INDISCIPLINE: History proves that violence breeds violence

Thursday, June 21, 2012

THOSE who think caning is an acceptable form of punishment for children should read the story of James Bulger.

James Bulger was a toddler from Liverpool, England, who on Feb 12, 1993 was abducted from a shopping mall, while his mother was distracted and brutally killed.

What was shocking was that those who committed the murder were children themselves, and only 10 years old.

The court was lenient and sentenced the two to only eight years in detention each. Another factor that might have influenced its decision was the abusive background the child offenders came from.

One of them had a particularly dysfunctional family. The father beat the mother and the mother beat the children. She had six of them and hit them regularly, with her hands, a cane or any object that came her way.

While the children could have helped each other, they instead replicated their parents’ behaviour. The older children beat the younger ones, until the youngest, who was 10, had no one else to vent his frustration on. So he decided to get a friend’s help and find a target that he was sure to overpower — 2-year-old Bulger.

This story shows that the only reason why we can beat another person is because he or she is physically weaker than us. It does not matter whether a child in school has misbehaved, because neither the discipline teacher nor the principal will dare cane him if he or she were of bigger size.

Teachers and other school personnel often misbehave, too. Teachers can be late for class, they may not be prepared for the lesson, they may be unable to complete the syllabus, they may openly flaunt school rules, disrespect students and commit a myriad of other offences. Yet if the principal were to cane the teachers, they would certainly strike back.

And while the child cannot hit back, he is likely to pick on someone else for his revenge, someone weaker than him. And history will repeat itself when the child grows up and beats his own children.

Thus, violence breeds violence, from the strongest to the weakest, and from the leader to the last of his followers.

Powerful countries are seen to act in a similar way against less powerful nations.

Thus, it is perhaps not inappropriate to say that all wars begin at homes, classrooms or in schools where caning takes place.

Marisa Demori, Kuala Lumpur

Read more: INDISCIPLINE: History proves that violence breeds violence – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times

NUTP sec-gen: English proficiency assessments not carried out to find fault

Thursday June 21, 2012


PETALING JAYA: English language teachers should not fear getting their level of proficiency assessed, said National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng.

“Teachers must not think that the tests are administered to find fault with them,” she commented on the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT) and Pedagogy Standards for English Language Teaching test online.

Starting from May, all English language teachers in schools are required to sit for the test.

Lok said that all state teaching unions had agreed that the tests should be carried out as the module on the continuous development for teachers will be based on the outcome of these assessments.

“If we want to improve the standard of English among students, there is no other way but to make sure that teachers are proficient in English,” said Lok.

Education Ministry deputy director-general (Teacher Development Professionalism) Datuk Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said teachers would be placed at different bands or Com-mon European Framework of Refer-ence for Languages (CEFR) levels according to their scores from CPT.

“Teachers should aim to achieve a minimum of band C1 (effective proficiency) in their CPT results. Those who are placed along bands B1 and B2 (scores of less than 75) will be sent for retraining courses,” saidDr Khair Mohamad.

Malaysian English Language Tea-ching Association president Dr Gana-kumaran Subramaniam suggested that teachers be provided with specific feedback on their CPT scores.

“Teachers may not be able to know which area they are weak in from their overall CPT score. It would be better if teachers receive a breakdown of their scores so that they can improve,” said Dr Ganakumaran.

Chinese language a must for trainees

Thursday June 21, 2012

IPOH: Students aspiring to become Chinese school teachers at all 27 teachers training institutes (IPG) nationwide must take up Chinese language as an elective subject, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

This is to ensure higher quality Chinese teachers besides addressing teacher shortages, he added.

“The ruling will apply to the next batch of 490 students, of which 60 of them will be enrolled at an IPG campus in Ipoh,” he said after visiting the campus in Hulu Kinta yesterday.

In KLUANG, Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Hou Kok Chungsaid the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) had disbursed loans totalling RM44bil to almost two million students as of April.

He said the list of successful applicants for places at local universities was expected to be released next month.

Not just by caning alone

Wednesday June 20, 2012

IN response to Ewan A. Nedma’s article on “Caning no remedy for indiscipline” (Star, May 29), I believe the real issue is not the recalcitrant students but the teachers who carry out the caning.

Like the author, I was caned for all the stupid reasons in primary school. One was forgetting to ask my parents to sign my homework after it had been completed.

Spoil the rod and spare the child, but what about the person who handles the rod? I found that many teachers did not understand the rationale for caning, and caned students for superficial and unnecessary reasons.

Many teachers see caning as the only means to handle indiscipline effectively. They choose to cane students because to them, it does all the needed work quickly.

They think the nasty strokes of the rotan would convey an unmistakable warning to the students. However, this may not be so.

