carry out development projects under the 10th Malaysia Plan. An estimated RM5.36bil would be used to continue uncompleted projects under the 9th Malaysia Plan. The balance is to construct new buildings and schools, as well as upgrading existing ones.

As such, the Government should provide a special allocation for repairs and rectification works on all affected schools in the interest of safety.

Under no circumstances must the safety of teachers and students be compromised and the “safe school” concept of the Education Ministry be put in jeopardy.

The subject of “safe schools” should not be confined only to indiscipline, crime, threats to the safety of students, bullying and gangster-like behavior etc but also to matters concerning the safety of school buildings, classrooms, equipment and all other amenities in schools.

In this regard, there is a need for schools to be aware of the existence and importance of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 and its application to educational institutions.

Schools with 40 or more employees are required to set up safety and health committees.

Through safety and health training, and education as well as safety and health promotion, every school will be more aware of the potential safety and health hazards in the school. They will also be capable of dealing with any problems that arise.

Such a move will also benefit the students who can learn more about safety and health at an early age.

by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Kuala Lumpur.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/10/25/focus/7290230&sec=focus

Creating a place for the disabled

Monday, October 25th, 2010

How can we provide a just society for the disabled if we don’t put in place punitive measures against those guilty of discriminating against them?

I think recent comment by various parties that exhibits a more progressive train of thought about the disabled in Malaysia is very heartening.

We’ve started looking beyond building ramps and disabled toilets and have begun moving into the realm of creating a space for them within Malaysian society so that they, like their able-bodied compatriots, are also given the opportunity to contribute to the world around them.

Recent comments by the Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor – advocating the need for special education catered to the disabled – and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen – for more research into autism – are highly commendable.

In the recent budget, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry was allocated some RM218mil to assist around 80,000 disabled people in this country.

There was also the case of Albert Wong who, in 2006, convinced a JPA officer that he was worthy of an education scholarship despite his disability.

The actions of that officer is commendable, and should be emulated by other civil servants when it comes to the provision of services, funds and grants for the disabled.

I only hope that these ideas and thoughts are put into action. More importantly, it should only be the beginning of the creation of a more equitable society for the disabled to live in.

There is the matter of the Persons With Disabilities Act (PWDA) 2008, which was passed by Parliament in 2007, gazetted in January 2008 and came into force in July 2008. Malaysia had signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in April 2008.

Presumably the Act was enacted following Malaysia’s global stand on providing the disabled with the rights to a dignified life.

The unfortunate thing about the PWDA is this – it doesn’t provide any remedies to disabled persons who feel they have been discriminated against, neither does it provide any penalties for discrimination.

In that regard, it fails to set the platform for society as a whole to take this issue seriously. Our Western compatriots have a completely different approach to persons with a disability. In Europe and the USA, there are serious penalties associated with discriminating against the disabled, both in terms of employment as well as the provision of goods and services.

The pertinent question is this – how can we possibly provide a just society for the disabled if we don’t put in place punitive measures against those guilty of discriminating against them? This approach takes into account the stick. We should consider some carrots as well, for those who do provide for the disabled.

Disability is not the same thing as inability. Many people with disabilities are gifted in areas like talent (Stevie Wonder), intelligence (Stephen Hawking) and character (Franklin Roosevelt).

Bearing this in mind, companies and corporations should be encouraged to hire more disabled staff.

This can best be done by providing incentives in the form of grants or financial aid for business owners, especially small and medium-sized businesses which have to adapt the work environment to suit the disabled. More often than not, this approach has worked worldwide.

There is no reason why it cannot work in Malaysia. In the US, for example, there are a variety of tax benefits for businesses which hire people with disabilities.

by Sheila Stanley.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/10/25/focus/7285407&sec=focus

Engage students with discussions and open the floor for questions, says Prof Khoo

Monday, October 25th, 2010

PETALING JAYA: It would not be meaningful for students to study History if they merely regurgitate facts for the sake of examinations, said historian Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Khim.

“Teachers should open the floor to allow students to ask questions and engage in discussions during History lessons,” he said yesterday.

