Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In his eyes

An empty plastic container was on the dining table after I removed it and the contents from the fridge.

What do you see in the image above?

An empty plastic container with condensation? That's what I saw.

But there's something else that he saw. He scooted up to me and said "Look mama! Look! It's a person dancing".

His pronounciation is getting a bit bad so he had to repeat himself many times cos I didnt have a context to help me guess what he was saying.

Do you see what he saw? Use your imagination!

Still dont see it? The dancer's head and upper body are horizontal, with both arms vertically down supporting them. The dancer's legs (with baggy pants) are vertically up.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

His previous paintings

Since I'm on paintings, thought I post photos of his previous paintings.

It was done way back in April this year! I did say that he doesnt get much opportunity to paint at home. I do wish that he had time to go for art class cos I think it's something that he likes...and that applies for me too - I wish I had time to attend oil painting class cos it's something that I like.

The paper was intentionally stuck to a vertical wall cos it exercises a different set of muscles (my hidden therapy objective!).

I intentionally only bought 3 bottles of paint, being the primary colours because I wanted him to learn about mixing colours. I dont let him paint often enough, so he's still not learnt how to mix to get the colours he wants. I'm not bothered about it though.

A boy who's crazy about vehicles would obviously paint...vehicles! Cars, vans, trucks...he said
Mahjong paper although very large, tears easily

His paintings today

He doesnt get to paint much at home cos there's always other "more important" things to be done. I know that shouldn't be the case but that's the truth because there simply isnt enough time in a day to do everything (& it takes time to set up & clean up!).

Today I bought some roller sponges (it's been a few years that I've searched for them!) because they were on offer and he wanted to use them immediately! So that's why he got to do some painting today.

Actually, my intention in buying those rollers was for him to learn to control his wrist and his strength (fine motor) & not so much as for sheer enjoyment.

But he got to enjoy painting (without one of mama's hidden therapy objective) later on. See pics at the end of this post.

Bought at "Think Toys" shop at The Curve

He used the dotted roller, the lined roller, the scrapper and blade sponge. I helped show him how to make a blue border with the lined roller
"What is it?" I asked after he had pulled me away from cooking tonight's dinner.

Can you guess what he painted?

"Rocks" he said, "...in space".

Asteroids! I reckon he's been learning about space in kindergarten. Some words in his spelling test for the past 2 weeks were of the space theme (words like "planets", "Jupiter").

He filled up 3 pieces of paper with asteroids...and would have continued if it wasnt time for his shower

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jobs for the disabled - article in The Star

Earlier this year, I spoke at length with a mom of 2 special needs kids, the eldest of whom was in secondary school. She pointed out that once out of school, there isn't enough support to help the special needs young adults obtain the skills to secure a job, and there are extremely limited job opportunities for them.

She went on trips to Singapore and Australia to specifically find out the situation in those countries, and noted that our government is lagging far behind in providing support and opportunities. As she shared details and her concerns, I felt that the future did look rather grim for young adults with disabilities, in Malaysia.

So when I read an article in The Star today about a 4 star hotel in KL that hired those with disabilities, I was encouraged. Perhaps with greater awareness being raised through the media, there will be far more employment opportunities for the disabled.


Article below was reproduced from:

Wednesday July 13, 2011

Jobs for the disabled help them to be independent


GOING to work on the LRT might be a mundane task for many city dwellers but 18-year-old Koh Khong Way had to be trained by his mother before she let him take the LRT alone from their home in Sri Kembangan to his workplace in Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

Khong Way, who currently studies in SMK Bandar Tasik Selatan, is one of the disabled workers currently working in the hotel.

Traders Hotel communications manager Theresa Goh said that 1.8% of their 400 employees were from the disabled group.

“We started in 2008 as part of our CSR project and we approached organisations and disabled societies for people that could work with us.

“It has been a success and now people are approaching us. We also get referrals from Socso for employees under the ‘Return to Work’ category who have lost their previous jobs because of work-related injuries,” said Goh.

* Full story in The Star (Metro Section) today.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Learning while using AeroChamber

I've written in the past about using a device called the AeroChamber. I've now inserted a picture of a boy using it.

To use it, I've to press the Ventolin inhaler (that grey thing at the back of the AeroChamber), then wait 30 seconds for him to have inhaled in the medicine. Then repeat that 3 more times.

