Saturday, December 31

My Birthday Wish: Give RM31 (USD7) To Aid A Burnt-Down School In My Hometown

I'm a firm believer in walking my talk. I've done it. Now, it's your turn.
Please, as a birthday gift to me, give RM31 to aid a school in my hometown which burnt down recently.
  
Since my 30th birthday, I've asked everyone I know to contribute to a cause I believe in, instead of giving me birthday presents. As they spam my Facebook wall with birthday wishes, I send them my humble requests.

Last year, I asked for RM30 for Teach For Malaysia.
This year, I'm 31. So, I'm asking you to give RM31 (USD7) to aid a burnt-down school, SMK St Teresa, in my hometown, Kuching.

What is RM31 (USD7) to you? That's one trip to a fancy cafe, like Starbucks. School reopens tomorrow. Go without Starbucks for a week & give the children going to this public school something to smile about. RM31 for SMK St Teresa. Your kind contributions are much appreciated!

Thursday, November 17

An Open-Letter To Parents After The 2016 UPSR Results


Dear parents,
As a government school teacher, I know that your children are worth more than a mere letter grade on a flimsy piece of paper. Like any kind of measurement tool, there are limitations to the generalizability of our exam results. The truth is our paper tests are only able to measure a very narrow aspect of your child’s overall intelligence. Usually, what is measured is their verbal linguistic intelligence (the ability to express oneself through language). There are plenty of other intelligences that are not measured or addressed by the UPSR.

Let’s not forget the influence of test-taking skills, like the consideration for what the examiner is looking for & the consideration of all 4 options of a multiple-choice before selecting the best one. Young children and test-takers with low language proficiency tend to lack these skills. This is why schools drill your children with model exam questions. Drilling is a tried and true method for the implicit acquisition and operational knowledge of test-taking skills.

Test-taking skills greatly modulate the results of an exam. Ever wondered why we have the curious phenomena of straight A students who are incapable of forming grammatical sentences in English or performing basic arithmetic in real-life situations? They have been perfectly trained to apply this knowledge in exam conditions, which does not naturally translate into being able to apply the same knowledge in real-life.

If exams are such poor measures of a person’s capabilities, is there a place for exams in our world?

Thursday, September 29

Webinar: What I Learned about Education Disparity on a Train Across the USA

Look at me waving my jedi hand at the attendees.
This was my first webinar ever! **gasp** **wipes tears**
Note to self: Get a HD webcam for future webinars. Get a haircut too.
    
In a nutshell, I talked about:
1) My train journey across the US. 2) What I learned. 3) How the topic relates to Malaysia.

As promised, here's a recording of the webinar:
 
Feel free to use the Discus board below if you have any questions!

Here are the sides I used:

Monday, September 19

Vote Jarod Yong For International Student Senator

Students of Teachers College, click here to vote!
Voting Period - September 19-22, 2016
   
I am competing with 10 other people for International Student Senator of the Student Senate of Teachers College, Columbia University. I've read all the entries & found that everyone is a true contender with something unique to bring to the table.

Honestly, I'm no politician & you don't have to vote for me. I just want you to participate in students politics (after all, you're funding this through your school fees) & vote for whoever you think will be a great students representative & be able to inclusively synergise with the greater TC community to enhance the TC experience for everyone, regardless of whether one's international or domestic.

If you are so inclined, vote for me here & help tip the odds in my favour by sharing this with your friends on social media. Once I am in office, I will do my best to truly represent & unite the students of TC.

Monday, September 5

I'll Be Delivering A Free Webinar on Education Disparity in the US

So excited to be speaking together with Mr Mohana Murugiah, an awesome teacher
who used to teach in Sarawak & has gone on to make an impact as an educator.
          
I recently traveled across the US on a train to meet with nonprofits & education advocacy groups in 5 different cities. I've learned a great deal about the education disparities that exist in the US & I will share my insights as well as field questions during this webinar by TEDBET of MELTA.

