Archive for October, 2012

Congratulations on your Graduation

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Prof Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, CEO, together with the Board of Directors, Management, and Staff of SIDMA College would like to congratulate 340 graduates from SIDMA College on their extraordinary achievement.

The 340 graduates (198 B. Edu, 34 BBA, 31 BMGT, 10 BHTM, 2 BIT, 15 DECE, 50 DIM) from SIDMA College, UNIRAZAK Sabah Regional Centre will be receiving their scrolls during the Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK) 12th Convocation Ceremony at Putrajaya International Convention Centre, Precint 5, 62000 Putrajaya on 3rd November 2012.

Dr Morni also expressed his appreciations and thank you to all members of family, relatives, friends and all who have made it possible for the students to pursue their studies at SIDMA College, UNIRAZAK Sabah.

All our graduates!

‘System weakening students’ ability to master English’

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

JOHOR BARU: The country’s examination-based education system is weakening the students’ ability to master the English language.

A facilitator at the first Johor English Language Seminar on Writing and Speaking yesterday, said the system did not propagate the language as a practical skill in the future following its emphasise on scoring in examinations.

Terry Yap, who had been teaching for more than 10 years said what could the teachers do now was to engage the students frequently as to encourage them to speak more in English.

He is currently attached to SMK Dato’ Bentara Dalam in Segamat teaching Malaysian University English Test (MUET) for pre-university students.

“There are various activities that can be carried out to sharpen students’ skill in speaking more, other than just listening and writing.

“Our system is too examination-oriented that people have forgotten that English is actually a practical knowledge that is useful beyond our school years,” said Yap.

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Civil society and nation-building

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Nation-building is the process of constructing or structuring a national identity to unify the people so that the country remains politically, economically and socially stable.

THE term civil society refers to the wide array of non-governmental and not-for-profit organisations that have a presence in public life. They express the interests and values of their members or others, based on ethical, cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic considerations.

Civil society organisations are essentially the so-called “intermediary institutions” such as professional associations, religious groups, labour unions, citizen advocacy organisations where people associate to advance their common interests and enrich public participation in democracies.

In short, the realm of civil society is the bridge between the state and the people.

A healthy relationship between these organisations especially the NGOs and the Government is very much determined by shared common objectives.

The Government usually accommodates NGOs as partners in development because by and large, NGOs are the entities that can reach the general public effectively.

It is also important to note that each of these actors posses distinctive capabilities and powers that the other does not have or only partially enjoys.

Thus, each party has to acknowledge that there are necessary complementary efforts between them to solve issues and address the concerns of the masses.

When we talk about nation-building, an important idea that comes to our mind is usually the creation of national paraphernalia that can help to solidify and unite the people.

In addition, a nation is perceived to be doing well when it is able to defend itself against the internal and external threats that aim to weaken the foundations of society.

In relation to this, nation-building is actually the whole process of constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state.

This process aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically, economically and socially stable. In effect, this process will make the nation become strong and resistant in the long run.

In a multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia, nation-building is not a smooth sailing journey as it involves the continuous and collaborative efforts of various parties that are sincere in transforming the country to become more dynamic and successful.

The strength of the nation should not be perceived merely in numbers depicting its wealth and global economic rank.

The strength ultimately lies in the ability of the people to stay united and embrace the diversities that shape the very essence of its creation.

To realise this goal, the Government and civil society entities must be willing to take up a strategic alliance. Such an alliance is actually an evolving process where both actors gradually come to identify the points of consensus and priorities for common actions.

by Enizahura Abdul Aziz.

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Selamat datang

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Visitors invariably say that Malaysians are a friendly lot, and now a survey proves it.

MALAYSIA is today making waves internationally and galloping up the global league table. Recently ranked 12th by the World Bank’s Global Business Report — having moved up from last year’s 18th position — it now stands as Forbes 10th friendliest country to expatriates as both a tourist destination and an employment haven. Malaysia is the only Asean country in the top 10, beating even Singapore.  In short, even if some groups in the country like to claim that we are an unhappy place, foreigners think otherwise. This, to them, is not only a land full of excitement and opportunity but also a safe place to be for relaxation, as well as for growing their investment. A pity then, that some Malaysians,  who stand to benefit most from this country, are not in awe of their blessings.

