ROLES OF PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS IN PRODUCING EXCELLENT STUDENTS
IN-LINE WITH THE NATIONAL EDUCATION TRANSFORMATION BY MINISTRY OF
EDUCATION THROUGH PPPM (2013-2025)
Teachers play many roles in school to develop young Malaysians who are knowledgeable, think critically and creatively, have leadership skills and are able to communicate with the rest of the world. Just as importantly, students must be educated with values, ethics and a sense of nationhood, enabling them to make the right choices for themselves, their families and the country with a view towards enduring and overcoming life’s inevitable challenges. Teachers are the most important agent of student outcomes. Education is the major contributor to the development of our social and economic capital. It inspires creativity and fosters innovation; provide our youth with the necessary skills to be able to keep pace in an increasingly competitive global economy. In order to meet the high aspirations amidst an increasingly competitive global environment many works must be done.
Professionalism can be defined in many ways and encompasses both attitudes and behaviours. On the most basic level, professional teacher refers to the status of a person who is paid to teach (S. Tichenor & M. Tichenor, 2005). It can also, on a higher level, refer to teachers who represent the best in the profession and set highest standard for best practice. Wise (1989) describes professional as:
‘[who] have a firm grasp of the subjects they teach and are true to the intellectual demands of their disciplines. They are able to analyse the needs of the students for whom they are responsible. They know the standards of practice of their profession. They know that they are accountable for meeting the needs of their students’. (p. 304-305)
According to Wise, it is clearly illustrates that teaching at a professional level is an advanced and complex undertaking. Clement, (2002) stated that becoming a professional teacher is a process that takes time to master.
The roles of teachers then were just delivering the lesson only. However in today’s education, teachers are expected to not only imparting the knowledge in the classroom, they need to play multiple roles in facilitating the learning and able to produce teaching and learning effectively and efficiently. In line with the changes in education system, teacher must be more innovative, creative and effective in structuring the lesson as well as provide the best education to suits the needs of the students.
2.0 ROLES OF PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS IN PRODUCING EXCELLENT STUDENTS
IN-LINE WITH THE NATIONAL EDUCATION TRANSFORMATION BY MINISTRY OF
EDUCATION THROUGH PPPM (2013-2025)
Malaysian education system is evolving and changing over time. The changes and transformation that happened in recent years are to make realize the country’s achievement in the future. The curriculum transformation makes the teaching profession become more challenging. Thus, teachers must equip themselves with necessary skills and improve on the teaching and learning techniques from time to time in order to provide education at the par excellent.
It is the aspiration of the MOE to ensure that students reach their full potential. Therefore every teacher in the school has many roles to play in ensuring that the six aspirations in the PPPM are met. The Malaysian Education Blueprint will continue to look at the National Education Philosophy’s vision as its foundation for the students aspirations. The six key attributes needed by every student to be globally competitive are namely the emphasis on the element of knowledge, thinking skills, leadership, bilingual proficiency, ethics and spirituality, and national identity. Each of these elements also emphasizes the effort to enable all students to contribute significantly to the institution of family, community and country.
2.1 Teacher as practitioner knowledge and skills
The roles of the teacher in classroom learning are very important. Practitioner of knowledge can be mean by the teachers use the knowledge in many aspects of life rather than just keep it and not using it. Towle (1948), stated that the aim of education is to convey knowledge in such a way that the student may not merely possess it but use it. Likewise in the school, teacher should encourage students to continue learning and use the knowledge they have learned in school in their daily lives. The understanding and knowledge of a person are constructed through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. Thus teacher must practise and apply the knowledge as well as experiencing with it. In the classroom, teacher and students also must work together in order to let pupils to construct the knowledge and understanding by themselves through range of activities.
To achieve one of the six attributes needed by every students which is knowledge, teacher must be professional and need to be concerned about the development of knowledge and skills as well as to provide a meaningful learning experience of students. During the teaching and learning process in the classroom, teacher regularly present students with new information. Sometimes the information is difficult to understand. However, the information is essential, without it students will have little chance to achieve the lesson objective. Teacher as a practitioner of knowledge, need to help students to process information by using effective strategies and study skills. For instance, if teacher presents new information in the form of lecture, the teacher needs to determine the crucial points at which to pause so that the students can have time to think and discuss with their friends about the new information. This will help the students to think critically and understand the information before the teacher proceeds to present other information.
