Teachers should have good English

Thursday June 28, 2012


I REFER to the news report “Don’t fear test, teachers told” (The Star, June 21). I fully support the Education Ministry’s long overdue move to assess the proficiency levels of English language teachers using the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT).

Rather than fearing or opposing such a move, schoolteachers should welcome the move to prove that the English language woes of students are not caused by their own lack of proficiency. The proficiency level of the teachers has long been in dispute, with some people likening the situation to a case of the blind leading the blind.

Those teachers who fail to achieve a minimum proficiency band of C1 should be asked to re-sit the test until they are able to achieve the required competence.

In fact, a higher band of proficiency should be imposed on those at teacher training institutes before they are allowed to qualify as TESL graduates. The same should apply to those who are taking the Bachelor of Education in TESL at various universities.

I am glad that in trying to improve the English proficiency levels of the students, the focus has shifted from seeking better pedagogy and improving the curriculum to addressing teacher inadequacy. Previously it was rather convenient to blame weak proficiency on the students’ lack of interest, and to attribute the cause of that to not having made a pass in English compulsory for the award of certificates.

Teachers who fail to make the minimum grade should be encouraged to take up reading for pleasure to make improvements. Students often do not have the reading habit, as they have not been encouraged by the teachers who, not having the reading habit themselves, fail to preach what they do not practise.


Dungun, Terengganu

A student’s cry for help

Thursday June 28, 2012


ONE day, a teacher in our school told the Science Stream students to stay back after assembly. The teacher then addressed the Science Stream students: “You are the asset of the school and we believe all of you can get straight A’s in the SPM.”

I see that only Science Stream students are cherished. Programmes are organised only for straight A students, while the weak students are ignored.

In my school, and also my friend’s, we find that teachers don’t have the commitment to help the slow learners.

Every school wants to be the best and to achieve that, they want more straight A students. But becoming the best school is not the reason why schools are built. It should be a place for all students – whether in the Science Stream or Art Stream – to learn and explore new things.

It is not just the schools’ fault, but also the Malaysian mentality. They think Science Stream students are the best. Others may be weaker, but the teachers can still put in some effort to help them achieve success.

I see students failing in their exams and I have discussed this with the teachers. They tell me that the students themselves hate to study, and the students have given up on education. Even if that were true, should the teachers do the same like the students? Give up on the students?

Students emulate their teachers, so why would a weak student strive to do well when the teachers themselves have already given up and lost their belief in the poor students? Children will surely give up if their parents do not believe in them. When teachers see students failing, they are supposed to work harder on them and motivate them, because these students need the teachers more than anything.

School should be the centre of learning for everyone. The Arts students, the technical students, all of us want a better future. We want to go to university, we want to give back to our country. We need the teachers, but the teachers have no faith in us because of our past failures.

The smart students are pampered with the teachers’ faith and motivation while the weak students are ignored. My friend is in the last class, and he tells me that his teachers aren’t bothered with teaching in his class.

Everyone is entitled to education, and we accept that teachers can’t do everything because they are only human. As for teachers who don’t help the failing students, maybe they can start anew. If we are your children, will you, as teachers, let your children sink into failure forever? So I beg the teachers to devote more attention to those who need them.

Every year, when the SPM results are announced, the Science Stream students are always the top achievers while the rest end up holding “a piece of failure”. Yes, we failed because of ourselves, and they succeeded because of their hard work. But we can’t stand by ourselves, we need you teachers.


GOOD TEACHERS: A good salarywill help

Sunday, June 24, 2012

By Marisa Demori, Kuala Lumpur 0 comments

I REFER to the report “What makes a good teacher?” last Sunday. I think what makes a good teacher is a good salary.

Teachers, like other workers, work for money and the better they are paid, the more passion they will have for the job.

A teacher has his or her own needs plus those of their families, and these needs must be satisfied before the teacher can be effective in the classroom.

I could never identify with the school of thought that teachers are social workers who would go overboard to inspire and motivate their students, even to the point of establishing a personal relationship with them and their families.

A teacher is simply the medium between the book and the students. The relationship between the teacher and his or her students is a professional one, not a social or a friendly one. Teachers who want to be respected must keep their distance and their privacy.

A trained teacher has at his or her disposal all the tools to conduct lessons and to make sure that students learn.

