Archive for November, 2017

Parents and pupils welcome PPSR

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Parents and pupils have welcomed the Primary School Assessment Report (PPSR) as part of the Year Six UPSR results.

Venyaa Sivakumar was one of the 59 Year Six pupils at SK USJ2, Subang Jaya, who sat for the UPSR or Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah.

“I don’t know what to feel as my emotions are all over the place but I am thankful for my results.

“It is a good change (to the system) because not every pupil is academically inclined and neither is everyone into sports and extracurricular activities

Proud of her overall achievement, Venyaa’s mother Rajes Mutthusamy, 44, welcomed the new move.

“Holistically assessing pupils beyond their academic ability is certainly better than the previous methods,” she added.

Delighted with her results, Year Six pupil Aina Atiqah Mohd Afzan said despite being the school head prefect, she managed to pay equal attention to her studies as well as the various components involved.

Jumping for joy: (From left) Aina, Atiqah Marissa Marzuki, Venyaa Sivakumar, Zaira Nadheera Ammar and Nur Alya Zulaikha Zafri Zin celebrating their UPSR results in Subang Jaya.

Jumping for joy: (From left) Aina, Atiqah Marissa Marzuki, Venyaa Sivakumar, Zaira Nadheera Ammar and Nur Alya Zulaikha Zafri Zin celebrating their UPSR results in Subang Jaya.

“The new format is definitely better and I feel it assesses us fairly.

“To enter good schools, we must be excellent in every aspect and not just in academics,” said the pupil who obtained 5As and 1B.

Her mother, Suriyati Maidin, 40, praised the ministry’s decision for not disclosing how schools perform in the UPSR.

“This way, you produce more holistic learners because it is not balanced for children to just focus on exams and not involve themselves in extracurricular activities,” she said.

She believes it is good for their overall learning curve.

The school’s English teacher, who only wanted to be known as Kong, also agreed with the move saying it is commendable to have an assessment as holistic as the PPSR as pupils are not merely evaluated based on their grades.

“Some may be good in sports while some are perhaps more academically inclined.

“As an educator, I welcome this move because if we are stuck with the 20th century’s ways of teaching and learning, we will not move on,” she added.

Starting this year, Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin said Year Six pupils would no longer be judged formally based on the number of As they score in their UPSR examination but will also receive formal reports for sports, physical and curricular activities assessment, classroom assessment and psychometric assessment.

“All these components are part of the PPSR,” he said when announcing the analysis yesterday.

“A large portion of pupils showed good and excellent achievements in co-curricular activities,” he said, adding that only 0.2% of pupils were not up to par.

He said 5.6% received an A while 68.9% (302,018 pupils) scored B for their co-curricular assessment.

Dr Amin said the physical assessment showed that 189,929 pupils (43.9%) were active, 168,101 (38.8%) were very active while 40,957 (9.5%) were highly active.

He also said that 63.4% (268,314) had a normal body mass index (BMI) while 13.4% (56,584) were obese and 9.5% (40,347) were underweight.

There were seven constructs for the psychometric assessment with 77.7% showing existential tendencies, 77.3% being more intrapersonal, 68.9% interpersonal, 63.2% naturalistic, 54.4% kinesthetic, 50.3% inclined towards mathematical logic and 43.4% showing visual space tendencies, said Dr Amin.

“The number of pupils scoring straight As this year (in UPSR) increased by 1% to 8,958 (2.1%),” said Dr Amin.
Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/24/parents-and-pupils-welcome-ppsr-it-is-a-good-system-that-encourages-youngsters-to-do-more-all-at-onc/#mrYCXhbYSKbqcfxa.99

Robotics competition to instil interest in STEM subjects.

Saturday, November 25th, 2017
Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (fourth right) shaking hands with a life-size robot as students and officials looks on during the World of Robotics National Championship 2017

Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (fourth right) shaking hands with a life-size robot as students and officials looks on during the World of Robotics National Championship 2017

THE teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education to primary schoolchildren is the way forward and is in line with the Government’s vision, said Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

“And robotics like the World of Robotics National Championship 2017 (WRC) will broaden minds and create more talents among the young students.

“STEM Education is very significant with the need of Industrial Revolution 4.0 that emphasised on knowledge, skills, technology and innovation in the digital and robotics industry.

“This is to educate students on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with the integration and application in the real world.

WRC, organised by World of Robotics Sdn Bhd and Pitsco Education with the cooperation of the Education Ministry and APU, had 575 students from 90 schools taking part in five categories.

