Showing posts from 2016

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 operati…

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

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:

I'm the International Student Senator @ Teachers College, Columbia University

Thank you, fellow students at Teachers College!
It is an honor to be your elected International Student Senator for 2016/2017. Honestly,  I didn't expect to be elected as all 10 candidates are true contenders with something unique to bring to the table. I will do my best to serve both the internationals & US students at TC. Our interests are not mutually exclusive, inclusiveness benefits all.

As promised when I announced my candidacy, I will use the resources afforded to my office as International Student Senator to:
improve the way that international students are included & engaged with at TC;become accepted & empowered members of our new community connect international students with local students, unique experiences in NYC, & awesome food places, as well as give back to the gem right under our noses, Harlem;ensure that none of us to come to TC & leave as the same person; andmake our time here as enriching as possible.

Vote Jarod Yong For International Student Senator

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.

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

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 Register by Sept 22, 2016.

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

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.

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

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:

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

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.

The Millennial Trains Project: A Transcontinental Conference On Tracks

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, & …

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!

The Youth Video Exchange Project Between The United States & Malaysia

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 incre…

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

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 detai…

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

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!

Tutoring With Gooroo

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.

An International Student's Guide To Renting In New York

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, …

2016 Fulbright Educational Justice 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.

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

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.

Featured in New Straits Times - 16 May 2016

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 strai…

Poster Presented at 2016 Rountable Spring Research Forum

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?

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

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?

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

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!!

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

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?

Presented at Celebration of Teaching

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!

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 Malaysiato 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.

(Un)spoken: A Celebration of Mother Tongue Day

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.

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.

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

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 …

An Unthinkable Question In This English 1119 Module

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:

My Interview With The Fulbright Commission In Malaysia

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.