TEACHERS are superheroes but their power does not come from an iron hammer or body armour.
It comes from the purity of heart and the ability to guide our children, said Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.
He said the ministry would continuously monitor the teachers’ workload to make sure that they were not bogged down by administrative duties that hamper productivity.
“We must make sure they continue to be educators and heroes to our kids,” he said, adding that a discussion would be held with them on the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS).
“It’s important to engage with teachers as they can give us feedback from the ground.
“Teachers are an important part of the Education Ministry’s big family.”
Since 2013, HOTS questions have found their way into national level examinations. And they’ll gradually be increased until 2020.
This is part of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 plan to develop students who can think critically and creatively The Star reported in April last year.
“I sympathise with teachers having to prepare HOTS questions and answers because it’s stifling them.
“It’s no longer HOTS if it has become restrictive. HOTS cannot be schematic. It’s about critical thinking and how you see the world.
“You can’t just look at things in black and white.”
He said teachers must practise HOTS themselves before they can pass on the skill of thinking creatively and innovatively to students.
He was speaking at the West Malaysia Malay Teachers Union (KGMMB) seminar in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 23.
Recommending that participants watch “Laskar Pelangi”, and “Sang Pencerah”, he said these movies about exemplary teachers, were his favourites.
As for books, he singled out “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari as a good read.
“The author predicts that what our children learn today will become irrelevant two or three decades down the road.
“And, 60% of jobs created then will not even be things we can imagine now.
“So, teachers must adopt a futuristic approach to ensure that our students are competitive.”
Teaching kids about technology, he said, could come later. Many are already more advance than adults.
“Teamwork, decision-making skills and knowing how to solve problems, are what’s needed.”
In his address, KGMMB president Jasni Md Kechik said the seminar provided a platform for teachers to understand current policies and facilitate the sharing of ideas between educators and the ministry.
It was also aimed at promoting administrative excellence in the union while ensuring efficient and progressive implementation of education policies.
He said it was vital that teachers and the ministry were on the same track.
Urging young teachers to be part of a union, he said it was not only to ensure their welfare but also to raise the standard of the teaching profession.
“Young teachers are not keen on joining unions because they are in the comfort zone.
“They feel that they are better off compared to their seniors.
“So, they’re not interested in championing issues related to the profession.
“But the main reason for joining a union or association is to protect the welfare of civil servants. “This is in line with the teachers’ code of ethics,” he said, while requesting that the Government allow high grade civil servants to continue contributing to the union.
The two-day seminar was attended by 250 participants from 18 KGMMB branches nationwide where National Education Policy Review Committee chairman Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid and Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin, spoke on the national education policy, teacher ethics and challenges.
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