The categories are Junior (aged five to six), Primary 1A, Primary 1B and Primary 2 (seven to 12) and Secondary (13 to 17).

World of Robotics managing director Lee Yew Kein was pleased with the response from schools and hoped participation would increase next year.

SK Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin teacher Roziah Sulaiman, from Jitra, Kedah, said it was the only rural school that took part and got first place in the primary school category last year.

“In fact, we have a Robotics Club set up in 2002 only but became active in the last three years.

“Our school is very proud of its achievement and a robotic character was painted in murals around the school,” she said.

A total of 575 students from 90 schools took part in this championship.

Nur Elisha Wong Muhammad Elyas Wong from SK Convent Bukit Nanas 1 teamed up with Omisha Dinesh from SJK(T) Simpang Lima to win the Junior category.

In the Primary 1A category, SJK(T) Serdang’s Sakkti Velan Vivekananda, Ghautheam Saravanan and Sharath Saravanan grabbed the first prize.

SK Dato Onn Jaafar’s trio Farah Qamilia Shahnizam, Muhamad Alif Burhan Shahnizam and Muhammad Aqil Hakim Kamal Bahrin emerged champions in the Primary 1B category.

SK Taman Melati’s Nur Maisarah Darwisya Mohd Faisal, Nurul Alya Hannani Nor Isham, and Adam Harris Mohd Khusyairy grabbed the first spot in the Primary 2 category while SMK Gombak Setia’s Muhammad Arif Erman, Ahmad Aiman Nor Azam, and Muhammad Hafizam Masril emerged champion in the secondary school category.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2017/11/25/robotics-competition-to-instil-interest-in-stem-subjects/#9eGuZ16EjOvo3xLF.99

English medium is no small matter

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

The Ruler of Johor is advocating the return of English-medium schools. It’s a call that should be heeded.

IT was an innocuous enough question. “If you had the opportunity to move to another part of Malaysia, where would you choose to live?”

Simple, right?

There are many places in Malaysia one could choose to stay – in parts of Johor, Penang, Melaka, Perak, even Kuala Lumpur, if you like the hustle and bustle.

The question clearly said another part of Malaysia, not another part of the world. So, how did they get it wrong?

I find it hard to sympathise with the students who misread the question but it does raise a question about the level of English understanding in the country – and the teaching of the language in our schools.

It’s a sad fact that the language has been on a steep downhill path for years. Our schools, our teachers, and even those in tertiary education seem to have abandoned the language. Remember “Scissor’s Salad”? Or “clothes that poke the eye”?

Recently, we in The Star designed a test for would-be sub-editors and drew up some homonyms – words like defuse/diffuse, aural/oral, cannon/canon, lightening/lightning, even the ever-so-common stationary/stationery – and asked interviewees to write sentences that would highlight the difference in meaning.

Many were left stumped. These were degree holders in English or English literature.

For those of us who drew up the test, it was an eye-opener. And very saddening.

We grew up in an age when English was spoken as comfortably as was Bahasa Malaysia and our mother tongues. We could switch from one to the other without the slightest hitch. Even the Hokkien dialect was part of the retinue.

Which is why I believe that the Sultan of Johor is right in his call to bring back the English medium of schooling.

Soon after his call, a survey found that 82% 10 Johoreans agreed to the return of the English-medium government schools. That’s more than eight out of 10!

The Ruler told The Star that the level of English among the people was deteriorating and something needed to be done to stop the rot.

The support has not only been from the Johoreans.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has picked up the cudgel in the matter.

He says English-medium schools should be set up to help the younger generation master the language.

Being fluent in English, the world’s lingua franca, will allow young Malaysians to compete in the global job market, he says.

Employability is now a big thing. Mastery of the language gives the young ones a competitive edge over others.

Let me make one thing clear. No one is advocating the relegation of the national language. That would be wrong.

Every Malaysian must be fluent in Bahasa Malaysia.

The national language is the glue that binds us all as one people, under one flag. Our mother tongue gives us our identities and reminds us of our roots. But English is the tool that will take us out into the global village and allow us to stand tall.

That global village is getting smaller by the day. Soon, there will be no place to hide.

Many groups like the Parent Action Group for Education have urged for the return of the English-medium schools. If fact, they have been doing it for some time, now. But it will be easier said than done.

Most of the teachers in our schools are themselves products of an education system that gave scant regard to English. They first need to be retrained to teach the language – and in the language.

