Archive for February, 2015

Volunteer Programme Being Considered As Co-Curricular Activity In University – Rohani

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

News Pic

KUCHING, Feb 20 (Bernama) — Volunteer programme is being considered to be listed as part of co-curricular activities for university students in Malaysia, says Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.

She said the matter had even been discussed at the National Social Council’s meeting with the aim to lure more volunteers to help senior citizens and persons with disabilities (OKU) to live as normal life as possible.

“It is hoped that the move to make volunteer programme as part of co-curricular activities will provide early exposure to students that there are people that need to be helped in the country.

“This matter is still being discussed and scrutinised with the Education Ministry,” the minister told reporters after visiting old folks home at Rumah Seri Kenangan in conjunction with Chinese New Year in Kuching, Friday.

Rohani spent over an hour mingling and distributing ‘angpau’ packets to 59 senior citizens at the home. Also present was Sarawak Social Welfare Department director Abang Shamsudin Abang Seruji.

Commenting further, she said as at October last year, 1,841 volunteers had participated in the ministry’s Home Help Services, which offer help and assistance to senior citizens and OKU nationwide.


Read more @

How to Help Students Improve Their Note-Taking Skills.

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Students love it when teachers provide class notes—the more complete the set, the better. Students want the teacher’s notes online because it’s convenient, they’re readable, well organized, and relieve the student of having to expend much effort during class. A lot of students need the teacher’s notes because they aren’t very good note-takers themselves. They practice stenography rather than note-taking, trying to get down the teacher’s words exactly. That way, even if they don’t understand, they can memorize what the teacher said and find it on the test. But that’s not learning.

Taking notes forces students to listen and engage with the material, especially if they are trying to put what the teacher says in their own words. There’s plenty of research on note-taking and virtually all of it stands against any practice that lets students be in class without writing (or keying in) content for themselves. Teachers can provide skeleton outlines so students don’t have to organize the content (although in upper-division courses students should be practicing this skill as well). They can list key words—especially those that are difficult to spell—and they can provide charts, tables, graphs, matrices, and diagrams, which students often don’t copy accurately in their notes. But whatever the teacher provides that students are using during class should be designed so that students have to add material to it.

So this revisit is a recommendation that instead of giving students class notes, teachers ought to help students develop note-taking skills and motivate them to take notes by showing them the value of a good set of notes. Here’s some activities (many of them short) than can be used to accomplish those two objectives:

by Maryellen Weimer, PhD

Read more @

Don’t Assume Difficult Question Automatically Lead to Higher-Order Thinking.

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

They’re the kind of questions that promote thinking and result in sophisticated intellectual development. They’re the kind of questions teachers aspire to ask students, but, according to research, these types of questions aren’t the typical ones found on most course exams. Part of the disconnect between these aspirations and the actualities results from the difficulty of writing questions that test higher-order thinking skills.

They are hard to write because teachers aren’t always clear in their minds as to what makes a question higher order. Bloom’s venerable taxonomy is where most thinking about question types begins and ends. At the bottom of Bloom are the lower-order questions—ones that involve a fact or detail and the ones that faculty do understand. Lower-order questions ask for definitions, usually a regurgitation of ones given by the teacher or that appear in the text. They are questions that ask students to show that they understand the material—that they can illustrate it. In other words, they test knowledge and comprehension, not necessarily thinking.

Higher-order questions ask students to use information, methods, concepts, or theories in new situations. They may ask students to predict consequences, to break problems into parts, to identify critical components of a new problem, to recognize patterns and organization within a collection of parts, to discriminate among ideas, and to make choices based on reasoned arguments. These and other extrapolations of Bloom’s higher categories of application, analysis, and evaluation were used in the study referenced below.

by : Maryellen Weimer, PhD

Read more @

‘We’re learning new methods with a good programme’

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

PUTRAJAYA: There is nothing wrong in teachers undergoing the Professional Upskilling of English Language Teachers (Pro-ELT) as it helps them refresh their skills.

Pro-ELT training helps teachers learn new methods used in Britain to teach the language.

It does not mean that the teachers are weak, as some have suggested.

Teacher Nurul Kalam Zainudin from SK Putrajaya Presint 8 (2) said that, given a choice, she would voluntarily sign up for the Pro-ELT training and recommended all English teachers to undergo it, not just those who did not do well in the Aptis test.

Aptis is an English assessment that is administered by the British Council.

The Education Ministry introduced two tests in 2103 to gauge English teachers’ skills, namely the Cambridge Placement Test and Aptis.

Teachers who did not score well in these tests would be sent for upskilling programmes to improve their language proficiency.

“It’s a good refresher after we have been teaching for so long,” said Nurul Kalam, adding that teachers might forget the methodology and pedagogy skills they learnt back in college.

“The Pro-ELT trainers expose us to new methods from Britain and other countries. It is a good programme,” she added.

Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the feedback he received from teachers in the programme was positive.

