2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, ICT/Teknologi, Kurikulum, Pembangunan Sekolah, Peperiksaan, Rencana, Sistem, Surat

PBS system worrying

Tuesday December 25, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/12/25/focus/12502842&sec=focus

I AM a parent of a Form One child. Last year, my son got 5A’s in the UPSR exam and being in a streamed secondary school, he is now in the first class with those with the same results as him.

The Education Ministry started the PBS (Penilaian Berasaskan Sekolah) early this year and parents were briefed on the process of teaching and learning using the PBS.

Students will be assessed from time to time for all subjects and will be given grades according to Band One to Band Six throughout the year.

I was told that students in Form One will not be sitting for any exams up to Form Three. The problem is, parents need to know his or her child’s progress in school.

Under the old system, parents would be called to the school at least twice a year, after the mid-year exam and also after the final exam.

Parents of children in the other forms can check their children’s progress through the SAPS but not the Form One students.

Having no year-end exam under the PBS system has made many of the children unproductive and the PBS has created a non-challenging environment among them.

I am not against the PBS system, but can we do away with having no exams at all?

I thought the PBS system is an ongoing process where the children will be graded into the bands after each topic or each syllabus has been completed and the grades will be accumulated into 60% of the child’s performance for the year.The other 40% would be taken from the exams in school. This way, no child will be left out.

I checked out a few schools and to my dismay, some schools

are having exams just like before and some schools, as I was told, are following the directive of the ministry and there are no exams for Form One.

I asked a senior assistant in a school and he said that if they had the exams it meant they were not following the ministry’s orders. This means that the school is going against the ministry’s directive.

I just wonder how the system is like in Sekolah Berasrama Penuh (SBP) – fully residential schools – or in MRSM; I bet they have their own exams unlike the children in government schools.

Most international schools have the system that I have mentioned.

I understand that the Education Ministry is coming up with many plans under the Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Malaysia (PPPM).

Upon checking my son’s schoolwork, I found there was no homework and there were not many exercises done in class.

I understand that teachers spend a lot of time doing the PBS exercises in class and updating the student’s grades, the grades which are unknown to the parents.

What is the rationale of not having a standardised exam but giving students a standardised set of PBS worksheet/tests/quiz, and so forth.

If a good student can complete a task easily and the other students can’t, then they are given time to complete the work.

What then will happen to the good student?

Is he or she allowed to go to the next band?

I can’t imagine they are going to be in this situation for two more years up till Form Three.

Principals and teachers could not explain what is to become of Form One students when they are in Form Three, when there will be no exams.

If there is no PMR, how would the students be chosen for SBP or MRSM.

How are the students being streamed into Science, Arts or Technical classes?

There are so many unanswered questions.

But in the meantime, please have the 60% and 40% system as the good students need to explore their potential and the slower ones will not be left out.

WORRIED PARENT

Ipoh

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2012, Arkib Berita, IPT, Masalah Guru

Sedia kaji imbuhan khas guru, pensyarah

Kuala Lumpur: Kementerian Pelajaran sedia mengkaji saranan memberi imbuhan khas termasuk kenaikan gaji kepada 30,000 guru dan pensyarah di sekolah, kolej matrikulasi dan institut pendidikan guru (IPG) yang mempunyai ijazah lanjutan.

Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran, Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi, berkata kementerian akan terus berusaha memperbaiki laluan kerjaya guru supaya dilihat lebih menarik setimpal dengan bebanan tugas mereka.

Ambil berat kebajikan

Katanya, kementeriannya juga tidak pernah mengabaikan dan sentiasa menitik berat kebajikan guru di atas sumbangan besar mereka sebagai warga pendidik.

Kelulusan bergantung JPA

Bagaimanapun katanya, sebarang kelulusan bergantung kepada persetujuan Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) dan Perbendaharaan kerana ia membabitkan kewangan kerajaan.

Kementerian sedia kaji saranan Kesatuan Perkhidmatan Perguruan Kebangsaan itu. NUTP boleh mengemukakan cadangan lebih konkrit untuk kajian, katanya.
Semalam, Presiden NUTP, Hashim Adnan meminta kerajaan mempertimbangkan cadangan memberi imbuhan dengan memberi kenaikan dua tangga gaji kepada lulusan ijazah lanjutan dan tiga tangga gaji bagi pemegang doktor falsafah (PhD).