An English-medium school will see many subjects being taught in English. Having spent my formative years in an English-medium school, I can vouch for them. They produce well-rounded students. At least they did, thanks to the teachers then.

There will be a dire need for teachers of the old school, the type who dedicate their lives to the education of the young. Those were teachers who spent countless hours making sure their charges were well-equipped to take on the world, the type of teachers who are remembered by their students even after a lifetime.

by Dorairaj Nadason
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/why-not/2017/11/24/english-medium-is-no-small-matter-the-ruler-of-johor-is-advocating-the-return-of-englishmedium-schoo/#bXh1s9YsGoW0We26.99

End violence against women

Saturday, November 25th, 2017
The recent emergence of reports detailing sexual harassment in the workplace from many organisations and institutions worldwide shows how pervasive this form of sexual violence is.

EVERY woman and every girl has the right to a life free of violence. Yet, this rupture of human rights occurs in a variety of ways in every community.

It particularly affects those who are most marginalised and most vulnerable.

Around the world, more than one in three women face violence throughout their lifetime; 750 million women were married before the age of 18, and more than 250 million have undergone female genital mutilation.

Women’s rights activists are being targeted at alarming levels.

And, violence against women politicians impedes progress on women’s civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.

Women who run for office are more likely to encounter violence than men; women human rights defenders are at greater risk; and horrifying sexual violence in conflict shows no sign of abating.

There is increasing recognition that violence against women is a major barrier to the fulfillment of human rights, and a direct challenge to women’s inclusion and participation in sustainable development and sustaining peace.

There is also increasing evidence that violence against women and girls is linked to other attacks, including violent extremism and even terrorism.

This violence, the most visible sign of pervasive patriarchy and chauvinism, directly impacts women’s physical and psychological health.

It affects whole families, communities and societies. While it continues, we will not achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The recent emergence of reports detailing sexual harassment in the workplace from many organisations and institutions worldwide shows how pervasive this form of sexual violence is.

I have stressed a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment at the United Nations (UN).

The Under-Secretary-General for Management, Jan Beagle, will follow up by chairing an Interagency Task Force that will examine our policies and look at strengthening our capacities to investigate reports and to support victims

Attacks on women are common to developed and developing countries.

Despite attempts to cover them up, they are a daily reality for many women and girls around the world.

Family violence, especially against women is a serious issue. Governments should take measures to reduce and prevent it.

It is time to further our collective action to end violence against women and girls — for good.

That takes all of us working together in our own countries, regions and communities, at the same time, towards the same goal.

The UN is committed to addressing violence against women in all its forms.

First, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against women has been funding civil society organisations for 20 years.

It has successfully awarded US$129 million (RM531 million) to 463 initiatives across 139 countries and territories.

Second, we recently launched the “Spotlight Initiative”, a large-scale effort by the UN and the European Union to eliminate all forms of violence against women.

By connecting our efforts with those of national governments and civil society, this initiative aims to strengthen action on laws and policies, prevention, and services for survivors.

Third, the UN Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Initiative is leading to a comprehensive programme to end sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in public spaces.

And fourth, earlier this year, I launched a new, victim-centred approach to sexual exploitation and abuse committed by those serving under the UN. I am determined to prevent and end these crimes, which cause such lasting damage to the people and to the institution itself.

These initiatives should help us deliver transformative changes.

But, much more needs to be done.

We need strong political will, increased resources and coordinated action.

By ANTÓNIO GUTERRES.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/11/307263/end-violence-against-women

Let the creative juices flow

Saturday, November 25th, 2017
The ease in which Malaysians manage to juggle Bahasa Malaysia, a Chinese dialect, an Indian one and English, sometimes all within one sentence, can leave people in awe. FILE PIC

A COUNTRY’s national language is a defining component of its culture and heritage.

At the same time, people’s ability to open up to global communication is more vital than ever. Where do we draw the line between safeguarding a national language and the creative licence to play with it?

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One of the first things a foreigner notices and appreciates when relocating to Malaysia is the good command of English and its widespread usage by the local population.

Especially those among us, for whom English is the only language, are in awe at the ease with which Malaysians manage to juggle Bahasa Malaysia, a Chinese dialect, an Indian one and English, sometimes all within one sentence. Mind boggling.

Malaysians love to talk, to communicate, to play with words at their disposal like a child with her favourite set of building blocks.