With a trained teacher there is no possibility of the students not learning or failing an exam.

A true teacher is serious, disciplined, just and firm. A good teacher commands the respect of his or her students and has no problem completing the syllabus.

My final observation is that a good teacher cannot be a teacher for long.

He or she will want to progress the same way students progress. And so after five or 10 years of teaching a good teacher will want to become a head teacher, a head of department and perhaps even a principal.

Read more: GOOD TEACHERS: A good salarywill help – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/good-teachers-a-good-salarywill-help-1.97533#ixzz1ysPV2tAe

GOOD TEACHERS: Experience and passion matter more

Sunday, June 24, 2012

By R. Murali Rajaratenam, Kuala Lumpur 0 comments

TEACHING is the profession that teaches all others and the cardinal mistake is to think that qualifications make a good teacher. They don’t. When you’re faced with 30 to 50 truculent students, qualifications do not count for much.

If you don’t have the right personality, you’ll suffer in the bear-pit of today’s classrooms. An article in The Guardian some time back stated that there were four types of teachers who were effective: the despot, the carer, the charmer and the rebel.

Despotic teachers are literally “The Terminator” of teaching; the tough guy or gal who everyone turns to when the going gets really tough. They are nearly always very experienced teachers who know not only all the pupils but their parents as well. Most “books” don’t advocate this approach to teaching, but I have to admit it can be very effective, even if morally dubious. Despotic teachers often extract fantastic work from their pupils, and rarely have to use their full armoury. Their reputations are usually enough. They are often highly organised, making their classrooms into small fortresses.

Carers take on the role of surrogate parents to their pupils. Many don’t have degrees, and have been appointed as “mentors” or “support teachers” to help struggling pupils plan out their lives. Usually, pupils love seeing their mentors, and learn from them the vital skill of “taking responsibility for their own learning”.

The “charmer”, one that I subscribe to in my approach to teaching, is quite different from both the above examples. They can be a disorganised species, living off adrenaline and wit. They are frequently highly academic, seeking to be mates with their students and to understand them and play with them. With this sort of teacher, the classroom becomes one great big, bouncing playground of learning.

The most controversial but often most effective kind of teacher is the rebel. These teachers see school as a place that should aim to transform society. Unfortunately, they have become a dying breed.

But, the crucial point here is that none of these teachers learned their skills by getting a good degree; they learned them on the job. All can ­improve by watching other good ­teachers in the classroom and learning from their techniques. Research shows that all the best teachers motivate their pupils to work hard and assess them regularly.

So, instead of demoralising teachers with ill-informed comments about what makes a good teacher, the authorities should commit themselves to putting enough money and time into training teachers.

The current policy, if implemented, won’t improve the standard of teaching and will instead further dishearten an already deflated profession.

Read more: GOOD TEACHERS: Experience and passion matter more – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/good-teachers-experience-and-passion-matter-more-1.97532#ixzz1ysO9JfnL

GOOD TEACHERS: Offer a shoulder for students to lean on

Sunday, June 24, 2012

By David Tih, Malacca 0 comments

EDUCATORS play a very important role in nation-building. There is no doubt that they have taught many students, who later go on to become successful professionals, such as doctors, engineers and lawyers, holding important positions in society and the nation.

.Nor Azlida Mohamed of SK Sungai Berua, Terengganu, teaching Orang Asli children to read and write. Educators play a vital role in nation-building.

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Without teachers, it would be very difficult, if not impossible for society to develop and advance.

However, besides the basic duty of teaching, a good educator is someone who can nurture his or her students’ potential and turn them into all-rounders.

A good and respected teacher is also a good companion, friend and counsellor to students, people that can be depended on in hard times.

Today’s demanding lifestyle sometimes leave students tense.

If students can talk to teachers and vent their frustrations, it will help curb depression and suicide among students.

As pointed out by William Doraisamy in an interview last week, one need not be a graduate to be a good teacher. Many non-graduate teachers have proven that they possess the ability to teach and make their lessons interesting, and fun.

Their passion, humility, dedication, emotional maturity, experience, strong personality, knowledge, wisdom, and courage enable them to teach with distinction. These teachers are truly the nation’s unsung heroes.

