April 24th, 2016

Panglima Awang: Baka Melayu

Sanjungan tertinggi wajar dirakam kepada Allahyarham Cikgu Harun Muhamad Amin atau Harun Aminurrashid atas keyakinannya membina kemelayuan Panglima Awang, meskipun wujud keraguan amat mendalam dan meluas terhadap kebenaran novel sejarahnya itu, ketika terbit pada 1958. Banyak hal kemelayuan ketika itu, yang beratus tahun diperkecil oleh penjajah dan baru sempat memerdekakan diri pada tahun 1957, menyebabkan kesejarahan dan kemelayuan Panglima Awang, apalagi tentang kepanglimaannya, amatlah diprasangkakan.

Cikgu Harun sendiri sudah hampir sinonim dengan pencerekaan pelbagai peristiwa dan tokoh Melayu, termasuk karya-karya Jong Batu Atau Anak Nakhoda Manis, 1958; The Kedayan Blood, 1960 (Terjemahan); A Malay Among The Portugese, (terjemahan) 1961; Darah Kedayan, 1965; Anak Panglima Awang, 1963; dan Panglima Awang. Cet. Ke 12, 1972. Maka pastilah sebuah karya seperti Panglima Awang adalah juga cereka sejarah tanpa kebenaran.

Kajian sejarah lebih mantap dilaksanakan pada pertengahan tahun 2000 oleh Profesor Nik Hassan Nik Abdul Rahman dan rakan-rakan dari UKM. Demikianlah Panglima Awang bangkit daripada debu-debu prasangka dengan segala kegigihannya menjiwai kepahlawanan Melayu, dan muncul sebagai penjelajah dunia pertama, mengatasi legenda Eropah yang menyanjung Ferdinand Magellan. Kini fakta itu diiktiraf dan teguh tersebar dalam karya besar seorang sejarawan University Havard, Amerika Syarikat, Profesor Dr. Joyce Chaplin, Round About the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit (Mengitari Bumi: Penjelajahan dari Magellan hingga Mengorbit), 2012.

Keunggulan Melayu yang dijulang Cikgu Harun ialah natijah ketajaman pengamatannya sebagai seorang sejarawan SITC, hanya sebuah maktab perguruan sekolah rendah Melayu, dari sebuah laporan akhbar sejak akhir Perang Dunia Kedua. Pasti ramai yang terbaca tulisan Mohd Taha Suhaimi, “Anak Melayu Yang Pertama Mengelilingi Dunia,” Fajar Asia, November 1944. Namun hal itu tidak merangsang reaksi besar, kecuali pada Cikgu Harun. Rangsangan itu mendesaknya keras satu dekad kemudian, ketika akhbar Straits Times (Straits Times Special Feature) 22 Oktober 1955, menerbitkan tulisan GE, “First man to sail round the world was a Malay.” Hal itu disambut pula oleh akhbar Waspada, Medan 2 Juli 1956, sebagai, “Pengeliling dunia yang pertama adalah saorang Indonesia.”

Kini Panglima Awang, nama pahlawan Melayu yang digubal oleh Cikgu Harun serta dirakam sahih oleh seorang penumpang dan pengembara Itali, Antonio Pigefetta yang mencatat diari kisah pelayaran itu, sebagai seorang Enrique de Malacca, atau Henry the Black, seorang pemuda Melayu sekitar umur 18 tahun, menjadi tawanan dari taklukan Portugis Alfonso de Albuquerque di Melaka pada 1511, serta amat disayangi ahli pelayaran Ferdinand Magellan lalu ikut sama mengelilingi dunia dan menamakannya sebagai pewarisnya.

Kisah pelayaran mengelilingi dunia Magellan pada 1519-1522 ini sudah amat terkenal dan beliau dijulang sebagai tokoh pengeliling dunia. Namun semua orang tahu juga bahawa Magellan telah terbunuh dalam perang di Pulau Mactan, Cebu (Filipina) pada 27 April 1521, dalam separuh daripada seluruh pelayarannya, oleh Datu Lapulapu yang menentang penaklukan Magellan bersama Datu Humabon, Cebu, seorang mualaf Kristian.