Teaching is not only about imparting the knowledge, but also supporting students to develop their knowledge and competence. A good teacher will use a range of techniques and skills to ensure that what and how they teach recognises the needs of the students and meets the learning outcomes that has been set in the curriculum. The teaching techniques include planning for a lesson, finding out prior knowledge and skills and using relevant examples that can be relate with the learner. The technology-based era has made the role of teacher to become a facilitator and mentor. To help students to learn better, a facilitator must have skills such as communication skills, skills in using technology and skills to motivate students. Best practices in teaching will help teachers to make realize the attribute that needed for the students as stated in the PPPM.
To be an expert in the profession, teachers need to always seek knowledge and improve themselves from time to time. Knowledge from text book alone is not sufficient; teachers need to become lifelong learners as knowledge keeps on evolving. Teachers can attend courses, conduct research as well as adopt the attitude to learn to teach.
The teacher also responsible in encourage the students thinking aloud. In this way students are able to reflect on their learning processes. Having an opportunity to present the ideas or thoughts as well as being permitted to hear and reflect on the ideas of others is an empowering experience. If the pupils do not understand and present the wrong ideas, the teacher should encourage the pupils to ask questions. The teacher then clarified the questions and start doing conversation with the pupils. Although the teacher might have the answers, the pupils are encouraged to discover the knowledge by asking questions. The communication among the pupils and teacher led to deeper understanding of the topics at hand.
Apart from that, professional teachers who are knowledge practitioner also can help students to be good at thinking skills. Thinking skills is one of the six attributes that students need to have. Every child will master a range of important cognitive skills, including critical thinking, reasoning, creative thinking, and innovation. For example, in the classroom, teachers can use cognitive terminology like ‘classify’, ‘analyse’, ‘predict’ and ‘create’ in the teaching and learning lesson. Such words like ‘classify’, ‘analyse’, ‘predict’ and ‘create’ affect our thinking and our actions. Analysing, interpreting, predicting and synthesizing are mental activities that require students to make connections and inquire better understanding of certain concepts. For instance, teacher conducts an exploration activities on ‘how can we classify animals?’. The students are given different types of animals’ pictures and the teacher uses the term like ‘compare’ the animals in the pictures. It then proceeds to classify the animals according to different categories.
Besides having the students to think and analysing the activities, teacher also can triggers them to think of other animals related to the animals that they have grouped. And teachers ask the pupils questions like, predict or tell how they decided where each animal belongs. Framing tasks and such activities using those terms with pupils, fosters the critical thinking skills and the construction of new understanding.
2.2 Teacher as leader
According to Harison and Kilion (2007), the ways teachers can lead are varied as teachers themselves. One of the six attributes needed by student is leadership skills. Teacher can play a role leader at school and in classroom. Teacher leader can lead and influence the students to change and learn. Besides that, teacher can model good character as a leader to the students. Students can attend a leadership camp organized by the school.
The common role of a teacher leader is becoming a mentor in the classroom. Mentors serve as role models; guide new teachers to a new school; and advise new teachers about instruction, curriculum, procedure, practices, and politics. Being a mentor takes a great deal of time and expertise and makes a significant contribution to the development of students.
Teacher can assist the pupils to work in groups and prompt the pupils to formulate their own questions. Teacher also seeks the pupils’ point of view in order to let the pupils generate thinking skills of certain concept and problems. Accordingly, this will help the pupils to learn how to learn.
2.3 Teacher as agent of change
In the teaching profession, teachers face a lot of challenges in order to produce excellent students. Changes that happen in the education system bring about the change in the way the teachers teach and imparting knowledge. Our country is moving on to be a country that same level as other developed countries. Thus young students need to be taught with enough knowledge and the need of acquiring several languages also important. Despite learning the Bahasa Malaysia as their first language, the second language that is English is very much important. English language is an international language where people around the world communicate using the language. Thus teacher at school especially the English language teacher need to take necessary action to make a change in learning the second language.
