Keeping students engaged

Teachers share how they stimulate tech-savvy pupils’ minds with creative and innovative lessons

TEACHERS often shoulder enormous responsibility as educators and with the Covid-19 pandemic, they face new challenges in keeping their students engaged, especially with home-based teaching and learning (PdPR).

To commemorate Teacher’s Day, StarMetro spoke with three teachers who make learning fun as they keep up with the demands of today’s students who are generally technologically savvy.

They also recall their favourite teachers and how they were inspired by their role models.

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Nadrah Harith Fadzilah, 37, who is from Ipoh, teaches Science and Biology to students of SMK Seksyen 9 in Shah Alam, Selangor.

She uses the “learners analysis” method to teach her students.

“The learners analysis requires teachers to identify students’ interests before they teach.

“Generally, students like to do projects outside the classroom.

“I have given them assignments where they had to interview dieticians to learn about nutrition.

Mior says he incorporates online educational games and online references in his lessons. – Photos: MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The StarMior says he incorporates online educational games and online references in his lessons. – Photos: MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

“I also conduct class activities that are challenging and stimulating through games,” she said.

Nadrah, a mother of two, added that teachers had to cater to both passive and active students.

“They generally like online quizzes that have a game element,” she said.

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She urged other teachers to source for short explanations on certain topics and subjects on YouTube as such videos would help students gain a better understanding.

Nadrah said her favourite secondary school teacher was her debate coach Yusof from SM Sains Tuanku Syed Putra in Perlis.

“He taught me to speak with confidence and eloquence.

“He was empathetic towards his students and always had a solution to our problems.

“He was loved by the students,” said Nadrah, who recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology.

She was drawn to the teaching profession based on her experience coaching her peers while she was a student.

Kobhigaashree says children prefer hands-on activities in classes.Kobhigaashree says children prefer hands-on activities in classes.

“I realised I was good at teaching my schoolmates and they did well too, after I helped them. So, I decided to teach,” she said.

Her advice to parents is to encourage their children’s extra co-curricular interests such as music and provide them a good learning space at home as this will help them to focus on their studies.

Primary school science teacher Kobhigaashree Nanbalagan, 26, was inspired to become a teacher, thanks to her own primary school science teacher M. Ramasamy.

She was taught by him at SJKT Mahajothi in Sungai Petani, Kedah.

“He was not the chalk-and-talk type of teacher and his lessons often took place outdoors.

“He was special as he made learning exciting. I try to do the same for my pupils,” said Kobhigaashree, who teaches at SK Assunta Satu in Petaling Jaya.

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She added that despite being new to the profession, she had observed that children prefer hands-on activities.

To make lessons exciting, she often does research online and adapts various online resources from schools in the UK and US, in addition to local content.

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Pupils loved interacting with their teachers and that aspect must be incorporated into the lessons, she said.

“They love online learning through games and activities and we leveraged this during the PdPR (online learning) sessions.

“My advice to new teachers is to focus on providing pupils with engaging lessons as they spend long hours at schools.

Nadrah says her students like to do projects outside the classroom.Nadrah says her students like to do projects outside the classroom.

“Parents should complement the learning process at home by keeping tabs on their children’s progress,” said Kobhigaashree, who has a degree in education.

Another primary school teacher, Mior Mohd Azam, 32, is popular with his pupils at SK Sri Petaling in Petaling Jaya.

Known as “Mr Azam” to his pupils, he incorporates technology for learning purposes and imparts life lessons to his pupils.

The English and physical education teacher said he was inspired by his former Additional Mathematics tuition teacher, “Mr Siva” from Section 12, Petaling Jaya.

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“I was failing in Additional Maths all the way in Form Four until I became his student.

He said his tuition teacher would give him free additional lessons to help him master the subject.

“He was a highly motivated and spirited teacher and I try to be like him for the benefit of my pupils,” said Mior, who has a Master’s in Instructional Technology.

Mior said he enjoyed the company of his pupils.

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“Sometimes I entertain them with my stories and other times, they entertain me with theirs.

“I listen to their stories attentively, too,” he said.

Mior said his pupils were tech-savvy and he incorporates online educational games and online reference in his lessons.

Despite the positive use of technology, Mior also advised parents to monitor their children’s use of the Internet.

“Please monitor their online surfing activities,” he said.

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