He had to use it rather frequently in the past 5-6 weeks. At one stage, it was as frequent as every 2 hours (excluding when he's asleep).

What came about as a way for me not to lose track of how many puffs he's had (easy to lose focus when I'm lacking sleep), turned out to be an opportunity for him to learn counting, language, pitch & rhythm!
Here's what I did:

- simple counting from 1 to 30 (cos 30 secs for each puff to be fully inhaled)

- reinforced his understanding of skip counting by 2s & odd/even numbers. I'd say the odd numbers, and he'd say the even numbers.

- He needs 4 puffs, so his 1st puff of 30seconds worth was counted out loud in English, 2nd puff in Bahasa, 3rd puff in Mandarin, 4th was back to English. He's not good in BM & Mandarin as we dont speak it at home, so it was a good opportunity for him to learn.

- to vary the activity and make it a bit more fun, I said the even numbers in varying pitches (either high or low) and he'd to follow that pitch when he said the even numbers.

At first, he didnt get it. So I used hand gestures/body language as a visual guide. If I said an even number in a high pitch, I'd raise my hand and head up slowly as I said it & vice versa.

Later when he got it, I made it more tricky by doing a single bigger number (say 23) in a pitch that rises then drops, all within that same number. He had fun with this!

- that's just saying it fast or saying it very very very slowly.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Silent consonants

My progress in teaching him phonics has been rather slow the past few months.

There are a few reasons behind that. Firstly, I think he's doing fine in terms of reading. Secondly, I needed to focus on other areas like his self care skills, handwriting, fine motor and maths (and preparing him for the entrance assessment which he has since passed). Thirdly, I'm not sure how to progress further once I've completed teaching him the long vowels.

He's learnt how to make (read/spell) the long vowel sounds of a, e, i and o. Before I could teach him, I myself had to learn about it. The Morris-Montessori Word List book was incredibly useful in this respect. Thanks so much Yvonne! We just started on the long vowel u today which I think is tricky because I dont quite get it. To me, "u-e" sounds just like "oo" rather than "u".

Anyhow, I was very happy to have come across this article in The Star, Educate pull out section, today. Very timely. Very useful, as it lists out some of the rules for silent consonants.

I googled the name of the author's approach and came across this site which has more resources that'll help me learn more.

The article that appeared in the newspaper is reproduced below.


The Star newspaper, Sunday July 10, 2011

Recognising silent symbols



Knowing when a vowel or consonant is ‘silent’ will help you spell and pronounce words confidently.

A characteristic of the English language that causes spelling and pronunciation problems is the presence of silent symbols. Tens of thousands of English words have at least one symbol (letter) that is not sounded when pronounced.

Mastering silent symbols is necessary to be able to determine how a particular word is pronounced and spelt. To assist learners, 4S teaches a number of Keys that have already been introduced in previous Exploring English columns.

Silent symbols fall into three distinct groups: silent vowels, silent single consonants, and consonant combinations, where one or both of the symbols are silent.

Silent vowels

The most common silent symbol is the final ‘e’ in words such as: ride, lame, bone, and tube.

The 4S Key To Understanding Pronunciation and Spelling teaches: The final silent ‘e’ usually lets the other vowel do the “talking”. When the final ‘e’ is not sounded, the preceding vowel is “long”, i.e. it says its own name.

4S applies the Skills Transfer technique to teach other related ‘e’-ending words. When one can spell and pronounce “ride” correctly, it is easy to also spell and pronounce bide, hide, side, inside and many other related words.

The next most common silent vowel category is when two vowels come together in a word.

Usually when this occurs, the second one is silent. The first vowel can make either a “long” or a “short” sound. The semi-vowels ‘y’ and ‘w’ can also be silent when they are at the end of a word or syllable, e.g. day, knowing.

The 4S Key teaches: When two vowels go out walking the first one usually does the talking. This is when the first vowel is sounded but the second one is silent, e.g. aim, people, tried, breathe, bread, health, leopard, weather. This also applies to words with the semi-vowels ‘y’ and ‘w’ such as blow and pray.

Again, skills transfer is easy to apply here. Once you know how to spell and pronounce bread, for example, you will realise similar techniques in dead, dread, thread, instead.

Sometimes, in words borrowed from other languages, the first vowel is silent, for example: shield, guide, neutral, guess, quest.

