Thursday, February 13, 2014

ON MALAYSIAN EDUCATION: RANDOM THOUGHTS

1. GENTLY PLEASE ...

must we educate our children in schools
though we must feast them with hard questions on life, the universe, and everything

for-- education is a gentle profession
to create gentlemen and ladies in our society

who will not only pursue knowledge and contribute to society
with the valor and chivalry of a gentleman
and the elegance and grace of a lady

gently we enter the child's mind
as respectful as we enter a house of worship
for therein lies the abode of knowledge uncarved
in which the seeds of knowing, understanding, wisdom, and dharma and bhakti lies ...

seeds to renew prosperity of society

a violent teacher may produce violent members of society
that is how gentle a profession, education is meant to be ... -- ar

SHARE THIS IF YOU WISH TO
SHARE THIS WITH A CHILD PREFERABLY ... -- ar


2.   CHILDREN in MALAYSIA and SURVEY on SEXUAL PREFERENCE ... WHAT DOES THE MALAYSIAN LAW SAY?

the recent story in Negeri Sembilan of the survey troubled me ... how could children ten years of age be allowed to take such a survey without the parent's consent? Even in the US, a students conducting survey or interview for graduate or doctoral work need to first get clearance from the Internal Review Board (IRB) on the Protection of Human Subjects. A school not follwing such a procedure can be in deep trouble and a teacher conducting survey in sensitive matters without consent can be dismissed/fired.

Here is what the US law says about protecting children:

" Subpart D

Additional Protections for Children Involved as Subjects in Research

Source:48 FR 9818, March 8, 1983, unless otherwise noted.

§46.401 To what do these regulations apply?

(a) This subpart applies to all research involving children as subjects, conducted or supported by the Department of Health and Human Services.

(1) This includes research conducted by Department employees, except that each head of an Operating Division of the Department may adopt such nonsubstantive, procedural modifications as may be appropriate from an administrative standpoint.

(2) It also includes research conducted or supported by the Department of Health and Human Services outside the United States, but in appropriate circumstances, the Secretary may, under paragraph (e) of §46.101 of subpart A, waive the applicability of some or all of the requirements of these regulations for research of this type.

(b) Exemptions at §46.101(b)(1) and (b)(3) through (b)(6) are applicable to this subpart. The exemption at §46.101(b)(2) regarding educational tests is also applicable to this subpart. However, the exemption at §46.101(b)(2) for research involving survey or interview procedures or observations of public behavior does not apply to research covered by this subpart, except for research involving observation of public behavior when the investigator(s) do not participate in the activities being observed.

(c) The exceptions, additions, and provisions for waiver as they appear in paragraphs (c) through (i) of §46.101 of subpart A are applicable to this subpart.

[48 FR 9818, Mar.8, 1983; 56 FR 28032, June 18, 1991; 56 FR 29757, June 28, 1991.]

§46.402 Definitions.

The definitions in §46.102 of subpart A shall be applicable to this subpart as well. In addition, as used in this subpart:

(a) Children are persons who have not attained the legal age for consent to treatments or procedures involved in the research, under the applicable law of the jurisdiction in which the research will be conducted.

(b) Assent means a child's affirmative agreement to participate in research. Mere failure to object should not, absent affirmative agreement, be construed as assent.

(c) Permission means the agreement of parent(s) or guardian to the participation of their child or ward in research.

(d) Parent means a child's biological or adoptive parent.

(e) Guardian means an individual who is authorized under applicable State or local law to consent on behalf of a child to general medical care.

§46.403 IRB duties.

In addition to other responsibilities assigned to IRBs under this part, each IRB shall review research covered by this subpart and approve only research which satisfies the conditions of all applicable sections of this subpart.

§46.404 Research not involving greater than minimal risk.

HHS will conduct or fund research in which the IRB finds that no greater than minimal risk to children is presented, only if the IRB finds that adequate provisions are made for soliciting the assent of the children and the permission of their parents or guardians, as set forth in §46.408.

§46.405 Research involving greater than minimal risk but presenting the prospect of direct benefit to the individual subjects.

