As the Malaysian education system inches away from an examination-oriented culture, teachers need to think outside the box to keep schooling engaging.
This came amid fears from some parent groups that students might not pay attention in class in the absence of public examinations.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin said students might not pay attention if they knew they would not be tested.
“Since there is no examination for Year Six and Form Three students anymore, they may not pay attention. They may not be motivated to perform,” he said.
To counter this, experts said teachers need to find ways to make learning and teaching more fun.
Universiti Malaya educational foundation and humanities head Dr Azni Yati Kamaruddin said teachers need to be more creative and innovative in grabbing students’ attention.
Students who are interested tend to be more invested in their studies – thus helping them to retain information better, she said.
“This will help them to use the knowledge and skills in their daily lives and for future application too,” she said.
According to Azni, teachers have many tools at their disposal to make lessons more engaging.
“Role-playing, quizzes, songs, poetry, gallery walks and hot seats are some of the many methods that teachers can use,” she said.Practical application, Azni said, is the key to keeping students invested in the learning and teaching process.
“For example, Mathematics teachers can teach students to be entrepreneurs by organising a mini carnival or canteen day at school. We can also have a mini garden in school to impart lessons on herbs or gardening,” she said.
Teachers, according to Sunway University Assoc Prof Dr Daniel Chong Ka Leong, need to make lessons relatable too. He said the facilitation of students’ learning environment is equally important.
“Students’ attention is not always driven by the wow factor. More importantly, knowledge needs to be relatable to them,” he said, adding that teachers need to emphasise real-life application to the subjects that are taught.The matter of creative and innovative teachers was something that had been stressed upon by the Education Minister in many of his recent public engagements.
“Teachers must be more creative and innovative to keep students engaged during lessons in the absence of examinations,” Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said during the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 Transformation Forum on Aug 8.
During his speech, he had also dismissed concerns that students might skip lessons now that examinations were abolished.
“Do students skip school because there’re no examinations or because it’s so boring?” he said, adding that in developing countries where examinations had been abolished, students still continue to attend schools.
“We can see that many students (in countries where examinations had been abolished) were excited to attend school because they see the value of meeting teachers and friends. School is a fun place where they learn,” he said.
This article was first published in The Star, 11 September 2022.