To sign up, send "I Want to BeEP With MELTA" to beep@melta.org.my. Register by Sept 22, 2016.

Wednesday, August 17

Pokémon GO: 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started

Here's how you can be the best ride Pikachu has ever had.
    
It's likely that Niantic will tweak the game in the future & I'll have to rethink the list below. But, while they're working to release the game in more countries, prevent hacking, block cheaters, & improve server performance, the game mechanics will probably stay the way it is for the coming few months.

If you're new to the game or have just started out, the following is what I've learned trying to master the game for the past few months  & would have been really helpful to know right from the start.

Saturday, July 30

My Millennial Trains Project: Organisations I'll Be Learning From

This week, I will embark on a soul-seeking journey across the US with the Millennial Trains Project.
   
From July 31 to August 7, I will be away on a transcontinental train journey across the US together with the most amazing individuals from around the world.

During my journey, I will:
1) Learn about efforts to bridge educational disparities in undeserved communities (low income, minority, refugee, immigrant, etc). I will visit individual/s, school/s or organisation/s, learn the what, why, & how of their program/s, & share everything I've learned online so that my fellow educators around the world can benefit too.

2) Propose a Youth Video Exchange Project between students in the US & Malaysia. I want to be able to give back to the cities that I'm visiting. Something that will be useful to them. Therefore, I will invite the teachers in those cities to mentor a team of their students in this video exchange project.

Here is the list of organisations that I am scheduled to meet for my project:

Monday, July 25

Pokémon GO: The Easiest Way To Get Pokécoins (Legally)!

This method is legal too! =D
Very important because you don't want to be blocked from the game from using one of those hacks. Also, you don't know what those hackers will do with your login information.
     
If you have read some of the guides online like this one, you would have been mislead. Because they probably cut & paste each other without having played the game & understanding how the Gym Reward system actually works. I read all of them & was mislead for a very long time until I was enlightened by a trainer untainted with such misinformation.

In this blog post, I share a way for even a low-level trainer with low-CP pokémon to get free pokécoins legally.

Friday, July 22

The Millennial Trains Project: A Transcontinental Conference On Tracks

from millennialtrain.co
Whoever designed this cabin is a genius!
     
I am very honored to announce that I will be one of the 50 millennials accepted into the very selective Millennial Trains Project (MTP). This year, there are 2 journeys with 25 participants each: Change & Unity.

Basically, the MTP is a whole new way to conference. Participants take part in talks & workshops from distinguished mentors inside a metallic retro train slowly moving across the US. We'll be able to pick the best minds in the US. Furthermore, the train will also make several stops along the way where participants will get the chance to learn from local leaders/organisations as well as run a personal project during those stopovers.

My project involves going to PittsburghChicagoAlbuquerqueKansas City, & Los Angeles:
1) Learn about efforts to bridge disparities in education with at-risk communities (low income, minority, refugee, immigrant, etc). I will visit individual/s, school/s or organisation/s, learn the what, why, & how of their program/s, & share everything I've learned online so that my fellow educators around the world can learn too.

If you know of an individual, school, or organisation in PittsburghChicagoAlbuquerqueKansas City, or Los Angeles who are doing great things for their local communities, PLEASE CONNECT US! I would love to learn from them & share their great work with the world!

2) Propose a Youth Video Exchange Program between students in the US & Malaysia. It's not fair if all I did was take from the cities that I'm visiting. I want to leave them with something that will be useful to them. Therefore, I will be extending a video exchange project invitation to the school students/teachers in those cities.

If you know a school teacher who might be interested in being a mentor to a team of their students & see the students develop into Global Citizens with Multicultural Literacy & an International Perspective, PLEASE CONNECT US! I would love to invite them to sign their students up for the Youth Video Exchange Program.

This is my profile on the MTP website.
      
In this blog post, I write about the MTP application process & how I made my application. Hopefully, this will be helpful to you as you draft a successful application.