HHS will conduct or fund research in which the IRB finds that more than minimal risk to children is presented by an intervention or procedure that holds out the prospect of direct benefit for the individual subject, or by a monitoring procedure that is likely to contribute to the subject's well-being, only if the IRB finds that:

(a) The risk is justified by the anticipated benefit to the subjects;

(b) The relation of the anticipated benefit to the risk is at least as favorable to the subjects as that presented by available alternative approaches; and

(c) Adequate provisions are made for soliciting the assent of the children and permission of their parents or guardians, as set forth in §46.408.

§46.406 Research involving greater than minimal risk and no prospect of direct benefit to individual subjects, but likely to yield generalizable knowledge about the subject's disorder or condition.

HHS will conduct or fund research in which the IRB finds that more than minimal risk to children is presented by an intervention or procedure that does not hold out the prospect of direct benefit for the individual subject, or by a monitoring procedure which is not likely to contribute to the well-being of the subject, only if the IRB finds that:

(a) The risk represents a minor increase over minimal risk;

(b) The intervention or procedure presents experiences to subjects that are reasonably commensurate with those inherent in their actual or expected medical, dental, psychological, social, or educational situations;

(c) The intervention or procedure is likely to yield generalizable knowledge about the subjects' disorder or condition which is of vital importance for the understanding or amelioration of the subjects' disorder or condition; and

(d) Adequate provisions are made for soliciting assent of the children and permission of their parents or guardians, as set forth in §46.408.

§46.407 Research not otherwise approvable which presents an opportunity to understand, prevent, or alleviate a serious problem affecting the health or welfare of children.

HHS will conduct or fund research that the IRB does not believe meets the requirements of §46.404, §46.405, or §46.406 only if:

(a) the IRB finds that the research presents a reasonable opportunity to further the understanding, prevention, or alleviation of a serious problem affecting the health or welfare of children; and

(b) the Secretary, after consultation with a panel of experts in pertinent disciplines (for example: science, medicine, education, ethics, law) and following opportunity for public review and comment, has determined either:

(1) that the research in fact satisfies the conditions of §46.404, §46.405, or §46.406, as applicable, or (2) the following:

(i) the research presents a reasonable opportunity to further the understanding, prevention, or alleviation of a serious problem affecting the health or welfare of children;

(ii) the research will be conducted in accordance with sound ethical principles;

(iii) adequate provisions are made for soliciting the assent of children and the permission of their parents or guardians, as set forth in §46.408.

§46.408 Requirements for permission by parents or guardians and for assent by children.

(a) In addition to the determinations required under other applicable sections of this subpart, the IRB shall determine that adequate provisions are made for soliciting the assent of the children, when in the judgment of the IRB the children are capable of providing assent. In determining whether children are capable of assenting, the IRB shall take into account the ages, maturity, and psychological state of the children involved. This judgment may be made for all children to be involved in research under a particular protocol, or for each child, as the IRB deems appropriate. If the IRB determines that the capability of some or all of the children is so limited that they cannot reasonably be consulted or that the intervention or procedure involved in the research holds out a prospect of direct benefit that is important to the health or well-being of the children and is available only in the context of the research, the assent of the children is not a necessary condition for proceeding with the research. Even where the IRB determines that the subjects are capable of assenting, the IRB may still waive the assent requirement under circumstances in which consent may be waived in accord with §46.116 of Subpart A.

(b) In addition to the determinations required under other applicable sections of this subpart, the IRB shall determine, in accordance with and to the extent that consent is required by §46.116 of Subpart A, that adequate provisions are made for soliciting the permission of each child's parents or guardian. Where parental permission is to be obtained, the IRB may find that the permission of one parent is sufficient for research to be conducted under §46.404 or §46.405. Where research is covered by §§46.406 and 46.407 and permission is to be obtained from parents, both parents must give their permission unless one parent is deceased, unknown, incompetent, or not reasonably available, or when only one parent has legal responsibility for the care and custody of the child.