He was commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement on Saturday that History would be made a must-pass SPM subject in 2013 and that it would also be a core subject in primary school starting 2014.

Prof Khoo was asked whether History would be just another subject that was studied for the sake of examinations.

He also lamented the fact that many students learned about the independence of the country but had never set foot on the site where the declarations were made.

“History lessons should not be limited to the classrooms,” he said.

“Instead, teachers should bring students to visit places such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the National History Museum to let students experience for themselves what they have read in textbooks.”

In lauding the move, he said that it was long-awaited because the younger generation was getting more ignorant about the country’s history. Deputy Education Minister and MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said national unity was the main reason in making the subject a compulsory pass in the SPM.

“We want students and the rakyat in general to understand our history and the Federal Constitution,” he said.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/10/25/nation/7291064&sec=nation

‘Educate kids about sex crimes’

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

IPOH: Educating young children about sexual crimes is healthy and absolutely necessary to prevent them from falling victim to rape and sexual abuse.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Heng Seai Kie said that while most adult victims failed to report such crimes due to shame or fear of being viewed negatively, sexually-abused children did not reach out as they were unaware that such acts against them were wrong.

“Children are ignorant of how they should or should not be touched unless we educate them.

“In many child rape cases, we find that it is not the first time that the child has been raped.

“The rape was allowed to go on because the child had no idea she was being violated,” Heng said after opening a seminar called “I am the Owner of My Body” at SJKC Yuh Hua in First Garden here yesterday.

The seminar was jointly organised by the school’s parent-teacher association and the Women and Youth wings of the Perak Han Jiang Association.

“As both boys and girls can fall victim to sexual crimes and abuse, parents must always be mindful of their children’s whereabouts and activities.

“Take note of who they interact with.

“Let them know what is right and wrong.

“We should let them know that even people close to them, including their loved ones, can take advantage of them,” said Heng.

She said parents must also work at improving their relationships with their children and gaining their trust and confidence.

Noting that prevention was the best way to tackle the issue, Heng appealed to more non-governmental organisations to organise seminars to educate children on sexual crimes against them.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/10/24/nation/7287734&sec=nation

Get noticed with a projector

Sunday, October 24th, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR: Whether in a classroom, training room or auditorium, a projector can help enhance presentations and captivate the audience.However, how do you select a projector that can take you a long way in terms of usage?

Look for a model with an advanced LED light source such as Samsung’s F Series projector, the F10M, said Yap Chee Chen, Samsung Malaysia’s product manager for large format display.
“LED provides bright, high-quality light which is important when you want presentations to be vivid to everyone in a room. The F10M performs at an 1,000 ANSI lumens offering brighter, clearer and more colourful projection.”

Also, he said, it does not require lamp replacement and is mercury-free, making it eco-friendly as well.

“The F10M has the lowest total cost of ownership with 50,000 hours of lamp life.
“The LED light source is capable of maintaining its brightness over the entire life of the projector. Powered eight hours a day, the projector has a lifespan of more than 10 years.”

Another advantage of the LED technology, Yap said, is that the projector needs less time to warm up and cool down, enabling a safer operating temperature for the duration of its life.

“The projector also takes less than three seconds to turn on and off which is crucial when you need to present information.”
Projector noise is another vital point to consider, said Yap.

“You certainly don’t want your presentation to be hindered by a noisy projector. This is another reason why the F10M is ideal.”

To ensure perfect projection, it features Auto Keystone Correction which automatically adjusts image distortion and stretching due to incorrect projector placement.

The F10M, optimised for business purposes supports various formats — PDF, TXT, HTML, MPEG, JPEG, Power Point, Word, Excel and movies — and has a variety of features. These include office viewer, remote management, convenient screen controlling and easy picture adjustments. It has eight user-setting display modes — dynamic, standard, presentation, text, movie, game, bright and user to provide clear and lively image quality.

Users can easily select the optimal display mode with the remote controller. Users can hook up all their multimedia gadgets with input options that include 1HDMI, S-video, USB, and PC ports.

by Chandra Devi Renganayar.