Most foreigners will recall one time or other, when they have asked a friendly neighbour to translate a long statement addressed to them in Bahasa Malaysia by their plumber, dobi lady or such. The translated version? “He said yes.”

We never fail to wonder how the original version was so much longer and included at least a couple of English words.

News broke out last week that Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) might soon be given the power to take legal action against those who fail to uphold Bahasa Malaysia as the national language. This new law aims at strengthening the use of the language, thus, penalising improper usage of it.

“So how-lah?” my Uber driver commented to me, as we listened to a radio debate on the subject during a trip downtown.

Of course, a language is much more than a means of communication. It stands in a historical context, it mirrors a community’s traditions, it has evolved within a cultural framework. Its further development is worth careful consideration and its protection is a serious endeavour.

Many countries have institutions that uphold their national language’s purity, that keep the holy grail of literary values, just like Malaysia’s DBP.

Their French counterpart for instance, the Académie Française, was officially established almost 400 years ago in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII.

The institute’s 40 members were known as les immortels, the immortals, as they are elected for life and the academy members choose a new associate only upon one fellow’s demise.

Also, just like DBP, the Académie Française is charged with publishing an official dictionary of the language, and therefore, safeguards its proper use and grammar.

Anglicism and so-called loanwords have been the academy’s bane for many years, especially as technology advances at an ever faster pace and the media and marketing world just loves to stir things up. Over the years, the French have gotten used to many neologisms proposed by the Académie Française.

They now comfortably use their own expressions for elsewhere widespread terms, such as computer, software or even email.

The French academy’s rulings, however, are only advisory, not binding on either the public or the government.

It seems that herein lays an important difference between the French council and its Malaysian counterpart.

The fun ends once a government institution is given the legal power to penalise users of “wrong” language.

What happens with the joie de vivre that translates into clever wordplay?

What happens to the certain
je ne sais quoi (a quality that cannot be described easily) that a foreign language expression
adds to an otherwise unemotional statement?

In our view, from the perspective of the foreigner looking in, the Malaysian’s love for their language as well as for foreign ones is their strong suit, not a flaw.

The ease with which a conversation seems to switch back and forth between languages is astounding. The effort in order to accommodate one’s counterpart shows great respect.

By FANNY BUCHELI-ROTTER.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/11/307265/let-creative-juices-flow

Empower education sector by harnessing latest tech developments: Mahdzir

Saturday, November 25th, 2017
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid. NSTP file pic SAIRIEN NAFI

PETALING JAYA: The latest developments in information and communication technology should be harnessed to further empower the country’s education sector.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said this is important, as the education sector plays a crucial role in realising Malaysia’s vision to become a high-income developed nation.

‘By maximising technology’s benefits with comprehensive internet coverage, teachers and students will be able to (access quality) sources of online teaching and learning; and (this would) facilitate (PdPc) in accordance with the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025,” he said in his speech which was read by Examinations Syndicate director Dr Aliah Ahmad Shah.

Aliah was representing Mahdzir at the 2017 KL EdTech Day, an educational technology conference for teachers.

Mahdzir also said that all Malaysians should be given access to quality education, beginning from pre-school.

‘The Ministry’s priority is to ensure that access to education (is open to all Malaysians) using existing technologies,” he added.

Around 300 teachers from across Malaysia gathered at the Brickfields Asia College, Petaling Jaya to attend the two-day talk and practical workshops which offer in-depth insight on the creative use of apps and devices to update pedagogy, streamline administrative processes and improve the outcome of teaching and learning.

By Beatrice Nita

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/307302/empower-education-sector-harnessing-latest-tech-developments-mahdzir

What graduate job hunters want

Friday, November 24th, 2017
PricewaterhouseCoopers celebrating its win at Malaysia’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers Awards Night 2017.

MALAYSIA’S 100 Leading Graduate Employers 2017 survey has found that university student and graduate job hunters seek employer leadership, training and development as well as good career prospects.

Factors such as attractive location, status and prestige. and high starting salary were least important to them.

The survey, which took place from January till mid-September, also determined employer attractiveness, which answers the question “Why do I want to work for this company?”.

The largest and longest-running graduate recruitment study in the country also reveals that 47.4 per cent of the respondents have not undergone internships while at the university.

This year, the respondents are willing to submit as many as 13 job applications before finding their first job. And 24.5 per cent have received job offers, marking a significant increase from the 18.9 per cent recorded last year.