Dalam serangan Mactan itu, Enrique de Malacca tetap bersama Magellan untuk menjadi jurubahasa yang menghubungkan angkatan Magellan dengan raja setempat. Sebagai jurubahasa, Enrique telah membina hubungan mesra dengan Datu Humabon di Cebu sehingga membolehkan Magellan membaptiskan 800 orang mualaf Kristian. Magellan pula telah berusaha untuk menjulang Datu Humabon sebagai raja Kristian yang ulung dan berkuasa di kepulauan Cebu serta pulau-pulau sekitarnya.

Untuk menegaskan kekuasaan Kristian itu maka Magellan telah menyerang Datu Lapulapu di Pulau Mactan yang berhampiran dengan menunjukkan kekuatan meriam besar, senapang dan panah silangnya serta membakar rumah-rumah atap mereka. Namun orang Sepanyol dan Magellan telah salah perkiraan, bahawa ranjau terumbu karang di sepanjang pesisir Pulau Mactan mengancam kapal untuk hampir. Dengan berlabuh jauh dari pantai segala senjata besar itu tidak lagi berkesan.

Kematian Magellan

Pasukan Datu Lapulapu telah menghujani perahu mereka dengan lembing buluh runcing dan panah beracun. Kaki mereka yang terdedah menerima tusukan racun itu dan Magellan menerima nasib maut. Enrique yang mengiringi dan melindungi beliau telah juga luka parah tetapi sempat menyelamatkan diri ke kapal bersama yang lain.

Dengan kematian Magellan, Enrique telah membebaskan dirinya berasaskan wasiat Magellan dan bertelagah dengan nakhoda Juan Sabastian Elcano yang masih melayannya sebagai seorang hamba serta memaki hamunnya.

Senarai kelasi dan penumpang yang dicatat oleh Antonio Pigefetta seramai 18 orang pulang ke Sepanyol tidak termasuk Enrique. Nama beliau lesap tanpa berita lagi. Justeru pelbagai andaian dan telah dilakukan oleh para peneliti dan sejarawan terhadapnya. Muncullah sebuah kontroversi yang amat mempesonakan dengan pelbagai pihak menuntut Enrique sebagai daripada keturunan bangsa mereka.

Orang Cebu membina tugu Datu Lapulapu dan menerima Enrique sebagai keturunan mereka kerana boleh memahami bahasa tempatan. Orang Maluku menulis kisah yang panjang lebar (236 halaman) tentang pelayaran pahlawan Maluku (Enrique de Maluccu) mengelilingi dunia bersama Magellan dan kapal Magellan singgah di Maluku mengumpul banyak bahan rempah untuk dibawa pulang kerana bantuan Enrique.

Enrique juga dikenali sebagai Henry the Black seperti orang Maluku. (Helmy Yahya dan Reinhard R Tawas, Enrique Maluku-Pengeliling Bumi Pertama adalah Orang Indonesia (bukan Magellan, bukan Elcano). Di Malaysia dan Singapura telah lama menerima buku Harun Aminurrashid, Panglima Awang, sebagai keturunan Melayu dan mungkin daripada Orang Laut (Nik Hassan, 2009), yang mungkin pulang ke Melaka untuk menemui tunangnya, sekian lama ditinggalkan, Tun Gayah. Pigafetta pula mencatatkan bahawa Enrique adalah dari ‘Zamatra’ (Samudera, Sumatera) – Melayu, Aceh, Minangkabau, Batak? Wallahualam.

Daripada pelbagai penelitian serta pengamatan itu nyata bahawa ‘Panglima Awang’ atau Enrique de Malacca adalah benar wujud sebagai fakta sejarah pelayaran mengelilingi dunia bersama angkatan Ferdinand Magellan pada tahun 1519-1522.

Barangkali kita dapat melihat baka Melayu yang selesa mengembara serta belayar sejak hidup di Melaka sebagai hamba Sultan Melaka. Apa lagi status bahasa Melayu sebagai lingua franca Alam Melayu terbukti dalam word-list Pigafetta ketika singgah di Maluku. Hanya seorang pelayar Melayu atau keturunan Alam Melayu yang mahir dapat menjadi jurubahasa pelayaran bagi mengumpul khazanah paling bernilai pada abad ke-16, yakni rempah. Pastilah Enrique anak Melaka, baka Melayu ini yang paling tepat memenuhi syarat pelayaran mengelilingi dunia itu.

