Archive for October, 2012

Vital for children to read English books, says British High Commissioner

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

KOTA KINABALU: It is important to encourage the children to love reading English books as it will improve both their literacy and intellectual development.

English is truly the world’s language and it belongs to the world, said the British High Commissioner, His Excellency Simon Featherstone during the launching ceremony of ‘Power of Reading’ programme of English Language Teacher Development Project (ELTDP) in SK Pulau Gaya yesterday.

According to Simon, The British Council’s ‘Power of Reading’ project has now donated over 30,000 high quality English picture books to schools in East Malaysia.

“I’m pleased to be able to bring the last batch of the 1,600 high quality English story books which are part of a huge donation by the British Council to SK Pulau Gaya.

“Reading English story books are crucial part of English language acquisition and the teachers can use the books to support all the students in developing their reading skills.

In Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, the British Council is working on behalf of the Ministry to provide mentoring and coaching to well over a thousand teachers of English in over 500 schools.

This particular programme supports those teachers in developing their own reflective practice so that they are able to take ownership of their own professional development both for them and in the classroom.

According to Simon, a recent independent evaluation of the project indicated that there is a growing body of evidence based on observations from mentors, teachers, head teachers and language officers.

“The use of English in and outside of the classroom had increased as a result of the project,” Simon said.

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Targeted Skill Development: Building Blocks to Better Learning

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Teachers have much to teach these days. There’s the standard content knowledge students need to take from their courses, all the while the amount of new information in all our fields continues to grow exponentially. Next, there are all those essential intellectual skills like critical thinking, problem solving, analysis of evidence, argument construction to start the list. Then there are the basic skills many students are missing — like the ability to do college level reading, write coherently and calculate correctly — and all those study skills, like time management, review strategies, attentive listening and good note taking. Lastly, there are the metacognitive skills and the fact that most students aren’t aware of themselves as learners and don’t monitor how they are or are not learning. How in the world can a teacher address all these learning needs in a 15-week course?

The task is impossible, but that doesn’t prevent some teachers from trying and then feeling badly that they didn’t do as much as they should have for students. That is part of what makes teachers excellent, but it’s also part of what wears us out.

I think the solution is targeted skill development. In a thoughtful, systematic way, teachers select and focus on certain skills. In all honesty, I can’t ever remember doing that when I was teaching, but I often think about it now when working with faculty and I have two hours to share the contents of a book that has taken me several years to write. I ask myself, What do faculty most need to know about this material? What knowledge and skills can springboard them to the next level of understanding? What knowledge and skills best motivate and prepare them to learn more on their own?

These are the questions I’m recommending faculty ask themselves about their students. They should begin by thoughtfully considering what knowledge and skills their students don’t have. Yes, in many cases the list will be long. Just as thoughtfully, the next step is to identify the knowledge and skills that are most essential for success with this content and in light of what students will be learning in their next courses. That should make it possible to narrow the list and identify the two or three most important skills which can then be targeted for development in the course.

by Maryellen Weimer, PhD.

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i-Think Programme Motivates Teachers And Students In Sabah

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

KOTA KINABALU:  — When you walk onto the premises of Sekolah Menengah Kota Marudu in Sabah, you will be pleasantly surprised by a palpable sense of enthusiasm that starts in the office of the principal and is carried through to the staffroom and classrooms.

The source of the excitement is a new methodology for teaching and learning that centres around eight thinking processes, each represented by a thinking map, aimed at facilitating an innovation culture in primary and secondary school students.

The new methodology, dubbed i-THINK, was introduced to 10 Malaysian schools in January 2012 as part of a pilot programme initiated by the Education Ministry and Agensi Inovasi Malaysia.

It is aimed at inculcating thinking skills in students. Since its introduction, the feedback from parents, teachers and students alike has been very positive.

In the nine months since it was introduced to SMK Kota Marudu, it has changed the way students think about their lessons.

They are now more eager to come to school because the new methodology is more student-centric and encourages them to participate in classroom activities and become more involved in the learning process.

The project demonstrates how human talent can be instilled in Malaysian students through the development of thinking skills. Students will need to learn and develop these skills as well as learn how to become self-directed, independent and interdependent.

This will require a shift from a teacher-centred to a student-centred classroom.

No one is more excited about i-THINK than the school’s principal, Setia binti Ken, 47.