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/samsung24-3/Article

Developing our minds to think

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

THE views expressed by Dr Mohd Zaidi Ismail in the column IKIM VIEWS (The Star, Oct 2) makes sound reading for all educators.

As people involved in the development of human potential, self-reflection must be part of an educator’s personal and professional regime. Indeed, as Dr Mohd Zaidi Ismail acknowledges, it can be “painful” but it is the only way to remain true to oneself and to ensure quality in one’s undertakings.

Self-reflection develops one’s capacity to discern for holistic growth and development in personal, professional, and spiritual domains. It is a discipline that informs and defines who we are, what we do, and how we do what is required of us in this shared journey of life. Without it, we risk becoming unthinking, unfeeling, and disconnected with the purpose of living which is to make a meaningful contribution to humanity.

Thinking as a discipline to develop minds has also been the subject of two articles by Nik Roskiman Abdul Samad.He adds that the disciplined mind is lacking in today’s modern education system.”

Reference is made to Howard Gardner’s “… five minds to be cultivated for an individual to excel …,” and to the related “… great thoughts and ideas that can be incorporated into the educational system.”

The writer reiterates our growing common concern of how the education system has failed to develop young minds, but succeeded in overwhelming them with a subjects-overload. An interesting parallel is drawn to modern day technology where he says that what we had been doing for the past 50 years was “installing” various “software applications” (subjects) in our minds but not the operating system for the mind, which is crucial for a successful conversion of information into useful knowledge.

In yet another article, Dr Mohd Zaidi once again adds value to education and learning by making the necessary connection (sadly often overlooked, hence not applied) between thinking and memorisation.

I highly recommend the column to all educators (especially those under the impression that it is meant for Muslim readers only) — there are gems in it to help you cultivate a higher level of thinking to nourish yourself and your students.

The views above, together with the ongoing series of ‘Courting Changes’ by Dr Theva Nithy and his team (which appears in StarEducation), and many such contributions, show that we are not short on ideas to enhance the system of education, and yes, I trust we also have “able bodies” to make it happen.

I’m sure our ears are already buzzing with calls to “unlearn”, “re-learn”, “revive”, “revamp system”, “re-invent pedagogy”, “de-school pedagogy”… . Are we ready to remedy?

by Lucille Dass.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2010/10/24/education/7211732&sec=education

All about narrative essays

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

SECTION B of Paper 1 requires candidates to write an essay of about 350 words. This section carries a substantial 50 marks. Candidates are given an hour to write on any one of the essay topics. The topics can be categorised as follows:

● narrative

(e.g Write a story ending with: “He looked at me one last time and walked away.)

● descriptive

(e.g. The worst day in my life)

● reflective

(My favourite aunt/ Changes I would like to see in my school)

● argumentative

(e.g. Schools should focus on academic excellence. Do you agree?)

● one-word essays

(e.g. Freedom)

In this article, we are going to focus on narrative essays. Many students prefer to write a narrative essay as it is much more manageable.

What is a narrative essay? Simply put, a narrative essay is a story. This means it must have the following elements – plot, setting, character(s), climax, ending.

When writing a narrative essay, you can write a story based on your own experience or someone else’s experience.

Also, a narrative essay can be written from different perspectives — either the writer’s perspective or someone else’s. Sometimes, you can include a lesson learnt in your story.

Let’s look at some questions which have appeared in the SPM exam over the past few years.

Whose perspective are you to write from? Which ones require you to convey a lesson learnt?

To identify whose perspective you are to write from, look at the pronoun in the given line. This has been done for you in the table below.

Also, take note of whether you are to begin or conclude the essay with the given line. Most of the essay topics above require candidates to conclude their story with the given sentence.

The 2008, 2006 and 2003 essays require candidates to convey a lesson learned from their chosen experience. This means that your story must be built around an experience which allows for such a lesson.

When writing a narrative essay, remember the following:

● Engage your reader. Make the story real for him. Make him involved in your experience. Many students end up telling their reader what happened instead of engaging him.

● Have a simple plot. You will be better off using the chronological order. Flashbacks are a wonderful device. But be careful. You will need the right tools to express your ideas. Only engage in this if you can carry it off.