Tuesday, July 19

Pokémon GO: How To Level Up (Your Trainer) Like A Pro

         
Early in the game, pretty much anything you do will result in a level up. You'll probably get up to level 15 before you start to feel that the game get draggy.

I pretty much stumbled my way onto level 15 pretty quickly just by exploring the game & the pokémon available nearby. Then, I started to feel the game drag. It was a long time before I leveled up again. Think about it: Every pokémon you catch only provides 100 experience points (XP). In order to collect the 20,000 XP required to level up, I'll have to catch 200 pokémon! Needless to say, it was a real pain! So, I formed a strategy which helped me to advance through the levels pretty quickly.

Here, I share the strategy. This is something I wish I knew when I first started playing. I hope that this will help you to level up faster than I did!

Friday, July 15

The Youth Video Exchange Project Between The United States & Malaysia

I really need your help to spread the word. If you think that this project will be beneficial to the youth in either country, please share. Let's make this viral.
REGISTRATION CLOSED

Once upon a time, a handwritten parchment was a cherished means of bringing people together. It is still low-cost & easily accessible so, for many years, I used it for a meaningful writing project which connected the beautiful children at my secluded school deep in the jungles of Borneo with those in other parts of Malaysia. I've seen first-hand how both sides benefited from the exchange & gained so much from each other even though the exchange was merely intra-national.

Despite coming to the US as a Fulbright scholar, my heart has always been with the children in Malaysia: What can I do to help them develop into wholesome global citizens? Also, as a guest to the United States, I've also been wondering what I could offer to this country that has so graciously hosted me at a top university as well as exposed me to their greatest minds & ideas. I have been truly blessed & I want to pay it forward.

With the rise of social media & the increasing popularity of short videos, a video exchange project between youths in the US & Malaysia is timely & relevant to a new generation of social natives. As they engage in the project, they will develop leadership skills, speaking skills, presentation skills, technical skills, an international perspective & an understanding of cultures other than their own, much of which can never be taught in a traditional classroom setting. These skills will be invaluable to them in an ever globalizing world suffering from depressed economies. Video exchanges are already happening & will continue to happen in ever increasing numbers. Why don't we use it for educational purposes & to promote cultural exchange?

Tuesday, July 12

International Fulbright Panel - Writer's Workshop for High School Students @ Sarah Lawrence College

On July 7 2016, an invited panel of current & alumni Fulbrighters spoke at the Writer's Workshop for High School Students
by Sarah Lawrence College, Yonkers Public Schools, & Fulbright NY.
Panelists: Mariam Farooqi (Pakistan), Mir Hassan (Pakistan), Tony Spanakos (US Fulbright Alumnus to Brazil/Venezuela), Jarod Yong (Malaysia), & Josephine Dorado (President of Fulbright NY).
       
For more than 15 years, Sarah Lawrence College (SLC) has held this 5-day Writer's Workshop for High School Students. This program aims to provide a safe environment for participants to experience writing in a non-competitive, & non-judgmental environment while encouraging risk, exploration, and adventure in the creative process. Every day, participants take part in writing & theater workshops led by performance artists, writers, & poets.

The third day of the workshop is International day. This is when participants are encouraged to take on a global perspective & explore writing/theater from across the globe. This is also when a panel of Fulbrighters are invited to speak to these brilliant young minds who are potentially future US Fulbrighters who will contribute to international cultural & educational exchange.

Prior to my participation in the panel, I wanted to read up about it so that I could prepare myself accordingly. However, I couldn't find any details on the internet as I only knew this workshop as the "Youth Mentoring Initiative". In this blog post, I'll share my observations as well as what happened during the day for the benefit of Fulbrighters who are invited to be part of future panels.

Monday, July 11

Pokémon GO: How To Start With A Pikachu As Your First Pokémon

Who can say no to this face?
Pikachu is excited to join you too!
       
I started playing Pokémon Go last night & nabbed Pikachu as my first pokémon!
How did I do it? It's very simple. ANYONE can do it! Also, it might just be the most important thing to do first in the game!

