SINCE 2013, Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) questions have found their way into national level examinations.
And they will gradually be increased until the year 2020.
This is part of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 plan to develop students who can think critically and creatively.
Ultimately this is to create generations of resilient students that can face the challenges of the working world in the future.
Despite being around for the past few years, there are still teachers struggling to teach their students the skills needed to tackle these types of examination questions.
“Teachers are not prepared to develop HOTS among their students,” says the former director of the Examination Syndicate Datin Nawal Salleh (pic).
She adds that teachers need to develop HOTS first before they can impart their knowledge to their charges.
This year, the Leaps of Knowledge Conference had fun and engaging workshops to help parents and teachers understand education through gamification and how HOTS can be incorporated into teaching and learning.
“What we are trying to do now is to develop HOTS in the classroom,” she tells StarEducate.
Although not easy, Nawal offers a few ideas that are easily implemented.
She says that teachers can kickstart a student’s curiosity the moment they enter the classroom by asking questions.
Curiosity is a key requirement to develop HOTS.
She says an example of a HOTS question is “Why do you think leaves are green?”
This thought-provoking question has many answers such as “because of the chlorophyll” and also “because the leaves reflect green light.”
An open question like this requires the student to think critically and creatively to come up with the answer, she adds.
HOTS questions need to be opinion-based as well, she explains.
“We are actually trying to stimulate the thinking process.”
Nawal says a sign a child is using HOTS in the classroom is when they ask questions.
Teachers should encourage the children to voice their thoughts and queries, she says.
“If you want to develop their critical thinking skills, you have to provoke and encourage the students to ask questions,” she adds.
Assuming students ask a difficult question, the teacher should not just brush it aside.
Instead, Nawal says the teacher should act as a “facilitator” and help the students find the answer on their own.
She also says a classroom should not be “too quiet” as it is a clear sign that one-way teaching is going on.
A lively classroom means the students are actively taking part in the teaching and learning process.
Nawal stresses that HOTS questions are now necessary to break the cycle of rote-learning and develop students who are creative and critical-thining problem-solvers
Themed Level Up!, the conference had fun and engaging workshops to help parents and teachers understand education through gamification and how HOTS can be incorporated into teaching and learning.