● Use only the simple past tense if you cannot handle the past perfect tense. However, you will need to use the past perfect tense if you are referring to more than one action in the past.

● Bring your characters to life. Make them real. Make them memorable. It is always more interesting to read about flawed characters.

● Use nouns, verbs and adjectives to evoke your reader’s senses.

● You may use dialogue, but use it sparingly and effectively. Remember you are writing a narrative not a script.

Before you write your essay, it is a good idea to plan what you are going to write.

A good narrative should have:

An introduction

This is to set the scene and present the character/characters.

Complications or problems

In your story, the character/characters might have a problem to overcome.

A climax

A good story should have a climax which is the most exciting part of the story.

A resolution (end)

Never leave your story hanging although accomplished writers use this technique (which is called an open ending) to get their readers to confront certain issues, the writer may have raised in his story.

A resolution tells how the complications/problems were resolved or how they (the problems) affect the characters.

How to write a narrative essay

Here are a few steps you might find useful when planning your narrative essay.

● Identify an experience you can relate to the given topic.

● Reflect on the experience and ask yourself “why is this experience important?” “In what way is this experience worth writing about?”

● Jot down important details of the experience.

● Draft an outline of your narrative. This outline should show how one event leads to another.

● Make short notes to expand your outline. These can be in the form of vivid details or simply words, phrases or expressions you may want to use in your story.

● Write your introductory paragraph. This paragraph must be able to grab your reader’s attention. You can use the introductory paragraph to convey the importance of your experience.

● If you do not want to convey the importance of your experience in the first paragraph, then you can do so in the final paragraph. This can be just as effective. This means that you start by narrating your experience and only communicate its significance in the final paragraph.

● Write out the narrative essay.

As stated above, you can write a narrative using a chronological order or a flashback technique. The former is easier as one event leads to another.

Sample Question: Write a story ending with, “That was the last time he saw her.”

As you can see, the events in the essay below are in a chronological order i.e. one event leads to another.

In relating these events, the simple past tense is used. Next week, we will look at an essay that uses the flashback technique.

Jack Raymond was the most popular boy in school. He was like the typical Mills & Boon hero – tall, dark and handsome. He was like a Greek God with a well-sculpted body and features that even men envied. Every girl in school admired him openly. Jack was also warm and caring. This endeared him to one and all. He had several close friends of both genders but he was closer to Jennifer, a childhood friend.

Soon after finishing high school, both Jack and Jennifer were accepted into the same local university. Jack studied accountancy while Jennifer studied psychology. In their final year, they fell in love with each other. It was like a match made in heaven. They complemented each other in every possible aspect – looks, intelligence and temperament.

Upon graduation, Jack was hired by a leading accounting firm while Jenifer joined a private university. Both worked hard and they flourished in their respective careers. They were also ready to settle down. The marriage was simple, attended by close family members and friends. Initially, they rented an apartment in one of the suburbs. Within a short span of five years, they became well-established in their chosen fields and they prospered financially. Jack was offered a senior management post in his company and Jennifer decided to quit work to become a stay-at-home mum.

Life was good for them. They bought a semi-detached house in an exclusive neighbourhood. They dined at the best restaurants and frequented popular clubs. Their two children were literally born with a silver spoon in their mouths. They went to the best private schools and had the best tutors to coach them personally. Life was good for them… until Lily came.

Lily was Jennifer’s younger sister. Lily had got married and divorced, not once but thrice. She seemed to change husbands faster than movie stars. Knowing that her sister needed her support after her recent divorce, Jennifer welcomed Lily into her home but she soon came to regret this decision. She realised that Lily was trying to attract Jack! Lily unashamedly took every possible opportunity to flirt with Jack. Jennifer also realised that Jack was giving Lily too much attention and falling into her clutches.

At first, she advised Lily to maintain her distance from Jack. Of course, Lily brushed it off by saying that she saw Jack as a good friend and nothing more. Being a psychologist, Jennifer knew Lily was lying through her teeth. She could read the tell-tale signs from Lily’s behaviour. Finally she confronted Jack. He accused Jennifer of being jealous of her sister. This led to many arguments between them. Finally, when she could not tolerate it anymore, she gave Jack an ultimatum:

“Either she leaves or I leave!”

