Archive for May, 2015

Getting the Most out of Guest Experts Who Speak to Your Class

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

guest speaker in clasroom

Inviting guest speakers into your classroom is a classic teaching strategy. Welcoming other voices into the classroom provides students with access to other perspectives, adds variety to the classroom routine, and demonstrates that learning is a collaborative enterprise. At the same time, however, presentations by guest experts are often plagued by a variety of design flaws that hinder their educational effectiveness. Guest experts, being unfamiliar with the mastery level of the students in the class, may speak over the heads of the students, or they may present their material at a level that is inappropriately introductory. Because they are generally unfamiliar with the class curriculum, they may repeat information that the students have already learned, or their comments may not connect in any clear way with what the students already know and what they are currently learning.

Miscommunication between the guest expert and the host professor, furthermore, may result in the guest’s presentation running either too short or, more commonly, too long. Despite these hurdles, the increasingly collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of higher education makes the kind of partnerships represented by guest-expert arrangements more important than ever. With a little extra preparation, professors can increase the likelihood of a productive guest expert experience.

Typically, professors may invest weeks of effort into scheduling a guest speaker, but less effort into arranging their classroom activities so that the speaker’s appearance will further the curricular objectives of the course. When professors invite guest experts into their classrooms, they tend to conceptualize the arrangement as a compartmentalized event that stands outside of the regular current of class activity. The block of time scheduled for the guest tends to represent a break from the class schedule, rather than an essential part of the course material. As a result, the guest’s contributions are not as impactful as they might be if steps were taken to ensure that some degree of alignment were achieved between the curriculum and the speaker. The following strategies may help professors optimize the value of guest experts whom they invite to address their students.

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Developing a Teaching Persona

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

teaching professor

An email query about teaching personas reminded me how much I haven’t figured out about our teaching identities. I’m still struggling with very basic questions and wondered if a conversation here might not get us all thinking more about how we present ourselves as teachers.

In The Art of Teaching, Jay Parini explains that the Latin word persona implies that a voice is discovered by “sounding through” a mask. “Most of the successful teachers I know have been deeply aware that their self-presentation involves, or has involved at some point, the donning of a mask.” (p. 58) “A beginning teacher will have to try on countless masks before finding one that fits, that seems appropriate, that works to organize and embody a teaching voice.” (p. 59).

Must new teachers stumble into a teaching style that works for them, for their students, and with their content by trial and error? Or are there ways that the discovery process could be more planned and systematic? And then, when a teaching identity has emerged, how does it change across one’s career? By accident? By design? What happens if it doesn’t change? Is that cause for concern?

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Let Students Summarize the Previous Lesson

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

chemistry student at blackboard

Students often think of class sessions as isolated events—each containing a discrete chunk of content. Those who take notes during class will put the date along the top and then usually leave a space between each session, which visually reinforces their belief that the concepts and material aren’t connected. But in most of our courses, today’s content links to material from the previous session as well as to what’s coming up next. A lot happens in the lives of students between class sessions, though, and if they don’t anticipate a quiz, how many review their notes before arriving in class? And so the teacher starts class with a review.

Having a quick recap is a good idea, but what about having students prepare and present that review? That’s what Professor Annie Blazer does. Each of her class sessions begins with a three- to-five-minute summary of the main ideas discussed in the previous session, and that summary is presented by a student. Each student signs up to do a summary, as this is a course assignment. Blazer leads off with the first one showing students what she expects the review to cover. Their summaries must contain the “three elements of greatest significance” from the previous session (p. 344). To identify these elements, Blazer refers students to discussion questions that appear on the syllabus, course objectives, and their own insights as to the central themes of the current unit. “To receive full credit on this assignment, a student must correctly identify the most relevant information from a class session, summarize and prioritize this information, and deliver it confidently to the class.” (p. 344)

The assignment has a number of benefits. It refreshes students’ memories—reminding them about content and topics from the previous session. It’s a low-stakes way to help students develop presentation skills. They have the opportunity to practice speaking in front of their peers, and they get feedback from the instructor. The quality of a prepared summary is better than if the instructor simply calls on a students and asks what happened last time the class met. Confronted with the pressure of having to do the next session summary motivates serious and detailed note-taking, followed by some review and analysis of those notes in preparation for leading the next review session. There’s a chance those two activities may show students the value of careful note-taking and review, and not just when they’re on deck.