“It’s a really good thing. Having applied the maps in my science class, I can personally vouch for them,” said Setia, who teaches science to a Form Four class at the school.

She added that it has become so popular with the students that they not only use it for their lessons but also for their co-curricular activities.

“Many of the teachers have said they like the maps and they have become comfortable using them in their lessons. They see the benefit because they can see how good the maps are, as opposed to the traditional teacher-centric method of talk and chalk,” Setia told Bernama recently.

“Before we applied the thinking maps, students would just listen or read the text but didn’t know how to extract the information that was relevant. With the i-THINK programme, the maps allow them to visually depict the important information, making it easier for them to learn, remember, analyse and present it,” she said.

Setia added that the introduction of the i-THINK methodology is a positive step for education in Malaysia. “The thinking maps are extremely beneficial to both students and teachers. There is no problem implementing them as we can use the materials and resources we already have,” she said.

She has noted a great difference in the morale of students since the thinking maps were introduced in classrooms. “The weak or unmotivated students are not idle anymore as they have a chance to participate in finding the information to fill up their maps. I see them enjoying themselves in class now,” she commented.

She said the full impact of the maps would only be seen in the long-term and she is confident that in time to come, there will be statistics on attendance and academic results to prove their effectiveness.

by Mikhail Raj Abdullah.

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UNITAR International University – It’s Official!

Monday, October 22nd, 2012
UNITAR International University held its official launching on 18 October 2012 at Putrajaya Marriott Hotel.

The launching was officiated by YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Minister of Higher Education, Malaysia. Those present at the ceremony were VVIP’s, university associates, the Senior Management of UNITAR International University, staff and academicians of the institution from the main campus and the university Independent Regional Centres.

UNITAR International University was first established in 1997, and represents one of the first Private Higher Educational Institution in the country. Its main campus is located at Leisure Commerce Square, Petaling Jaya. Currently it has numerous Independent Regional Centres across the country with a population of more than 9,000 students studying in 60 academic programmes. The university prides itself in developing outstanding Foundation, Diploma, Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate programs to meet the needs and aspirations of its diverse and highly talented student body.

As stated in the “Program Book” of the official launching ceremony, UNITAR envisions itself to be the leading centre of excellence in providing quality education, research & development and training in the fields of Business Administration, Education & Social Sciences, Early Childhood Studies, Information Technology and Hospitality & Tourism Management studies within Malaysia and in the ASEAN region.

With UNITAR’s mission to produce the most highly sought after graduates in the field of their specialization, all programmes offered are developed through close consultation with the most prominent senior academia in the country, businesses and its’ collaborative industry partners. With a host of first rate, current and industry focused syllabuses; all programmes are approved by the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia and exceed the standards of excellence required by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.

UNITAR is fast becoming an important higher education player within Malaysia and in the region. As an innovative learning university, the outcomes it aspires are to produce the most employable graduates in the market for their respective fields, provide the best “learning ecosystem” of which students are best able to absorb knowledge and to create a sustainable learning institution of growth and maturity.

(Source extracted from:

Photo of Prof. Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, (CEO SIDMA Sabah); Tuan Hj Marzuki Hj Umi, (CEO SIDMA Sarawak) Pn Azizah Khalid Merican (COO SIDMA Sabah), Pn Dayang Sofia Abg.Hj.Borhan (COO SIDMA Sarawak); taking a break after the official launching ceremony.

Meanwhile, UNITAR Sabah and Sarawak Corporate Relations Department is proud to announce that the November 2012 intake is now opened, and we cordially invite all potential students to register with us.

To apply online please click @

Registration date for UNITAR Sabah and Sarawak is as follows:

Date: 29 October – 9 November 2012
Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Venue: Sabah: SIDMA College, Jalan Bundusan, Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, And
Sarawak :SIDMA College, Ground Floor, Wisma Murni, Sarawak

Potential students can also find out more about the courses offered at UNITAR Sabah by calling Ms Caprisandy (Registrar) at 088-732 000 or 088-732020; and at UNITAR Sarawak by calling 082–413811.