Silent single consonants

Of the 21 consonants, 11 are sometimes silent as single consonants: ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘h’, ‘l’, ‘p’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘t’, ‘b’, ‘n’, and ‘z’.

Two other consonants, ‘w’, ‘g’, can be silent in symbol combinations.

The silent ‘c’: back, rack, track, shack,

The silent ‘d’: Wednesday, judge, ledge

The silent ‘h’: honest, hour, heir, exhibit,

The silent ‘l’: walk, talk, calm, palm

The silent ‘p’: receipt, corps

The silent ‘r’: iron

The silent ‘s’: island, isle, aisle, descend

The silent ‘t’: listen, often, fasten, whistle

The consonants ‘b’ and ‘n’ are always silent in one-syllable, root words when they follow the symbol ‘m’, such as in the words bomb, dumb, thumb, lamb, damn, column, hymn and mnemonic. The silence can be lost when a suffix is added, e.g. hymn > hym/nal.

In two-syllable words, when the syllable split is between ‘m’ and ‘b’, both the symbols are always sounded as they end and begin each syllable, e.g. num-ber, thim-ble, tim-ber, ram-ble.

In some words borrowed from other languages there can be an unexpected silent symbol, e.g. such as ‘z’ in rendezvous.

Consonant combinations

Common consonant combinations with silent symbols are ‘wr’, ‘wh’, ‘gh’, ‘kn’ and ‘sc’. In ‘wr’ words, ‘w’ always remains silent, e.g. wrap, wrong, write, wreck, wrench, wrist.

Remember: ‘wr’ always says ‘r..’.

In ‘wh’ words, the silent symbol varies from ‘w’ to ‘h’.

Compare: (i) whip, why, wheat, whale, which, wheel, when, what, where – and (ii) who, whom, whole, whose, wholesale.

In “who” words, the ‘w’ is always silent.

While ‘w’ is often silent when used as a demi-vowel, e.g. blow, it also can be silent when it is part of the ‘sw’ symbol combination, e.g. sword, answer.

There are two variations of the “gh” combination in the silent symbol category.

Sometimes, both symbols are silent: ought, caught, daughter, height, eight, weight.

At others, only the ‘h’ is silent and the ‘g’ says “g..” as in “goat”: ghost and ghetto.

The letter ‘k’ is silent in “kn” words such as knife, knee, know, kneel, knit.

In some “sc” words, the “c” remains silent, e.g. scene, scent, science. But the exception to this is scat and scuttle.

Most odd-looking consonant blends have a silent symbol. They are usually found in words borrowed from other languages, e.g. rhinoceros, gnome, khaki, fjord, tsunami, psychiatry, pneumonia, and so on.

There are two 4S Keys that could be applied here: In odd-looking consonant blends, only one consonant is usually sounded; and when ‘p’ begins an odd-looking consonant blend, it is usually silent.

Keith Wright is the author and creator of the 4S Approach To Literacy and Language (4S) — a modern, innovative and proven method of accelerating the learning of English. The 4S methodology and the associated Accelerated English Programme (AEP) mentioned in this fortnightly column are now being used internationally to enhance the English proficiency of people with different competency levels.

contact@4Sliteracy.com.au for a free copy of the 4S-AEP Silent Symbol Booklet.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Things he's revealing

Of late, there have been a few remarks from my son that threw me.

Perhaps it's because I've slowed things down now that both of us need to rest, and therefore, perhaps, there's time for both of us to talk about other stuff (not just maths and phonics and practising his fine motor skills, and therapy).

Recognising cars
I've been getting him involved when I flip through the papers. I think his teacher talks to the kids about major news events sometimes, so I thought it might be timely to start opening up his world.

Most of the time though, he's far more interested in photos that have vehicles, whether it's a photo accompanying an article or an advert. Recently, there was a car offered as a grand prize in a contest advertised in the papers. The photo was in black and white. As it was grainy and partially blocked by another object, I couldnt tell the make of the car.

But my dear son could. I humoured him by playing along that he was right, because I really couldn't tell. Then when I flipped a page or two after, there was that car in the same profile, but the photo was larger and in colour. And it was that brand he that said it was. I dont know how he does it sometimes.

Another time, I was getting him to read the caption below the photo of a car because he didnt know what model it was. It was a Lexus Hybrid, which isnt common on the roads here, which explains why he's not familiar with it. When I spelt out "hybrid" (because the print was tiny), he immediately said "...like, like, like, like that Prius and Insight. They are hybrid cars, right?"

