Thinking and Education

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Its time to face the truth.

Most of our school administrators are not fit to be heads of modern schools! Why?

Their basic qualifications are all wrong.

Most of our heads are graduates with basic degrees in Malay Studies, Arabic Studies and Religious Studies. I dont have the figures to back up. But my small survey shows that out of 20 secondary schools in the SUngai Petani area 12 have these backgrounds. What happens as a consequent is that the moment they take over a school their first reflex action is to do something to announce their arrival. Nobody will criricise even if it is silly as long as it is relgiously inclined. Thus painting over some religious symbols, making a surau, giving more prominence to prayers or prayer sessions, questions of dress or enforcement of dress codes and similar exercises are common. There are always some fanatics in the school corridors who will come out of the woodwork and give their support. Thus HM becomes engrossed with forms and appearances.

The more pernicious aspect of this is that school children and parents will become overly sensitized. Non-Muslim school children, teachers and parents will find themselves left out, marginalised. The worse is nothing can be said that will not be construed as anti religion or anti-national or anti Malay!

What about introducing some measures to improve teaching or learning? WHat about some new training modules for teachers? In fact it is difficult to find any attention on professional matters related to education. What is a normal sports day has suddenly become an event to show our religious identity. No attention is paid to improvement of skills and the necessity of proper training and discipline to achieve targets. Technical issues connected to equipments, measurements and the venues are not important. Instead overdue emphasis is made to schedules so that it does not clash with prayer time(s), dress codes that will reflect our religion – sports day is a day to promote the message of the religion. The speeches made have the m ost cursory reference to sports or competition.

There is no more fun in school for the children. Pretending that you are having a good time on sports day!  

How do you get the children to get better results. Well making sure that they all attend tution is one. But what is sad and really, really is far out is the organizing of prayer sessions – calling to God for help to do well! This sends out a totally wrong message to all. This gives everybody a chance not to do well. God’s will! What to do?

SO what do you want to do?

H

Can the Pengarah cut out the crap?

Filed under: Management, school,

World Class School – Step 2 – Cleanliness

Keeping Clean

This simple act starts from the individual student, teachers and everyone in the school. Personal cleanliness requires good discipline and control over self. We have to acquire some very good habits in the process.

The whole school environment – classrooms, laboratories, walkways, canteen, toilets etc – has to be clean. If personal cleanliness is maintained then the rest is easy. As noted it is a matter of promoting good habits.

 Teachers and school authorities should reinforce drawing from cultural values and practices.

We can then expect that everyone in school will have to work such that the whole environment is being looked after.

Step 1 – Punctuality and Step 2 – Cleanliness when combined will result in a systematic and organized way of working. This will produce the results aimed for.

Filed under: Management, school,

HMs – Real Management V Show Management

Do HMs know what is really happening in the schools? Are things moving in the right direction?

A doctor would know how you are doing by taking your temperature and feeling your pulse. If you let him/her take your blood pressure..he/she will learn more. By the time you give him/her a blood and urine sample..he would be able to tell you what is wrong and prescribe something that would help you get well ..if you are sick.

DO HMs have all these pulse, temperature and blood sample stuff?

Well actually there are good indicators or markers of the state of the school! But unfortunately the administrators are not making proper use of them.

For example….school attendance, whether of Students or Teachers. If the school has full or close to 100% attendance by students..what can you say about how the school is run? If all the teachers are in school everyday…is the school well run? Try asking the Headmaster, the PPDs or the Pengarah this question…WHat is the average attendance of students in schools under your management? I have done so with HMs and also PPDs. The answer? No Idea! Well dont believe me just go ask your HM or PPD.

The HM can make a comparison of the attendance data for each student, class or whole school daily, weekly, monthly. Same for teacher attendance. Perhaps compare attendance before the current HM and the previous HM. A lot of people believed in sickness as a “natural” occurence. Question. How come all schools can achieve 100% attendance during examination days?

Maybe the PPDs and Pengarah can compare attendance patterns between schools,  types of schools or districts and the state. The question is..would attendance data be a good inicator of the health of the school?

Like the pulse, maybe educational administrators can start with that. Like the pulse this data can be easily measured.

If the Pengarah gets an invite to SPorts Day or some ceremony, he might get the impression that the school is well run..but take a look at the figures..just ask for it..

I can suggest other data..how about you sir?

Filed under: Management

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,

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