When a discipline teacher canes his student, he may think: see, I’m caning you, remember the pain, and remember never to skip class again.

However, the unspoken message may not reach the student. Unless the student sees the true purpose behind the caning, he or she is likely to harbour bitter resentments after the punishment.

Perhaps the school can temporarily control the behaviour of problematic students by caning them. But what they cannot control are their thoughts and negative feelings.

Whether students deserve the harsh discipline or not, they have felt physical pain that can have a bad psychological impact on them. The accumulation of bitter feelings may aggravate juvenile delinquency.

For physical punishment to bring out its best effect, schools should provide counselling for such students. This is so that problematic students have the necessary guidance to reflect on their mistakes.

Students should be given the opportunity not only to vent their anger, but also to be corrected and given the necessary advice by counsellors.

Teachers should not assume physical punishment would solve discipline issues to the very end. Caning, or any other form of physical punishment, is just the beginning of a long process of educating our future generation to stay on the right track.


Petaling Jaya

Langkah transformasi pendidikan

19 Jun 2012, Selasa

KUALA LUMPUR 18 Jun – Bidang profesionalisme perguruan dan aspirasi rakyat terhadap sistem pendidikan dan kemenjadian murid merupakan tumpuan utama yang perlu diberi perhatian dalam transformasi pendidikan.

Menteri Pelajaran, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin berkata, perkara itu merupakan dapatan awal setelah lapan siri dialog dan tujuh perbincangan meja bulat dijalankan melalui penilaian semula sistem pendidikan negara.

“Seramai 8,415 orang daripada pelbagai lapisan masyarakat dan latar belakang pendidikan termasuk wakil daripada bidang keagamaan menyertai dialog ini.

“Namun masih ada ruang dan peluang untuk mereka menyumbang kerana terdapat lima siri dialog lagi akan berlangsung sehingga pertengahan bulan depan,” katanya bagi menjawab soalan Teng Boon Soon (BN-Tebrau) pada sesi soal jawab di Dewan Rakyat hari ini.

Muhyiddin yang juga Timbalan Perdana Menteri menambah, sesi perbincangan meja bulat juga dijangka dapat diselesaikan dalam tempoh sama.

Tambahnya, sesi yang bermula April lalu itu disertai kumpulan seperti penggerak masyarakat, ahli akademik, tokoh dan pemimpin masyarakat termasuk di kalangan golongan orang kurang upaya (OKU).

Menurut beliau, isu-isu yang dibangkitkan semasa sesi tersebut kebanyakannya menyentuh persoalan hampir sama seperti yang dibincangkan dalam siri dialog nasional.

“Antaranya, mengenai kualiti guru, sistem pendidikan, kurikulum dan pentaksiran kualiti sekolah dan pendidikan yang bebas daripada campur tangan politik,” katanya.

Dalam pada itu, Muhyiddin menambah, berdasarkan sesi dialog dan perbincangan tersebut, sebanyak 27 peratus responden menyentuh aspek profesionalisme perguruan, kebajikan dan kemahiran pengajaran guru.

Sebanyak 14 peratus responden pula, katanya, menyentuh mengenai aspirasi sistem pendidikan dan pembangunan modal insan yang lebih menyeluruh, kualiti sekolah (12 peratus) dan kepimpinan sekolah (11 peratus).

“Kerajaan berterima kasih kepada pertubuhan, persatuan, kesatuan, kumpulan komuniti dan pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) yang telah menghantar 22 memorandum mengandungi pandangan, resolusi dan cadangan yang kesemuanya sangat bernilai melalui sumbangan kepada penambahbaikan sistem pendidikan negara,” katanya.

Kekurangan guru sukar diatasi

19 Jun 2012, Selasa

KUALA LUMPUR 18 Jun – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mengakui kerajaan masih gagal menyelesaikan sepenuhnya masalah kekurangan guru di negara ini.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri berkata, masalah kekurangan guru merupakan isu yang sering dibangkitkan di Kementerian Pelajaran, antaranya disebabkan persaraan guru dan masalah penempatan guru terutama arahan pertukaran.

Menurut beliau, pihak kementerian terpaksa mengambil kira pelbagai perkara termasuk faktor sosial yang dibangkitkan oleh guru selain menyentuh isu kemanusiaan.

“Kalau guru itu perempuan dan sudah berkahwin ditukarkan, dia akan mengambil faktor sosial seperti rumah tangga, suami dan sebagainya.

“Soal-soal sebegini timbul menyebabkan kita tidak dapat memenuhi tuntutan sebenar, jadi isu kemanusiaan berbangkit menyebabkan kita ada masalah melaksanakannya secara lebih cekap,” katanya ketika menjawab soalan tambahan Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong-DAP) pada sesi soal jawab di Dewan Rakyat hari ini.