Friday, July 8

Tutoring With Gooroo

Gooroo: a service designed to help people find the best tutors in their city.
  
I recently learned about Gooroo on Facebook & signed up as a gooroo out of curiosity. Little did I know, I'd be contacted by the startup & invited to have coffee with them at their office in New York City! During the meeting, they took a 1 minute video for my Gooroo profile & fed me all the donuts & bananas I could carry. They have kept in touch & also referred several potential clients to me. Honestly, I feel like I'm an actual part of the organisation instead of an outsider & very taken cared of.

In this blog post, I will share about how I became a gooroo. If you're a poor student like me & interested in making a little pocket money on the side, this is the solution for you! It's really easy. The only criterion is you need to be in New York. There are no signup or subscription fees.

Wednesday, July 6

An International Student's Guide To Renting In New York

To tell you the truth, it was a real pain in the beehind.
*ouch*
If you're an international student, let me save you A TON of trouble by telling you to STAY IN CAMPUS HOUSING at least for your first year while you familiarize yourself with different areas of the city & the legal requirements of renting. If you think that campus housing is too expensive, compare it to the median rent chart here & Craigslist listings in the area.

As international students, we don't meet 2 fundamental qualifying criteria:
1. a good credit score
2. an income of at least 40x monthly rent

Tenants in New York have many laws protecting their rights. Therefore, landlords are wary of bad tenants and have imposed strict requirements to protect themselves. Also, in New York, there is more demand than supply, so it's a landlord's market. Believe me, there are plenty of people desperate enough to sign a lease for a horrible apartment. Also, there will be many unreasonable landlords & many apartments in horrible conditions (with bugs, rats, leakages, no gas, no heating, etc).

I've heard too many horror stories about renting in New York. It's a great topic for conversations & you'll find instant rapport trading horror stories with other New Yorkers. Thankfully, I'm telling the stories instead of living one. Yes, despite the barriers, it is possible for international students to lease an apartment, & yes, we can avoid being the main character in a horror story.

In this blog post, I will share the insights I've gained while looking for an apartment in New York as an international student. Hopefully, it will save you a lot of trouble & help you make a more informed decision on your home away from home.

Monday, June 27

2016 Fulbright Educational Justice Seminar @ George Washington University

The 2016 Fulbright Enrichment Seminar @ George Washington University
Every year, the US Department of State runs different Fulbright Enrichment Seminars for the various foreign Fulbright programs in the US. These programs are only open to Fulbrighters & those who are eligible will receive an email about applying for it. I strongly recommend that you apply for as many as you are interested in because I gained a lot from the only one that I attended, this one.

On April 27-30, I took part in an Enrichment Seminar for First-Year Fulbright Foreign Students hosted by the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University, Washington, D.C.. The theme was "Educational Justice: Overcoming Barriers to Quality Education in the 21st Century". From the sessions & site visits I took part in, I came out of the experience with deep insights into education disparities in the US & South America. I will share what I've learned from this seminar in this blog post.

Sunday, May 22

2016 Site Seminar of the Progressive Education Institute @ Harlem Village Academies

Representing Malaysia & Columbia University... =)
This week, I was a privileged 1 of 13 selected education grad students, from Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard, Penn, & Stanford, to attend a mini conference organised by the Progressive Education Institute (PEI) of Harlem Village Academies (HVA). We had the opportunity to visit 3 HVA charter schools, & hear from their teachers & academic directors: HVA East Elementary, HVA West Elementary, & HVA West Middle. Here's what I learned.

Sunday, May 15

Featured in New Straits Times - 16 May 2016

Featured on NST Online - 16 May 2016 (Malaysian Teacher's Day)
First, let me wish every Malaysian teacher reading this a Happy Teacher's Day!

This Teacher's Day, I was featured in NST print (I haven't read it yet because I have yet to receive a high resolution photograph of the article. Please help me out!) as well as NST Online. It is indeed a huge honour to represent the teachers in Malaysia and more specifically my beloved colleagues working at rural/remote schools.

