Thinking and Education


Continuous Education

Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka

Its August and its Independence Day for Malaysia again. 31st August. But this one is special. It is the 50th. There is a special ring to it. SO how do teachers and other educationists celebrate it?

I suggest that we all make a big resolution to be the BEST teacher we can be. There is always the excuse that we are humans and prone to imperfection and failure and consequently it is acceptable to fall short. After all we are weak.

I used to ask the teachers whether it was acceptable if the school were to FAIL to prepare pay the teachers’ pay for one or two months? Or was it acceptable for the doctor to prescribe the wrong medicine for the sick child once or twice? No, no, no…unacceptable!

Then how come it was alright for the numerous students to  fail every year? How come after teaching Mathematics for umpteen years there are 6 students failing to pass the subject in 5A Mr. Lim? How come after teaching Bahasa Malaysia for 14 years failures are still showing up in Puan Aminah’s classes every year?

We are specialists in our field. We are highly paid and always paid on time. The students and parents depend on us. We have a responsibility. We have no right to fail them. On this 50 Merdeka annivesary I call upon all teachers especially – dont tolerate your own failure. Every child passing through your hands must PASS the subject you are teaching.

That will be the greatest gift that we teachers can give to our country on this 50th anniversary of our Merdeka.

Filed under: Teaching

Caning for School Kids in Malaysia

Big issue. Corporal punishment is big time in Malaysian schools. Children are regularly caned by teachers everyday. I have done a quick survey among parents, school children and teachers. The result? Yes for caning! But with conditions. When told Malaysian school system has regulations for caning…oh then please proceed to cane. Scars on the children’s psyche? Hardly. Most people interviewed had been caned by teachers, know of friends who had been caned. SO far they have not come across anyone who has exhibited any scar. On the contrary most believed that the caning had saved many children from being too bold and taking that one extra step accross the line for fear of being caned! They want to know from anti-caners – where are the cases of people who had “suffered” serious trauma after being caned by the teacher? They claimed that that they know of cases where people would have gone “bad” if they had not been caned. Well..well…

Filed under: discipline,

How to measure teacher performance?

Is teaching subjective? A good teacher to some maybe a bad one to others? Does everything depend on who is talking?

Perhaps we can agree on some things. And use those to measure. Let us agree on what to measure in our own school. Then at least everybody will know what to do to be a good teacher. OK?

Lets start with one measure – Present for work or Attendance.

A good teacher must be present for work. Absent teachers cannot do anything.  Reasonable to allow for the occasional sickness. If there is a national average for sick-days for white collar workers then that can be taken as the criteria. Perhaps the school can calculate or get the local Education Office for some data. SO if the average for the district/locality is 2 sick-days per year for each teacher….then any teacher absent for longer than 2 days will be moving into the not so good category. Let us give a Point for a day. The level of “good” for the teacher will decline the more Points he/she scores.

How about Punctuality for the next measure? This is for coming to school, entering classes, preapring exam questions, marking and returning books/exam/test papers students etc. Everyhing that has a deadline can be used. Again we can measure by awarding Points. So the more point scored the lower the teacher is in the scale of good teacher.

Perhaps these 2 criterion can be used first because it is easy to measure. Measuring Punctuality may have some problems. But all teachers in school can have a meeting and decide among themselves. We need to start somewhere?

Would you like to add on to these 2 criterion?

Filed under: Uncategorized

Looking for Web Application Programmer

I have great ideas for providing service over the web. Looking for web programmers. Open source or background welcome to contact. Leave an email. I will send mail.

Filed under: job opening

Data and School Management

School heads must get comfortable with using data. To run school effectively they need to organize so that data is fed back to themselves as well as to all teachers and even students.

Simple example – most school heads are not aware of which teacher is not in school for the day, what is the general attendance pattern of the staff, who is the most frequently absent teacher, which department is most affected. The data is all there but not organized to reach the HM’s eyes. Example a number of teachers in a school were unhappy and critical of an attendance program installed by the HM. This was because the HM has suddenly become aware of the frequency of lateness among his staff. There was a list of people who are late and the number of times they were late in the program.

Absenteeism, lateness of teachers is a serious problem in schools. Most of the time the focus is on students. However absences of teachers have a far more serious implication for learning than absences of students. 

Elaboration.Teachers work with groups of students. Typical Malaysian schools have 40 students to a class. The lessons are 40 minutes long in secondary schools and slightly less in primary schools. Normal to have 8 periods a day while teachers normally teach about 5 periods.

Assuming that a student is absent for a day…he misses 8×40 minutes (320 minutes) of interaction time or learning time. When his teacher is absent for a day 5×40 minutes of “teahing time” is lost. But for each period he is absent..a class of 40 students is missing 40 minutes of learning time each. This adds up to total of 1600 minutes of teaching time lost!

For a 5-period day all the students taught by the teacher is loosing 5×1600 minutes = 8000 minutes of learning time!

Effectively this means that the 1 day absence of the teacher is equal to 5 days absence of a student!

People who are running the schools should now realize that the damage caused by 1 absent teacher on learning is equal to 5 students being absent. Think about it for a while. And this is only 1 kind of statistic!

Filed under: Management, Uncategorized,

Schools in Malaysia – Hot Target

In Malaysia everybody talk to themselves. When in public you can only say what the others want to hear.

So we hear a song from Taiwan, made in Malaysia. A brash young boy talks from his heart. Foolish heart. He says things which everybody of his kind says to his friends. But he made a video and sent it to youtube. He said what he said in between the national anthem. Clear he loves his country, he was coming back to serve. But he said a few things about the Malays.

The Malays admit they say worse things about the Chinese/Indian in Malaysia. But they say it among themselves. They dont sing it out to all. When the leader of the Malay political party took out his “keris” a weapon for fighting and his people were asking when he was going to us it? It was alright. He was talking among his own people. Its just that the newspapers  printed them.

The namewee was stupid. He was saying things that he should say only when others cannot hear.

Something is wrong with the schools. They were supposed to produce only people who repeat the government propaganda. Not to have a mind of their own.

Nowadays teachers are too busy trying to make money. Education is suffering.  SOmething must be done. 

Filed under: Uncategorized

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Filed under: Uncategorized

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