PLAYING the ukulele and singing during classroom lessons to learn a language?
This is one of the many methods English teacher Samuel Isaiah has up his sleeve to make the most of 21st century learning concepts.
“The common belief that 21st century learning only involves technology is wrong.
“We get the children to collaborate and carry out teamwork activities.
“However, while technology is a small tool in the big picture, having it will definitely boost learning in schools,” said Samuel, who teaches orang asli children at SK Runchang, Pahang.
Samuel was speaking at the launch of an Education Ministry initiative, the 21st Century Learning (PAK21) Teachers’ Campaign.
The campaign will run until the end of January 2019 and is open to teachers in national schools.
Its objective is to share best practices on how teachers inculcate PAK21 into their classrooms and encourages them to upload their creative strategies through a 300-word write-up or through a three-minute video on the campaign’s official website at gurupak21.com.
Ten teachers with the most effective and creative strategies will be selected to receive professional mentorship, win attractive prizes, and receive a private audience with Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.
If learning isn’t fun and meaningful, Samuel said, pupils will be disengaged and wouldn’t want to be in school.
“With 21st century learning in place, it enhances creativity, collaboration and communication among pupils.
“My pupils love it because they get involved and they don’t realise that they are actually learning through this method.
“We live in a day and age where a person’s intelligence and capability is not merely based on what you write on a piece of paper; it involves problem solving and the ability to adapt.
“So 21st century learning caters to this aspect of learning and prepares our kids for the future.
“It is very student-oriented, as they are given more autonomy to take charge of the classroom and lead their friends in the learning process,” he explained.
Facilities at Alfian Mansor’s school are limited, but the SK Sayong Pinang, Johor, teacher makes the best of his situation.
“I download my videos from YouTube and other materials online before going to school, and there are apps that can be used offline.
“Only teachers who don’t want to put in that extra effort will look at it as burdensome.
“We are living in the 21st century; if we don’t make use of these tools, our pupils will lose out,” said Alfian, who also teaches orang asli children.
Dr Maszlee, who launched the campaign, expressed his gratitude to teachers, describing them as the backbone of the country.
“The campaign is designed to celebrate homegrown Malaysian teachers, and to shine the spotlight on teachers who are employing creative strategies to bring PAK21 into their classrooms.
“The ministry hopes these inspiring teachers will start a change, which will build into a tidal wave of 21st century-ready classrooms.
“I need every teacher, regardless of where your school is, regardless of your subject, and regardless of whether you are teaching mainstream or special needs students, to reflect on how we are preparing our students for the 21st century.
“It is my belief that with the reforms I have initiated to reduce your administrative workload and elevate the status of the teaching profession, you will have more time for the things that matter, especially to inculcate 21st century learning in our nation’s classrooms.
“PAK21 represents the direction in which our education must go to ensure our students are ready for the future,” he said.
Students who are ready for the 21st century, he said, are those who have a mastery of the 4C1V concept: they must be creative, collaborative, think critically, communicate well, and have a core of values and ethics.
Armed with these skills, the ministry is confident students will be able to “survive and thrive”, he added.
“They will be holistic individuals, upholding values of love, happiness and mutual respect, commanding a mastery of technology instead of being mastered by it.”
Education secretary-general Datuk Dr Mohd Gazali Abas and Performance and Delivery Unit Student Learning Sector director Datin Rosliza Rosli were also at the launch.