Let me clarify that I am NOT the only teacher working in the hinterlands of our country, neither am I the most hardworking or the most deserving of "special" mention. There are plenty who are labouring endlessly for the betterment of the communities they are serving. Unlike syok-sendiri me, thousands serve wholeheartedly without seeking reward or recognition. To these teachers, I salute & I bow in respect.

Nonetheless, I did have a purpose for sharing my story. This part of my interview wasn't published. So, you're getting the deleted scenes straight from the horse's mouth!

Monday, May 9

Poster Presented at 2016 Rountable Spring Research Forum

My captive audience. =)
In March, I presented a poster based on a paper I wrote for one of my courses at TC. The title of the poster was "Recommendations for the Language Vitality of a Native Language in Malaysia". Those of you who are familiar with my teaching background would be able to guess that I was looking into the ethnolinguistic situation of the Iban language.

Why conduct the study?

Tuesday, April 5

What To Do If You Miss A Megabus Ride & How Was The Ride

The Megabus stop in New York City: West 34th Street between 11 ave & 12 ave.
As an ESL teacher, it's a dream come true to attend the legendary TESOL convention. This year, it's in Baltimore, Maryland. Look me up if you're there too!
As a grad student, money is scarce & any kind of travel will need to be bootstrapped. So, I'm travelling by bus (4 hours) & staying at a hostel (in a bunk room).

Rushing from my last class of the day to the bus stop after saying goodbye to my beloved missus, I missed the bus by minutes. I actually watched the bus leave the stop with my friends (who were there much earlier) staring blankly at me behind the large windows as the bus bustled by. I was pissed. I was also wondering... what's next?

Wednesday, March 30

A Fulbrighter's ITIN Application & Tax Return Experience With Grantax

This ad is too good not to share.
Recently, my fellow Fulbrighters & I were griping & wondering why we're left out in the cold by Grantax after sending in our documents. We had no idea if we did it right or if we got the email address right. There's  not even an automated response from Grantax! If you're a Fulbrighter in a similar situation, I've finally got some answers for you.

In this blog post, I will write about my experience applying for ITIN & filing my Tax Return with Grantax.
Bottomline is Grantax is super duper ninja turtles busy & their online practices are web 1.0. But, we love them coz they do our taxes for FREE & they work very very hard like minions!!
=D

Wednesday, March 9

In Response To Fa Abdul "Do public schools have educators or entrepreneurs?" in FMT (8 March 2016)

This article & its comments made me realize that there was a disconnect between parents & schools.
I also thought that this article was an unfair representation of the 400k+ educators in Malaysia.
This was why I wrote this response. I had to stand up for my peers & inform parents of what's really going on at schools.

Fa Abdul,

Thanks for sharing your opinion. You've made some interesting observations & I applaud your courage for speaking up. I would like to comment on some of the observations you’ve made & give the public some food for thought, from the eyes of a jungle teacher. Take it with a pinch of salt; I’m not saying that I’m correct; I’m suggesting that perhaps this article is a little lopsided & a cikgu should be allowed to voice his opinion too, no? Boleh, kan?

Saturday, February 27

Presented at Celebration of Teaching

One of the five groups I've shared with!
Today, I had the pleasure of sharing a Reading Activity at the Celebration of Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. But, the most valuable part was the opportunity to rub shoulders with like-minded people & learn practical teaching activities from the other presenters. I also enjoyed the positive energy & good vibes at the event. I will most definitely take part in next year's CoT.

Well done, guys! Special thanks to Taiwanese TV teacher, Ping, for encouraging me to submit my presentation proposal!

The Reading Activity:

Here is the Reading Activity that I shared. I hope that it's useful to you!

Sunday, February 21

Mother Language Day: Something Worth Bringing In From Bangladesh

I admit I don't know much about Bangladesh or their people. But, I've learned something about them recently which struck a cord deep inside my heart & I felt compelled to share it.