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Spas also hit by the kidnaps

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals Association (Swepa) has urged the Federal Government to do more for Sabah from the perspective of beefing up the security level in the State to prevent a recurrence of the Sandakan kidnapping incident.

Its President Datin Jeanette Tambakau said the situation was indeed worrying because history was repeating itself again and again causing the business community to operate in fear.

She stressed that the Government was promoting entrepreneurship among Malaysian women by introducing various assistance schemes but such efforts are thwarted by ‘kidnap for ransom’ activities.

“Surely the Federal Government can do much more to heighten the level of security than what has been achieved thus far to foil the attempts of perpetrators.

“Just as there was growing confidence in the capabilities of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) and our security forces over a 10-month peace period, the serenity was shattered again. When will disruption of this nature come to a halt?

“Economically speaking, our members comprising businesswomen and entrepreneurs are gravely concerned over the negative repercussions of what had happened recently. When the local economy is jeopardised with business in the doldrums, all stakeholders will suffer the sluggishness,” she said.

Tambakau, who is the Adviser to the Sabah Spa Therapists Association, noted that the burgeoning hospitality and tourism industry has been adversely affected.

“Yet another huge blow to one of our biggest revenue contributors. The fledgling spa industry has also taken a beating. I was informed by frustrated tour agents that a lot of travel cancellations have been made in the wake of the episode.

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SIDMA College and MPWS Education Outreach Programme in Lahad Datu.

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Prof Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, Chairman, SIDMA Board of Directors, and Puan Hajjah Maimunah Haji Suhaibul, Sabah Deputy Education Director cum Chairperson, Sabah Women’s Advisory Council (MPWS) Education Committee collaborated and co-organised a one day Education Outreach Programme at SMK Desa Kencana, a secondary school located about 15 minutes drive from the famous Kampong Tanduo, the first entrance site of the 2013 Lahad Datu standoff.

The programme was participated by more than 300 local parents and secondary school children of SMK Desa Kencana. Lahad Datu District Officer, Encik Iman Ali was given the honour to officiate the event.

The opportunity to meet students of SMK Desa Kencana marked another milestone of Dr. Morni’s voluntarily, non-profit partnerships with the state Women’s Advisory Committee of Education Department in outreaching, complimenting and supplementing ongoing programmes with the sole intention of enhancing and improving, creating awareness, skill-building and life-style and behaviour changing among parents, women and school children from rural setting, such as Lahad Datu.

During the event, Dr. Morni mobilised his Corporate and Business Development Division, Property Administration Department, as well as the Information and Media Department personnel and assets to ensure the smooth implementation of the function.

Overall, the programme targeted parents, women and young school students to challenge and change their mind-set into acknowledging the importance of furthering their tertiary education for a brighter future. It’s hope that such meetings can create awareness among parents, and thus they are aware of, and can encourage their schooling children of the various educational opportunities and choices available and its impact on the future of their young as well as preparing schooling youth to accept challenges to continue their studies after completing their Form V and VI to various colleges and universities in the country.

On the importance of education for future success of their children, Dr. Morni among other things shared his personal life story of being a Sarawak born humble, ordinary kampong boy to being able to obtain his Ph. D in Entrepreneurship from Sterling University, London.

He reminded the students that he was not from a well-off family and that his father was then a pensioner, and unable to finance his studies. However, because of his strong determination, principles and willingness to work and earn his Ph. D; he faced the challenges and continued his studies till his Ph.D. in England by taking part time job at McDonald’s outlet to finance his studies, as he was not funded by any financial institutions; and finally earned his Ph. D in Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Morni hoped that parents and students who attended his sharing sessions to pick cues and be more committed and caring on their children education, and encouraged them to further their education after their SPM/STPM by sizing the available funding agencies available, such as scholarship, PTPN loan and more.

Puan Hajjah Asmiah Ajamain, Director from the Institute of Language and Literature, (Dewan Bahasa danPustaka), Sabah also took the opportunity to interact with students on reading as a significant part of learning but was sad to note that many students think that reading is boring and just a waste of time.

