Archive for September, 2012

CEO SIDMA College Thanked Ministry of Education (MOE), Sabah Education Department, School Principals and Head Masters

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Prof Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, CEO, conveyed his sincere gratitude and thanks to the Director of Education Sabah, District Education Officers, School Principals, Head Masters and teachers for accepting the 166 UNITAR and UNIRAZAK B. Edu (Hons) students to conduct their Teaching and Counselling practicum in government schools beginning 11th June till 14th September 2012 and in primary school from 17 – 21 September 2012.

Dr. Morni also took the opportunity to thank MOE for approving UNITAR and UNIRAZAK to conduct education programmes, allowing its students to conduct practicum training in government schools and for accepting many of the UNITAR/UNIRAZAK graduates to teach in government secondary schools.

It is through the tireless effort of the school’s management team and the teachers’ continuous guidance and mentoring, that the students are able to undergo a fruitful practicum. The Management of SIDMA College thanked the schools and everyone involved for their dedication and hard work.

Secondary school Principals when met expressed their confidence with the UNITAR and UNIRAZAK graduates while undergoing their practicum. It is their commitment, maturity and abilities to understand and solve challenging issues in schools that has attracted the management. They also expressed their willingness to accept these trainees to teach in their schools after graduation.

Dr. Morni sincerely hoped that the MOE, State Education Department, District Education Officers, and all the schools in Sabah (particularly schools along the West Coast and Interior) will continue to accept and assist UNITAR and UNIRAZAK’s future Bachelor of Education (Hons) practicum students.

A total of 202 Bachelor Edu (Hons) students (95 students completed their studies during Sept – Dec 2011 Semester, and another 107 which completed during the June – September 2012 Semester) will be receiving their scrolls on 3rd November 2012, the 12th UNIRAZAK Convocation Ceremony at Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC).

Dr Morni congratulated the students for successfully completed their studies at the College and hoped that they will continue to upgrade their teaching knowledge, skills and experiences.

He advised these graduates not be too choosy in selecting their job, but to grab any teaching opportunity available, be it in public or private sector, in pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, colleges, MARA, or even at any tuition centres.

On their chances of being appointed as teachers by the Ministry of Education (MOE), Dr. Morni mentioned that it is going to be tough during the two years (2012 – 2013), as based on the 2012 Budget Speech announced by the Prime Minister, Beginning January 2012, the new compulsory retirement age for government officers has been extended from 58 to 60 years. Thus, very few teachers will be retiring during this period and therefore, very few vacancies will be available for new intakes.

However, it is hoped that when the Ministry implements its “Open Market” or “Open Interview” policy on the intake of new teachers (as specified under the 10th Malaysian Plan), all UNITAR and UNIRAZAK Bachelor of Education (Hons) graduates will be able to apply and be called for interview by the Ministry Of Education (MOE).

On another note, Dr. Morni stated that SIDMA College has adopted two secondary schools (SMK Gum-Gum, Sandakan and SMK Kudat) as a project for Excellent Students Awards.

Under this award scheme, students who achieved excellent grades (STPM – 3As; SPM – 9As; and PMR – 7As) will be getting cash award of RM 300.00 each from SIDMA College.

The college hopes that with the above incentive scheme, more students from the rural setting will be motivated to achieve well during the public examinations.

(For more information on the convocation, students are advised to contact Ms. Caprisandy / Ms Duri at 088–732000 or 088–732020).

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Boosting a First-Time Online Adult Student’s Self-Esteem

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

As professors, we all have seen first-time students who are so nervous that they do not even know where to begin, let alone how to achieve their educational goals. I am one of those lucky professors who works with adult students who are going back to school for a myriad of reasons, and are choosing to take online classes. Not only do these students need help with writing an academic paper, and how to submit an assignment to a dropbox, but their self-esteem and support system are sometimes lacking.

Last year I began sharing the following advice in an email to my students. The result has been a more open dialogue as students learn that I care about them and will help them succeed, but also that it’s going to take hard work and ultimately they’re responsible for their learning. Feel free to adapt to meet your needs and let the learning and self-esteem grow.