First, a little bit of background: Recently, there was an uproar in Malaysia over an MoU where 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers will be legally brought into Malaysia to meet local (low-wage) labour demands. A mere one day later, the government suspended the recruitment of foreign workers. Soon, there was an official explanation to the public.

Besides bringing in their people as workers, there is something else from Bangladesh that is much much more valuable... the Mother Language Day.

In memory of the students who gave their lives for the recognition of the Bengali language...

Saturday, February 20

(Un)spoken: A Celebration of Mother Tongue Day

My wife & I shared Bahasa Malaysia with a multinational audience at Teachers College, Columbia University.
I found comic books from Lat in Columbia's library & distributed them for the audience to read!

Feb 21 is International Mother Languages Day. The International Comparative Education society at Teachers College, Columbia University organised an event where members of the Teachers College community & beyond could share their mother languages. When I saw the call for proposals, I jumped at the opportunity to present at the event & share my love for Malaysia & our language, Bahasa Malaysia.

Look at these treasures I found!
As I considered the endless possibilities for presenting, I wondered if the superginormous Bulter library of Columbia University had any Malaysian comic books. That would be fun; people would be able to flip through pictures & illustrations of Malaysia instead of hearing boring ol' me yap yap yap away. An easy online search revealed that there were 10 titles from Lat. Needless to say, I took all of them with me.

Saturday, January 30

Post-STPM Full-Scholarship: 2016 Bangsar Village Kids for Kids (Deadline: April 30, 2016)

Last year, a Sarawakian won this scholarship so I'm going to encourage as many Sarawakian students to apply as I can!
Thank you, BV, for thinking of us in the East!
 
Documents about this scholarship were leaked to me by a "well-placed source" with strong ties. It wasn't pedas enough for Sarawak Report so I'll write about it. Lol. Furthermore, this scholarship does not have a strong web presence. Try to Google it. You'd still have to do some sleuthing. It's not even on the Bangsar Village website which is still displaying last year's scholarship information. *tisk* *tisk*

As the government is cutting back on scholarships, I'm very glad that this Malaysian corporation has not. Did I mention that a Sarawakian was awarded last year? So proud. Thankful to BV. Dear BV, what you do for one of my brethren, you do for me. So, I'm going to help you do the same this year!
If you're from Sarawak, help a deserving Sarawakian student win this by SHARING!!
If you're not from Sarawak... no need. Don't read.

Seriously, I'm encouraging you to apply regardless of what you think are your chances of getting it. I had my doubts about getting my Fulbright scholarship too. What I did was I stopped focusing on what I didn't have & made the best of what I did have. Everybody has got something unique to contribute to the world no matter how small you think yours is.
Anyway, what's the worst that could happen? That's right, NOTHING.
You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Go for it! You have my blessing!


Summary:

Thursday, January 28

An Unthinkable Question In This English 1119 Module

Looks harmless enough on the outside... But on the inside...
 
I was in Barrymore Theatre today catching "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" with my 2for1 Broadway Week tickets when I saw a picture of a question from this book. It shocked & amused me. I felt compelled to forgo a good night sleep & immediately wrote about it when I got home.

Check out this unthinkable SPM model question:

Tuesday, January 5

My Interview With The Fulbright Commission In Malaysia

Whatever happens to you during your interview will never be as bad as this one.
So, give it your best!!
A few months ago, I encouraged everyone to apply for the Fulbright programs. When applying, keep in mind A LOT of money will be spent on you & they want to know if you'll be a good investment. Be sure to read up on the aims/objectives of the program/organisation you're applying to, figure out where it overlaps with yours & have that reflected in your application. It's not just all about you. It's partly about them/their country too. How can you make them better?

In this blog post, I will share about my interview which was one of my worst interview performances ever. I flew in from Sarawak that morning & came straight from the airport because I wanted to be early. I was there an hour before schedule. I wanted to use that time to make myself look extra presentable & prepare emotionally.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...