Jack’s response shocked her, to say the least.

“You can go wherever you want. Lily is staying.”

Hurt and disappointed Jennifer packed her bags and left, taking with her both her children.

Jennifer decided to move to another town. She started working again. Slowly, she picked up the pieces and rebuilt her life. Meanwhile, Jack fell deeper and deeper into Lily’s clutches. He spent lavishly on her. He bought her expensive cars and clothes, and took her for frequent holidays abroad. As a result, his work began to suffer. His performance was dismal and the company’s profits started to dip. He lost his job! Devastated, he related this to Lily. Instead of commiserating with him, she smiled and said:

“My revenge is complete.”

“What do you mean, Lily?” asked a bewildered Jack.

“You snubbed me in school! You knew I was interested in you but you said I was nothing more than a little sister. I felt hurt and humiliated. You were responsible for my failed marriages, Jack. I tried looking for you in all the men I had married but to no avail. Now, I have made you fall for me but this time I am the one in control. I no longer love you, Jack. I waited for fifteen years to execute my revenge. I have destroyed you and Jennifer.”

It finally dawned upon him that Jennifer had been right about her sister. She was a gold-digger and very vengeful. With no one left in his life, he turned to alcohol to drown his sorrows. He tried to locate Jennifer, but no one knew where she was. One day, while going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, he saw her. He called out to her and he begged her for her forgiveness.

“I forgive you, Jack. But I cannot forget the pain and humiliation I have suffered all these years. Goodbye, Jack.” With that she walked away. That was the last time he saw her.

by Jugdeep Kaur.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2010/10/24/education/7211443&sec=education

No SPM certificates for those who fail in history subject from 2013, says Muhyiddin

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

HISTORY will be made a must-pass subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) beginning 2013, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin said that beginning 2014, History would be made a core subject in primary schools, too.

He said putting more emphasis on history would create a deeper appreciation of the concept of “negara bangsa”.

“In view of this, the content of the subject would be improved with more emphasis on understanding the Federal Constitution.

“Beginning 2013, History, like Bahasa Malaysia will be a must-pass subject to obtain the SPM certificate,” the Umno deputy president said in his winding-up speech.

The call to place more importance on the subject was raised by several delegates including delegates from Perak and Kedah.

They argued that the younger generation was oblivious to the history of the nation especially the Federal Constitution. The delegates also felt that primary school pupils should be exposed to history in a more comprehensive manner.

Muhyiddin, who is also the Educa­tion Minister, said presently elements of history was included in the “Kajian Tempatan” subject which is a combination of history and geography.

“Under the new Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR), history will be a core subject starting from 2014,” he said.

Muhyiddin said the KSSR, which would be introduced next year, emphasised hands-on and project-based learning as well as discovery and enquiry.

“The objective of KSSR is to produce holistic students who are capable of facing future challenges.

“It is also in line with the decision to introduce a new assessment system for the Ujian Pelajaran Sekolah Rendah in 2016,” he said.

Muhyiddin also said the new school-based assessment to replace the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) would be introduced in 2014, two years ahead of its initial implementation date.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi described the changes to the subject as timely as remarks on racial sensitivities were being made without understanding our real history.

“It is important to create awareness among the rakyat of our history and it should be introduced as early as Year Two,’’ he said.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/10/24/nation/7289306&sec=nation

Behavior Problems – Can boredom cause behavior problems in school?

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
Question: Behavior Problems – Can boredom cause behavior problems in school?

My five-year old son knew the alphabet at 2 years and 3 months and read his first children’s book Cat Traps by Moly Coxe at 3 years and 10 months. He can also draw like an 8 or 9-year-old. He should be doing well in school, but he has developed some behavior problems. He hits other kids, has hit an assistant-teacher, and a teacher. According to his teachers, it is due to boredom at preschool. Can boredom really cause a child to misbehave in school?