She stressed that reading is always associated with academic success, and the more students read, the more knowledge, new things, new places, new people, new culture, and more one can gained.

Academic books, journals and more were also being displayed by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

During the event Puan Hajjah Maimunah Haji Suhaibul advised parents to assist into reducing the drop-outs particularly among rural students. She felt disturbed over the recent rapid increase in the number of drop-outs, early marriages, as well as the extremely high rate of divorce among this group of young people. She took the opportunity to alert the parents and students on the possible difficulties faced among couples during their early marriage such as possessing a realistic financial support, immaturity in their thinking and not prepare to show their full responsibilities and commitment as husband and wife, and tending to get away from unpleasant situations, thus leading to their divorce.

Other speakers who presented their papers during the occasion were Puan Mary Jim, Manager of Everlasting Bridal House & Studio who touched on health awareness and consciousness, and its intervention. Lahad Datu Community Leader Encik Ir. Rajesh Yusof spoke on Gender Awareness.

As a token of appreciation to students and teachers from various schools who made effort to attend the function, Prof Dr. Morni and the Management of MPWS sponsored hampers for lucky draws which were participated by all who attended the gathering.

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SIDMA College, UNITAR Sabah Kaamatan Cheers.

Monday, May 25th, 2015

During the month of May, Bumiputeras of Sabah, particularly the Kadazan-Dusun and Murut tribes celebrate a month long of Sabah’s very own, joyous and exciting  Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan) in unique traditional ways, such as paying homage to the rice spirits called Bambarayon to show their gratitude for their bountiful harvest.

During the festival, the Sabahan natives put on their traditional attire and enjoy a carnival atmosphere which stretches from the crack of dawn till dusk. The highlights of the festival include the Magavau, a traditional thanksgiving ceremony by the Bohohozan or High Priestess, the Unduk Ngadau, Sungdoi (Kadazan Idol), Arm Wrestling (Mipulos), as well as a host of other traditional sports. In certain occasions, “Tapai” or home-made rice wine is also served as the delicacy for the day, particularly to relatives and closed friends.

Today, the Kaamatan Festival has become one of the major Malaysia national festivals, providing a vital platform for fostering, preserving and inculcating the spirit of harmony, love, empathy, sacrifice, forgivingness through brotherhood, and unity through diversity for the multi-ethnic population particularly of Sabah.

Prof. Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, (Chairman, SIDMA Board of Directors), kicked off SIDMA College, UNITAR International University Sabah 2015 Annual Harvest Festival Celebration at SIDMA Atrium on 19 May 2015 by bringing Kaamatan cheers in the form of Kaamatan goodies to SIDMA Staff celebrating this auspicious occasion.

The distribution of goodies to staff during festive seasons through SIDMA Staff Welfare Association (PKKKSS) headed by Mr. Zain Azrai, is one of Prof Dr. Morni’s Corporate Social Responsibilities of sharing the company’s good harvest with staff, particularly during national festival seasons such Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, Hari Aidil Adha, Tadau Kaamatan, Christmas and Chinese New Year.

Adopting “Peace and Unity Through Culture” (Pibabasan om Pisompuruan Maya Koubasanan) as its celebration theme, Mr. Dean Cassidy Panis (Celebration Chairman), Mr. Budysam Bin Idisamsan as well all the other committee members continued the following day’s celebration (20 May 2015) with various local dances, local traditional songs, and non-stop traditional music to showcase some of Sabah traditional music, dances, foods, and host of traditional games and activities performed by the college staff and students to the various staff and students of the college present during the occasion.

Through such activities, it is hoped that it can not only improved the students social-cultural skills, but more importantly, it enabled them to understand and appreciate more of Sabah cultural diversities and its uniqueness; thus enabled them to understand, accept and tolerate each other better by understanding and nurturing each other point of likeness.

Other highlights of the day’s activities were Mipulos, Unduk Ngadau, Mr Kaamatan SIDMA 2015 Competition participated by both SIDMA staff and students.

Various dance performances were also presented. SIDMA Dance Club, Prima Dansa, initiated the day’s performance with their “Welcoming Dance”. Ms Lesly Dulis and her team also presented their unique “Magunatip” Dance.

