Curriculum Studies in Malaysia

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INTRODUCTION
Education in Malaysia has undergone many changes throughout the years, from the Razak Report in 1956, and recently in 2009, our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak came out with the idea of fostering unity and prosperity among different cultures through the concept of 1Malaysia. The 1Malaysia concept emphasises on the importance of every race and their roles and contributions in national growth (Hamdan and Mohamad, 2011). Thus, it is important to inculcate unity and harmony to promote racial integration and close relationship and teachers should play their role to achieve the objective (BERNAMA, 2010). To examine how the concept of 1Malaysia could be inculcated in a language learning programme, this essay will discuss thoroughly on the designed programme with the applied philosophies, learning approaches and strategies that incorporated together with the 1Malaysia concept. Examples of activities from the programme will be provided to show the link between 1Malaysia concept and the teaching and learning approaches. BACKGROUND

This is a 12 hours programme created for Form 5 students who have just finished their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination. This programme will be conducted in three hours a week, one hour per lesson in about four weeks. The participants of the programme are students from intermediate to high proficiency level in English. This programme will involve students from different culture, including Malay, Chinese and Indian. The rationale is to create a multicultural classroom so that to foster unity and teamwork across different culture through activities in the classroom would be possible and achievable. Students are selected from SPM candidates because skills such as giving impromptu speech and presenting PowerPoint presentations are very much needed in the tertiary education studies and it is believed that by developing such skills, after students have graduated they would able to converse with colleagues and fulfil the communicative needs at the workplace as in the past years, there are reports by employers about the graduates not being able to converse in even the basic conversation (Vinodini, 2003). Thus, impacted by this occasion, less proficient graduates are less marketable in the work field (Zolkepli, Rajendraan, Zanariah, Suraya, and Kalthom, 2003), a situation could be considered as worse in our course to reach the 1Malaysia generally and Vision 2020 specifically. Applied Philosophies

This programme is designed on the basis of Progressivism and Reconstructionism philosophies and the main principle of Progressivism, as introduced by John Dewey, is that learners learn best through authentic activities which are close to their real life experiences (Pappas, n.d.). For example, Malaysian students who learn how to give impromptu speech using materials on Malaysian culture would learn better theoretically than learning using materials on other foreign cultures which might be aliens to them. Thus, it is believed that by using authentic materials in this programme, students could develop their speaking skills, particularly in giving impromptu speech and presenting PowerPoint presentation.

On the other hand, Reconstructionism, similarly known as Social Reconstruction, is another compounding philosophy that helps the development of the programme. According to the Social Reconstruction educators, education must and has the power to provide the means of reconstructing society (“Social Reconstruction”, 1992). For example, students discuss in groups on the issue of illegal racing in Malaysia and possible ways to solve the problem, and then present the outcomes of their discussion through PowerPoint presentation. Thus, by implementing this idea into this programme, it is hoped that the students understand that people’s lives is defined through their relationship to society and to get good education is through the conception of the good society (“Social Reconstruction”, 1992)....
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