Yes, he was right. He loves spotting Honda Insight and Toyota Prius cars on the road. Although I did talk to him about what's special about those cars, I didnt think he'd remember the word "hybrid" as it's word hardly used.

Car number plates
He's so switched on even though he's just sitting in his car seat while I'm driving through traffic. On two or three occassions, he spotted a car that had the same last two digits as my car, and would tell me so.

Zero gravity
I'm glad that he's not just remembering stuff about cars, or just stuff I'm telling him.  He seems to remember stuff from school too. One day I was talking about clouds being tiny water droplets, and how they become rain, and fall to the ground (which I've talked to him about before). He then interjected and said "there's zero gravitiy in space right? And water will float, float, float...that's so funny". I think school had been on the space theme cos some of his spelling test words tie in to that theme.

I am really glad that he's learning in school. At the last Parents Teacher's Meeting, his class teacher told us that he's "above average" but at the back of my mind, I wondered if that remark came about because I had been coaching him so much in maths and phonics. Now, I know that he is learning stuff in school too, not just stuff I'm teaching him.

Stones & camera
Before my surgery, I explained to him the what, how and why it had to be done, in simple terms. When I told him that I had stones in my gallbladder, his immediate reaction was "WHAAAAAAAT??? It must be outside!!!" I thought it was so funny. He found it strange that there were stones inside my body, when stones are usually on the ground, in the garden, outside. He then asked how it got inside, and I explained it to him.

After the surgery, I showed him the 3 scars on my abdomen. He asked why there were three. Luckily, my husband had asked that prior to my son asking, so I had the chance to ask my Dr. I told him that one was for a tiny camera at the end of a hose, to go inside me. Again, his immediate reaction was "WHAAAAAAT??? It must be outside!!!". Ah, yes, it would be very odd to a 5 year old wouldn't it, to have a camera inside your body. LOL

I'll send you home
He said something very odd this morning. Something that was not nice at all. I was finishing off my breakfast, while he was riding his scooter as usual. My helper was in the dining area. Then he got cranky (he is sick with fever and diarrohea) and kept on saying angrily "...(mumble)...I'll send you home!" in the general direction of my helper.

I was in shock. My husband and I have never said that. Not in his presence or when he's not around. I suspect my sister might have said it to my helper in his presence. My sister is intellectually challenged and does give us challenges to face every now and then, especially with regard to the helper. There is no point quizzing my sister as she'll just clam up or deny everything.

I explained things to my son. Later, after I related it to my husband, he quizzed our son but he just said that came up with it himself.

So tonight, I'm yet again reminded that I've to be very careful of my words and action. We are role models for him.

When I'm so worn out from him being sick 4 times in the last 5-6 weeks, plus needing the rest myself after my surgery (thankfully it was minor!), it's really hard to be a good role model.

Friday, July 8, 2011


My keyhole surgery last Thurs was successful - gallbladder removed, hernia fixed and adhesions removed (a 3-in-1 surgery!). I was discharged on Sat after 2 nights. I had my follow up this morning, and stitches removed. Dr said it looked good and next follow up is in 3 week's time.

That's a relieve for me and it means that my husband can go on his holiday peacefully. He had taken care of our son when I was in hospital. My son was down with fever and a cough a few days before my operation and I was concerned about him.

After my discharge, on that very Sat night, my son started having a fever again. I suspect that he might have caught another virus from visiting me at the hospital, before he had fully recovered from the previous flu/cold. But his fever subsided on Sunday and was back to school on Monday and Tuesday.

That allowed me a bit of rest and to cook proper meals, while he was in school. I also managed to do some light groceries on those two days at the nearby supermarkets, with the help of their staff and my sister to lift the bags. The food shopping simply had to be done as there was very little meat in the freezer and no veg. My stock had run down because my son and I took turns falling ill in the 3 weeks prior to the surgery!

However, he started having a fever again on Wed night. It was quite high this time round, and it kept coming up again after the paracetamol and Voltaren wore off. He stayed away from school since Thurs. He vomitted his lunch and a bit later had bad diarohea, on Thurs itself. He might have caught a stomach virus.