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CEO SIDMA College, UNITAR Sabah conveys sincere thanks to SMK Taman Tun Fuad, Luyang, Kota Kinabalu

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Prof. Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, CEO, conveys his sincere appreciation and “thank you” note to Pengetua SMK Taman Tun Fuad Stephens, Luyang for inviting SIDMA College to participate in the “Malaysia Book of Record Handover Ceremony” held at the school yesterday, 18th October 2012.

During the ceremony, YB Datuk Hajah Jainab Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Ahmad Ayid, Pembantu Menteri, Kementerian Pembangunan Sumber dan Kemajuan Teknologi Maklumat, handed over the Malaysia Book of Records to Puan Hajjah Siti Salmiah Binti Samaie, Pengetua, SMK Taman Tun Fuad Stephens, Luyang.

SIDMA College, UNITAR Sabah was among the few institutions of higher learning in Sabah being invited by the school to expose students on the opportunities available to further their studies.

SMK Taman Tun Fuad students, when met, expressed their eagerness to know more about the courses offered here, such as the UNITAR Sabah and the SIDMA-CUCMS courses. They also expressed their choice to study at SIDMA College, UNITAR Sabah, should they fail to secure a place at any of the public university.

Meanwhile, SIDMA Corporate Relation team also took the opportunity to present the college’s “Good Luck Examination Wishes” banner to the school principal as a symbolic gesture of moral support to students preparing for the coming examinations.

Picture shown Puan Hajjah Siti Salmiah Binti Samaie, Pengetua SMK Tun Fuad Stephens (centre) received the banner on the behalf of the school.

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Nontraditional Schools and Open Curricula: A Discussion

Monday, October 22nd, 2012
This article discusses one common type of nontraditional schooling that lets children choose for themselves what to study, enabling them to discover their own talents and passions. Although this system makes sense for young children, older students are at an unfair disadvantage if they are not taught certain important subjects.
There are innumerable types of alternative education systems in the world, and they vary radically. These alternative systems, including Montessori and Waldorf, usually take an approach to early childhood education that incorporates a theme, idea, or theory that is incompatible with traditional schooling. Although alternative education typically begins in or before elementary school, some systems extend through the high school years, and some children might, as they grow older, opt to switch from traditional to nontraditional schooling in their middle or high school years.

What is Traditional Schooling?

Of course, the degree to which there is such a thing as “traditional schooling” might be called into question. To a certain extent, curricula in public schools are determined at the national and local levels. This means that the content of education is traditionalized. Within these predetermined curricula, teaching styles can vary greatly, so the quality and type of education received depends on the particular school a student attends. Nevertheless, the general principles behind public education remain largely the same. Nontraditional schooling breaks with these general principles in one or more important ways.

One Type of Alternative School

Although there are differences between types of nontraditional schooling, one common departure from the norm is in the curriculum itself. In early childhood education, some theorists believe that children should not be subjected to set curricula. Instead, they claim, young children should be as free as possible to engage in whatever type of play or educational activity appeals to their individual personalities. Thus, nontraditional preschools and elementary schools may have a very loose structure, allowing children to do essentially whatever they want, as long as they are engaging their minds and imaginations in some way. In such schools, kinesthetic learning, or learning by physically interacting with objects in the world, is often highly valued, so physical activity and playtime is an integral part of such systems.

Nontraditional Middle and High Schools

Nontraditional schooling at the middle and high school levels often takes a slightly more structured approach, but in many schools the principle of freedom of choice in learning remains the same. Some alternative schools offer courses on topics that are too specialized to be offered in traditional public schools, and allow students to choose from a wide array of classes according to their individual interests, instead of requiring a core of subjects as normal schools typically do. Other, more experimental schools may allow students to choose the curriculum themselves, engaging in discussions with one another until they land upon topics that suit their interests. Some schools even devote the bulk of learning to a single activity or subject, such as theater. Students usually choose these schools themselves after having discovered a love for the subject and having decided to pursue it full-time.

Educational Freedom for Elementary Students

The nontraditional school options that allow students to choose what they learn are many, and such schools may appeal to adolescents who are disenchanted with the school system. The question that arises with regard to these schools, however, is whether free choice curriculum is a good approach to education. At the early childhood and elementary stage, this type of freedom seems to make good sense. Whereas traditional elementary schools strive to impart students with skills and knowledge that they will need later on, most children at this young age are unlikely to remember the information they are taught, particularly if they have no stake in the information themselves.

