Controlling one’s voice and learning how to engage students are just some of the new teaching perspectives six teachers took home.
MARYATI Athan from SK Muhammad Saman, Perak was one of six teachers who returned to Malaysia from India with new teaching ideas.
The teachers, who were selected based on their contribution to the native speaker programme in their respective schools, had recently attended the three-day Asia Human Resource Development Congress 2012 in Bangalore, India.
“I was quite excited to be offered the chance to attend this conference as I thought it would enhance my professional development,” said Maryati.
“On the first day of the conference, we were asked to choose one out of the four pre-conference workshops available. I chose the one that introduced a training approach known as Jolt and was conducted by Dr Sivasailam Thiagarajan,” said Maryati.Dr Sivasailam, nicknamed “Thiagi”, taught the participants how to use games and activities to provide training and teaching.
In one of the games, Dr Sivasailam gave a lecture, after which the participants were divided into teams and asked to complete sentences as well as come up with more points based on the lecture.
A summary of the lecture was then presented by each team followed by comments from the other participants.
According to Maryati, the learning activity did not take up much time but illustrated “one or more important learning points”.
“The workshop was very interesting as it provided insights and was highly engaging; it made me think, share and discover different perspectives,” she said, adding that she was offered the trip after winning the Creative Teacher Showcase at the 21st Melta International Conference 2012 in May.
The teachers’ trip was sponsored by the SMH HR Group. The group was awarded the contract to supply 120 trainers for the six states on the west side of Peninsular Malaysia.
Norizatul Azma Ismail, from SRA Al-Islahiyah, Perlis, took detailed notes on what she learned from each activity.
One of the lessons she took home was that a meaningful lesson is one that engages the participants. “You learn when you are happy or sad, but not when you are bored,” she noted.
SJK (C) Pui Ying teacher Ker Chek Wei summarised what he learned, saying that a trainer has to maintain a balance between activities and content.
“Without content, the activities are just fun and the students won’t learn anything. Meanwhile, if the trainer emphasises only on content, the students may learn but may not be engaged,” he explained.
Even at workshops that may not have seemed teaching-related, the teachers were able to take home lessons that were applicable to their careers.
At the workshop on the topic “Uplifting Service: Exceeding Customer Expectations One Action At A Time”, Ron Kaufman said that customer expectations were rising in today’s global economy.
“His presentation motivated me to do my very best for my students as they are my main clients. His packed presentation with real-life examples, powerful principles and tried-and-true techniques motivated and inspired me to uplift my service to my students,” said Maryati.
During the congress, some of the teachers also discovered that besides content structure and delivery method, there was another teaching fundamental they needed to learn — how to use their voices.
Norizatul learned that the voice was the most powerful thing in engaging learners.
“In our journey to uncover our voices, executive voice coach Cynthia Zhai guided us to the one big secret in achieving it, which is through our breathing,” she said.
Ker added that Cynthia taught them to breathe correctly by using their “complex vocal system”, which included the mouth, vocal cord and diaphragm.
“When we speak to the public, we may become nervous. The correct way in controlling your voice is to use our mouth to inhale and speak at the phase of exhalation,” said Ker.
“Never use your nose to breathe in while you are talking,” he added.
The teachers who attended the congress agreed they were happy and honoured to have been chosen to attend the three-day event, with Norizatul adding that she had gained a lot of valuable knowledge to apply in her teaching.
“All in, I found that the congress had given me the opportunity to enhance my professional development by being exposed to internationally renowned speakers and trainers who motivated me and helped to develop my skills as a teacher,” said Maryati.
By JEANNETTE GOON firstname.lastname@example.org Source: The STAR Online Home Education Sunday Semptember 2, 2012