Here then is a nation to warm the hearts of others where excitement is aplenty with much to occupy the time of the visitor. Those who are here to work enjoy an enviable standard of living: children in international schools, good maids at cheap rates and a lifestyle often better than that to which they are accustomed back home.

Reactions are, of course, not necessarily the same. Expatriates come here to work and enjoy a life of luxury. Although some Malaysians may perceive their coming as competition for the best jobs, we are viewed by the survey participants as friendly: the people, the culture and the ease with which they integrate into our community. Also, the ability of most Malaysians to communicate in English helps tremendously.

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Schools receive funds from KTS Group car wash programme.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Ngu (seated centre) with the fund recipients at the KTS Group (Sabah) office yesterday

KOTA KINABALU: KTS Group collected some RM1.1 million from its fund-raising car wash programme for independent Chinese schools in Sabah and Sarawak.

Out of the amount, RM480,000 will go to the schools in Sabah, while the rest will be channeled to Sarawak.

A total of 23 Chinese independent schools in both states will benefit from the programme, with nine of them in Sabah.

The fund-raising event was organised by KTS Group from last September as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) in conjunction with its 50th anniversary this year.

Coupons for car wash services were sold to the public at RM25 each and were distributed to all participating schools. KTS Group added RM50 for each coupon sold, making each valued at RM75, which went to the fund.

The fund-raising event was carried out in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kuching, BintUlu, Miri and Sibu.

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Relationship checklist

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Before you fall head over heels in love, it might help to stand back and do a reality check.

DATING can be a long drawn-out affair that fizzles into nothing, leaving you thinking, “Did I really spend the last six months with someone who is such a slob at home, doesn’t share my political views, doesn’t want to have children, watches too much TV, doesn’t have any savings, and doesn’t like pets?”

When it comes to relationships, there are so many things that are potential deal breakers.

Doesn’t it make sense, then, to have a checklist that prospective partners need to fill out immediately, so no one wastes their valuable hunting time? The minute your eyes lock across a crowded bar, you shouldn’t be thinking, “Oh, he looks cute. I wonder if my hair’s okay.” Instead, you should be thinking, “Oh, he looks cute. I wonder if he puts the toilet seat down and is considerate enough not to leave strings of used dental floss draped over the side of the sink.”

“But that’s so unromantic,” I can hear some of you saying right about now. And I agree, it is a tad cold and clinical. But wouldn’t you rather get the paperwork out of the way, so that you can enjoy yourself with someone who ticks all or most of the right boxes?

Not that you’re looking for perfection, mind you. You just want to make sure that you and your potential partner are both on the same page when it comes to the things that are important to you and the attributes that you desire in a long-term partner. Of course, if you are looking for a fling, it really doesn’t matter what your partner’s views are on recycling, or the number of children she wants, or how the household chores should be apportioned.

Alternatively, when you meet someone with potential, you can let your hormones get the better of you and allow yourself to fall in love, even when that person might be totally unsuitable. If you don’t ask the right questions beforehand, and if you’re, say, a neat freak, the first time you notice his socks carelessly discarded on the bedroom floor, possibly after a night of passion, you might be so enamoured by everything he does that you pick up the offending items on his behalf and give them a loving sniff before tossing them into the laundry basket. Assuming, of course, that he has a laundry basket.

A little voice in your head might be saying, “Walk away now! He is the devil’s spawn. Nothing but evil will come out of this union!” But you will choose to ignore it, because he’s cute, and because you’re convinced you can change him. Fast-forward to a few years later, after you’ve set up house together, and you’ll probably find yourself nagging him about his untidiness as soon as he walks through the front door at the end of the day or silently seething every time he so much as drops a biscuit crumb on your shaggy rug.

by Mary Schneider.

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Prof Dr. Morni Qurban Ceremony for Eid al-Adha (AidilAdha) 2012

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Prof. Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, CEO, organized a Qurban Ceremony at Kampung Lohan Ulu, Ranau on 27 October 2012 in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidil Adha festival.

