Saturday, 24 September 2011

Primary education

Children begin primary schooling at the age of seven for a period of six years. Primary schools are divided into two categories, the national primary school and the vernacular school. Vernacular schools (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan) use either Chinese or Tamil as the medium of instruction, where as national primary school (Sekolah Kebangsaan) uses Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction for subjects except English, Science and Mathematics. National-type schools are further divided into Chinese national-type schools (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina, SJK(C)) and Tamil national-type schools (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil, SJK(T)).

There were also other national-type schools, previously, besides the Chinese and Tamil ones such as those for the Punjabi language but these were closed due to the dwindling number of students attending these schools. The role of promoting the Punjabi language among school children were then taken over by various Gurdwaras (Sikh temple) based organizations. These classes which are aimed at educating Punjabis of all age groups also focus on the learning of the Gurmukhi Script (Punjabi Script) as well as inculcating the Punjabi culture and heritage among youths and adults.

By degree of government funding, national schools are government-operated, while national-type schools are mostly government-assisted, though some are government-operated. All schools admit students regardless of racial and language background.The medium of instruction is Malay for SK, Mandarin and simplified Chinese characters writing for SJK(C), and Tamil for SJK(T). Malay and English are compulsory subjects in all schools. All schools use the same syllabus for non-language subjects regardless of the medium of instruction. In January 2003, a mixed medium of instruction was introduced so that students would learn Science and Mathematics in English. Due to pressure from the Chinese community, SJK(C) teach Science and Mathematics in both English and Chinese. However, the government reversed the policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English in July 2009, and previous languages of instruction will be reintroduced in stages from 2012.

Primary education consists of six years of education, referred to as Year 1 to Year 6 (also known as Standard 1 to Standard 6). Year 1 to Year 3 are classified as Level One (Tahap Satu) while Year 4 to Year 6 are considered as Level Two (Tahap Dua). Primary education begins at the age of 7 and ends at 12. Students are promoted to the next year regardless of their academic performance (poor curriculum induced).
From 1996 until 2000, the Penilaian Tahap Satu (PTS) or the Level One Evaluation was administered to Year 3 students. Excellence in this test allowed students to skip Year 4 and attend Year 5 instead. However, the test was removed from 2001 onwards due to concerns that parents and teachers were unduly pressuring students to pass the exam.

Before progressing to the secondary level of education, pupils in Year 6 are required to sit for the Primary School Assesment Test (Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah, UPSR). The subjects tested are Malay comprehension, written Malay, English, Science and Mathematics. Chinese comprehension and written Chinese are compulsory in SJK(C), while Tamil comprehension and written Tamil are compulsory in SJK(T). A programme called First Level Assessment (Penilaian Tahap Satu, PTS) taken during Primary Year 3 was abolished in 2001.

Between 1995 and 2000, the Seventh Malaysia Plan allocation for primary education development allocated 96.5% to national primary schools which had 75% of total enrollment. Chinese primary schools (21% enrollment) received 2.4% of the allocation while Tamil primary schools (3.6% enrollment) received 1% of the allocation.

The division of public education at the primary level into national and national-type schools has been criticised for allegedly creating racial polarisation at an early age. To address the problem, attempts have been made to establish Sekolah Wawasan ("vision schools"). Under the concept, three schools (typically one SK, one SJK(C) and one SJK(T)) would share the same school compound and facilities while maintaining different school administrations, ostensibly to encourage closer interaction. However, this was met with objections from most of the Chinese and Indian communities as they believe this will restrict the use of their mother tongue in schools.

Preschool education

There is no fixed rules on when a child needs to start preschool education but majority would start when the child turns 5 years old. Schooling can begin earlier, from 3-6, in kindergarten. Preschool education usually lasts for 2 years, before they proceed to primary school at age 7. There is no formal preschool curriculum except a formal mandatory training and certification for principals and teachers before they may operate a preschool. The training covers lessons on child psychology, teaching methodologies, and other related curricula on childcare and development.

Preschool education is mainly provided by private for-profit preschools, though some are run by the government or religious groups. Some primary schools have attached preschool sections. Attendance in a preschool programme is not universal; while people living in urban areas are generally able to send their children to private kindergartens, few do in rural areas. Registered preschools are subjected to zoning regulations and must comply to other regulations such as health screening and fire hazard assessment. Many preschools are located in high density residential areas, where normal residential units compliant to regulations are converted into the schools.

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Role of the Teacher

The teacher is responsible for all aspects of the instructional process. The teacher will be aided by facilitators at all remote sites. The teacher and the facilitators will work together to insure the success of the students.

• The teacher is responsible for instructing the students in the subject content.
• The teacher is responsible for establishing classroom procedures/policies for the local and the remote sites.
• The teacher is responsible for establishing a rapport with the students.
• The teacher is responsible for communicating with the parents.
• The teacher is responsible for submitting attendance at the local site.
• The teacher is responsible for issuing books and maintaining a record of issued books at the local site.
• Before the class begins each day, the teacher will communicate with each facilitator to be sure the remote sites are receiving transmission.
• The teacher will monitor the distance learning equipment .
• The teacher will monitor the distance learning session.
• The teacher will contact Instructional Technology for support.
• The teacher will establish a procedure to obtain assignments/tests collected by the facilitators.
• The teacher will establish a procedure to return graded assignments to the facilitators.

What makes a good teacher?

You have the ability to bond with your students, to understand and resonate with their feelings and emotions. To communicate on their level. To be compassionate with them when they are down and to celebrate with them when they are up.

Positive Mental Attitude
You are able to think more on the positive and a little less on the negative. To keep a smile on your face when things get tough. To see the bright side of things. To seek to find the positives in every negative situation. To be philosophical.

Sense of Humour
You know that a great sense of humour reduces barriers and lightens the atmosphere especially during heavy periods. An ability to make your students laugh will carry you far and gain you more respect. It also increases your popularity.

Presentation Skills
You know that your students are visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners. You are adept at creating presentation styles for all three. Your body language is your main communicator and you keep it positive at all times. Like a great orator you are passionate when you speak. But at the same time you know that discussion and not lecturing stimulates greater feedback.

You know that the aggression, negative attitudes and behaviours that you see in some of your students have a root cause. You know that they are really scared young people who have come through some bad experiences in life. This keeps you calm and in control of you, of them and the situation. You are good at helping your students de-stress.

You know that no one is more important in the world than anyone else. You know that everyone has a place in the world. You respect your peers and your students. Having that respect for others gets you the respect back from others.


I Am A Teacher

I Am A Teacher

Each and Every Day,
I lecture, I instruct, I coach, I explain.
I demonstrate, illustrate, clarify, and prove.
I show (and sometimes tell),
I inform, I train, I initiate.
I plan, diagram, map, chart, graph and design.
I question, quiz, probe, examine and confirm.
I care, I worry, I console, I inspire.
I pay attention to, I show concern for, I nurture.
I nurse broken hearts, fix boo-boos,
ease worries, and mend friendships.
I am a teacher. This is what I do.

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