University students and graduates, however, do not like long hours at work. They are willing to work 8.6 hours per day, the same duration recorded in the 2016 survey.

However, their expected starting salary has decreased this year compared to last year. The expected salary of RM2,712 is a decrease from the RM2,827 expected in 2016. The figure was RM2,999 in 2015.

In terms of internships, 43.1 per cent of students and graduates completed one formal internship while at university, while 7.2 per cent have undergone two formal practical experience.

Only 2.3 per cent have completed three or more internships during their studies. Compared to 2016, there is increased participation in work experience and social, voluntary and political activities by the respondents this year. Some 72.4 per cent are involved in social activities such as student societies, charities, religious groups and non-governmental organisations. Meanwhile, 71.9 per cent have work experience unrelated to their course of study.

The respondents are also involved in work, study or voluntary activities in a foreign country (32.7 per cent) and political activities such as political parties, lobbying or special interest groups (13.4 per cent).

This year, the survey gathered responses both online and offline from 29,659 university students and fresh graduates from tertiary institutions across the country. The number of respondents is an increase of 5.6 per cent from last year.

There is also an increase in respondents with above average achievements. Thirty-two per cent are from this high achieving group of students in 2017, compared to 26.8 per cent in 2016.

Forty-nine per cent are average students, while the remaining are those with below average academic achievements. A whopping 32 per cent are final-year students graduating this year while 20 per cent are expected to graduate in 2018. Seventeen per cent of respondents are fresh graduates.

The survey results were announced during Malaysia’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers Awards Night 2017 held in Kuala Lumpur.

PricewaterhouseCoopers emerged as the most popular employer among university students and graduates in the country, followed by Ernst & Young and Maybank. Other employers include Petronas; Top Glove Corporation Bhd; UEM Group; KPMG; AirAsia; Sime Darby; and Deloitte.

Ernst & Young Malaysia talent leader and partner Lee Soo Fern said the recognition is an affirmation that the firm is a good employer by providing career opportunities for aspiring talents.

“We are not the only firm which provides professional service but what is different is how we do it. The people, culture and support make the difference.

“We promote a sense of belonging, value diversity and ensure equal chance for success. We provide learning opportunities, career advancement and challenging assignments to encourage recruits to succeed sooner that they think they can,” she said.

Maybank talent attraction and workplace futurisation head Sophia Ang Wui Jiun said it believes in building talent and ensuring that the group stays relevant.

By Zulita Mustafa.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/11/305954/what-graduate-job-hunters-want

Students Need To Be Bold In Facing Industry 4.0 Challenges

Friday, November 24th, 2017

News Pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 (Bernama) — University students are encouraged to be bold in facing the challenges that come with the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0).

Chairman of UiTM Board of Directors Tan Sri Ir Dr Ahmad Zaidee Laidin said that as time passes, university students need to be open minded, able to move forward and thrive in today’s fast-changing world.

“I have been around since the first industrial revolution. Even though I’m an engineer by training, I adapted to the situation and now I stand as an educator,” he said during the Malaysia Higher Education Forum (MyHEF) 2017 : Redesigning Education for Industry 4.0.

While stressing that graduates must not fear the evolving technology that would affect the job market, Ahmad Zaidee said that jobs would evolve according to time.

“Data shows that 60 per cent of the current jobs will vanish in the future due to technology advancement and this is nothing new since the first industrial revolution. New jobs will be created. Just don’t be afraid to take the challenge,” he said.

Meanwhile, founder of the Centre for Research, Advisory and Technology (CREATE) Ng Yeen Seen, who was one of the five panelists at the forum, said she believed that lifelong learning through online courses would leave an impact on the traditional education as the system revolutionised.

“Now everything can be found online, making what is being learnt irrelevant in certain matters. Because of this, students must possess soft skills, especially in communications as it is vital to move forward,” she said.

She also opined that technology could replace jobs, but human workforce would remain relevant.

“Robots are created by humans. They do not possess creativity, problem solving skills and surely could not think out of the box and be innovative. This is what we (human) have,” she said.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1413806

Education D-G: Year Six pupils not judged solely on UPSR.