“They have improved in their teaching abilities and their confidence in teaching English,” Idris said following his working visit to the Pro-ELT training centre in SMK Putrajaya Presint 16 (1), where the second cohort of Pro-ELT teachers were having their last day of training.

Idris said he was also impressed with the teaching methodologies and approaches used by the trainers in the programme, which exposed local teachers to new teaching styles.

He reiterated that an improvement in English would not be seen overnight, but that the ministry was monitoring all the language improvement initiatives.


Read more @

When compassion goes a long way

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

THE speed with which information and ideas are shared and exchanged among people has accelerated to such an extent that boundaries of time and space in communication seem almost non-existent.

Those who are part of social networking websites and users of instant messaging applications will very likely find that a considerable portion of their time is spent going through forwarded messages or videos.

Although you need to be discerning about a lot of what comes your way through these and other media, you may find that what is shared is at times enlightening, informative and even inspiring. Sometimes it just gives you a good laugh. There are also times when certain messages or videos contain troubling images that stick around in your mind for a rather long time.

When I first started viewing the video, a friend had shared about a primary school pupil trying to explain to his teacher how his lunch money had been stolen, I thought I was going to be amused at first.

But as I continued viewing I had an increasing sense of uneasiness as I realised that the little boy was actually being made an object of ridicule due to his poor command of Bahasa Malaysia.

It even began to suggest verbal bullying and it was troubling. Perhaps I was waiting for a happy ending, so that I could heave a sigh of relief upon discovering that the teacher was actually on the pupil’s side.

But that ending did not come. Perhaps it was not recorded or perhaps there really was no happy ending.

My reactions could have been due to the fact that I am a teacher and have been in situations where my students and I did not share any common language.

Maybe it was because I could understand everything the boy in the video was saying or maybe I was thinking of the times when I needed to use an “interpreter” to communicate with a group of my students from a different ethnic background who understood neither English nor Bahasa Malaysia.


Read more @

Dispensing rights: Who should get it?

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

IT is an issue that resurfaces every so often – should doctors only prescribe, while pharmacists dispense?

The latest bout of verbal sparring has come about after it was reported in this paper that pharmacists hoped that the separation of dispensing rights would be accepted by the Health Ministry and come into effect on April 1.

Doctors have responded to this with arguments that seek to protect their “inherent” right to dispense medicines to their patients.

This issue is not limited to Malaysia alone. In countries where doctors dispense medicines, calls have also been made to separate prescribing and dispensing duties.

Even in countries where there’s a separation of duties, it’s not a totalitarian rule.

For example, the American Medical Association Code of Ethics provides that physicians may dispense drugs as long as there is no patient exploitation and patients have the right to a prescription that can be filled elsewhere.

Some doctors in the United Kingdom, especially in rural areas, are allowed to prescribe and dispense medicines to their patients.

At the root of the issue lies a “competitive” relationship bet­ween doctors and pharmacists, with each trying to “protect and preserve” task domains.

Evaluating this issue is no easy task. After all, drugs and medicines cannot be regarded as a common commodity, where the customer can be given options where he or she can make an educated and reasonable choice.

If there was separation, what happens to rural patients when there’s a scarcity of pharmacies?

The Star Says.

Read more @

Why Students Should Be Taking Notes

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Students nowadays can be pretty demanding about wanting the teacher’s PowerPoints, lecture notes, and other written forms of the content presented in class. And a lot of teachers are supplying those, in part trying to be responsive to students but also because many students now lack note-taking skills. If they can’t take good notes, why not help them succeed by supplying them with notes?

The problem is that “the ability to take in information and make it one’s own by processing it, restructuring it, and then presenting it in a form so that it can be understood by others (or by oneself at a later point)” is one of those “basic skills” that is useful throughout life. (p. 95) If students don’t have that skill or have a feeble version of it and they never take notes, when does the skill get developed? “With PowerPoint summaries, students have the product—good notes—but skip the process—the actual taking and reconstructing of notes.” (p. 95)

There is also accumulating evidence (the article below references seven studies) that giving students teacher-prepared notes or PowerPoint slides does not improve their performance. Students need to take notes in ways that are meaningful to them. It also helps when notes are restructured. The material presented in class is usually ordered in a linear fashion. “It makes sense to return to one’s notes and organize them in a way that reflects the connections between ideas rather than simply the chronology of presentation.” (p. 95)

by Maryellen Weimer, PhD

Read more @

Another Explanation For Why We Are Home Schooling

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Over the years, there has been a lot of doubt surrounding homeschooling, and whether it is a viable alternative to the public schools. Zachary’s peers, (seven-year-old first graders) in the Davie County School System at Cornatzer Elementary School, watch cartoons on Smart Boards during school, but Zachary read the following paragraph aloud during his study session night. For legal reasons, we do not comment on how little time we really need to spend studying in order to surpass the public schools, but most readers would be shocked to know how little effort is needed. Do you know any public schooled first graders who could read this?