- Prof Datuk Dr Zainal Kling Utusan Malaysia Rencana 23 April 2016 6:30 PM

Tips to upskill English teachers

Attaining the proficiency of native English language speakers is possible if local teachers employ various tools and methods to continually upgrade themselves.

IT is very disturbing to know that around 15,000 English language teachers are not really proficient enough to teach the global language despite the many initiatives of the Education Ministry. The authorities recognise the importance of teaching English as a second language (ESL) in the country.

The training of future teachers is commendable. It is the language proficiency of the teachers which has to be improved further.

What is required is lifelong teacher development until a teacher retires. The specific areas that ESL teachers need to focus on are the four macroskills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, together with the many subskills associated with them.

These include their pronounciation skills, grammatical and lexical competence.

As non-native speakers and teachers of English, we have to step up our efforts to be of native speaker competence.

Completing a TESL (Teaching of English as a second language)/TEFL (Teaching of English as a foreign language)/TESOL ((Teaching of English to speakers of other languages) programme ought to be considered the commencement of a lifelong quest to improve ourselves to teaching a language, which for many of us is not our dominant language.

The observations here are based on my experience with numerous graduates. It outlines where the weaknesses are and steps that may be taken to rectify the situation.


Training in progress: English teachers during an upskilling programme.They need to attend courses to constantly hone their skills in teaching the language. - File photo.

The majority of ESL teachers are non-native speakers.

But if we are to excel, there has to be a change in our mindset.

If English language teaching (ELT) is our chosen vocation, we need to multiply our efforts to have the proficiency of qualified native speaker teachers.

This needs to be our benchmark.

So, we need to make a transition from being non-native speaker teachers to near-native speaker teachers.

English teachers here, and in other countries where English is a second or foreign language, need to adopt a multi-pronged approach to enhance their knowledge of the language and raise their proficiency.

The specific areas that ESL teachers need to focus on include the four macroskills together with their numerous sub skills.

The teachers need to have knowledge of applied linguistics, appropriate classroom methodology, grammatical and lexical competence as well as familiarity with international English usage and language change.

There are many books on these skills that can contribute immensely.

Prominent educators have emphasised some of the essential characteristics good ESL teachers should have. Besides equipping themselves with a TESL diploma or degree, they should have a liking for the English language.

They must upgrade themselves continually. They must also be eager to know more about the target language speakers. They have to strive to attain communicative competence in the English language .

Focus on grammar

Let us now look at a few essential components in language teaching. Grammatical accuracy is no less important for teachers.

The acquisition of grammar is neither simple nor easy. English grammar is inherently difficult.

Usage of the tenses, verbs and prepositions accurately is not without problems.

When we watch international news, read magazines or online material, we may be confused by the grammatical usage in them.

Grammar acquisition is not solely about grammar facts and rules. We need to have the linguistic skills to use grammatical structures accurately, meaningfully and in context.

Teachers need to be aware of the emphasis on certain grammatical categories and changes in grammar.

If we are not dominant speakers of English, there may be some gaps in our own knowledge of the grammar. So, we need to consult grammar books and dictionaries, especially those which have entries from authentic sources that exemplify real language use.

We ought to analyse material of various genres to fill the gaps and enhance our grammatical knowledge and proficiency.

If we are to be communicatively competent, we need to be grammatically competent too.

A command of vocabulary is also essential to a teacher’s linguistic competence.

Vocabulary is not just about the acquisition of words. The ability to communicate successfully and appropriately is important in social and occupational contexts.

It must be acknowledged that language users may still be able to communicate to some extent even with deficient grammar, but in the absence of appropriate word choice, intelligibility of meaning may be compromised.

A teacher has to know the denotation and connotation of words, their grammatical and lexical properties as well as their general and specific meanings. How they are pronounced and spelt is also part of knowing the word. The formality of a word has to be understood.

Extensive reading and listening will enable teachers to possess extensive vocabulary and knowledge of their use. There is much language change involving lexical items.

What used to be harmless or neutral in terms of their meaning, has now got to be used appropriately.

As professional educators, we need to be keenly aware of contemporary lexical change. All vibrant living languages change over time, they do not remain stagnant.

We cannot become dinosaurs in our profession. English has borrowed numerous words due to language contact.

Many have been Anglicised as well. These should not be dismissed as non-English words as they have entered the lexicon of English.