Katanya, ini berikutan ramai guru dan pensyarah menyahut seruan kementerian untuk memperoleh ijazah lanjutan, demi transformasi pendidikan negara.

2012, Arkib Berita, Bahasa, Forum, Masalah Guru, Masalah Pelajar, Membaca, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Subjek, Surat

READING HABIT: Teachers need to be role models

24 December 2012 | last updated at 11:44PM

 

 
By Alkut, Kota Baru, Kelantan | letters@nstp.com.my 

OUR latest gamble in improving students’ English is to reintroduce English literature as a subject in secondary school. This would be one of the best moves ever.

Quality literature should naturally extract a variety of strong emotions from our young readers — including love, loyalty, empathy, a sense of happiness, rage and more importantly, a passion for reading.

It should also stimulate their aesthetic and emotional development, including soft skills, generally enrich their lives and, along the way, help them to improve their English proficiency.

Here, English teachers need to be role models and become avid readers. Such teachers should be able to pass on the passion to their students. That is, if our English teachers themselves are into reading.

The truth is that few of our English teachers read English literature or English books, for that matter.

This would only be too clear if we were to carry out a survey of the English teachers in the schools, or those undergoing Teaching English as a Second Language courses in colleges or universities on the books they have read. Few would have gone beyond the basic, prescribed literature textbooks.

 In schools, what happens is that the minute the Education Ministry introduces a change, such as a new subject like English Literature and make it an examination paper, publishers will start recruiting writers and churning out revision books for the subject.

Most of the English teachers will then be making a beeline for these short cuts to help their students in the examinations.

Through constant memorisation, drills and writings on plots and characterisations, using these revision books, teachers would be able to make students slog through the books and the exam.

In the process, neither teachers nor students would have experienced the real pleasures and beauty of reading. And, it would have contributed little towards the improvement of their English.

If the ministry is serious about reintroducing English Literature and instilling the reading habit, it should be done right from the start and not just in secondary schools.

Love for literature books and reading needs to be nurtured. It should begin at home where fun, colourful books are read as bed-time stories when children are small, and carried on into preschool, primary and secondary schools under the supervision of English teachers trained in the skills and techniques of reading.

I still remember the days when our English teacher would read out the stories of “Pin Shu” in her softs voice, which at times would modulate, her face a picture of emotion, hands waving frantically and the air filled with loud screeches. Then, a long silence.

She lived her stories. We were only in Standard Four and we loved her, gathered under the shade of a merbau tree, straining our ears, feeling the breeze in our hair, her voice firing our imagination.

At other times, it was acting out small parts of a story or silent reading in class when everyone was immersed in their books.

We grew to love reading, going on our own into Enid Blyton, Biggles, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and later on, more serious literature.

Admittedly, it would be more difficult now to woo the younger generation with such simple and wholesome bait as most are addicted to their handphones, laptops, blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

To support literature and the reading habit, reading classes should be reintroduced in the timetable where group or leisure reading is done. The classes should never be a free period.

During classes, teachers should themselves be reading or identifying the reading levels of the students, selecting books, gauging, probing and recording the progress made by students.

However, serious, continuous, comprehensive evaluation and grading should only begin in the secondary school.

For the purpose, every school library should first be stocked with graded reading books for all levels — from primary to secondary.

Teachers should persuade, cajole, coax and make students read books rather than leave them untouched on the shelves. A book well read is worth a thousand stacked on the racks collecting dust.

Libraries should also be provided with a special, well-equipped room with the Internet, where movies, videos and CDs can be shown.

The impact of these devices on our young is incredible as seen from the sale of Harry Potter books after the movie was shown.

Classes should be given easy access to the room and an occasional audio, movie or video of interest, especially literary adaptations, be arranged for viewing.

But first and foremost, we would have to persuade our English teachers to read in English.

.

Few of our English teachers actually read English literature like Shakespeare and cannot instil the beauty of reading in students.

Read more: READING HABIT: Teachers need to be role models – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/reading-habit-teachers-need-to-be-role-models-1.190770#ixzz2FwAuGWM3

2012, Arkib Berita, ICT/Teknologi, Membaca, Perpustakaan, Program

National Library eyeing more e-books for readers

24 December 2012 | last updated at 12:48AM

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Library Malaysia (PNM) will undertake information communication technology (ICT) transformation as a step to create a knowledgeable society, in keeping with the times.