(c) In addition to the provisions for waiver contained in §46.116 of subpart A, if the IRB determines that a research protocol is designed for conditions or for a subject population for which parental or guardian permission is not a reasonable requirement to protect the subjects (for example, neglected or abused children), it may waive the consent requirements in Subpart A of this part and paragraph (b) of this section, provided an appropriate mechanism for protecting the children who will participate as subjects in the research is substituted, and provided further that the waiver is not inconsistent with federal, state, or local law. The choice of an appropriate mechanism would depend upon the nature and purpose of the activities described in the protocol, the risk and anticipated benefit to the research subjects, and their age, maturity, status, and condition.

(d) Permission by parents or guardians shall be documented in accordance with and to the extent required by §46.117 of subpart A.

(e) When the IRB determines that assent is required, it shall also determine whether and how assent must be documented.

§46.409 Wards.

(a) Children who are wards of the state or any other agency, institution, or entity can be included in research approved under §46.406 or §46.407 only if such research is:

(1) Related to their status as wards; or

(2) Conducted in schools, camps, hospitals, institutions, or similar settings in which the majority of children involved as subjects are not wards.

(b) If the research is approved under paragraph (a) of this section, the IRB shall require appointment of an advocate for each child who is a ward, in addition to any other individual acting on behalf of the child as guardian or in loco parentis. One individual may serve as advocate for more than one child. The advocate shall be an individual who has the background and experience to act in, and agrees to act in, the best interests of the child for the duration of the child's participation in the research and who is not associated in any way (except in the role as advocate or member of the IRB) with the research, the investigator(s), or the guardian organization.


3.   BUT THEN AGAIN, in MALAYSIA THESE DAYS ...

what law do people respect
from Constitutional law to school law to traffic rules ...
maybe even lawmakers and law enforcers no longer respect the law
even citizens are taking the law into their own hands .. including mob lynching ... and slapping too.
moving towards a lawlessness society we are ?
we need Robocops
ones free from virus and malware -- ar


4.   MALAYSIANS: THE ONLY WAY ...

to remain sane in a society that is going insane
is perhaps to pretend to be insane ..
in hope that all will be equal
a "win-win situation" as the the corporate/corporeal world would say..
a synergy of insane minds gradually losing sanity
*glad there is still rock and roll ..."* ... -- ar

  

5. CURRICULUM  SHOULD BE RADICALLY REVAMPED TO BE ...

inspiring,
innovative
individualizing
inter-disciplinary
intoxicating to the mind
invigorates the brain cells
in tune with changing times
interwoven with culture and technology
interested in nurturing the global and cosmopolitan mind

is your national curriculum current? ... -- ar


6.    I HAD HOPED

that by now Malaysians are engaged in Revolutionary French Salon-type of daily discussions on fresh new ideas in the corridors of academia and in the streets ala Bangsar ...

but not yet ...

Till now we are stuck in Revolutionary Hair Salon-type of kopitiam talk on most ridiculous and mundane matters -- kangkong, Chinese New Year video, bounty-slapping each other, beating the crap out of children for "religious" reasons, etc.

evolve we must ... there is so much time wasted in a country claimed to value "knowledge economy" and wishing to be a world-class educational hub in Asia ...

where did we go wrong?
how do we make things right? -- ar


7.   SCHOOL-BASED ASSESSMENT
      DATA-DRIVEN DECISION MAKING
      PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES
      SYSTEMS-BASED SCHOOLING
      AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT ...


all these are nice words for Malaysian schools to have but alien to teachers driven to death by administrative work to even understand let alone enculturalize scientific thinking in teaching and learning and in managing student progress ...

we have a society with scientific buzz-word and sloganism governing
but not yet a society whose members value scientific and rational thinking ..

that is why we have tribal practices in schools ...

-- magic pills administered for students taking tests
-- magic and miracle water drank to increase intelligence
-- strange sounding pills sold to enhance brain power
-- teachers punishing students to eat grass, asking them to go back to where they belong, and all kinds of methods used to punish children not skilled in memorizing facts that will become obsolete ...