He's been on paracetamol and/or Voltaren to bring down the fever every 4-8 hours. He's been on Ventolin (using the AeroChamber) regularly for the past 1-2 weeks. Just stopped running to the hospital for his nebuliser today (partially because I'm so tired & partially because he might have caught the new virus from the hospital). He's taken Smecta last night and this morning to stop the runs. He woke up at midnight crying from stomach pains, so gave him Buscopan to relax the spasms and Gaviscon, in case it's gastric (didnt take milk so might have been hungry) and paracetamol for the fever which spiked again. He's also on Zyrtec or Clarintyne day time and Prometazine (nights) for his runny nose.

Luckily it was a minor surgery and I had been able to care for my sick son during my recovery. Even though the Dr says things look good, I am still cautious. I do not want to exert myself because I do not know how things look internally.

Right now, I just wish my son would recover really fast and fully. It would be nice to be able to rest a bit more. I was too tired, cranky, worried and uncomfortable the first few days after discharge. So I've decided to TRY and take things easy.

I've given up on managing the maid as she was a huge stress factor. I've cooled down on helping him revise his maths (maths test coming up soon - if he fails, then he'll just resit the entire module again, all 3 months worth of lessons). I've cooled down on getting him to do fine motor practice (handwriting, grip strengthening), gross motor (stopped physiotherapy), and self care practice (buttoning, showering, changing clothes, self feeding etc). I know that there will be consequences. He'll regress and I'll lose time. It's only 2.5 months to go before he starts big boy school. That's why it is hard to take it easy. That's why I say I'll try. Just wish I had more support in those areas.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rethinking Pedagogy - article from The Star

Sunday July 3, 2011

Rethinking pedagogy



An education system that emphasises rote learning rather than understanding has no place in a world that demands students to be equipped with reasoning, analytical and problem-solving skills.

Are education systems across the world still relevant to the needs of our society and future? One expert from the United States (US) is not afraid to say that the system – in the US, at least – is obsolete.

According to Tony Wagner’s book, The Global Achievement Gap, there is a huge chasm that divides what Americans are teaching and testing in their schools versus the actual skills students need to further their studies and pursue their careers.

Wagner is co-director of Change Leadership Group (CLG) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which is a research and development centre charged with helping teams to be effective leaders in schools and districts throughout the US.

“Wagner points out that the relevant skills needed for the 21st century is no longer taught in classrooms and lecture halls,” said Victoria University vice-chancellor Prof Peter Dawkins.

In his lecture, a part of the Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speakers series held at Sunway University, Prof Dawkins uses Wagner’s book to discuss the skills required for employment in the new workforce.

“Today, employers are not just looking for ‘domain skills’ and knowledge relevant to their field in a potential employee.

“They are also looking for ‘generic skills’ like problem-solving and teamwork. Focus on these skills is lacking in our education systems,” said Prof Dawkins.

Even when the study is transposed onto the Australian education system, it points to many areas where changes can be made to better prepare students for transitions – from school to college, then to work, said Prof Dawkins.

In the book, Wagner noted that there was no curricula or teaching method in place to teach students how to reason, analyse and write well.

He explained how the American education system was on the verge of crisis as most of the tests it uses for accountability comprise multiple choice assessments, which require more memorising than thinking.

Different minds

The concern that an overwhelming emphasis on exam grades, which in turn encourages students and teachers alike to get through the syllabus and memorise key points – rather than taking the time to understand concepts – is all too familiar in Malaysia.

So what can be done to narrow the gap between what is taught and and what is needed?
In his lecture, Prof Dawkins drew upon Howard Gardner’s Five Minds for the Future to identify what students need to learn and how to teach them those essential skills.

“Gardner identifies the types of intelligences we should develop, and points to the various different faculties of the mind,” he said.

The “five minds” include the disciplined mind, which is the ability to focus and develop a deep knowledge of at least one subject matter; the synthesising mind, which allows one to process information from various sources to combine it in a way that makes sense; and the creating mind, which puts forth new ideas and fresh ways of thinking.

The other faculties of the mind are respectful and ethical thinking, which are critical in developing students who not only welcome and respect different people and opinions, but understand them and work to benefit society at large beyond their own self-interests.

 “By developing these faculties, we can produce students that can think creatively, bridge knowledge from different fields and act ethically,” said Prof Dawkins.

Although he conceded that not everything can be taught in classrooms, the classroom should take efforts to adapt to the needs of society.

Prof Dawkins shared that when he was a member of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority board, he chaired a committee tasked with writing out a declaration of educational goals for Australian children.