Read more: GOOD TEACHERS: Offer a shoulder for students to lean on – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/good-teachers-offer-a-shoulder-for-students-to-lean-on-1.97534#ixzz1ysNI9rpj

Once a cikgu, always a cikgu

Sunday June 24, 2012



RETIRED teachers are encouraged to be involved in the Government’s efforts to transform the country as part of the National Key Result Areas programme.

The experience that retired teachers possess is irreplaceable when it comes to providing feedback for revamping the nation’s education system, said Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi.

“Since education is lifelong, teachers are in charge of educating not only in the classroom or when on duty. They are still responsible, even after retirement. Their experience is very important,” he said in his address during an event to explain government policies and current issues to retired teachers.

“People in other professions do not have lifelong titles. But with teachers, even after retirement, people still call them cikgu,” he said, adding that teachers are the ones who help students achieve their potential.

Dr Mohd Puad (left) chatting with retired teachers at the Government Policy and Current Issue Explanation ceremony.

He said some retired teachers are still working to fill the void of English teachers.

“English is a very important subject so when there was a shortage of teachers, we contacted teachers from among the retirees,” said Dr Mohd Puad.

Thanaletchumy Ayanadian, 69, who was the headmaster at SJK(T) Jalan Fletcher, said that it is a good idea to continue using the skill of retired teachers.

“But they must get good teachers,” she said.

When asked if she would go back to teaching, she chuckled and said that due to her age, she would not go back to teaching. Instead, she could offer advice.

Her suggestions for the current education system include making sure that primary school pupils know their basics before allowing them to move up a year.

“If a Year One student is very behind in lessons, he or she should not be automatically promoted,” she said, adding that she had come across Year Six pupils who could not even write their names.

“Parents take for granted that their children will go on to the next level, so if it doesn’t happen automatically, parents will put in more effort to help them,” she said.

Newly-retired but still keen to contribute to the field of education, former headmaster of SJK(C) Kepong 1, Lee Kam Wah is involved with two educational organisations — the National Association of Chinese School Teachers and the Chung Hua Cultural Education Centre.

He told a recent education reform forum that the education system needs to be more open and flexible.

“We should change the system so that it can be used in any country.”

He added that in this global age, it is important to improve the standard of English among Malaysian students in the quest for knowledge and opportunities.

“Learning does not have anymore boundaries and children should learn from each other. Mutual learning is very important,” said Lee.

He added that there should be more emphasis on teaching moral values.

“We need to teach students things like honouring their parents, giving back to society and so on.”

The country’s education system is currently under review, which involves collecting feedback from all relevant parties in a series of dialogues.

Six of the public dialogue sessions, in which all interested parties are invited to air their views, have taken place in nine different states.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Mohd Puad also said that although the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) had been recognised and would be accepted for entry into local institutes of teacher education, certain criteria must be met.

Applicants have to pass English at the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) level, get a credit in Bahasa Melayu and obtain at least three credits in the UEC, he said.

He added that out of 355 applicants last year, 116 met the minimum requirements and were interviewed.

Out of those, only 14 were accepted for teacher training. This year, there were 198 applicants.

Sekolah luar bandar perlukan perhatian PPD

24 Jun 2012, Ahad

Pahang Darul Makmur

SAYA ingin mengucapkan tahniah kepada seluruh warga pendidik daerah Lipis khususnya Pejabat Pelajaran Daerah Lipis kerana telah berjaya melaksanakan tugas selaku tuan rumah Sambutan Hari Guru Peringkat Negeri Pahang 2012 dengan begitu jayanya.

Hal ini membuktikan kepada umum bahawa warga pendidik sememangnya bertaraf dunia, dapat melaksanakan apa sahaja tanggungjawab yang diamanahkan dengan penuh kebertanggungjawaban.

Sambutan bermula dengan pertandingan memancing, memasak gulai tempoyak ikan patin, pertandingan woodball, pertandingan golf, kayuhan pendeta, mendaki Gua Bama, pameran pendidikan, rawatan kesihatan, ziarah hospital, makan malam, sehinggalah ke hari pelancaran oleh Menteri Besar Pahang, sambutan daripada warga pendidik sangat menggalakkan dari seluruh negeri Pahang.