Director-general Datuk Raslin Abu Bakar said the programme, to be fully implemented next year, would include the transformation of physical facilities, activities and material collection following increasing number of its visitors in cyber space through its website.

“PNM is moving towards increasing its reading materials electronically, such as through e-book and the computer, as readers are now exposed to sophisticated ICT.

“We’ve always kept abreast with developments in the library field throughout the world and our standard is on par with that of foreign libraries,” he said after launching the “1Malaysia Children’s Festival: I Am A Loyal Reader” at the PNM auditorium here yesterday.

Describing reading as the window to knowledge, Raslin said PNB would also be upgrading its reading area to make reading more comfortable and relaxing and to attract more people.

He said that up to November this year, 3.91 million reading materials, including 312,018 specifically for children, were available at PNM, with the latest books in the market constantly added to the collection for the convenience of visitors.

On the one-day festival, Raslin said it was aimed at encouraging the search for knowledge among children through reading and as a platform for book lovers and families to be engaged in useful activities during the school holidays.

He said from January until November this year, children’s membership of PNM rose by 3.9 per cent to 155,501 from 149,661 last year.

Raslin said the inaugural festival would be made an annual affair following good response from children and their parents, and would be implemented at all state libraries.

Read more: National Library eyeing more e-books for readers – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/national-library-eyeing-more-e-books-for-readers-1.190928#ixzz2Fw9cxrbi

2012, Arkib Berita, Bahasa, Forum, ICT/Teknologi, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Subjek, Surat

Of Facebook, debating and being inspired!

Sunday December 23, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/12/23/education/12379400&sec=education

By THANBEER KAUR SEKHON

FACEBOOK is one word that needs no introduction. Ask students to group past and present tense verbs and you are likely to get blank stares but mention “Facebook” and they are all ears. That’s the power of Facebook.

The story I am about to tell however, is not about using Facebook in the classroom, but how it helped me to connect, gain inspiration and be proud… so proud in fact, that it moved me to tears.

This is how it all began. Every year, my school students will take part in the district level English Language Debate Competition.

Now, it is quite a daunting task to get teenagers to speak in front of a crowd let alone sacrifice their time for training sessions after school hours. They would rather use the time to chat online, watch the latest music video or attend tuition (the most popular excuse).

From arguing on the advantages of being on a debate team and the importance of learning to articulate arguments, I managed to get some students to join the school’s debate team.

Challenging steps

After the selection process and a few short debate sessions, the biggest challenge was getting all five of them to research, prepare their arguments before the training sessions and attend the training itself!

During the first session, I was shocked at the level of preparation this group of students had done, despite telling them what was needed.

I was hyperventilating and could have literally pulled off every strand of hair on my scalp. As this was their first debate, I guess I could not blame them entirely. So I showed them some debate videos and asked them to watch a few more at home.

A debate requires commitment, perseverance, diligence and time as one needs to do thorough research on the motion.

Extra hands were needed to prepare these students so that they will have what it takes when they get on stage. This heavy responsibility rested on both myself and my fellow colleague’s shoulders.

Sitting alone in the language lab after the team had left, I thought: “how was I to get them ready in three weeks?”

Saved by social media

Then, my mind and thoughts travelled back in time… reminiscing about this particular batch of students; how we almost won against a prestigious school and the determination and maturity that they had demonstrated.

I realised that I was still in touch with them through Facebook. Three of them are currently pursuing law.

So I went home and posted a message via Facebook; requesting them to find some time to help me coach these five newbies.

I didn’t get my hopes up though as I thought they would be busy with their university life.

To my pleasant surprise, all three were happy to help coach the team and do their bit for their alma mater. With dictionaries and laptops, we cracked our heads while working on their arguments.

As I watched these four teenagers: Puteri Eleni Megat Osman, Roeshan Celestine Gomez, Jeremy Lim and Siti Raihan Rosli, I felt so proud that these students were from my school.

I was even more delighted to see how they had grown intellectually and matured. They were also more committed and prepared. I was moved to tears.

Not only did they come to school for the training sessions but we also communicated via Facebook and the telephone.

You will be amazed at how high a teacher’s phone bill can be and it is not just mindless chatting but calls discussing school events, performances, listening to their arguments at 11pm or giving them tips or any fresh arguments that may have popped into my head at odd hours.