Teachers ought to be familiar with the natural usage of lexical items in various genres, both in the spoken and written medium.

Frequent reference to contemporary dictionaries which use authentic examples is essential for comprehending the behaviour of certain lexical expressions.

With regard to our pronunciation, ESL teachers must aim for global intelligibility. By this, it does not mean that ESL teachers should be able to speak like their American and British counterparts.

The English we speak must be understood by others. A strong foreign accent does not help in ELT.

The variety of English we use should not be a challenge for our audience to comprehend.

One does not have to go to a country where English is used as a primary language. Thanks to the modern mass media, we are able to listen and watch various programmes, including language enhancement ones, for a global audience.

This indirectly enables us to pronounce the language in a way which more people would be able to understand.

Teachers also need to be aware of the pronunciation variations between the two globally influential varieties – Standard American and Standard British.

These are used on a global scale, and our students, depending on the countries we teach, may be comfortable with one of the two.

Being proficient in the language is one thing, but it has to be complemented by clear and easy-to-follow pronunciation which goes beyond identification of a specific ethnicity, area or country.

Of accents

It is only normal for us to have many types of accents depending on our experience and exposure. Some accents are considered more prestigious professionally such as Received Pronunciation (RP).

Though not many Britons have an RP accent, this is the accent prescribed and described for teaching purpose in many countries of the Commonwealth and Europe.

It is a status accent. Since this is the case, we ought to aim for a near-RP accent in our own teaching, if we are teaching in countries which prefer this British variety of pronunciation.

This is obviously more intelligible to our listeners and not associated with any particular region.

We need to be free from a heavy first language phonological influence for greater clarity. We also have to recognise the expanding worldwide influence of standard American English or mainstream United States (US) English.

If our teachers had received their TESL training in the US, there is no harm in using this international variety.

Our students have a lot to gain by acquiring the two most influential varieties. This will also be to their advantage if they seek to work abroad. Their job prospects become much better in a globalised environment.

Also, we teachers have to regularly reflect on teaching. Some pertinent questions that teachers need to consider are: Did the students show interest in the lesson? Was participation forthcoming? Did the students seem to understand? Were they able to respond accurately or satisfactorily to the questions posed to them? Did the teachers feel they could have done better?

Teachers can also record a full lesson on video. By doing so, we study and observe our own strengths and weaknesses.

Teachers must continue to read professional and leisure materials in print and online.

There are professional ELT communities with whom we can interact through email and social networking sites. We need to continuously practise our language skills too.

It will be good if we carry out some informal activities which can contribute to our overall proficiency. These include watching sitcoms, documentaries and international news broadcasts. Focus on the language used as it could be real or nearly authentic, not bookish or artificial.

At home, it would be appropriate to use English with family along with our native language.

English can be used in ways which are compatible with our religion, culture and beliefs.

As English language teachers, we need to have resources which we can turn to. They include websites on the Internet that give us a wealth of information on numerous aspects of the language and linguistics.

It also includes Standard American and Standard British English which are considered teaching models, the online Thesaurus and dictionaries with sample and authentic sentences.

There are enormous benefits of sharing experiences, reviewing each other’s notes and papers and organising workshops, among others.

Fresh graduates ought to sit in and observe senior teachers during lessons. Veteran teachers may not be tech-savvy.

Still, new teachers may benefit by consulting senior teachers about classroom methodology and content difficulties.

Peer feedback is valuable, but sensitivities may be involved here. If we can look at the bigger picture objectively, there is much to be gained about our classroom performance, students’ behaviour, delivery of lessons and pedagogy itself.

We may also develop professionally from the feedback provided by our students.

This is when they are asked to evaluate teachers on criteria such as their knowledge of the subject, if lessons were interesting and whether student participation was encouraged.

Most of us would have come into ELT with professional teaching qualifications. But we need to regularly update ourselves through in-service training courses. We can also attend other programmes organised by other parties including public and private universities.

Teachers should also attend academic gatherings to boost their confidence.

Let us not forget that teacher development is a worthwhile investment. It benefits the teacher directly and the learners indirectly.

Learners stand to gain from the expertise and professional development invested in their teachers.

As English language teachers, we ought to aspire to acquire overall linguistic competence. We really need to immerse ourselves in the language so that we may have native speaker language competence.