Answer: Yes, boredom can cause a child to misbehave in school. Some have argued that everyone gets bored and gifted kids should just learn to deal with the boredom. However, many of the ways adults deal with boredom are not possible for kids. For example, if adults are bored at work, they can take a break. If they find their job is boring and are constantly bored, they can look for another job. If they are bored by a lecture, they can usually get up and leave. Children have none of those options. They can’t take a break from the class they are in. They can’t look for another class or school, and they can’t get up and leave when the class is boring to them. Adults certainly have to endure boring situations, like sitting through a boring business meeting and performing boring tasks like cleaning house or the yard.

However, those situations don’t last for six hours every day, five days a week, four weeks a month, for nine months a year. Think about the most boring task you have to perform. Now imagine having to perform that task for the same amount of time children are in school. Don’t forget, though, that you can’t take breaks when you want to. You can have two fifteen minute breaks and maybe an hour for lunch. Of course, if you haven’t made sufficient progress on that boring task, you might not be allowed to take a break. You might make it through the day, but how would you feel by the end of the week? By the end of a month?

When gifted children misbehave in class, teachers may want to label them as ADHD or emotionally disturbed. They may want the child to undergo evaluations and maybe begin taking medication to help improve their behavior. While it is possible that the teacher is right, it is also true that bad behavior of gifted children often disappears if the school offers some accommodations:

  • provides more challenging work
  • places them in a more academically appropriate environment
Changing the school environment is far less intrusive, less expensive, easier, and less time consuming than any other method. If more academic challenge doesn’t solve the problem, then other sources of the problem could be considered.
by Carol Bainbridge.

Transforming Your Teaching Style: A Student-Centered Approach

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

When I started teaching 27 years ago, like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz I believed that just having a brain would make me successful. And so each class session I would literally “take the stage” on a raised platform to deliver what was in my head and on my papers. Even though there were 60 students in the class, there could just as well have been none because I basically ignored the students. They were objects, sponges whose task was to absorb course content.

Over the years my approach has changed. I started making progress once I realized that a brain alone was not enough. To teach well I also needed a heart and courage. I learned to be comfortable just being myself. I no longer used the podium and came to class with a one-page plan. I lectured less and students talked more. I invested more of myself in teaching. Let me share how I reached this point.

As I’ve developed as teacher, my attention shifted from self to students. Although this is a natural progression for teachers, it is not automatic. Some teachers remain the focal point of the learning process. This transfer of focus has been the impetus for changing how I teach. In planning for classes now, I continually ask how I can get students out of the stands and onto the field. This means I design simulations to highlight important information and processes, create games to explain content, and use small-group activities to engage students. I want my students to grasp concepts, and being in an active role helps them do that.

Placing students in the center of the teaching-learning environment requires that teachers have a different attitude and a new way of relating to students. Effective teachers are comfortable with both the cognitive and affective dimensions of teaching. Achieving more genuine relationships means being available to students, being glad to be in class with them, sharing with them what’s happening in our lives that is relevant, and investing the time it takes to prepare meaningful activities.

As a college teacher, I see my role as one of enabling others to become their best. I have come to realize that it is not so much what students know as what they can do. Likewise, teaching is not about what I know but what I enable others to do. Thus, I have changed the ways in which I teach to build students’ capacities. The critical question now is: “How can students show their understanding?” Finding ways to allow such student demonstrations influences my choice of course activities and assessments.

Finally, I want students to know that I reflect on what I do. I respond to their feedback; I talk about my mistakes in teaching. I agree with Parker Palmer when he says that “…teaching is a daily exercise in vulnerability.” Because of this personal exposure, teaching demands courage and honesty. It is vital to view the process of teaching as a developmental journey and to share the belief that we have not “arrived” in the practice of our craft. In this way we present ourselves as more approachable; our arrogance (perceived or real) thus declines. Students become more accepting of us.

One’s transformation as a teacher should not be a one-time event but a continual process that spans the career. Focusing on students, building their capabilities, and examining our own practice can transform our teaching and students’ learning. The evolving nature of becoming a teacher definitely makes the journey more enjoyable.

by Patricia H. Phelps, EdD,  a professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Arkansas.

Read more @ http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/philosophy-of-teaching/transforming-your-teaching-style-a-student-centered-approach/