Reading and Writing

It is important to note that there are certain skills children should learn at an early age, such as reading and writing. However, the structured, one-size-fits-all way that these skills are taught in traditional schools could use improvement. In nontraditional schools, students might be able to learn reading and writing while engaging in any topic that interests them, instead of in topics that have been chosen for them and that, therefore, hold little interest. The result would be much the same: students would learn to read and write, becoming ready for the next stage of schooling. The process, however, is different. While acquiring basic skills, students would have a chance to discover talents individual to them, interests that they didn’t know they had, and to investigate subjects important to them, providing them with a better chance of remembering the information learned.

What Must We Know?

The case becomes more complex with regard to middle and high school-aged children. Although it would be nice to allow each student to pursue his or her own individual talents and interests, there are certain things that, undeniably, children should learn in order to be successful. Students who have not yet decided whether to pursue college educations should be given a chance to develop the necessary academic background so they are not at a disadvantage when application time comes.

by Buzzle Staff.

Playtime for Grownups

Monday, October 22nd, 2012
Has anyone ever accused you of acting like a child? It’s about time they did! No one ever said adults had to be boring – try playing once in a while to improve your mood, your body and your mind, and you’ll never feel old again.
When was the last time you played? Not the last time you humored the kids while they smashed block castles, but actually dove into the activity and ran at the blocks yourself? If you’re like most adults, it’s probably been way too long. What are you waiting for? Is it because it seems childish? What’s wrong with being childish every once in a while? Where is it written that grownups have to be serious and sophisticated all the time?

Even wild animals play – birds get drunk on rotten berries, polar bears slide down frozen hills, dolphins leap for the simple joy of it. Playtime is how biological beings unwind, relax, and remember what it means to be alive – hint: it has nothing to do with money, bills or material things.

Play can be anything that makes you happy – in fact, if it’s not fun, it’s not play. You might enjoy playing tag, or you might prefer video games. Maybe Sudoku is your thing, or maybe you’ve never met a tree you didn’t want to climb. It doesn’t matter what it is. Make an effort to play for at least a little while every day and you will absolutely see your quality of life improve.

It’s Social – But It Doesn’t Have To Be

Having a strong social circle has been repeatedly linked to longer life, better health and increased happiness. Instead of sitting in a bar drinking with your friends, why not organize a snowball fight? Or an epic game of Capture the Flag? Or Hide and Seek? Or maybe an Angry Birds showdown? Any one of these things will cause more laughter, more exuberance and more bonding than sitting in the same dive, listening to the same music while presiding over the same drinks that you’ve done every weekend for years.

If you’re not the social type, don’t feel pressured to play with others. It’s perfectly fine to play alone. Try hiking a new trail or exploring a new part of town. Take your dog to the park and just be silly. Do whatever feels right, and who cares if people are looking? If it stresses you out, it’s not the right play for you.

Divorce Yourself From The Outcome

Grownups get into the habit of basing experiences on the outcome – “I’m not gonna do all that just for that!” – sound familiar? The point of play is the experience of doing it – not who wins or loses, not who’s the better player, not whether you might become an expert someday, and definitely not whether or not you could possibly make a career out of it. It’s about losing yourself in the action – diving in head first, not being necessarily good at it, and doing it anyway because it’s just so darn fun. It’s freeing, and it reminds you that you are so much more than a sum of your talents and abilities.

It Increases Your Activity Level – Or Not

Play, by default, can increase your daily activity levels without feeling like work or exercise. Even if you regularly work out, a rowdy game of “chase” with your toddler still counts toward your calorie burn. Even days where you don’t feel like going to the gym, you might still be up for a romp in the dog park or a game of pickup basketball. Just because it’s not an organized “workout” doesn’t mean it’s not good for your body. Get your muscles moving, your blood pumping, your joints lubricated and flexible, and you’ll feel young forever.

You Become The Master of Your Own Joy

We all experience joy in our lives, but too often it’s dependent upon others. You felt joy at your daughter’s wedding, then at your grandson’s birth. You felt joy when you won that award or got that coveted promotion. You felt joy when you came into money. While all of these things are great, not one of them is 100% under your control.

With play, all you have to do is make the decision to go play, make the commitment to give yourself over to it entirely, and the joy will come. You can grab a joy infusion anytime you want, and it doesn’t matter if your daughter’s even dating, or who else is in the running for the award, or whether there are jobs available in upper management, or whether great-aunt Lucy is still alive and kickin’.

by Buzzle staff.

