August 29th, 2016

Students rely too much on teachers

THE letter under the heading “Need for kids to think on their own” (StarEducate, Aug 7) is truly reflective of Malaysian pupils these days.

I teach in a primary school and experience similar situations when it comes to writing.

In the letter, the writer said that schoolchildren are not trained enough to think on their own when it comes to writing assignments.

It stems from the fact that they are more often than not, spoonfed with pictures and guided words.

My method of teaching is to use mind-maps in class. I try to get pupils to brainstorm and pen down their thoughts before they begin their writing task. I usually give pupils about 15 minutes to put their ideas together.

During the brainstorming session, I am bombarded with so many questions. I sometimes wonder if my instructions have been unclear, or if I need to further simplify my instructions.

Although they are reminded to jot down their thoughts so that we can have a discussion in class, the pupils don’t.

In the end, I guide them to complete their writing assisgnment. By doing so, it becomes a guided writing composition. It is the same for other activities too.

Students tend to be very dependent on their teachers when working on projects.

I have done scrap books with my students, giving them clear written instructions and the resources that they can use to complete their scrap book.

However at the end of it all, nothing much is done.

Most students have a tendency to print and paste information from the Internet into their scrap books.

They don’t research for information from encyclopaedias or reference books from the library. My hope is for children to be more independent. They must take the initiative to work harder for it will be to their advantage in the long run. Anuradha Chelliah Banting, Selangor The STAR Letters August 28, 2016

To my friend, the troublemaker

A “quarrelsome person” who would” always look for someone to quarrel with” is a troublemaker. A former leader now serving in Sungai Buloh prison is a troublemaker.

All the hits and headlines in the media between policy lawmakers are considered quarreling and had caused supporters from each group to disagree; and it is troublemakers who are causing street demonstrations.

And of course, there are leaders leading the ‘action’ of troublemaking, and can we conclude that ‘leaders’ are ‘troublemakers’.

There is a line between being a leader and being the ‘know-it-all’ controlling type who feels they need to be involved in everything.

Every organisation has various types of employees. Some are serious and hardworking; while some are taking things easy. There are also troublemakers, backstabbers and office politicians, as well as incompetents. These people are always on the lookout for victims.

There is a saying that an organisation needs a few troublemakers. Troublemakers will trouble you as they are not satisfied with the current condition. Troublemakers are known to think smarter and have better ways to do things. Complacency is not for them; they will never wait to do things or like to rest on the laurels.

They may be troublesome but they do like problem-solving as that’s where the fun is for them. It is a kind of mental stimulation that creates positive energy and motivation by the possibility of attaining that particular type of satisfaction that only comes with a job well done. It’s a win-win situation, really.

Troublemakers don’t sit around waiting to be told what to do. They are natural-born leaders. They are proactive and see potential issues way before most other folk.

Organisations needs thinkers who act on their thinking. Your contented employees will become annoyed by what they perceive as the troublemaker’s tendency to ‘borrow problems’, but this isn’t the troublemaker’s goal. He just naturally thinks ahead. Don’t hate him for thinking.

When it comes to the ‘work’, troublemakers don’t like to fool around but instead prefer to resolve issues and generally get things done fast, efficiently and accordingly.

Unfortunately, sometimes their focus and serious manner gives others the impression that they’re cold, or mean, or uncaring. It’s not true. They’re just into quality and standards. Could your organisation use someone with that attitude?

There’s a lot of talk these days about authenticity and integrity and how much organisations need employees who are willing to speak up. Look no further than your resident troublemaker! Troublemakers are passionate and opinionated and self-motivated. They’re willing to take a stance because they believe in their ideas and your organisation.

Of course troublemakers aren’t always the easiest to work with. They’re not the most accommodating personality in the room, and they may rub some people the wrong way.

But they’re committed, smart, and all about improving your job. They do care. And every organisation needs employees who care. Do bet on those. Let’s allow the so-called troublemaker to do his or her part! Doing so could very well be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

Remember, good people are always in trouble. So, be nice but shrewd. Know your friends and foes. Learn to protect yourself. Never retaliate openly. Remind your co-workers that you are as tough as them!

malaysia_kini.JPGAZIZI AHMAD is an educator.