Traditional food contest was also held. Staff of the college was given the opportunity to pride their cooking and serving Sabah traditional local food to staff and students.

As appreciation to staff and students who attended the celebration, food and drinks was flowing freely. Lucky draws for students and staff categories were held throughout the day.

Prof Dr. Morni during the launching of the event congratulated the organising team for the well planned and well organised event. He prided the spirit of togetherness that shines brightly among staff and students from various backgrounds working togetherwhenever the college organised similar activities. He hoped that the students will continue practicing the spirit of collaboration and working together with everybody irrespective of the background of their colleagues in whatever and wherever situations these students faced in future.

Dr. Morni who was present throughout the event was given the honour to present token of appreciation to independent judges who were specially invited to assist in judging the various competitions held throughout the day.

He also presented prizes in the form of cash, trophies and hampers to the winners of the various competitions held.

Prof. Dr. Morni also took the opportunity to present tokens of appreciation to three staff with their new born babies. Staff whose birthdays falls in the months of April and May 2015 were joyously celebrated with the birthday “boys” and “girls” up on stage to blow their birthday candles together amidst colleagues and students singing the “Happy Birthday” song.

Also present during the event were Puan Azlina Ngatimin (Director, Corporate Relations and Business Development), Encik David Tiongin (Chairman, Board of Directors), Mr. Lim Chin Tong (Registrar), Managers, Heads of Departments, lecturers, staff and students of SIDMA College, UNITAR International University Sabah Regional Centre.

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SMK Pekan II, Kota Belud 2015 Career and Education Fair.

Monday, May 25th, 2015

SIDMA College, UNITAR International University, Sabah Regional Centre, Kota Kinabalu collaborated with SMK Pekan II, Kota Belud to co-organise a two-day Career and Education Fair at SMK Pekan II, Kota Belud on 11 and 12 May 2015. Representative from Kota Belud District Education Department was given the honour to officiate the two days event.

The event was part of Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, SIDMA Chairman, on-going Corporate Social Responsibility to complement and supplement the Education Ministry’s existing and ongoing motivational and career programmes particularly to schools from the rural setting; to outreach and motivate rural students to achieve and maximise their potential and thus enable them to dream big: for a brighter career and their future.

Working in partnership with SMK Pekan II, Kota Belud; Dr. Morni mobilised staff of SIDMA College Corporate Relations and Business Development Division and the Information and Media Department to collaborate, share and exchange resources with the school’s expertise, human resources as well as other basic facilities to organise the event.

Prof Dr. Morni took time off to conduct a motivational career talk to all the upper secondary school students from SMK Pekan II, SMK Arshad and SMK Taun Gusi, Kota Belud who attended the function. The talk focused on the various options available for the secondary school leavers to make their choices for a brighter path that will lead them to the top of their career.

He also warned students that they can’t depend only on their high school certificates to secure a prospective career. All career options available will require further professional and academic development and training, study or guidance in a field of their interest for anyone to move forward with their career.

Dr Morni, who has always been portrayed as possessing carefree personality; but with great ambitions by many, among other things; took the opportunity to proudly shared with the eager audience his success stories from being a Sarawak born humble, ordinary kampong boy who always hold on to his principles; that was to earn his Ph.D (Doctor of Philosophy).

Prior to receiving his Ph.D in Entrepreneurship from Sterling University, England in 1990, Dr. Morni described his studying days as very challenging as he had to work at a McDonald’s outlet to finance his tuition fee, as he did not received any sponsorship or funding from either the government or other financial institution. His only source of funding was from his father, who was then a pensioner.

Dr. Morni hoped that through his humble sharing of his real life success stories would enable the students to reflect on it and thus develop a better perspective of life, its challenges, and to be a better and more committed student when given the opportunities to further their education to greater heights, in order to build a successful career.

Realising on the need of exposing high school students to resume writing in order to assist them in developing a quality marketing tool that they can used in promoting themselves during their application to colleges, university, job opportunity; due to ever increasing numbers of students applying for the limited space available; Ms Nur Atiqah Binti Ngatimin (SIDMA staff) took the opportunity to conduct a Resume Writing Workshop with these students.