Dear Students:
You made the choice to get your degree and are taking classes online. Now what? It does not matter when you begin your journey, as any time you begin to reach your educational goals is the perfect time. You are looking at a long road ahead of you, and I will not lie, it will not be easy. Committing to your educational endeavor is like a lifestyle change that will take just that, a commitment, and it is a big one that will take a lot of work. However, believe me, as I am speaking from experience, when I say to you, it will be worth it!

I know you can do this and I have put my top four tips down on paper to help you get on a smart track in order to reach the finish line and walk across that stage at graduation to accept your degree.

1. Guard Against Self-Destructive Behaviors - You made the first step by applying to college, selecting a major, and getting signed up for that first class. Now, the real work begins. We all have the ability to choose our paths, to reach our goals, and build the life of our dreams. The challenge is in believing in yourself.

Next look at how your behavior, emotions, and thoughts are affecting your study habits. Are you procrastinating reading your assigned work, thinking you can just pull whatever information you need from the Internet, not starting your papers until the last minute, etc.? Examine your self-destructive behaviors. What can you do differently to be more positive and to gain the best experience out of each and every class?

2. Set Attainable Goals - What is your vision of your future? Look at next week, next month, your current class, and each class after right up to the end of your degree. Include goals for all the roles in your life. What is important in attaining those goals you have set? To make a permanent change in how you study, and balance school with the other roles in your life, you will need to set short-term goals – what is due this week?

3. Set up a Support System - You are responsible for your own success, but we all get by with a little help from our friends and family. That is why it is important to build a healthy support system. Share your educational goals and how you are planning to accomplish them. Let others know how important this is to you to have their support

4. Ask Questions - This is your education, and you will get out of it what you put into it. Any time you find yourself struggling to figure out a specific problem, an assignment, or even just not sure what a term means, ASK. Your professors are there to help.

by Dawn Kasier, PhD.

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Team Building Activities for Teachers

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Generally, we all think that team building exercises and games are meant just for students to develop a positive attitude and gain confidence. However, team activities for teachers can help teachers learn some important lessons in life. These exercises will not only make them more efficient and mature but will also help them teach their subjects and get some relaxation from daily work.

Finding Environment Protection Solutions
Finding effective environment protection solutions can be one of the best team building activities. Teachers are experienced people who know the problems which are existing in our society. Since environmental issues have been a cause of concern, teachers of a school or college can come together and organize environment awareness sessions for people by hosting camps and seminars. Teachers can take a review if the areas around their school are following cleanliness norms. If not, then they can think of ways to get rid of the problem by working in close association with concerned government authorities. They can also act towards implementing solutions like rainwater harvesting, garbage disposal, preventing sound and air pollution, etc. Teachers can divide themselves into groups and have one of them to lead the activity. This activity will test their ability to work in a team along with their communication skills, knowledge and management skills.

Social Work Activities
Social work can be one of the finest team building activities. Teachers have the maturity to understand problems of the poor and needy and hence, if they work together, they can bring a positive change in their lives. Teachers can arrange for blood donation camps, free food, medical and educational facilities for poor people. For this, they can raise funds by establishing a trust and seeking donations from different sections of the society. Teachers can go to remote villages and deliver lectures on different topics to make these people aware of opportunities for making a great career in different fields. Again, social work is not a one person show and hence, teachers will have to divide responsibilities and work. You can ask each participant what work he would like to do and allot it to him. One teacher can be appointed to check the tasks done by all teachers and make quality suggestions to improve them.

Organizing Events in School
Team building lessons can be learned in the school or college campus itself. Organizing events in school such as concerts, gatherings, music shows, quizzes and sports competitions can help teachers learn how to work in a team. By doing these activities with good spirit and enthusiasm, teachers can set a good example for their students. They can also consider taking some help from their students to complete this task successfully.

Outdoor Games
For all those teachers who love outdoor sports, this could be the best way of learning team building skills.

by Charlie S.

