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Jul 8, 2005

8 reasons why teachers are not overburdened

Recently the Ministry of Education and National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) claimed that teachers from four states (Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Malacca) are overburdened in their job particularly with the addition of new subjects and extra duties related to co-curricular and curricular activities. Here are the reasons why I don't think so.

1. Science and Mathematics are not new subjects. Teachers are paid extra incentives under the program ETeMS (English for Teaching Mathematics and Science).

2. Co-curricular activities are compulsory. Stop complaining or quit being a teacher.

3. Teachers spend extra hours after school to give tuition under the tuition voucher scheme (Skim Baucer Tuisyen) which financially benefited them.

4. Teachers spending 74 hours per week? That's 12.33 hours per day for 6 days? You mean they are working in school from 7.30 a.m. -8.00 p.m. on Saturday as well?

5. Teachers are spending 38 days feasting instead of training.

6. Teachers filled in 108 types of forms. For example, annual leave form, emergency leave form, cuti bersalin form, etc.

7. Teachers complain so that the ministry will sympathize and agree to shortened the time spent in school. This will allow them to have extra hours for tuition business.

8. The complaining teachers are teachers who do not have passion in teaching. (Don't they watch Boston Public?. Mr Harper and his teachers works from day to night and they never complain.)

5 questionable assumptions about schooling in Malaysia

1. The aim of schooling is to get all students to the same place at about the same time.

The education system expects students at the age of 15 to sit for PMR and by 17 or 18 to complete SPM. Hence below average students who were automatically promoted to Form 4 (although they didn't do well in PMR) struggle in SPM.

I once encountered a Year 6 student who can't even write a proper sentence in English or Bahasa Melayu. Her parents asked permission from school to allow their daughter to study Year 6 for another year. However the school principal objected as it will affected the school track record. The girl failed in UPSR and continued to struggle in secondary school.

2. A teacher should work with 30-40 students for an academic year, and then students should move to another teacher.

Usually teachers resist working with the same group of students for two or three years period. It is understandable that teachers want to teach the same level or subjects as it makes their job easier.

By the time teacher get to know the students and their parents better, the students move on to another teacher.

3. The best form of school organization is age-grading.

This assumption is related to the previous two. The idea is very simply whereby children of the same age should be grouped together. The age-graded school system is an administrative convenience but has very little to do with what we know about child development.

4. The best way to identify schools that work well is to examine their students' test scores.

Principal, teachers, students, parents and the society judges a school through test scores. However, the function of school is broader and deeper. There is more in life than exams like co-curriculum, school's contributions, etc.

With the recent cheerleading competition at the national level, at least I see some good sign that schools are being honoured for something else besides tests.

5. The primary content that students learn in school is what their teachers intend to teach them.

Some proactive students tend to crave for more information than what the teachers intend to teach them. While teachers will teach according to the national syllabus, some teachers only teach what's in the book without further explanation or giving any good examples.

Instead of being textbook- or workbook- based, teachers should encourage students to find more information through research of certain topics that interest them.

Jul 7, 2005

reasons not to hold the 2016 Olympic Games in Kuala Lumpur

Since Ivan gave his reasons to hold the 2016 Olympic Games in KL, here's my own version of why not to hold it in KL.

1. We don't have good track records in campaigning. Look at the failed Budi Bahasa and Tak Nak campaigns.

2. We don't have superstar footballers like Beckham and Raul.

3. We don't rule in badminton anymore.

4. We don't want to make into the history book by being the first Olympic host that didn't win any medals.

5. We have high possibility of not having a chance to sing our National Anthem.

6. Our PM prefers localise events rather than international recognition.

7. Malaysians are not patriotic. We only idolise western teams.

8. We have already retired since the Commonwealth Games in 1998.

Jul 6, 2005

thinking of deleting your Hotmail account?

I have been using Hotmail for almost a decade now. But once you start using Gmail for your personal emails you don't want to use Hotmail anymore. Besides YahooMail and Yahoo Messenger are more user friendly than Hotmail and MSN Messenger. So I was thinking of deleting that account instead. I came across this website called Ask Leo which explain how to delete Hotmail account.

1. Click Help on any Hotmail page.

2. Type Close Account in the keyword search section of the Help screen.

3. Click the Close Your Hotmail Account tip within the Help screen.

4. Click the Close Account link that is highlighted in blue.

5. Read the instructions. When you are satisfied that you understand the terms associated with an account closure, click Close Account.

As I read on, I begin to think that it is quite true that if I close the account, someone else could open a new one, using my old account name. So maybe I should just leave my Hotmail account as it is and simply just don't use it (perhaps just check it once in awhile to make sure it is active).

orientation week - the nightmare

It's orientation week (or rather registration week) in University of Malaya.

Initially I didn't realise it eventhough I saw a huge number of students (freshies) in their uniforms (some wearing black t-shirts, some in pink and some in yellow). I thought there was an expo or a PMR seminar going on in the campus. These freshies look very young (or in another word childish) and you won't deny that most of them are being treated like secondary school kids by their facilitators.

It reminds me of my orientation week many many years ago. It was a dream come true for me to go to the university of my choice (I went to UKM during one educational trip and immediately had a good image of the university). However, the orientation itself was a nightmare. The facilitators and seniors were so mean that I never seek help from them throughout my entire years there.

The overused word by the seniors which I will remember for the rest of my life was "cocky" (we, the innocent freshies were already scared to death to be away from our family for the first time and this was the word used to address us in their every sentence).

Nevertheless, one thing good about the orientation was I shed a lot of weights due to heavy exercises and torturing. Then of course I didn't get used to the food and I lost appetite to eat. I easily lost 15kg after the orientation week. Pretty amazing, huh?

Coming back to the orientation week here in UM, I realised that a huge percentage of these undergraduates are female. We are aware of the gap between female and male in universities even few years back but somehow I think the issue is getting out of hand now. So, where are the guys?

Jul 5, 2005

say "yes" to London for Olympic 2012

Tony Blair is very popular these days. Three days ago he gave his support to Live 8 to "make poverty history". Now the British Prime Minister is in Singapore to back the London team in the crucial vote to elect the Host City for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

London never host the biggest sports event since 1948. However, one poll showed 52% of Londoners didn't want the games. On the other hand, Blair wanted so badly to succeed judging from the attention given to him in most of the headlines as he undertook a hectic series of meetings.

Should London fail to win this bid, blame it on Blair, Bush and Iraq. Since London failure would also means New York's failure, then the winning bid should go to Paris.

Let's see the results tomorrow.

Jul 4, 2005

angelina jolie's speech on live 8 was axed

Music makes the people come together ...

Really enjoy the effortless performance by Green Day, Madonna and Snoop Dogg. Too bad that we didn't get to watch the speech by Angelina Jolie which was axed at Astro Channel 88. Don't get me wrong. Jolie didn't swear in her speech (but a number of musicians did during their performance). Insider told me that they didn't managed to squeeze in her part, that's all.

No doubt Live 8 is the biggest concert ever. It was like all of a sudden we have forgotten about war and terrorism. Instead Sir Bob Geldof makes us realised that we still have an unfinished business, poverty.

I don't care if some extremists think that this is a propaganda of the West.

Hopefully when the G8 leaders meet this month, they won't disappoint all the people around the world.
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