“I was part of the committee that produced the Melbourne declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.

“One of the goals was developing successful learners by teaching them how to think and draw upon a wide range of different learning to solve problems,” he said.

Meanwhile, trainee teacher Nur Hidayah Shukor was of the opinion that there was nothing lacking with Malaysian students.

“Malaysian students have abundant potential and given the opportunity, they can be as expressive, creative and critical as any student out there.

“They only need to be given a platform to do so — something which could be better incorporated in our schools,” said Nur Hidayah, who is studying at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

During her three months of practical training at SMK Taman Mutiara Rini, Johor, Nur Hidayah said she saw what teaching in non-conventional methods could do to boost the students’ interest and morale.

“You should see how even the weakest students who refused to speak a word of English became confident speakers with the correct methods.

“I used drama to get them to speak and detective work to get them to write reports. Eventually they spoke and wrote English comfortably,” she said.

However, she admitted that as a trainee teacher, she could teach students in creative and interesting ways without worrying about finishing the syllabus in time.

“On the other hand, full-time teachers are often worried about completing the syllabus in time, whereas my only concern was impressing my lecturers,” she said.

Changing perceptions

According to veteran educationist and Kirkby College Alumni president Tan Sri Dr Yahaya Ibrahim, it is precisely the teachers’ burden of finishing the syllabus in time that needs to change.

“The concept of finishing the syllabus must change — in fact, the syllabus must be malleable and robust enough that it can fit the needs of any situation.

“Teachers should not succumb to tunnel vision when teaching. If they are looking at the syllabus, they are not looking at their students growth or decline,” said Dr Yahaya.

He added that teachers go through four stages of teaching — they start off “telling” as a new teacher, then they progress to “explaining” as they gain experience.

“After that point they educate – a good teacher educates. And the final transformation is the inspirational teacher who inspires,” he said.

On a different front, UTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Zaini Ujang says that students learn more outside the classroom.

“That is why we encourage students to partake in summer school programmes, conferences, summits and other events held outside the classroom.

“While out of campus, they are expected to learn not just from the programmes they attend but also through mingling with peers and professors abroad,” he said.

In his 2011 new year address, Prof Zaini highlighted what he expects new academia to look like after changes to conventional academia.

“We want to move from the traditional paradigm of having only professors filling up teaching positions to having policy makers, practitioners and entrepreneurs fill some of those spots.

“We also need to change our outlook on what we use as teaching materials — we cannot narrow it down to just academic journals and books,” said Prof Zaini.

Prof Zaini points out that it is important to learn through experience and that failure is a great teacher.
“We need our students to be versatile enough to be able to gain as much as possible through
experience,” he said.

As information and technology moves faster and faster, it becomes ever more important to teach students how to think critically and synthesize information.

We need to develop inquisitive minds. We can’t have students just jotting down notes from their teachers without pondering over what they have written.

“We are transitioning from traditional learning to e-learning at a fast pace, and we must teach our students how to think,” said Dr Yahaya.

As the adage goes, knowledge is power — but this is assuming the person with knowledge knows how to use it.

This is why how we teach is as important as what we teach. Students must know how to relate to what they learn and implementation of the knowledge learned is as important as understanding it, said Dr Yahaya.

A shared view

Many policy makers, education planners, deans of faculty, principals, lecturers and teachers have pointed towards a tectonic shift in pedagogy – the art of teaching – to fit global trends.

During the launch of EzLearn2u at SMK Bandar Utama Damansara 3, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said the “chalk and talk” method of teaching used by teachers in the past no longer fits the students of this generation.

Taylor’s University School of Communication dean Josephine Tan said the advent of new channels of information makes Gen-Y students less likely to be receptive to one-way learning.

“With so many avenues open for them to obtain information, classrooms must adapt,” she said, adding that students must be allowed to use their smartphones, iPads and laptops to access information relevant to their class.

She also said the short period of three to five years in tertiary education was not enough to fully develop the thinking skills of student.

These thinking skills must be developed from early education,” she added.

Even with all these little initiatives by various education institutions, the question remains, is it enough? Or is nothing short of an overhaul of they way we teach necessary for pedagogy to catch up with the needs of our times?

Dr Yahaya, who has served under various Education Ministers and Prime Ministers, said he has always posed one question to them: “What kind of Malaysian do you want to produce?”

Perhaps it is only after we answer that question can we choose a path to walk down.