Muhyiddin yang juga Menteri Pelajaran berkata, guru yang terbabit dalam perpindahan juga mengemukakan rayuan yang turut melibatkan sokongan daripada pelbagai pihak termasuk orang politik.

“Bila kita keluar arahan pindah, ada rayuan, kadang-kadang orang politik beri surat sokongan agar tidak memindahkan mereka kerana khidmat mereka diperlukan,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, isu kekurangan guru tidak boleh diatasi sepenuhnya namun, kementerian akan mencari jalan penyelesaian jangka panjang bagi mengurangkan masalah tersebut di peringkat organisasi dan pentadbiran.

“Saya percaya melalui kajian yang dibuat ketika ini, kita akan melihat balik soal organisasi di peringkat pentadbiran pendidikan agar ia dapat diselesaikan,” ujar beliau.

TEACHERS: Be part of Melta and learn from experts

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

THE 21st Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) international conference was held in Kuala Lumpur on May 28 and 29. It was attended by more than 500 delegates as well as local and foreign presenters.

Melta was formed in 1982 to promote English language teaching in Malaysia. It is committed towards the professional development of English language educators in line with national aspirations.

The Melta international conference was opened by its royal patron, Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah, who spoke on the need to advance English language education in the country.

Melta president Associate Prof Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam expounded on the theme “Reframing English Language Education: New Environments, New Needs, New Solutions”.

For two days, English language educators were treated to a literary feast of genres and language skills by presenters from all over the world.

The Melta conference is a melting pot of innovations and new insights and dimensions into teaching practices. It offers opportunities for Malaysian English language teachers to meet and benefit from the presentations of English Language teaching experts from Malaysia and abroad.

Hopefully, English language teachers in primary and secondary schools, as well as English language lecturers in colleges and universities would become members of Melta.

Apart from the conference and seminars, Melta members will get newsletters and journals on English language teaching.

The Melta conference is a good platform for educators and researchers to present their findings. All English language educators should try to attend the proceedings to gain new insights and experiences. Schools must make provisions for the English language teachers to attend the event.

Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan

Read more: TEACHERS: Be part of Melta and learn from experts – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times

Rayuan punca masalah pindah guru

Selasa , 19 Jun 2012

TAN Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mengaku Kementerian Pelajaran menghadapi masalah untuk memindahkan guru berikutan timbul isu kemanusiaan dan rayuan yang perlu diambil kira.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri berkata, kekangan penempatan semula menjadi punca utama kementerian tidak dapat memenuhi tuntutan keperluan sebenar, menyebabkan isu kekurangan guru berlarutan.

“Saya kena akui dalam Parlimen, kita menghadapi masalah apabila mengeluarkan arahan perpindahan, ada rayuan, kadang-kadang orang politik memberi surat sokongan (supaya) janganlah pindahkan mereka (guru) kerana diperlukan.

Jika kita hendak memindahkan si isteri, perlu ambil kira faktor sosial dan keluarga soal ini timbul mengakibatkan kita tidak dapat memenuhi tuntutan sebenar. Jadi isu kemanusiaan berbangkit menyebabkan ada masalah melaksanakannya secara lebih cekap. – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

“Jika kita hendak memindahkan si isteri, perlu ambil kira faktor sosial dan keluarga soal ini timbul mengakibatkan kita tidak dapat memenuhi tuntutan sebenar. Jadi isu kemanusiaan berbangkit menyebabkan ada masalah melaksanakannya secara lebih cekap,” katanya menjawab soalan tambahan Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong).

Dalam konteks ini, Muhyiddin berkata, agensi dan jabatan lain turut menghadapi masalah sama dari segi penempatan semula kakitangan mereka, namun berikutan saiz kementerian besar meliputi satu pertiga daripada penjawat awam dengan membabitkan 500,000 guru, isu berkenaan perlu diuruskan secara teliti untuk penyelesaian jangka panjang.

Katanya, ini meliputi aspek pengurusan dan pentadbiran mengenai pengambilan dan penempatan guru, terutama menerusi kajian semula sistem pendidikan negara yang sedang dijalankan, walaupun masalah kekurangan yang berlaku atas faktor seperti persaraan, sakit dan cuti bersalin tidak mungkin dapat diatasi 100 peratus.

Hala tuju pendidikan makin jelas

Selasa , 19 Jun 2012

Oleh Syuhada Choo Abdullah, Shaarani Ismail dan S Anand Kumar

Profesionalisme, kebajikan, kemahiran guru agenda paling popular DNPN

KUALA LUMPUR: Profesionalisme perguruan, kebajikan dan kemahiran guru menjadi topik paling popular dalam siri Dialog Nasional Pendidikan Negara (DNPN) dan perbincangan meja bulat yang diadakan di seluruh negara setakat ini.