I hope I am saying the right thing about Malaysian education ... correct me if I am wrong ... -- ar


8.   THE UNTRAINED TEACHERS ... WHY THEY NEED HELP

teachers going into the teaching profession unprepared, ill-prepared, and not trained as an anthropologist of learning, psychologist of curious young minds, a politician able to do crowd control, and an actor able to juggle roles and interpret the script well without losing sense and sanity -- without all these they are set for failure and even worse, given the burden of work, un-mentored early years in the profession, inability to master subject matter that is constantly progressing and worse still confronted with a large class of children of the new millenium smarter than the teacher at tiles and hungry for inspiring teaching techniques .. often resort to strange techniques of "disciplining and punishing" all because "fight or flight" of the "reptilian brain" govern their daily practice.

Understandably, when classes a huge, workload insurmountable, salary low, and communicated goals unclear ...

these teachers need help ... professional as well as emotional help ... because their hopes about being a good teacher might have been destroyed by the system itself that run on auto pilot and at times self-destructive mode.

Who loses in this game of educating? :CHILDREN.

A generation of children bored and their minds unchallenged and uninspired and after a number of years in this system of survival of the fittest in this world of learning, dread, and boredom set in, and there goes the meaning of the idea of education down the drain; the meaning of the Latin word "educare'", i.e. to draw out (the best of human potentials constantly ..". That is what children are subjected to.

We must revamp teacher education entirely ... new premises, new paradigm, new modus operandi, new culture breathed in, new vision of a good society of good workers and citizens, new everything ... including the very idea of "what is a teacher" itself ... when can we do this before two more generations are lost?

again, correct me if i am wrong about Malaysian teachers especially --ar


9.   PARENTS' ROLE  IN THE CHILD'S SCHOOLING

is of a partnership with the school
of smart partnership
train your child well before sending them off to school
teach them respect, ethics, and good manners and discipline
train their mind to be disciplined with knowledge as well
the school is not a babysitting place you drop your children off to be disciplined by teachers .. they have better things to do: TEACHING
if half of the time is used to discipline your child or even your youngster, half of the joy of teaching is gone, half of the battle to make your children cleverer is lost.

a gentle reminder: teachers are not correctional officers in a glorified prison -- they are noble people who will also manage virtue.

it is all a collaborative effort -- taking a village to raise a child -- your child. -- ar


10.   TO THE MINISTRY of EDUCATION ...

if you can spend many millions of dollars just writing up a blueprint
spend that much money to reduce class size to 20.

you cannot continue to make the lives of teachers miserable and expect miracles .. education is not an act of enslaving teachers by making them burn out from day one.

investing in the country's future through small learning communities: priceless. -- ar


11.  TOO MANY NEW TECHNIQUES WITH FANCY NAMES?
*too many wines in too many new bottles make the teacher a drunken sailor*

the best teaching techniques are the ones not necessarily transferred lock, stock, and barrel from faraway land, just because they worked in those cultures ... the best are those in which the teachers and the techniques gradually harmonizes into a synthesis of workability, of what worked best under different circumstances, with different student population, and ones that are constantly improved and refined and ultimately what the teachers have not only understood as best practice but have become one and inseparable with the teacher ... in essence ... less is more, small is beautiful, one small step for teacher is a giant step for the children ...

make sense? -- ar



12.  THE 5Cs of TEACHING

Culture
Curriculum
Classroom Management
Communication
and lastly but most importantly
-- Common Sense ...

agree? -- ar


13.  TEACHING IN THE U.S. .. A CLOSE OBSERVATION
in general

one goes into teaching because of the passion to teach and to want to make a difference in the lives of children ... the best and the brightest go into teaching ... many leave the corporate world, wall street, to "go into the classroom" armed with cutting edge knowledge from the business and professional world ....to find meaning in what they do ...

teachers with Ph.Ds are a common lot teaching elementary, middle, and high schools ... one needs the best grades to enter the teaching profession ... one needs a license to teach .. no license you cannot teach, under the law of No Child Left Behind and under the requirements for being HQT (High Quality Teachers) ...