Ms Nur Atiqah reminded them that a good resume should be able to provide a snapshot of the REAL self of the applicant; their interest, passion, achievements and contributions both in and out of the classroom.

As a token of appreciation to the students and the staff from the three schools that made efforts to attend the function, Prof Dr. Morni and SIDMA College Management sponsored hampers for lucky draws to all participants of the event.

Excellent School Principal of SMK Pekan II, Kota Belud, Mr. Liasin Kaloh who welcomed and appreciated Prof Dr. Morni and SIDMA College contributions to the success of the event, in returned presented a memento to Prof Dr. Morni.

Various public and private universities and colleges throughout the state were invited to open counters during the event. This is to provide opportunities for students from the various secondary schools to talk informally with representatives from the various universities and colleges, and find out more about the various higher education opportunities available to them.

The students commented that the fair was very informative and beneficial; enabling them to understand more about the various further education opportunities available.

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Serving in remote schools, a challenge

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Those who teach in the interior should take their posting as a test, and uplift students socially and academically.

THE teaching profession is already loaded with challenges with the never-ending paperwork, preparing lesson plans and trying to keep students engaged in class. But it becomes even more demanding if the school that one is posted to, is in the interior of Sarawak.

Still, that did not stop this year’s Tokoh Guru award recipient Datuk Dr Haili Dolhan, 63, from accepting his first posting at SMK Matu, Sarawak.

“I’ve been there and teachers who serve such schools need to be very patient to overcome the challenges faced,” says the former rector of the Institute of Teacher Education Malaysia.

He received his award from Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at a national Teachers Day ceremony in Jitra, Kedah last weekend.

His advice to those teaching in the interior is to “stick it out” even if there are moments when they might want to to give up.

“You will have to do a lot of ‘hand-holding’ for these students, and their parents,” he says, adding that parents from remote areas understand the importance of an education. “But what they need to know is that a basic education only allows them to read, write and do simple arithmatic, it will not get them far.”

He shares that during the early years of his career, he would visit the homes of students who did not show up in school.

“I needed to see for myself the living conditions of the students and their families and what prevented them from coming to school … I had to understand their behaviour,” Dr Haili says.

It helped as he could then relate to the students and teach them better.

In the early 70s, when the logging industry was booming in Sarawak, Dr Haili who is currently Education Service Commission Malaysia chairman, says Form Three students would drop out after completing their Sijil Rendah Pelajaran (SRP), a major government exam that was later replaced by the PMR and now the PT3.


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Sarawak to absorb GST for government services

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

SIBU: Sarawak will absorb the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for all government services.

With that, Sarawak has become the fourth state after Johor, Terengganu and Penang to help the people pay GST.

In announcing this, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said the public were facing an increasing cost of living after the implementation of GST.

“The GST causes prices of goods to go up which is beyond my control.

“This is a Federal matter, not a state one,” he said at a ceremony to end toll collection at Lanang Bridge, Sunday.

Despite that, he said the state government was trying to find ways to lessen the burden faced by the people.


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‘Stress more on quality of education’

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

PETALING JAYA: More emphasis should be placed on the quality of the education system and the competency of the teaching profession to cater to the needs of industries, said the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers.

Its vice-president Davies Danavaindran said these factors were critical in expanding the pool of highly skilled workers.

Besides focusing on the quality of English, science, technology and the engineering education system, the Government should also look into attracting highly qualified individuals to join the teaching profession, he said.

“Better pay and promotion prospects should be offered,” he said, adding that FMM also welcomed the 11th Malaysia Plan’s focus on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and incentives, particularly those for apprenticeship programmes.

Such training, he added, was the main source of supply of the country’s skilled work force.

“We reinforce the need for the Government to maintain the 60:40 ratio in science and technical admissions and output in the education system,” he said.

Expanding the pool of high skilled workers, said Davies, was a step in the right direction as industries moved up the value chain towards more knowledge and technology-based products and processes.

“If we are going to modernise and bring about automation and attract high-technology industries, we need higher skilled workers.

“We also need semi-skilled and lower skilled workers – but to a lesser degree – because there are still industries which have processes that cannot be automated and rely on labour,” he said.

On why more factories were hiring foreign workers instead of locals, Davies said industry players had no choice because Malaysians were choosy.

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