Kira-kira 27 peratus responden terbabit dalam lapan siri DNPN dan tujuh perbincangan meja bulat sejak April lalu, menyentuh aspek itu, manakala 14 peratus lagi mengenai aspirasi sistem pendidikan dan pembangunan modal insan.

Selepas semua maklumat dikumpul, dinilai dan dirumuskan, satu laporan akhir disediakan yang kemudian akan digunakan untuk menentukan hala tuju pendidikan baru negara. – Muhyiddin Yassin, Timbalan Perdana Menteri

Topik popular lain ialah kualiti sekolah (12 peratus), kepimpinan sekolah (11 peratus), kurikulum dan pentaksiran (10 peratus), peranan ibu bapa, komuniti dan sektor swasta (sembilan peratus), kapasiti dan keupayaan sistem penyampaian (tujuh peratus), kecekapan dan keberkesanan penggunaan sumber (lima peratus), kemahiran bahasa (tiga peratus) dan peluang lepasan menengah (satu peratus).

Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, berkata berdasarkan dapatan awal DNPN itu, Kementerian Pelajaran mendapati profesionalisme perguruan, aspirasi rakyat terhadap sistem pendidikan dan kemenjadian murid perlu diberi perhatian utama dalam transformasi pendidikan negara.

Seramai 8,415 orang daripada pelbagai lapisan masyarakat dan latar belakang pendidikan, termasuk wakil agama menyertai DNPN setakat ini.

“Masih ada lima siri dialog sehingga pertengahan bulan depan. Saya harap mereka memanfaatkan peluang itu untuk memberi input dan pandangan,” katanya menjawab soalan Teng Boon Soon (BN-Tebrau) di Dewan Rakyat, semalam.
Selain DNPN, Muhyiddin berkata, tujuh perbincangan meja bulat sudah diadakan mengikut kumpulan seperti penggerak masyarakat, ahli akademik, tokoh dan pemimpin masyarakat, termasuk kalangan orang kelainan upaya (OKU).

Katanya, kebanyakan isu dibangkitkan pada meja bulat itu menyentuh persoalan hampir sama dalam siri DNPN, termasuk kualiti guru, sistem pendidikan, kurikulum dan pentaksiran, kualiti sekolah, kepimpinan sekolah, penekanan kepada nilai dan disiplin murid, pembabitan ibu bapa dan pendidikan yang bebas daripada campur tangan politik.

Lapan lagi sesi perbincangan akan diadakan sebelum pertengahan bulan depan.

Di samping itu, pertubuhan, persatuan, kesatuan, kumpulan komuniti dan pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) turut menghantar 22 memorandum mengandungi pandangan, resolusi serta cadangan untuk penambahbaikan sistem pendidikan negara.

Muhyiddin berkata, selepas semua maklumat dikumpul, dinilai dan dirumuskan, satu laporan akhir disediakan yang kemudian akan digunakan untuk menentukan hala tuju pendidikan baru negara.

“Rangka tindakan pendidikan itu kemudian akan dibentangkan semula kepada rakyat untuk mendapat maklum balas akhir. Rangka yang sudah dimurnikan akan dibentang kepada Kabinet untuk dilulus dan dilaksanakan.

“Apabila selesai pembinaan hala tuju pendidikan yang baru, kementerian akan menyediakan pula pelan tindakan bersesuaian untuk menterjemahkan hasrat hala tuju pendidikan itu dalam bentuk inisiatif baru,” katanya.

CANING: Spare the rod at school, but wield it at home

Sunday, June 17, 2012

By Amirah, Petaling Jaya 0 comments

I REFER to the letter “Parents know their child better” by Twanjunaidi last Sunday.

The writer concludes his letter by stating that “caning or physical punishment is not one of the methods”. I totally agree with his statement.

But we need to think of ways to discipline our children. The writer did mention that parents shouldn’t pass the buck to the government, schools and teachers, but can they as parents discipline their own children when they are busy working morning to night?

Nowadays, it’s impossible for working parents to spend more time with their children.

They leave it to schools and teachers to educate and discipline their child but when their child misbehaves, some parents don’t believe the teacher and they also blame the school.

Parents must realise that school is a place to educate students, not to discipline them. Parents should spend time and monitor their own children.

Cane their own children at home to discipline them if they don’t want the school and teacher to take action.

As we all know “spare the rod, spoil the child”.

If parents do not punish their own children, that is not right.

Read more: CANING: Spare the rod at school, but wield it at home – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times