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017
PUTRAJAYA: Year Six pupils are no longer judged formally based on the number of As they score in their Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination.
Starting this year, Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin (pic) said they will also receive formal reports for sports, physical and curriculum activities assessment; classroom assessment and psychometric assessment.
All these components are part of the Primary School Assessment Report (PPSR) or Pelaporan Pentaksiran Sekolah Rendah, he said when announcing the PPSR report analysis on Thursday (Nov 23).
At the national level, sports, physical and curriculum activities assessment, UPSR and psychometric assessment give a general picture of the state of the primary school education system, he said.
“Overall, the results are good but there is still room for improvement,” said Dr Amin.
“Primary school pupils are assessed more meaningfully and holistically, and no longer just focused on their UPSR results.
A large portion of pupils showed good and excellent achievements in co-curricular activities with UPSR scores also improving this year.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/23/education-dg-year-six-pupils-not-judged-solely-on-upsr/#I6YXmKz0HLwmVOkk.99

The Finnish classroom

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017
Teachers Tiina Malste (second from left) and Emmi Herler-Westeråker (left) during the demonstration of Finnish education approach at SK Taman Megah in Petaling Jaya. PIC BY SADDAM YUSOFF

AS I open the door to the classroom, a typical Finnish Math lesson is under way.

The classroom is divided into four stations with desks and chairs arranged in a cluster to accommodate 10 students in a station. There are ice cream sticks and macaroni in one, and small tubs in red and blue in the other.

Forty pupils, divided into four groups, are engrossed in activities with their new teachers of the day, oblivious to observers in the room.

The Finnish education system has been making news since its outstanding PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results in 2000 and so much has been written about the system.

Its ability to produce high academic results among children, who do not start formal schooling until the age of 7, have short school hours, long holidays, relatively minimal homework and no exams, has long fascinated education experts around the world.

Recently, the Finland embassy in Malaysia organised a half-day demonstration of Finnish teaching and learning approaches in conjunction with its 100th year of independence. It was a chance not to be missed to see for myself what takes place in a Finnish classroom.

The lessons, ranging from English, Math to Music and Crafts, are conducted by Tiina Malste, a teaching expert, and Emmi Herler-Westeråker, an experienced teacher from EduCluster Finland. It is followed by a reflection session in the afternoon for the observers.

The one I observed was a Maths lesson conducted in English for 40 Year Two students at SK Taman Megah in Petaling Jaya.

Among the widely accepted explanation for Finnish success include Finland’s focus on teacher-student interaction and the demanding teacher-education system. Finnish education has a national curriculum, often revised, but how the teachers implement it is up to them. Their teachers are trusted as professionals and given a great deal of responsibility with flexibility on what and how they teach.

I was curious not only to observe if their lessons were any different, but also how the two teachers handled these eight-year-olds, who came from a different education system.

During the lesson on that day, both teachers, although not anxiously pacing around the classroom, had their eyes on the pupils. It was clear that decisions made during the lesson were with a common objective: to ensure that the child learns.

One of the basic principles of Finnish education is that the child comes first. Every pupil and student has the right to educational support from highly competent teachers and the child’s potential should be maximised.

To foster the potential of every child, a teacher must be alert and observant.

Malste, during the reflection session, said student individualisation meant the teacher was aware of each student’s behaviour and emotional state. It helps that in Finland, teachers generally stay with the same class for at least a couple of years.

As like any young children, some listen, while others don’t, during the lesson. Many times, I noticed that the teachers had the firm, no-nonsense approach similar to the traditional, teacher-centred classroom instruction. Yet, most of the time, they were gentle and approachable.

It was as simple as when the time was up at a station and the pupils needed to move to the next one. Both teachers made sure that they queued up and moved in an orderly manner. Another example was when Herler-Westeråker explained a math concept on the board.

One girl, who was sitting at the end of the table, was distracted by the pupils in the next station and was not paying attention. Realising this, the teacher moved the pupil quietly nearer to the board to bring her focus back to the lesson.

What’s also interesting was that each child got his or her own math practice exercise on small laminated card that the teacher had prepared earlier to pace the pupils and track their progress. The pupils used ice cream sticks and macaroni to complete the tasks on addition.

When one child got the right answer, the teacher would give him or her another piece of card to attempt. When a child did not get the right answer, the teacher would decide if the child needed more help.

In Finland, students are not categorised based on their abilities. Teaching is adjusted to serve the mixed abilities in a classroom. Effective teaching is more important than the size of the classroom. Teachers must be aware of their students’ levels and prepare the tasks accordingly.

Earlier, the lesson started with a brief instruction for these pupils on what they were going to do at each station for an hour that day. Only two out of the four stations needed thorough instructions with some teaching but the other two got the students working independently.

By HAZLINA AZIZ.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/11/306347/finnish-classroom