Saya ingin respon tentang program ‘Pengarah Turun Padang’ yang dinyatakan oleh Yahaya Zainal Abidin, Pengarah JPN Pahang dalam ucapannya. Tahniah kerana beliau telah banyak melawat sekolah dan sesi perjumpaan dengan warga pendidik telah dilakukan. Beliau menunjukkan komitmen berjumpa dengan seluruh warga pendidik dan memberikan motivasi kepada guru-guru. Warga pendidik sangat-sangat teruja dan berterima kasih kerana dikunjungi dalam suasana mesra dan santai. Guru-guru dapat meluahkan masalah tanpa ada rasa tertekan. Inilah yang guru-guru mahukan, peringkat atasan sanggup turun ke akar umbi menyelami masalah di kalangan ahli.

Bagaimanapun, kami mengharapkan pelaksanaan program ini dapat diterjemahkan kepada ‘Pegawai Pelajaran Daerah Turun Padang’ atau ringkasnya ‘PPD Turun Padang’.

Banyak maklumat akan dapat apabila turun sendiri ke sekolah. Bukannya bermakna tidak percaya kepada pegawai-pegawai yang sebegitu ramai di PPD.

Kami mahu Pegawai PPD lihat sendiri keadaan sekolah di daerah masing-masing terutamanya Sekolah Kurang Murid (SKM) dan jauh di pedalaman.

Lihat sendiri keadaan fizikal sekolah dan hulurkan bantuan segera. Jangan asyik tertumpu kepada sekolah-sekolah elit di bandar.

Guru-guru akan berasa bangga sekiranya Pegawai PPD datang ke sekolah tanpa perlu dijemput dengan surat panjang berjela. Guru-guru begitu memerlukan perhatian dan suntikan semangat dari Pegawai PPD.

Jangan tunggu keputusan peperiksaan sudah merosot barulah datang untuk mencari kelemahan guru-guru. Musim peperiksaan UPSR, PMR dan SPM tidak lama lagi, inilah masanya Pegawai PPD bertemu murid-murid yang akan menduduki peperiksaan dan juga guru-guru yang bertungkus-lumus tanpa mengira waktu.

Lihat sendiri bagaimana bersemangatnya guru-guru mencurahkan ilmu bagi menaikkan nama sekolah dan daerah masing-masing. Semoga tema ‘Guru Menjana Transformasi Pendidikan Negara’ dihayati dan dekat di hati seluruh warga pendidik.

7,975 guru lepasan diploma naik taraf ke gred DG41

24 Jun 2012, Ahad


BATU PAHAT 23 Jun – Seramai 7,975 guru perkhidmatan pendidikan lepasan diploma (PPLD) yang telah melanjutkan pengajian ke peringkat ijazah akan dinaik taraf sebagai pegawai perkhidmatan pendidikan siswazah (PPS) gred DG41 tahun ini.

Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran, Dr. Mohd. Puad Zarkashi berkata, Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) meluluskan perjawatan baru itu kepada guru-guru tersebut pada Mei lalu.

Beliau menjelaskan, golongan itu merupakan sebahagian daripada guru-guru PPLD yang diberi peluang melanjutkan pelajaran secara jarak jauh dengan kerjasama Universiti Terbuka Malaysia (OUM) menerusi program pensiswazahan guru.

“Baru-baru ini, timbul isu guru-guru yang telah disiswazahkan belum disahkan perjawatan ke gred DG41 terutama bagi kohort dua, tiga, empat dan lima.

“Kita dan universiti melahirkan guru, tetapi hendak melantik perlukan kelulusan Perbendaharaan (treasury) sebab ‘dia’ akan bayar gaji dan luluskan perjawatan. Jadi, ini menyebabkan guru yang telah disiswazahkan ini kena menunggu untuk dinaikkan daripada PPLD kepada PPS,” katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian kepada pemberita selepas merasmikan sambutan Hari Guru peringkat Parlimen Batu Pahat di Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Chong Hwa di Senggarang di sini hari ini.

Difahamkan sehingga kini, seramai 13,558 guru yang sebelum ini mempunyai kelulusan diploma berjaya ‘disiswazahkan’ menerusi program pensiswazahan tersebut.

Sementara itu, Mohd. Puad berkata, dalam Rancangan Malaysia Ke-10 (RMK-10) yang berakhir 2016, Kementerian Pelajaran menyasarkan seramai 66,124 guru lagi akan menyambung pengajian ke peringkat ijazah bagi meningkatkan kualiti pendidikan negara.