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How to Write an Abstract

Monday, September 24th, 2012

An abstract is a brief and crisp summary of a larger piece of written work. Even though the abstract is not a part of the original writing work, it should be written in such a manner that it can pass off on its own and can be easily understood without referring the main text. It should contain certain important facts from the main article and avoid mentioning anything that is not present in the main article. The main purpose of the abstract should be to divert the reader to the main article once he has gone through the abstract. People generally write abstracts when they need to submit articles for journals, writing their PhD dissertations, or when they need to apply for research grants.

Abstracts can be broadly classified into two types, Descriptive abstracts and Informative abstracts. Descriptive abstracts are mostly short and are considered to be more of an overview of the article rather than a summary. This type of an abstract contains information on the purpose of the article and methods used to reach the findings. A book proposal, a research grant application and a conference paper proposal are descriptive abstract examples. Informative abstracts on the other hand are longer, apart from the purpose and method of research it also include a conclusion and recommendations about the research topic. Informative abstract examples include abstracts for a M.A thesis or a PhD. dissertation.

Guidelines on Writing an Abstract

  • The abstract should always be written after finishing the main article. Once the whole article is written, go through it once again and understand the main theme and important highlights, to include them in the abstract.
  • It should be kept in mind that an abstract has to be original and separate from the main article, not lifted directly from the main article. Prepare a rough draft which is like a summary of the article with totally different and new words from the ones used in the main article. It is alright if the rough draft is a bit long, as it will require further editing.
  • If the abstract is meant to be put up on the internet, it is important to read the article again, note down certain crucial concepts which can be used as keywords which will help in the article search. Include these keywords in the abstract to improve chances of the article being searched online.
  • The first sentence of the abstract should deliver the central concept of the article to the reader. It should be more like a statement of purpose for the article.
  • The body should contain a brief description of the article topic in about one or two paragraphs. Again, if the abstract is for the internet, keywords should be smartly included in the body of the abstract without cluttering them.
  • The conclusion should be summed up within a couple of sentences and should leave the reader wanting more. Thus directing him to your main article.
  • Once the abstract is ready, it may require some editing to meet certain requirements. It is better to revisit the abstract after a couple of days for the editing as it can bring in a fresh perspective on the changes which need to be made. Keep it simple and clear without compromising on the main points of the article.

To learn how to write an informative abstract on a particular research topic, include the below listed components in the abstract:

  • The problem statement or motivation for writing the research paper. It means the basic purpose for undertaking the research and what are the scientific or practical implications of the research.
  • The research methodology or the approach taken to conduct the research should be stated.
  • Results or findings from the research along with the knowledge gained from completing the research by the above mentioned procedure should be given.
  • Lastly, the conclusion of the whole experiment along with the significance of the findings and most importantly, has the purpose stated in the 1st step, has been achieved or not should be mentioned.

A Few Tips on Abstract Writing

  • Prior to writing an abstract, just note down all thoughts and ideas on a piece of paper. It becomes easier to group common ideas together and also prioritize thoughts and include them in the abstract accordingly.
  • Do not write a very long abstract. It should ideally be a couple of paragraphs long and around 150 to 200 words. While editing the abstract, remove all irrelevant information without compromising on the main theme of the article.
  • Find out around 6 to 8 keywords regarding the article which people usually search online. Include these keywords smartly in the abstract to get a better search result listing when people search for it on the net.
  • Be careful about not giving out totally new information in the abstract, just give a preview of what is already there in the main article. Take a second opinion from a friend or family member after writing the abstract, to gain an outsider’s perspective on the same. Going through a few sample abstracts before starting one, helps in getting a fair idea on the type of abstract to be written

There are professional writers available who very well know how to do this even for other people’s work.

by Suketu Mehta.

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Training for tutors

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Various methods exist to teach English but an excellent instructor is one who understands his pupils’ learning styles and thus phrases the right questions.

WITH the explosive demand by people in non-English countries to improve their English talents, there has been a parallel surge in the opportunities to open local tutoring centres as well as on-line groups.