in some states accumulation of professional development hours are required ... teaching is considered a highly-paid prized profession protected by contractual agreement ... one cannot be made to work beyond hours or be burdened with responsibilities unrelated to teaching

... teaching is a profession highly-respected and teachers are constantly polled as the most "trusted people" in the lives of children ...

college teaching required people of high GPAs , wide accomplishment ... to be a professor of education one needs to decades of teaching experience ... teaching is not a last resort .. it is often a first choice and especially chosen because of the nobility of it and the ability to directly impact the future of "younger members of society" as educational philosopher John Dewey will say ... a teacher masters the content, curriculum, core curriculum content standards, communication skills, culture of the child and the school and the community, and have a good sense of educational law and the rights fo the child ... teacher talk in faculty room is always about both lamentations and empathy and hope and collegiality, as if going to battle for a perfectly good cause ...

a licensed teachers mentors the novice and eligible to move up to become administrators and even superintendents and if he/she chooses to become professors of education to help sustain the national educational imperative of creating good americans .. and yes, it is a must for teachers to promote critical and creative thinking and freedom of thought and diversity of opinion is encouraged and the ability to teach thinking is a second nature highly prized ...

if a teacher cannot handle the profession he/she is welcome to leave or be evaluated well enough to be recommends to stay or to leave .. to leave and contract not renewed so that damage id not done to the child ... a racial slur or a tasteless joke on a child can cost him/her his/her job ...

a teacher in the US public schools especially is a thorough professional fully licensed, fully human ... a chosen path well-rewarded of which the greatest reward comes in the form of a child coming coming back to you and say that "you're my best teacher and you made me what i am ... ! " --
the US secretary of education gets to his "ministerial position" because not only he has had tons and years of experience teaching but had transformed tough schools in the toughest states such a Chicago where Al Capone once rule ...

in malaysia unfortunately we have educational policymakers who have never taught much, not even in Al Kepong where ghosts and gangnam-styled gangsta once rules ... ar


14.   A SCHOOL #1 ...

is not a place to prepare a child for a place in life
it is life itself preparing a child for his/her rightful place ... -- ar

*a thought after reading dewey*


 A SCHOOL #2 ...

is a place where democracy and freedom of thought
is not a luxury and the monopoly of the authority
it is a place of "lived democracy" wherein at every moment of wide-awakedness, the child feels what democracy looks like and participate in it, as members of society wishing to uphold its principles ... if and only iff the teachers and the adult in the school can show what democracy and freedom of thought ought to look like ... -- ar


A SCHOOL #3 ...

will fail miserably if dogma, dictatorship, and divine decrees is made to over-rule the culture of dialogue ...

what goes on in school and what goes into the process of schooling will determine whether as society will be reproduced as a respectful democratic entity ...or a dreaded totalitarian society -- ar


 A SCHOOL #4 ...

is a heaven in the neighborhood
when a child cries wanting to be there early to learn new things

it is hell on earth
when the child cries thinking daily how fearful the place is to be endured out of his/her own free will

essentially -- if criminals are made and not born
the dull mind is created in schools and not a gift of a free spirit ... -- ar


 A SCHOOL #5 ...

is at its best and most mindful
when it is able to unschool the mind ... -- ar


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The simple act of teaching my child how to read, wright, and count has been complicated by people who implemented correct policies based on wrong reasons.

With availability of the internet Home-School may be the answer. Who knows.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the incredible mastership of The Piano Guys:

- Titanium / Pavane by David Guetta
- Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
- Over the Rainbow
- Love Story Meets Viva La Vida

Over a few activities at one go - study, research, dinner, intense reading, Skype loved ones, practising shooting the ball into the hoop.. now as an extension of …

something I am eternally grateful for our wonderful parents, in making the priceless investment of enrolling us in a private mission school which emphasized hard work, character building, positive social values, acceptance, color blind friendship, love for reading and niceness of great fun … values which they themselves demonstrated…

even allowing us to use the shades whilst attempting challenging math problems... having good friends over for freezing lemonade and simple meals and vice versa …

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