Teachers as the agent of change play the role in a way forming innovation in teaching and try to manage the transition from the old to the new as well as help the students to increase their self-confidence. In school, teacher can encourage students to socialize and practice using different languages. This is important as the students need to learn from the beginning how to adapt themselves in the working field in the future. Bilingual proficiency is very important for students to survive in the competitive world. In our education system, we are using both Bahasa Malaysia and English as the main medium of instruction in the teaching and learning. It is hope that students able to master the second language and other languages so that they are ready to face the challenging world.
2.4 Teacher as consultant
The moral development of the students also can be guided by the teachers in school. Teachers who are effective can help the students by giving them advice and moral support. To achieve the students’ attribute, ethics and spirituality, teachers can act as consultant that can help student to manage emotions and resolve personal problems. To be a successful person, one must have beliefs and strong spirit. Some students who are problematic, they need attention and guidance from teachers. Teachers can fill their emptiness with inspiring words through teaching and learning. A great spirit in a person can develop a healthy mind, body, and good behaviour.
Apart from that, students misbehave sometimes because they are lack of emotional maturity. They need to be guided and explained about what they should and should not do. Many programmes held in school such as leadership camp, motivation camp and so on. Through such programmes, teacher can cultivate the interest and motivation of the students to learn and be a good person in order to develop their full self-potential. Besides, teachers can instil passion and healthy attitudes toward school and relate it with their daily practices.
Teachers also must encourage the pupils with learning and reflection process. This enables the pupils to reflect on the experiences which will then help to develop strong abilities to form good character. The encouragement that the teacher gives in classroom allows the pupils to construct knowledge actively rather than just depend on knowledge from the teacher or text books.
2.5 Teacher as socialization agent
2.5 Teacher as socialization agent
In order to promote the sense of national identity among the students, teachers at school need to play a role as socialization agent. School is a place where interaction happens between students and the community. Students need to be equipped with values and skills to progress and development of the country. Thus, school serves as a place where students can learn the values, norms and needs of the community.
According to Azizi Yahaya, Jaafar Sidek Timberlake, Shahrin Yusof Hashim and Boon (2006), teachers not only impart knowledge, but also teaching the positive values in developing the identity among the students. To create a national identity is not an easy task to be done by teachers as students come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Therefore, the teaching and learning lesson can be planned or by inserting the patriotic element as well as in co-curricular activities. Accordingly, students should be nurtured with the values of a multi-racial society in every activity conducted in the school.
Students need to learn to respect each other in the school. Teacher should play important role in shaping their behaviours so that the students can accept each other differences. Teacher can provide activities in the lesson where the students can be in groups of different ethnic groups in order to foster the unity among them. This will help the students to have a high emotional intelligence and thus can provide the opportunity for them to adapt in the real world.
Apart from that, teachers need to get involved in the community activities organized by the local community such as sports, gotong-royong, community service, and so on. This is important because teachers can set some examples to the students about the socialization. Teacher and students also can involve in community service around the neighbourhood area and contribute energy in helping those in needs. This is to ensure the students to have opportunity to socialize with the community and get to know the practices and culture of the local community closer.
A close relationship between teachers and students should be positively established that pupils are more confident in the process of seeking knowledge and sharing of ideas. Two ways interaction between teachers and students can create an efficient and positive classroom (Abd. Rahim Abd. Rashid, 1999). Students will not only success in academic but also in non-academic too as students learn values and norms through social interaction.
3.0 PERSONAL LEARNING PLAN
There are five stages of teacher development according to Trotter (1986). The five stages of development including the novice level, the advanced novice level, the efficient level, the skilled level and the expert level. Every teacher must have a passion and a string ambition to continue to increase our knowledge. That is why we have lifelong learning which enables us to continue to seek knowledge and build our motivation towards enhancement of our professional needs. As a teacher to be I need to plan a good learning plan so that I can update myself with the necessary skills and knowledge in ensuring the development as a teacher in line with the changes and challenges from time to time.
The first level of teacher development according to Trotter (1986), this stage begins when I registered as a student teacher education in teaching degree program. At this stage, I will focus on my self-domain and understanding of the concepts and principles in action. As a novice teacher, I will try to develop a role as a teacher by learning how to teach and acquire the basic skills to teach. I will be able to conceptualize the duties of a professional teacher through the courses offered in the institute. For instance, the BIna Insan Guru Program in the institute, we as novice teacher are able to interview the (Guru Cemerlang) teachers who are expert in the school to gain knowledge and experience they had. Besides, in this stage, I cannot work alone, I need to work collaboratively with peers and lecturers as well as cooperating teacher at school. As stated in Malaysian Teacher Standard one of the aspects under professional teaching is social domain. In order for me to become a good teacher, I need to have good communication skills so that I can socialize better with other experienced teachers. Hence, I need to learn more and exposed myself to the real situation so that I can become more aware of how the profession works in order to develop myself in the long run.
