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Thursday, August 7, 2008

MSU vs TESLians

13 TESLians with 13 Teacher Trainees from Michigan State University,US

They came here in Malacca for a visit both to Maktab and Malacca, the historic city. We, TESLians of Maktab Perguruan Perempuan Melayu were responsible to usher them throughout their visit to this Teacher Training College.

We greeted them with humbleness and humility. They accepted us as we are and I’m glad they did because we were appointed to this task at a very..very last minute. I’m really glad it turned out okay.

We had several sessions with them, the get-to-know session, the dialogue session, the tour session and the luncheon session.

The get-to-know session

I met Corrie and Kelly. They are teacher trainees for elementary and high school respectively. They are at the same age as us, 23 years old and yet they’re already finished with their study and head on for 1 year of practicum at the Michigan State’s schools. They’ve already had their bachelor of education degree of 4 years of study.

What shocked me was the way they pay the university (tuition fees) for their study. They have to work for extra money as they don’t get any scholarship like us. They said that our government is TOO KIND.. giving money and all. They, .. they need to survive no matter what it takes for them to further their study. One key element that they must have is… the LOVE to REALLY further the study. And they also complement our government for posted teachers to any schools throughout the country, for they need to go and ask the schools around for any vacancy and get through with the interviewing process and all. They even, to some extent, need to move from the Michigan state to find schools which will accept them at any other states. Wow, so many sacrifices they need to take, just for the love they hold in teaching profession as the way of living.

I’m thrilled and my heart awed so much that it tickles. hehe

Indeed I realized these facts, and I thank Allah for this opportunity to be in the TESL programme. Although initially it wasn’t as planned (TESL was randomly chosen by my friend, Ezulia and put as the 4th choice in the UPU form) and yet, it turned out well at the end. I really thank ALLAH for His blessings and all, that shines the light of my route to become a TESLian, the teacher trainee.

Corrie is the teacher trainee for elementary school. In Malaysian context, the primary school. (I don’t know the range of age but it is a little bit different from what we have here in Malaysia). So much so the same, the elementary school teachers act as the homeroom teachers who will handle the same students for every subject the school have everyday. The teacher will control the class as well as the lesson. With this style and freedom of teaching, the teacher will be able to identify and take good care of the children’s welfare as of the background and learning development.

Kelly, however has a different story. She will become the high school teacher who will be teaching language art and some other fields. High school teacher will be equipped with a classroom where the STUDENTS are the ones who COME and GO to and from the classroom. In simple terms, the students will be changing classes, NOT like the Malaysian teachers who ought to hurry here and there; plus carrying and putting up the same things she taught at different classes. Fuuhh.. penat!

If the teachers are given their own classroom, they might be able to put up something in the class, which every student will get the same chance to view it long enough to remember all of them.

Well, everything is has its owns pros and cons.

The dialogue session

Let me just go brief with this. Basically, the dialogue is about “how to teach and how is it differ”…

Michigan State University, its teacher trainee college believes that hands-on activities and discovery learning have many advantages to their generation. It increased better understanding, not just on the surface but the basic concepts of everything.

For example; their learning is more on students centered activities such as role plays, realia, group works, presentation etc. the use of technology are also encouraged to enhance students understanding and mastery of the concept. Students will have certain projects to be carried out and own researches are encouraged with teachers’ facilitations. There’s also no standard test (as in annual year-end tests) for students younger that standard 3. Basically, they want to show them learning is fun, which will indirectly instilled in the students. Learning is not only about marks and papers, but what the children perceived it to be.

Even Islam encouraged its people to seek and appreciate knowledge, that knowledge is everlasting and should never stop looking for it from cradle to the grave. People should have passion to learn more and more as knowledge (‘ilm) is never exhausted.

The tour session

The most part of this session is the light talk between us and the MSUs (aside from the tour around our historic maktab). We did share some opinions on things which includes Sex Education. Basically, in the US, the Sex Education has become the necessity for every kids to undergo. There are letters of agreement given to parents for permission (for the sake of formality) and it’s a very rare case if the parents does not allow their children into this programme. Sex Education held a taboo word for asian countries to just accept it just like that. Generally, it’s just about the introduction of which is male and female, what should and shouldn’t do, what is sexual harassments and all.

Sexual harassment in Malaysia are so blunt that so many people doesn’t know that it IS sexual harassment. The touches, looking/staring and uttering some words can be sexual harassment and this knowledge is VITAL in order to avoid further crime/misconception by children about RAPE, INCEST and MOLEST.

Well, at least, I think sex education is important but for Asian countries, especially my country, Malaysia, the name should be changed in order to avoid taboo and bad/misconception of what the lesson is actually all about! Well, may be Sex Education can be changed as Human Education, Living education, Life education and some sort of that. Any idea? Please help to improve Malaysian perceptions! Hehe

The luncheon session

They were served with malaccan's foods which are asam pedas ikan, ayam masak merah, sambal belacan, sayur goreng and watermelon. mmmmm yummy! They love the food even spicy ones. wow! i'm shocked but well, at least they enjoyed being here (actually, they came all the way to Malaysia with their tution fees, 6 credits hour will be calculated.. plus they have their own host family staying at Tanjung malim and they ought to teach the schools around Tanjung Malim for practicum purposes for about a month! and they pay this with their own money! wow.. passion for teaching.. !!)

on the way back.. we'll keep in touch, ya!

Last but not least, I’m glad that I’d been given such exposure to the other scope/way of looking to this teaching profession. Now I know how sacred it is to EDUCATE younger generation to become BETTER LEADER than what we have now which full of lousy scandals and very .. very corrupted.

Malaysia needs a BATMAN, terribly!

NOTE: United States of America is a developed country while Malaysia is still developing. There’s may be some rational to the notion of KIND government, but please teachers! Don’t take it for granted by still using CHALK and TALK traditional TEACHER TALK STUDENTS HEAR methods anymore!! aRRggghhh… // a reminder for you and me //

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