Puteri Eleni also set up our school debate team’s Facebook account and attended all the debate competitions to show her support.

Those former students of mine not only inspired this debate team but they also inspired me to continue this challenging journey of training and teaching others.

And that was how Facebook connected me to these three angels and how it led to me sensing deep satisfaction and gratification from what I do for a living.

True inspiration

To all the former students who have lent a helping hand without expecting anything in return, kudos to all of you and do continue with this generous deed of inspiring your younger friends.

As John Quincy Adams once said, “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a leader.”

Some of you might wonder, after the many hours spent discussing and researching online, did the team win?

We did not, but we did win a few rounds of the competition.

Were there any regrets or was it all a sheer waste of time and effort?

No. It was pure joy on my part as I know real teaching and learning has taken place.

Even though there were only five of them but by bringing them on board the world of debating, they now think, argue, write and read differently.

Winning the competition is really a bonus and only the tip of the iceberg. It is the experience of taking part, doing all you can and giving your best in a competition that really matters.

So we did win after all; in gaining knowledge, learning a new skill and being inspired.

The writer is an English language teacher and the head of the English Language Panel at SMK Bandar Sri Damansara (2). She did her Master’s in Education from Universiti Malaya and has been teaching for over 10 years. Her areas of expertise and interest are debating and the teaching of literature.

2012, Aliran, Arkib Berita, Bahasa, Forum, Kurikulum, Pembangunan Sekolah, Sistem, Subjek, Surat

Be quick to decide on issues

Sunday December 23, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/12/23/education/12469484&sec=education

 

THE MALAYSIA Education Blueprint may provide solutions and the answers to matters pertaining to our education system but there are some outstanding issues that need serious and urgent attention.

·Level of BM and English Language (EL) in national type schools

There is a difference in the way Bahasa Malaysia (BM) and the English Language is taught to primary level pupils in national type schools (SJK) compared to other national schools (SK).

I was definitely taken aback. Since pupils in SJK schools will eventually go to national secondary schools and learn the same syllabus as their SK peers, why are these children being discriminated and deprived of what they should learn in primary school?

Are we assuming national type school students are incapable of absorbing what their friends of the same age in national schools are learning?

·New syllabus without textbooks

A new English Language syllabus was introduced in 2010. However, there were no textbooks published or released to go with the new syllabus. Is it not ironic that textbooks have yet to be printed?

When a new syllabus is introduced for government schools, we need a standard reference that is put together in a textbook as it facilitates classroom teaching and learning. Although we are in the digital era, we still need textbooks. Textbooks serve as a guide for teachers to plan and execute lessons.

·Standardised vocabulary list

Many pupils are not interested in reading neither are they interested in building their vocabulary.

Most primary school pupils move on to secondary school not knowing the meanings of simple words, idioms and proverbs. What may seem simple to some children may seem difficult to another. So much time is wasted in just translating words before comprehending a text.

If the national curriculum could provide standardised lists from primary to secondary levels for both Bahasa Malaysia and the English Language, it will certainly be a boost for the students, teachers and parents.

·Thinking skills in English Language

Language learning at present involves mainly four major skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening. What is lacking during English Language lessons is the learning of thinking skills.

Since children these days are exposed to all kinds of reading and learning materials from a young age, introducing thinking skills from primary level will be to their advantage.

Thinking skills involves reasoning, problem-solving, analysing, evaluating and decision-making. Initially when students were learning Science and Mathematics in English, there were elements of thinking skills incorporated into the system.

English Language teaching at present needs to incorporate more knowledge-based context. and the subject (English language) itself should evolve from its linguistic form into a purposeful and meaningful form. This will encourage students to start thinking in English.

I think the above issues need to be given more attention as such improvments would indeed make our education system a better one.

S. SHARMINI Johor Baru

2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, ICT/Teknologi, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Surat

Tablet technology in class

Sunday December 23, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/12/23/education/12469596&sec=education

By RACHEL ROGERS

 

<b>New age learning:</b> Students using the tablets in class.New age learning: Students using the tablets in class.

A British school in France is among the first to restructure its teaching in line with the modern tools of today.

EMMA McCluskey’s classroom looks much like any other.

A verb chart, posters and pupils’ work adorn the walls. The children lean over their desks, seven and eight-year-old brows furrowed in concentration.