The next stage in teacher development is the advanced novice level. The three months of practicums serve me a platform for me to develop my teaching techniques and methodologies. I will continue to collect and add the necessary knowledge and recognize it as well as correct facts that previously not understood. In school for example, I will try to apply theories and follow the curriculum in planning the lesson. Based on the Malaysian Teacher Standard, one of the aspects under the knowledge and understanding is the content of the subjects. Through this, I must present the ideas or content related to the curriculum designed from the ministry. At this stage, I will have high spirits of practice and be passionate about the teaching profession. Besides that, the current demand needed me to use ICT in the classroom. The use of audio recording and video in the classroom can enhance students learning. To ensure myself continue to grow to the next level, I need to have a positive attitude and keep on learning so that I can face the next stage successfully.
Apart from that, another stage of teacher development is the competent level. At this stage I will be very much involve in action research in schools in order to develop myself and reflect on my teaching practices. Besides that the number of teachers that has second degree and masters increases every year. Thus I may need to pursue my study to the next level as well. In school, I may also involve with the Positive Learning Community (PLC) where teacher share ideas and techniques in teaching as well as other necessary skills needed for the profession. Through sharing ideas and discussion, I will be able to understand more about the principles and concepts of learning in variety of situations and special circumstances. At the end of the stage, I will have the ability to solve teaching and learning problem I face. Moreover, I will be able to investigate my own practice through reflection. By doing reflection, I will be able to reflect on my management skills especially in conducting a positive learning environment as stated in Malaysian Teacher standard. The method of assessment and evaluation also may improve at this stage.
After three to five years of service as a teacher I will enter the proficient or skilled level. I believe that with the correct way and determination, I can make it to this stage. I will try my best to involve in the tasks and becoming the agent of change towards the students. As a skilled teacher I will use my skills to apply democratic teaching style where I focus on the students’ knowledge domain. The student’s voice must be addressed and I can help them to achieve true potential within themselves. Besides that, at this stage I will become a mentor to a novice teacher. I will help the novice teachers to develop their potential in teaching profession. I will have had variety of pedagogical content knowledge and may be able to teach any subject matter. As stated in the Malaysian Teacher Standard, I as a skilled teacher need to have skills to implement teaching and learning using variety of approaches and technology. Based on the aspect, I can do some innovations involving the ICT and use it to teach. On top of that, based on the continuing education, many universities now offer programs for those who want to continue their studies. Perhaps in this stage I may want to do third degree (PhD).
The last level in teacher development is the expert level. I believe that I will reach the fifth stage of teacher development in ten years. There are efforts to take in and have a positive attitude towards the profession. During this stage, the classroom management problem is no longer an issue as I am an expert and can control the classroom smoothly. Besides that, I may have developed my own teaching styles. I may have greater capacity for handling the unexpected. According to the Malaysian Teacher Standard, the skills in monitoring, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of teaching and learning objectives will become one of my expertise. At this stage I may involve in setting the question paper examination as well as designing the curriculum in the school. Things will happen unconsciously, naturally and automatically. The learning will be continued even if I have entered the expert level. The courses offered by the ministry balances theory and practice as practical to allow direct experience and active learning or hands- on. My focus is more to students thinking and modify the curriculum planning to suit the needs of the current context.
Teachers play many roles in school to develop young Malaysians who are knowledgeable, think critically and creatively, have leadership skills and are able to communicate with the rest of the world. The six key attributes needed by every student to be globally competitive are namely the emphasis on the element of knowledge, thinking skills, leadership, bilingual proficiency, ethics and spirituality, and national identity. Teachers must equip themselves with necessary skills and improve on the teaching and learning techniques from time to time in order to achieve the six attribute that needed by very students as outline in Malaysian Education Blueprint. Personal learning plan is needed by every teacher to be to increase knowledge and improve the standard of education to higher degree.