Being a competent speaker is a tutoring prerequisite but like the professional teacher, tutors achieve greater outcomes for their students when basic methodological issues are given consideration.

This week’s Exploring English looks at three aspects: Learning Styles, Pronunciation and Asking Questions.

1) Being aware of different learning styles: (a) auditory; (b) visual; (c) kinaesthetic.

While individuals learn in various ways, everybody tends to have a particular, predominant style of learning.

These styles can be categorised into three groups.

(a) Auditory learners prefer to listen and talk about what they are learning. They enjoy discussion and like things explained to them.

They can be easily distracted especially by external noises and often find it difficult to work quietly for long periods of time.

(b) Visual learners learn best using visual tools. Example: graphics, diagrams, written material, illustrations, examples, real objects, graphs and charts.

(c) Kinaesthetic learners learn best by “doing”.

They like to perform their tasks, and enjoy role-plays and participating.

They tend to be more physically active and can find it difficult to “sit still” for long periods.

2) Clarity of pronunciation

This is one of the measures of superior English communication and is usually the skill most privately tutored students desire to improve at.

There are many pronunciation problems in English. Did you know that there is at least 150 words that are commonly wrongly pronounced?

One of the most common pronunciation problems experienced by those for whom English is an additional language, centres on vowels and diphthongs.

This difficulty is demonstrated by the confusion many learners have in differentiating between words such as “it” and “eat”, and “pill” and “peel”

(3) Knowing how to ask questions

(i) The Direct question — a question that is directly aimed at an individual learner, eg. Maria.

How many syllables does your given name have?

(b) The Indirect question — used in a group situation — posed as a general question, eg. Who can find something in this room that rhymes with “door”?

(c) The Specific or Closed question, eg. Which word in this list is odd? — chip, church, chef, change.

by Keith Wright, the author and creator of the 4S Approach To Literacy and Language (4S).

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BREAKFAST: Children need a nutritious start

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

BREAKFAST is an important meal, which breaks the eight hours of fasting our body undergoes while we are sleeping. During the period, the body burns calories in small amounts.

Without a good breakfast, the body will not get its supply of energy and nutrients.

School-going children must have a good breakfast to enable them to get enough nutrition to fuel their brains and bodies to be active in school.

Children who have a good breakfast have high energy and concentration levels.

Parents who do not provide breakfast for their children because of hectic work schedules are doing their children a grave injustice.

Studies have shown that children who go to school without breakfast fail to grow and develop optimally. This could lead to poor concentration and performance in their studies.

Some parents give their children pocket money to buy breakfast in their school canteen or from stalls near the school. This is a bad idea because children are not mature enough to make wise food choices.

Children would be attracted to food that’s colourful, sweet, fried and oily. These foods would lead to drowsiness in the classroom and long term consumption would lead to obesity, diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases.

Parents have to make the time to prepare balanced and wholesome breakfasts to boost the brain functions of their children. They must also educate their children on nutrition so that they will make healthy lifestyle choices when they are older.

by Samuel Yesulah

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Groups call for sex education.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

PETALING JAYA: The education system must ensure that sex education is provided to young children in schools, said two concerned groups.

The two are the Malaysian Paediatric Association and the College of Paediatrics, Academy of Medicine Malaysia.

“There is an urgent need to educate children on their right to say no’ to requests for sex, to respect their bodies and the importance of abstinence and the consequences of having unprotected sex and sex at an early age,” said the two groups in a joint statement.

Association president Dr Noor Khatijah Nurani and college president Prof Dr Thong Meow Keong also called upon parents, the education system, society, media as well as the government and policymakers to play their part.

The medical practitioners urged for a society where “neighbours keep watch over each other’s children”.

Concern about the rights of children being infringed was expressed after electrician Chuah Guan Jiu, 22, and bowler Noor Afizal Azizan, 21, were released on good behaviour bonds after being convicted of statutory rape of their girlfriends, aged 12 and 13 respectively.