During the occasion, Dr. Morni contributed cattle, which was later slaughtered in accordance with the proper religious ritual and the meat was then distributed to the Kg. Lohan Ulu folks.

Prof Dr. Morni stated that the sacrifice of cattle during the Hari Raya Aidil Adha is one of SIDMA’s annual activities to fulfill SIDMA’s Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) particularly to assist the financially deprived rural community.

Also present during the ceremony were Puan Azlina Ngatimin (Board of Director, SIDMA College), representatives from SIDMA Board of Management and staff, as well as Muslim students from the Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam (PERMAI) SIDMA.

Dr Morni took the opportunity to say “Thank you” to YB Datuk Masidi Manjun (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment), Kampong Lohan Ulu Mosque Committee members, SIDMA staff and students, and to everyone who have assisted, supported and contributed to the success of the occasion.

Kampong Lohan Ulu, Ranau folks when met were delighted and conveyed their sincere appreciation to Dr. Morni for remembering and assisting them during this special occasion. The meat they received was very meaningful to them and to their family members.

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Principles of Classical Conditioning

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Behaviorists have described a number of different phenomena associated with classical conditioning. Some of these elements involve the initial establishment of the response, while others describe the disappearance of a response. These elements are important in understanding the classical conditioning process.


Acquisition is the initial stage of learning when a response is first established and gradually strengthened. For example, if you are trying to teach a dog to shake in response to a verbal command, you can say the response has been acquired as soon as the dog shakes in response to only the verbal command. Once the response has been acquired, you can gradually reinforce the shake response to make sure the behavior is well learned.


Extinction is when the occurrences of a conditioned response decrease or disappear. In classical conditioning, this happens when a conditioned stimulus is no longer paired with an unconditioned stimulus. For example, if the smell of food (the unconditioned stimulus) had been paired with the sound of a whistle (the conditioned stimulus), it would eventually come to evoke the conditioned response of hunger. However, if the unconditioned stimulus (the smell of food) were no longer paired with the conditioned stimulus (the whistle), eventually the conditioned response (hunger) would disappear.

Spontaneous Recovery:

Spontaneous Recovery is the reappearance of the conditioned response after a rest period or period of lessened response. If the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus are no longer associated, extinction will occur very rapidly after a spontaneous recovery.

Stimulus Generalization:

Stimulus Generalization is the tendency for the conditioned stimulus to evoke similar responses after the response has been conditioned. For example, if a child has been conditioned to fear a stuffed white rabbit, the child will exhibit fear of objects similar to the conditioned stimulus.


Discrimination is the ability to differentiate between a conditioned stimulus and other stimuli that have not been paired with an unconditioned stimulus. For example, if a bell tone were the conditioned stimulus, discrimination would involve being able to tell the difference between the bell tone and other similar sounds.

by Kendra Cherry.

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Arguments Against Corporal Punishment in Schools

Sunday, October 28th, 2012
The practice of spanking school children has come under extreme criticism in many countries around the world. This matter is of a huge consideration, when in fact, the discipline levels are going down at an alarming pace. So what is it that still hinders us from using the harsher means of ‘guiding’ school kids.
The first and the foremost argument is that corporal punishment is in gross violation of a child’s right of human dignity and physical integrity. It threatens the very foundation of principles of protection under the universally guaranteed right of protection. Many would counter this by stating the high discipline levels that emanate from relatively conservative societies which deal with their kids in harsher ways. But historically, it has been proven that these kids lack the general creative sense and ability to explore as compared to a kid, wherein freedom of expression holds more importance.

Understanding Implications of Corporal Punishment

In fact, in most of the countries where corporal punishment in schools go unchecked, teachers have actually stopped understanding child psychology. Spanking, in case of any misbehavior, may be an easy way out for the teachers to rein in the moment but its larger implications on the psyche of a kid can be devastating. Every action of children in their formative years is not a result of liberalized thinking. Teachers and even parents must understand that the kids behavioral problems is an influence and reflection of the social circumstances, which are impressed on him. This society is the very community of which the teacher is very much a part. Therefore, a reasoned approach for dealing with student issues, no matter how time-consuming or brain storming it is, must be the way of dealing.

