Visit To An Award-Winning School

Today I paid a visit to an award-winning sm@rt school as a field trip for my Professional Development course.
This school is a sm@rt school that was awarded sekolah cemerlang & sekolah harapan negara in 2007 & is therefore one of the best schools in Malaysia!

I say, what a brilliant idea to send us to this school to expose us to an excellent school's way of doing things!

The B.Ed.TESL Cohort 2 Secondary-School-Teachers-to-be got on 2 buses & left KL for Putrajaya early in the morning.

After arriving at the school, were taken to a large meeting room where we were shown an impressive multimedia presentation, produced by LimKokWing University, on the school's profile.
It was followed by a very disappointing automated PowerPoint presentation, on the school's achievements, which was very obviously needs to improve their choice of accompanying music & color coordination.

Then, there was a Q&A session where I asked the heads of the school to sum up, in a phrase, what a school like their's expects from their teachers and then elaborate on the phrase. The vice-principal answered, "Excellent in all aspects!" She laughed and then moved on to the exchange of mementos without elaborating.

After that, we were given a tour of the school. We also observed a few English Literature classes.

We had a packed lunch of Nasi Lemak Ayam & bottled drinking water.
It was compulsory for us to pay RM3 for it even though some of us chose not to eat it.

All through the visit, I was handling Hadi's camera.
I took pictures of everything & anything...
Until the battery ran out...
Oh well! I had my fun!

Some of my friends said that the trip was a waste of time.
The classes that we were taken to incorporated ICT (Information Communication Technology, a fancy term to mean they use computers, internet, projectors, Microsoft Office, etc).
However, we observed the same old teaching methods we experienced in our high school days.

The only difference is...
This time, instead of chalk & talk, it's click & talk!
The blackboard was replaced with Microsoft Word.
The textbook was replaced with MS PowerPoint.
There was no group work.
There was little innovation observed.
As a result, the students seemed bored & weren't ready to contribute in class.

I would have so easily agreed with my friends that it was a depressing thing to see such a good school practicing such dinosaur techniques. However, I was constantly REFLECTING...
As I observed the school, the teachers, the vice-principal, the MC & the students, I constantly asked myself questions...

What is the content, the objectives & the teacher's principles, philosophy & pedagogy?
What can I use from the teaching of this lesson in my own teaching?
How can I improve the lesson?
How can I make the lesson more student-centred?
How can I make the lesson more interesting?
How can I engage the students' thinking?

Nonetheless, I gained a lot from this experience & there is definitely much that needs to be done in our schools.

Let's put the bang back into learning!

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