The Heroes, Or Greek Fairy Tales for my Children

Some of you have heard already of the old Greeks; and all of you, as you grow up, will hear more and more of them. Those of you who are boys will, perhaps, spend a great deal of time in reading Greek books; and the girls, though they may not learn Greek, will be sure to come across a great many stories taken from Greek history, and to see, I may say every day, things which we should not have had if it had not been for these old Greeks. You can hardly find a well-written book which has not in it Greek names, and words, and proverbs; you cannot walk through a great town without passing Greek buildings; you cannot go into a well-furnished room without seeing Greek statues and ornaments, even Greek patterns of furniture and paper; so strangely have these old Greeks left their mark behind them upon this modern world in which we now live.

by Sarah C. Corriher.

Read more @

Why Home Schooling is Becoming Increasingly Popular

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Parents choose to home school for different reasons.  The reason is most commonly a need to provide moral instruction to their children, followed by a concern about public school environments.  In increasing numbers, parents are home schooling their children to evade state interference in the raising of their children, and to avoid the demands by school systems that their children be placed on anti-depressants, or other drugs that effect their minds.

Teachers have become the doctors in many schools, immediately making an A.D.D. diagnosis for any child who is defiant, disruptive, or who has difficulty focusing.  Then the teacher, with the full backing of the school, will direct the parents to a specific school-friendly doctor who is known for prescribing drugs after these referrals.  When parents refuse to comply, then the school systems often threaten to contact social services about the parents’ purported “abusive medical neglect”.  Of course, in reality, it is the schools which are abusing children in these cases, by denying them their basic human rights to be individuals without forced psychiatric medications.

Sending a child to an environment in which he is labeled as being ’sick’ whenever he shows any signs of individuality is bound to result in long-term emotional problems for the child.  Parental refusal to medicate children usually results in constant harassment by teachers.  A recommendation for drugging is made when a child is too quiet (needs antidepressants), too loud (A.D.D. drugs), defiant (anti-anxiety drugs), has difficulty concentrating (A.D.D. drugs), or is impulsive (A.D.D. drugs).  However, no testing is ever done on these children before the diagnosis and drugs are provided.  It remains evident that these ’symptoms’ are present in completely normal children; but nonetheless, the creative children with leadership abilities are a constant inconvenience for teachers who are fixated upon power and control.

Fears That Surround Home Schooling

There are plenty of parents out there who spend a lot of time considering home schooling, but always waiting until next year to make the leap.  In some cases, this is delayed forever.  One of the most common reasons is that parents worry about the costs involved.  However, home schooling can be free, especially for younger children.  The only pricing involved is that of books, and if you perservere, you can sometimes get those for free, too.  Compare this with the cost of moral degradation of children, forced prescriptions and constant battles with the school system.

Some parents fear that they do not have the knowledge to teach their children.  This only really becomes a problem at high school levels.  When that time comes, most home schooling parents simply buy the books necessary for their own refresher course, and use it to teach their children.  The internet is also available to teach anything that you wish to know.

by Sarah C. Corriher.

Read more @

The Problems Of Modern Education: How Conformity Leads To Failure

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

“You can’t make socialists out of individualists.  Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone is interdependent.”

–  John Dewey, Father of Modern Education

Yesterday I spent some time looking at the people on Facebook who had been to the same school as me.  I was noticing some very disturbing patterns, and I am sure that they will be of value to the readers of this blog if they can apply them to their own situations.  Eckington School was different from most in the area.  The local community believed that you would get a better education if you went there, as it was deemed a “specialist engineering college”.

In truth, that meant little more than the fact that the school got over a million pounds extra from the government each year.  The educational plan was little different from other schools, but rules were enforced more vigorously, and many of them were unnecessary.  These were about power, not education.  As a result, two classes of people were formed: the conformists, and the rebels. There was no middle ground.

One of the Alumni, using Facebook, asked people who went to the school to explain what they had done with their lives, and what they had succeeded in accomplishing.  Most of those who responded were in their 30s.  One after another revealed that they ended up working as caretakers, in nightclubs, supermarkets, and many revealed that they filled the cliché of living with their parents.  None of them were hugely successful.  Most interesting of all was the fact that those who had spent the most time in college were also the most unsuccessful.  This was especially the case for those who entered sixth form, which is a method through which people can voluntarily stay at Eckington for an additional two years to obtain their college A-Levels.  You see, those people were the ones who enjoyed Eckington the most.  They were the ultra-conformists that modern schools seek to mass-produce, and they were the ones that couldn’t make it in the real world.

None of these people seemed to see the pattern.  In fact, they saw the solution as returning to college and being ‘educated’ further.  Their problem is not a lack of education, but a lack of creativity, and an inability to independently think for themselves.  They became so reliant upon others issuing them orders that the only one to obtain a stable job is in the military.  There was one other who became a journalist, but she dropped out of school before she finished her exams. There is no coincidence here.

by Sarah C. Corriher

Read more @