Teachers get training on a new topic

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

AN AWARENESS programme on human trafficking and migrant smuggling initiated in February has trained 350 teachers so far.

In view of the numerous cases of human trafficking involving women, schoolgoing children and teens, it was only apt that teachers were invited as participants to attend such training.

The organisers — the National Council of Women’s Organisations Malaysia (NCWO) and education authorities were keen that teachers be trained simply because of the number of young people who were becoming targets and being lured into such activities.

The council’s deputy head Datuk Faridah Khalid said the objective of the organsisers was to ensure that every secondary school in the country would have at least one teacher to expound the message effectively.

Teachers must ensure that their students were properly informed of the dangers and the consequences when they become victims or get involved.

“Seventy percent of human trafficking cases involved women and those below 18 years, hence the reason for targeting teachers,” she said at the launch of the state-level Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Migrant Smuggling awareness campaign in Penang recently.


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Role of science crucial to earth’s future

Saturday, October 20th, 2012
VITAL INVESTMENT: Science, technology and innovation important to counter threat to environment and world growth.

THOSE who follow the discourse on climate change must have heard of the Kyoto Protocol. It was supposed to have been the instrument to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and arrest global warming. What a pity. Pledges made on reduction targets were not all delivered. Only a few countries ratified the Protocol.

This year is the last for the Protocol. Will there be a new agreement signed? It is still unclear. The recent Rio+20 meeting held in Brazil was also inconclusive. Meanwhile, global emissions continue to rise, raising concern among many that unless new measures are implemented soon, the consequences can be grave. Some say climate change may even be irreversible.

Since 2004, the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum is convened every October in the city of Kyoto, Japan. Conceived by Japan’s former minister of finance, the STS Forum has attracted many world leaders. They stay for three days to propose the next step for science in resolving the many problems of society. Participants include not only scientists but also political leaders, industry captains, economists as well as leading administrators of universities and governments and the media.

This year, the STS Forum took place for the ninth time from Oct 7 to 9 in Kyoto. An estimated 1,000 leaders from 96 countries came. They eventually issued a common statement.

They warned that the growing threat to the environment may soon reach a tipping point. We need science, technology and innovation (STI) to counter such threats to world growth. Despite current difficult economic and social conditions, it would be foolish for the world to play down investments in STI. Take energy, for example. The Forum is adamant that any future supply should consider all options, provided they adhere to the best safety and environmental standards. Of course they have to be socially compatible as well. No doubt, different countries may choose different paths to be energy-secure. In fact, despite the Fukushima watershed, all agreed that nuclear energy will continue to play a significant role for the foreseeable future. They urged countries to reconsider nuclear energy as an option.

by Dr. Ibrahim Ahmad.

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The case for sex education

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

It is imperative that we educate children on how to keep themselves safe.

WHEN a 7-year-old asks when she can start dating or when a 9-year-old writes about the sexual nature of boy-girl relationships in her diary, should our alarm bells start ringing?    Much as we may want to bury our head in the sand and pretend that our children are too young to know about sex, the reality is that Malaysian teenagers are having sex. And at a younger age.

It is hardly surprising considering how easily they are exposed to sexually explicit content via the Internet and through song lyrics and suggestive dance movements of their favourite pop stars.

According to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, 6,820 girls below the age of 16 gave birth out of wedlock since 2000.

It has been reported that some hospitals in the Klang Valley report a teen birth every day. One public hospital noted that it had a mother as young as 12!

These are scary figures because it also means that 6,820 children were victims of rape because the law clearly states that anyone who engages in sex with a girl below the age of 16, with or without her consent, has committed statutory rape.

And if only a very small number of the perpetrators in these cases were charged in court, it could mean that a good number of these teenage mothers willingly had sex with their partners, who, in some cases, may not have been much older than them.

Could they have avoided becoming unwed mothers? Yes, if they had been imparted with proper knowledge about healthy relationships, sex, intimacy and respect.

As such, the move by the authorities to introduce sex education via the Reproductive Health of Adolescents programme for Year Six pupils and the Cakna diri module for secondary students deserves support from all quarters, including parents and religious bodies.

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