By doing so, we can set a benchmark for ourselves. Our efforts require lifelong interest and passion. We have to be good enough not only to teach here at home, but also abroad.

Teaching English has become a globally competitive enterprise. We cannot and should not lose out to our competitors.

Reshaping the classroom experience

Local schools are looking at conducive learning spaces and new age methods to engage, challenge and support learners.

THEY dash into the classroom all eager to start their first lesson of the day. There’s a reason for their enthusiasm – it isn’t a regular classroom. Missing are the regular desks and chairs arranged in rows.

Instead, what greets the Form One students of SMK Damansara Utama are tables and colourful chairs arranged in a non-conventional way. This is not all, the room is colourful and brightly lit, aimed at turning the classroom into a creative learning hub.

The makeover is also in line with the evolving needs of the current generation – 21st century learners.

In fact, the government has launched a programme on 21st century learning (SPA-21) that is compulsory for all schools in Selangor’s Petaling district.

Instead of the conventional chalk and talk teaching method, SPA-21 emphasises on enabling students to learn in a comfortable and conducive environment to allow for “better absorption” of lessons while enhancing their soft skills at the same time.

Conducive learning: While Boey offers some pointers to her students, they are encouraged to think out of the box and given a free hand in coming up with materials for their English language presentation. The non-conventional classroom at SMK Assunta was redesigned with modern furniture and fittings for 21st century learners. – AZMAN GHANI/ The Star.
Conducive learning: While Boey offers some pointers to her students, they are encouraged to think out of the box and given a free hand in coming up with materials for their English language presentation. The non-conventional classroom at SMK Assunta was redesigned with modern furniture and fittings for 21st century learners. – AZMAN GHANI/ The Star. 

Experts in learning spaces have claimed that students learn more effectively and behave better in a “borderless learning” atmosphere when they have freedom to work in smaller groups.

Najah Alyaa Ahmad Mubin Rasydan prefers the current setting compared to the traditional classroom.

“The classes are fun and we learn better because we work with our classmates in a group. It brings out our creativity and boosts our confidence especially when we make presentations before the class,” added the 13-year-old.

Najah Alyaa’s classmates Alysha Thean Zhi Qi and Shastri Vel Devar agree with her.

“Apart from confidence, we also have a better relationship with classmates and teachers. We do have a grasp of what’s taught in class,” said Alysha, pointing out that the traditional teaching method hasn’t been as effective for many of her peers.

Shastri was initially reluctant to ask questions in class for fear of being laughed at, but now he doesn’t feel nervous anymore.

Stop, wait, go: Heidi Sofeya Razali holding the traffic cards. Each colour indicates the level of a student’s understanding of a topic.
Stop, wait, go: Heidi Sofeya Razali holding the traffic cards. Each colour indicates the level of a student’s understanding of a topic.

“Teachers are more than willing to explain topics that we don’t fully understand. They don’t penalise us for making mistakes as it is part of the learning process.

“Rather than working alone, we now have to collaborate with classmates as a team,” added Shastri.

SMK Damansara Utama senior assistant Ooi Siew Bee said that students are given “traffic cards” to indicate their understanding of the lesson.

“Students can raise the green card when they understand, the yellow one when they are uncertain, or the red card if they do not understand the topic.

“It is a fast and effective way for teachers to know who is keeping up with the lesson and who is not.”

The programme’s main emphasis is on the 3Cs – communications, collaboration and critical thinking - which are incorporated into class activities, added Ooi.

Team effort: SMK Damansara Utama students showing their form teacher Rafi’ah Idris the mind map and chart they had come up with during a class activity on Islamic civilisation. – RAYMOND OOI/ The Star.
Team effort: SMK Damansara Utama students showing their form teacher Rafi’ah Idris the mind map and chart they had come up with during a class activity on Islamic civilisation. – RAYMOND OOI/ The Star.

Class teacher Rafi’ah Idris who is pleased to have started her first posting at the school has no qualms about using the SPA-21 programme.

“This type of interactive teaching system is where the teacher is seen as the facilitator. It encourages and enables learners to produce creative ideas when activities are conducted.

“It is more student-oriented compared to the conventional way where the teacher is seen as the expert and the only source of knowledge.

“With the new teaching method, students are also given the chance to show their presentation skills,” she said.