Katanya, matlamat itu semakin hampir apabila hanya tinggal 2,464 guru belum berpeluang menyambung pengajian ke peringkat ijazah.

“Seramai 20,102 orang akan mengikuti program pensiswazahan guru pada September ini sekali gus menjadikan baki sasaran yang belum disiswazahkan sebanyak 32,464 orang.

“Bagaimanapun, daripada jumlah baki tersebut, 30,000 didapati tidak layak kerana berusia lebih 50 tahun justeru hanya tinggal 2,464 lagi yang perlu disiswazahkan,” katanya.

Mohd. Puad berkata, sehingga kini, guru berijazah mewakili 98 peratus tenaga pengajar di sekolah menengah manakala di sekolah rendah, 39.8 peratus.

Lebih 3,000 guru gred DGA29, DGA32 berijazah belum dilantik ke gred DG41

Posted on June 22, 2012, Friday

KUCHING: Lebih 3,000 guru Bumiputera daripada gred DGA29 dan DGA32 di Sarawak yang telah menamatkan pengajian Sarjana Muda masih belum dilantik ke gred baharu DG41.
Yang Dipertua Kesatuan Guru Bumiputera Sarawak (KGBS) Ahmad Malie berkata perkara itu telah menjadi rungutan di kalangan guru terbabit terutama ahli KGBS kerana ia telah melalui tempoh yang agak lama.
“Mereka khuatir disebabkan kelewatan pelantikan ini akan menjejaskan senioriti dan peluang kerjaya mereka pada masa akan datang,” katanya menerusi sistem pesanan ringkas (SMS), semalam.
Menurut Ahmad, terdapat kalangan guru tersebut yang telah menamatkan pengajian pada 2010 dan 2011.
Katanya mereka terdiri daripada golongan guru Pegawai Perkhidmatan Pelajaran Lepasan Diploma (PPPLD) yang menyambung belajar dan telah menamatkan pengajian tetapi belum dilantik ke gred baharu DG41.
“KGBS menggesa agar Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia (KPM) melantik segera guru-guru yang telah tamat pengajian ini khususnya bagi yang di bawah program anjuran KPM.
“KGBS menerima rungutan mengenai perkara ini kerana mereka belum lagi dilantik ke DG41 walaupun ada antara mereka yang telah tamat pengajian sejak dua tahun lepas,” katanya.

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Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/06/22/lebih-3000-guru-gred-dga29-dga32-berijazah-belum-dilantik-ke-gred-dg41/#ixzz1yTrRPVjT

Use the cane in school wisely

Friday June 22, 2012


MANY are against the use of the cane in schools as corporal punishment to address problematic schoolchildren with discipline issues.

There are of course advantages and disadvantages in bringing back the use of the cane to curb indiscipline among students in government schools. Caning should not be a problem if it is supervised correctly.

The Education Ministry should weigh the pros and cons of bringing back the use of canes in schools. Many parents are against caning as a way to discipline their sons while an equal number are in favour as it is for their children’s own good.

If caning is allowed, only school heads and disciplinary teachers should be given the authority to do it. During my time studying in a mission school in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, besides the principal and disciplinary teacher carrying the cane, almost all the teachers were allowed to carry one – the most notable “cane” being the feather duster.

It had a dual role – the feathered part to wipe off dust, and the handle used as a cane. I remembered once my class teacher caned the whole class on the back of our palms with a cane for making noise.

This type of punishment, even a pinch on the body, should not be allowed and I am totally against it. Only hardcore, recalcitrant and disobedient schoolboys (schoolgirls should not be caned) found breaking the school rules should be caned, preferably on their buttocks.

This should be done behind closed doors in the presence of the class teacher, the disciplinary master and parents. Even that, too, with extreme care not to injure or tear the skin or leave any indelible marks.

Parents should be notified beforehand on how the caning would be administered. But there is no need for parents to be present to witness the caning.

As for public caning, the offence should be of the extreme nature in the likes of students involved in gangsterism, fighting and blackmailing or extortion. We do not want our boys to “graduate” as gangsters in government-owned schools.

Vandalism of school property and truancy should not be punishable, but counselling given instead. At the end of the day, the cane should be used wisely and with care.


Kuala Lumpur