In its essence, it is a scene that could have been recorded at any time since Shakespeare was at school, but it is not.

Instead of textbooks, the pupils are poring over tablet computers linked into a wireless broadband network.

There are still pencils in their hands but for how much longer?

In an age when toddlers learn to use touchscreens before they can speak, tablet technology is about to take teaching into a brave new world, and McCluskey’s students have been invited to the preview.

In September, the British School of Paris (BSP), where McCluskey teaches, became one of a handful of schools across Europe to take the plunge and decide to restructure their teaching around the technology that is already integral to its students’ lives.

Every pupil at the international school on the outskirts of Paris, from four-year-olds to university-bound 18-year-olds and every member of staff, was issued with an iPad at the start of the autumn term.

Not everyone was convinced. Parents feared that their children would be on Facebook as soon as their teachers’ backs were turned, or that an iPad in the bag would make them a target for mugging.

Three months on, everyone involved is still adapting and the experiment has not been without hiccups.

Surfing on the move during break times, for example, had to be banned after a few children took a tumble.

But overall, the verdict is positive from both pupils and staff.

“Normally it’s quite a drabby kind of topic but it’s brilliant now,” said McCluskey.

“We’re going to be taking birds eye view photographs with the iPad and then doing a (virtual) tour of the school.”

Like most European schools, the BSP was already linked into a virtual learning environment, with resources increasingly drawn from the Internet and classrooms equipped with interactive whiteboards.

But a traditional computer room arrangement meant even a well-resourced school like BSP could only get its pupils online for as little as two hours per week.

In that context, giving each pupil the means to access the available resources at their own pace, was a no-brainer for Steffen Sommer, the headmaster of the school.

“Unlike us adults, today’s children are natives of this technology,” he said. “They have an urge to communicate, they have an urge to research.

“It is very different from what education used to be like, It’s wrong to ask the children to learn in a 20th-Century style when they’re clearly living in a different world.”

The tablets did not come cheap. Wear-and-tear and the pace of technological innovation means they will last only two or three years.

The school has also had to shell out �200,000 (RM804,364) to upgrade its wireless network, which uses a “smooth wall,” to keep students off inappropriate websites.

Saving on stationery

But savings on ink and paper, which alone was costing the school 100,000 (RM402,235) per year, and the lower price of e-textbooks, means the new technology should pay for itself in the medium term, as well as being more environmentally friendly.

In McCluskey’s classroom, students follow along on their tablets as she guides them to online Math-ematics worksheets tailored to their individual abilities.

Her students come from all over the world, some initially speak little English, and a few have learning difficulties.

Across that spectrum, she reports improved motivation.

“When they have to do something on the iPad, they really can’t wait to get started – if it’s in their book it takes them about 10 minutes sometimes just to get the date written,” she said.

The time saved by the devices is a recurring theme. Older students play games on them and access social media (outside class, of course) but they are also used to snap photos or record audio of their homework assignments, gaining precious minutes in the end-of-lesson rush.

In the evenings they can ask each other questions or work with other students on group projects using video chat.

Different apps

“Quite a few people lost their homework last year because we had so many papers and things that we had to give in,” said 12-year-old Mia Lawson.

“It’s quite fun because you get to make different things on it and there are loads of different apps that you can get.”

BSP’s initial plan was to ask parents to ensure each student brought their own tablet-style device but it was decided that operating on different platforms would be too complicated.

Apple’s iPad was chosen partly because its extended battery life suits the school day and, for the moment, gives it an edge over rivals, but also because of resources available from the world’s most valuable company.

With programmes for creating interactive resources, a huge number of textbooks available for download, and more than 20,000 educational apps, Apple has spent years positioning itself in anticipation of an explosion of sales of mobile Internet devices in the education sector, according to tech website Wired.com’s Tim Carmody.

“It’s not just about engaging students.

It is about engaging everyone in the education and publishing industries,” Carmody wrote.

At the release for their textbook apps in January, Apple’s Phil Schiller said that 1.5 million iPads were currently being used in education.

The new mini-iPad, launched last month, has been designed specifically with the education market in mind.

Ths school’s headmaster Sommer said “it is up to each teacher to decide how much use they make of the device at their disposal. What matters is creating active learners”.

“The notion of problem-solving is a most fundamental 21st century skill, much more so than detailed knowledge which might be obsolete tomorrow,” he said. — AFP