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132 births so far at home for unwed teens

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

MALACCA: Sekolah Harapan, a home and school for unwed pregnant girls here, has registered 132 births since its inception in September 2010.

In this year alone, 50 teenagers gave birth to babies at the home in Jasin.

Sekolah Harapan chairman Datuk Abdul Rahaman Abdul Karim said few of the young mothers suffered post-natal complications.

He said the home was currently providing shelter to 23 pregnant teenagers 11 from Malacca, four from Johor, two each from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, and one each from Sarawak, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Perlis.

“All are students and they are expected to give birth between the end of this month and June next year.

“One of the pregnant girls is to sit for her SPM examination at the home next month,” he said yesterday.

Abdul Rahaman said in 2010, six pregnant teenagers sat for SPM at the home while seven did so last year. One scored 3As.

He said currently, nine babies five boys and four girls were being cared for by their teenage mums at the home.

He said many people had expressed interest in adopting the babies but it was up to the mothers and their families to decide on the matter.

“We are proud that the home has saved 132 babies born out of wedlock from being abandoned or from an even worse fate.

by R. S. N. Murali.

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Study: Today’s youths sexually active and curious

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

KLANG: Data on pregnancies among unmarried teenage girls is lacking as only those who seek antenatal care in hospitals are known.

But there are various small-scale studies to indicate that teenagers today are sexually active.

According to senior principal assistant director of the Ministry of Health’s Family Health Development Division Dr Nik Rubiah Nik Abdul Rashid, 6.5% of teenagers were sexually active in 2010 compared with 2.2% in 2004.

She said a 2008 survey among teenagers seeking counselling revealed that all but one of them had had sex.

Nationwide, 18,652 girls below 19 years of age gave birth last year 14,430 were married, and 4,222 unwed.

“Adolescents’ knowledge on reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases are generally low, at between 47% and 59%,” said Dr Nik Rubiah at a seminar on teenage pregnancies organised by the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital here.

Senior consultant and head of the hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department Dr Haji Mohamad Farouk Abdullah said young women (and men) needed the skills to abstain from sex until after marriage.

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‘One teen birth every day’

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

With teenagers becoming more sexually active, doctors are sounding the alarm over the rising number of pregnancies. Experts are urging concrete measures, including proper sex education and a wide range of sexual reproductive health services for teenagers.

KLANG: More Malaysian teenage girls are getting pregnant, with a major hospital recording at least one case every day.

According to Dr Mohamad Farouk Abdullah, senior consultant and head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital here, about 14% of the 12,000 babies delivered annually at the hospital were by teenage mothers with many of them unwed.

“We thought such numbers of teen pregnancies were only in Klang, but I am also hearing of similar scenarios in the other six specialist hospitals in Selangor,” he added.

“The youngest girl to give birth at our hospital was a 12-year-old girl,” Dr Mohamad Farouk said at the “Pregnant by Choice, Not by Chance or Force” seminar. It was organised by the hospital in conjunction with its Family Planning month.

The Health Ministry recorded 18,652 births by girls below the age of 19 last year compared with 5,962 in the second half of 2010.

Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital’s medical social welfare officer Nurul Azira Mahamad Jafar said she had been handling at least one case of an unwed mother every working day of this year.

“The highest number of referrals I have had in a day so far was 14. These are our children who are pregnant in their teens,” said Nurul Azira, who has been handling cases of unwed mothers as well as rape and sex abuse victims at the hospital for the past six years.

Most of the pregnant girls are referred to the hospital by clinics.

This is because teenage pregnancies are considered “high-risk cases”. A teenager is twice more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth complications than women in their 20s.

Most of the girls come to the hospital complaining of discomfort such as stomachache and spotting.

As part of the hospital’s protocol, the doctors screen them for pregnancy and once confirmed, they would be admitted and the family notified.

It is also part of the hospital’s policy to provide antenatal care and treatment to them, regardless of their marital status.

Nurul Azira said pregnant teenage girls under 18 and their babies were protected under the Child Act 2001 and would be referred to the Social Welfare Department.

by Ivy Soon.

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