Corporal Punishment Effects

By hitting a child, a teacher is demonstrating his severe inability to deal with the situation in a reasoned way. For instance, in one school, a teacher used to regularly punish a student for coming to school dressed shabbily. The kid, who was a grade 4 student, also did not seem to budge. Everyday the same scene was repeated. The child entered the campus and the teacher, who was in charge of the discipline, and himself a strict ‘adherent’ of school rules, beat the child daily. The child never protested and even though angered and in pain, yet would bear the pain, without divulging the reason for his habit.

On a brief inquiry by the principal, it came to light that the child had lost his mother and his father was a big drunkard. There was no one at his home, who could dress him up for school. The father, was always lying around the house in a state of filth and the child somehow managed to get ready and come to school on his own. This incident points the lack of understanding exhibited by the teacher in dealing with the kid. It is very important for teachers to understand that a child’s habit, is essentially a reflection of his environment. Therefore, before addressing child shortcomings, it is high time we introspect the factors influencing unwanted behavior in children.

Indian poet and Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, who was a champion for the cause of a free development, and encouraging creative freedom and atmosphere for education, has apt lines in one of his poems. This poem brings out the notion of an ideal state, which we should strive to attain, but not a possibility without ending corporal punishment for our future generations and encouraging caring approach.

The poem reads thus, ‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments,
By narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way,
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,
Where the mind is led forward by thee,
Into ever-widening thought and action,
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.’

The essential point to understand is that, any learning mind is bound to make mistakes.

by Prashent Magar.

Understanding the Flipped Classroom: Part 2

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Editor’s Note: Part 1 of this article looked at the history of the flipped classroom. Today we look at what it takes for someone to teach effectively in a flipped classroom.

Although the flipped classroom is garnering a lot of attention of late, simply flipping the classroom alone does not increase student success. The instructor must seize the opportunity to guide and interact with the students. Looking at this new definition of homework in a flipped classroom, there are many details to consider.

Flipping doesn’t work when the home lectures (in whatever form they take) are too long or simply replace valuable teaching from the instructor. Lecturing is more effective presented in small chunks and as brief as possible. A good guideline is to keep the videos at or less than 10 minutes. A talking head video, where the camera points at the instructor and the instructor simply talks for 10 minutes does not work well. If possible, it is important to make the video engaging with multi-media (Houston and Lin, 2012). Many use screen capture software such as Jing or Camtasia. Also, Firefox has add-ons that can be used to screen capture and record as well. Many resources make the task of creating a quality, engaging homework lecture quite manageable. It is also worth considering that the lecture does not have to be a lecture at all.

While potentially daunting, planning and preparation can make or break a flipped classroom. The first step is to require students to compile any questions they have after watching the video. If the students have no questions, then some suggest requiring the students to summarize the topic to demonstrate understanding. Ideally, the instructor will sort the questions before class and develop scenarios to address them. The instructor attempts to avoid teaching what students already understand. This is the most difficult part, especially if students do not supply questions. The upside is that collecting questions over time builds a quality library to continue the process in future terms (November, 2012).

Actual class time is spent briefly reviewing content and checking for understanding (Houston and Lin, 2011). The instructor helps the students unpack the content. Students work on problems while the instructor circulates. The instructor can hear and correct misunderstandings on the spot. Students learn how to think and the instructor learns what topics cause confusion for the students (Berrett, 2012). This is one format for a flipped classroom session. In Dr. Eric Mazur’s physics classes at Harvard, he follows the same general principal but he has a very effective system for the students to teach one another their understanding and convince one another of correct answers. Truly any use of the class time that includes application and practice of concepts with more access to the instructor takes advantage of the opportunities that flipping a classroom provides.

What about common concerns regarding the flipped classroom process? A primary concern addresses students with poor or no Internet access outside of class. This is always a concern when the activities outside class rely on technology, but there are ways to accommodate the access to technology deficiency, such as burning the lecture onto a DVD.

by Pamela Kachka.

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