‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’ This is exactly what teachers are trying to do in an era where students are smitten with smartphones and social media applications such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Since the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) system has become the norm now what with the COVID-19 pandemic showing no sign of abating yet, many teachers have jumped on the social media bandwagon to attract the attention of their students, even if it means having to be creative in their teaching methods.
Saliza Ibrahim, 34, who teaches Bahasa Melayu at Math Clinic tuition centre here, uses Instagram and Twitter during her PdPR sessions.
Referred to as Cikgu Zack by her students, she said being a teacher she is accustomed to sharing her knowledge whether on social media or face-to-face sessions in the classroom.
"When the MCO (Movement Control Order) was first imposed (last year), I started seeking a permanent medium to channel knowledge as I love teaching. That was when I came up with the idea of sharing tips on learning Bahasa Melayu through social media platforms.
"Furthermore, my workplace had also introduced online learning during the MCO and I familiarised myself with this teaching method... I’m happy to say that the response (from the students) has been very encouraging,” she told Bernama.
Saliza, who goes by the name Zack Kirana on her Instagram and Twitter accounts, often posts videos that show her correcting the pronunciation of words in Bahasa Melayu, as well as providing tips on mastering the language.
The amicable teacher can be seen in the videos answering queries with regard to Bahasa Melayu and interspersing her presentations with jokes to make her videos livelier.
She produces her videos spontaneously and prefers to present her lessons in a relaxed, easy-going style to make it easier for her students to understand what she is teaching.
"This (social media) is a good way to connect with students as it happens to be the medium that is closest to their hearts... it also helps them to cultivate an interest in their studies,” she said.
Saliza said while learning through social media videos can be fun, teachers and students cannot solely depend on it and have to use other resources as well to prepare for examinations.
She said advancements in digital technology are compelling teachers to be more creative and innovative in their PdPR sessions so that their teaching techniques and approaches are not outdated.
"Teachers who wish to teach through social media must plan their lessons properly and avoid touching on sensitive issues,” she said, adding that teachers conducting PdPR should attempt to create two-way communication so that their students do not feel alienated.
YouTube for PDPR
Meanwhile, Ng Kim Tee, who has been teaching at Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan Heng Ee in George Town, Penang, for 19 years, uses the YouTube platform to upload videos for her PdPR sessions.
Ng, who teaches business studies, mathematics and geography, said at the start of PdPR in March last year, she had no idea how to go about producing her own videos.
Last November, she learnt how to make videos from YouTube Academy (AYU) which, incidentally, is a free virtual tuition centre set up by non-governmental organisation E-didik Malaysia in collaboration with Kelab Guru Malaysia in July 2020 to train teachers all over the country to become education YouTubers. Over the last nine months, 10,000 teachers have received free training.
"During the lockdown period (last year), I realised I had been using YouTube videos a lot in PdPR and Google classroom, so I thought it would be better for me to produce my own videos.
"I’m grateful to AYU which has given us teachers the opportunity to learn how to make PdPR videos, thanks to the powerful team of mentors who have been willingly sharing with us their knowledge in making videos," said Ng, who has been teaching for 28 years.
Ng said while learning to make videos from AYU, she was required to produce her own PdPR videos within a certain time frame.
"I faced time constraints as I had to conduct my PdPR sessions. I had to wait for my sessions to be over before I could work on recording my own videos... there were times when I almost gave up,” she said, adding that she also watched videos made by other teachers for guidance.
She said she makes sure her videos are not too long and are filled with the information she wishes to deliver to her students.
"I also add interactive elements and short quizzes to make the videos more interesting for my students,” she added.
Ng also said that the inclusion of YouTube videos in PdPR enables students facing Internet connectivity problems to watch them later on.
"I encourage my students to save the videos beforehand so that they can watch them later should they suddenly encounter any Internet problem at home... this will ensure they don’t get left behind in their studies,” she said.
She also said that her teaching videos presented through the YouTube platform have been receiving good response not only from her students but also students from other schools.
"I’m happy and satisfied that all my hard work has paid off as my videos are getting a lot of ‘likes’. Even a five-minute video is not easy for me to produce, so I hope my students will benefit from the knowledge I am imparting to them,” she added. – Bernama