In 2015, I was approached by the Board of Directors to do something with our newly established secondary school. The BOD didn’t want the school… Read More »The Value of Caring in Changing the System
“I am sorry because I feel like I am using you to cover my weakness,” the teacher said.
“No, you shouldn’t see it that way. You are doing something that all teachers should do.
Last year, one of the teachers from my school back home in Malaysia asked me a favour. She invited me to share my thoughts with her students in the history class she is in charge. They were discussing “the importance of awareness in the nation building”.
In Khalifah Model School (Secondary), when we transformed the school system from teacher-centered essentialism to student-centered progressivism, we believed that this transformation will help to save our students from being victimised by public education that concentrates a lot on low order thinking skills, mainly memorising and understanding. The transformation involved a lot of different approaches in teaching. In the new setting, students are supposed to take charge of their own learning, with teachers changing their role from being the ‘expert’ in content to the expert in designing a learning activity.
Today, I removed all the marker pens, whiteboards and computer. We put aside all the tables and arranged our chairs in U shape. I sat together with them, to try a different setting. I wanted to communicate with my students at the same physical level. We might not realise that when an adult stands up in front a group of children, even teenagers like our students, we appeared to be perceived as very gigantic. This influences the way they listen and pick up our lessons.
The topic today was, “The Culture of Thinking”
It was my first class for this new semester. I am assisting Mr. Amin to teach Study Skills to our new students.
They were the eldest last year in primary school. They had their UPSR. This year they become the youngest in secondary school. No more UPSR. And on top of everything, our school is not an ordinary school. Switching from a teacher centered classroom to a more progressive student centered classroom, we need to assist our students on transforming themselves into active learners, who take charge of their own learning, more than simply staying as the passive knowledge receivers, not even to be known as learners in its true sense.
So, starting from this year, we introduce Study Skills as a specific subject intended to help these new students. I teach two classes on this subject, assisting Mr. Amin who also teaches History 1 and History 2 for Year 2 students.
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