The whole class, she said is involved in interactive learning activities, motivating each other with “healthy competition”.

Rafi’ah believes that teachers who adopt 21st century teaching methods can produce talented, high potential students who are equally good at problem-solving and communicating.

The school’s principal Zulaika A Rahman said the programme had brought a positive change in the students.

Hard at work: Students working together for an upcoming presentation.
Hard at work: Students working together for an upcoming presentation. 

“I can see that my students are more confident as they have been given a chance to voice out their opinions. More importantly, they have the opportunity to learn how to work as a team and collaborate with each other,” she said.

Zulaika added that parents had given feedback on their children’s enthusiasm in wanting to attend school, thanks to the SPA-21 lessons.

SMK Damansara Utama, she said, is aiming to transform its lower secondary classes into 21st century classrooms.

SMK Assunta in Petaling Jaya has also decided to implement the SPA-21 method for its students in Forms One and Two.

The all-girl school has managed to carry out the programme in three classrooms and expects to do the same in three more soon.

It has also incorporated the Frog Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) which is part of 21st century learning.

The Frog VLE was launched in more than 90% of schools through the 1BestariNet initiative last year, connecting educators and students in 2,500 schools with high-speed 4G Internet.

Form Two student Saloni Ravi-chandran, said that the creative juices have been flowing freely not just for her, but her classmates as well, since the classroom was transformed.

“Unlike the conventional classroom where the teacher stands before the class, the learning space we have is much more welcoming for 21st century learners like us. I think we tend to ‘absorb’ information better,” she shared.

We love it here: (From left) Nursyamimi Alias, Abigail Ronley and Trisha David like the open learning concept of the new age classroom.
We love it here: (From left) Nursyamimi Alias, Abigail Ronley and Trisha David like the open learning concept of the new age classroom.

Her friends Kashmeetha Pillai and Alyaa Maryam are all for the new classroom layout and design.

“The old classrooms aren’t attractive. They are cramped making it difficult for us to mingle with our classmates. But with the new teaching method, it creates a different environment where the teachers can engage with us,” said Kashmeeta.

“Ideas do flow easily and learning is so much more fun,” said Alyaa.

English teacher Boey Suet Boey said 21st century teaching has made lessons “more efficient and relevant”.

She said that the Education Ministry’s move to bring technology into classrooms, was commendable.

“Teaching using the SPA-21 method allows students to be innovative and communicative. They are also more focused,” she said.

Boey shared that weak students have become more enthusiastic about lessons.

“They are willing to come in the morning to work on their assignments, and to hand them in as well.

“Although the weaker students take a longer time, they are still able to complete their assignments. In fact, some of their projects are comparable to those of the better students. This brings great satisfaction to me as a teacher,” she added.

Stop, wait, go: Heidi Sofeya Razali holding the traffic cards which are used to indicate which student is keeping up with the class. RAYMOND OOI/ The Star.
Stop, wait, go: Heidi Sofeya Razali holding the traffic cards. Each colour indicates the level of a student’s understanding of a top.

Her colleague Tan Siew Fong, also an English teacher, shared her sentiments.

“Students are now more eager to send in their work even if they are not particularly fond of the subject.

“They are keen to know about their forthcoming projects – a clear indication that they are eager to learn,” she said.

She added that it is the teachers’ job to “harness students excitement towards learning”.

“The children of the 21st century have evolved, so it is only right that we teachers, change and move ahead.”

Tan said that SPA-21 teaching would need adjustments as it has not been properly implemented in schools.

SMK Assunta principal Lee Poh Eng said the new teaching method has enabled the students to work independently.

“The teacher becomes a facilitator instead of spoon-feeding them with information,” she explained.

Lee is proud to see the excitement of students when they attend lessons.

“When learning is fun, they are enthusiastic about going to school,” she said.

Selangor Education Department director Zainuren Mohd Nor believes that 21st century learning can help produce a generation of “high quality students”.

“They will not only be knowledgeable with outstanding grades, but will have valuable life skills as well,” he said.

He added that this would prepare them when they enter the job market.

Zainuren said that the traditional chalk and talk method was no longer applicable. Teachers should work towards a more interactive style of coaching by encouraging students to work in groups with the help of digital tools.

Doing so, would in the long run, increase the level of employability of their students, he said.