Their words and deeds taught us to believe in ourselves, to have hope for the future and to keep trying harder. They taught us lessons big and small, often at the same time, and in ways we thought were fun.
They used songs to teach us English, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and it helped us improve our pronunciation. We later discovered that they were passionate about music and played a variety of musical instruments.
We did not know it then, but they were what experts refer to as creative teachers who bring to the classroom more than just a knowledge of teaching.
They were educated in other areas and drew on their experiences and outside interests (music, for example) to make their lessons interesting and motivate learners.
These are the type of teachers the Education Ministry wants to nurture and it is taking steps to ensure that these educators have the freedom to conduct classes in ways they see fit within the parameters of the syllabus.
The second wave of Malaysia’s Education Blueprint (2016-2020) puts a premium on teaching effectiveness and the role teachers play in the classroom.
Teaching will no longer be a top-down approach and teachers do not need to follow the prescribed packages any more.
They can come up with their own approaches with help from the schools. The move help teachers identify their students’ problems and come up with solutions.
For educators who want to make a difference, Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub, 43, is a role model of innovation, and her ingenious teaching method recently earned her the Global Teacher award, dubbed the Nobel Prize for teaching.
She was selected from a field of 8,000 candidates from around the world. Hroub grew up in a refugee camp in Bethlehem and became a teacher after her daughters were shot at by Israeli soldiers.
The judges were impressed with her delivery in which she used everyday items in her “play and learn” technique. Hroub’s pupils — aged between 6 and 10 — live in a violent environment, often displaying disruptive behaviour and some even engaging in brutal acts themselves.
Hroub frequently wears a clown’s wig and red nose to class and uses games to get children to work cooperatively in teams, besides building trust and respect, and rewarding positive, non-violent behaviour.
She has written a book about her teaching philosophy, called We Play We Learn. Hopefully, the initiative by the ministry to allow teachers to decide on their teaching approach will inject a creative spark into the classroom.
The idea is to refrain from micromanaging teachers, and all agencies must support this enterprise. Reviewers and examiners should focus on teachers’ progress instead of looking at their teaching methods.
Teachers are second only to parents in the influence they wield in shaping the next generation.
Given the importance of that task, teachers should be respected as professionals, well-paid and universally held in high regard NST News Opinion Editorial 31 July 2016 @ 11:09 AM