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Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction (MJLI) Vol. 11, 2014

 
Reflecting on Malaysian Teacher Trainees’ Journals
Aizan Yaacob, Lynne Masel Walters, Ruzlan Md Ali, Sarimah Shaik Abdullah & Timothy Walters
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – In this study, 37 English Language Teaching (ELT) teacher trainees from a Malaysian university conducted an action-research project to determine whether journals kept during their fi eldwork in primary schools located in an area close to the university allowed them to reflect on their beliefs and behaviors in the classroom.
 
Methodology – Themes were revealed using emergent coding in their journals. Van Manen’s (1977) three-stage model (practical, technical and critical) was used to determine the issues raised and the level of critical reflection reached in the journal entries
 
Findings – The findings indicated that the teacher trainees demonstrated practical and technical level thinking, but rarely rose to the critical level of reflection. Nonetheless, they also demonstrated changes in their beliefs and behaviours, essential for professional development.
 
Significance – Reflective thinking is critical to teaching and is important in the United States and in countries striving to replicate its pedagogical tools and techniques. However, many Western practices associated with the nurturing of critical thinking are not familiar to Malaysian teacher trainees. We conclude that prospective teachers here do use their journals to reflect on their educational practice, but not at the deepest levels of insight. Critical thinking must be taught to Malaysian teacher trainees and filtered through the local culture if it is to improve teaching and learning in the nation’s classrooms.
 
Keywords: Action research, critical thinking, Malaysia, teacher trainees, reflection, journals.
 

 
Understanding Language Learning: Review of the Application of the Interaction Model in Foreign Language Contexts
L. Quentin Dixon & Shuang Wu
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – This paper examined the application of the inputinteraction-output model in English-as-Foreign-Language (EFL) learning environments with four specific questions: (1) How do the three components function in the model? (2) Does interaction in the foreign language classroom seem to be effective for foreign language acquisition? (3) What factors might facilitate/impede interaction, which, in turn, positively or negatively affect output? (4) What are effective teaching methods to enhance interaction and ensure quality of output?
 
Methodology – A systematic search for empirical studies was conducted in the selected databases, which yielded 26 studies from different parts of the world. These studies met the preset criteria concerning medium of instruction, setting, relevancy and quality.
 
Findings – The review demonstrated that when input, interaction and output worked together, positive English learning results were achieved by EFL learners. In addition, the relationship among input, interaction, and output was likely to be influenced by such factors as language environment, task type, gender, and language proficiency. The review also showed that in the face of diversified forms of interaction, EFL teachers were capable of efficiently implementing different teaching strategies.
 
Significance – The review not only lends support to the applicability of the interaction model in foreign language contexts, but also suggests from the pooled evidence, effective ways to apply the model in the EFL class. These findings can be used to help launch educational campaigns promoting the application of the interaction model within the EFL classroom.
 
Keywords: Input, interaction, output, EFL settings, language learning.
 

 
Total Quality Management (TQM) Practices and School Climate amongst High, Average and Low Performance Secondary Schools
Siti Noor Ismail
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – This study attempted to determine whether the dimensions of TQM practices are predictors of school climate. It aimed to identify the level of TQM practices and school climate in three different categories of schools, namely high, average and low performance schools. The study also sought to examine which dimensions of TQM practices contributed the most to school climate.
 
Methodology – A survey was administered to 691 teachers from 24 secondary schools to obtain information on TQM practices and school climate. Descriptive statistics was used to examine the level of TQM and school climate and inferential statistics (correlation coefficient and multiple regression) was used to examine relationships between the variables.
 
Findings – There were significant differences between the levels of TQM practices in the three different categories of schools. High performance schools showed a higher level of TQM practice and school climate, followed by average performance schools and low performance schools. There was a significant positive relationship between the variables on the level of TQM practices and school climate. TQM was a predictor of school climate contributing to 40 percent of the variance towards school climate. For the dimension of TQM practices, staff involvement, commitment of the top management and continuous improvement were the main predictors of school climate.
 
Significance – The findings contribute significantly to knowledge by proposing the Excellent School Model which can guide teachers and school administrators in implementing quality management in education.
 
Keywords: Total quality management, school climate, high, average and low performance schools.
 

 
Perceived Social Support as Predictor of University Adjustment and Academic Achievement Amongst First Year Undergraduates in a Malaysian Public University
Maria Chong Abdullah, Luo Lan Kong & Abd Rahim Talib
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – This study was conducted to examine relationships between perceived social support, university adjustment and academic achievement of fi rst semester students enrolled in various undergraduate programs in a Malaysian public university.
 
Methodology – This study employed a quantitative approach with a descriptive correlation design to address the research objectives. The adapted version of the “Interpersonal Support Evaluation List” (1985) and the “Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire” (1999) were used to assess students’ perceived social support and university adjustment respectively. A total of 250 fi rst year undergraduates were selected as respondents using cluster random sampling technique.
 
Findings – Findings revealed a signifi cant and positive relationship between students’ perceived social support and their overall university adjustment as well as all the four adjustment dimensions namely academic adjustment, social adjustment, personal-emotional adjustment, attachment to university, and academic achievement. Results also indicated that students’ overall university adjustment and academic achievement were signifi cant and positively predicted by social support.
 
Significance – This study provides important evidence for undergraduates, lecturers, university administrators, and the community at large regarding the important role of social support in university adjustment and academic performance. It is suggested that a university should provide support services to assist new undergraduates to overcome their adjustment problems.
 
Keywords: Academic achievement, university adjustment, social support, undergraduates
 

 
Enhancing Higher Order Thinking Skills through Clinical Simulation
Elengovan Varutharaju & Nagendralingan Ratnavadivel
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – The study aimed to explore, describe and analyse the design and implementation of clinical simulation as a pedagogical tool in bridging the deficiency of higher order thinking skills among para-medical students, and to make recommendations on incorporating clinical simulation as a pedagogical tool to enhance thinking skills and align the curriculum.
 
Methodology – A qualitative approach using interpretativedescriptive case study design was utilized in framing the researchstudy. Purposive sampling was used to select 20 final year paramedicalstudents and five teaching staff who participated in thisstudy. Data was collected through direct and participant observation,interviews and document analysis. Thematic analysis using Stake’sCountenance Model was utilized to analyse and present the findings.
 
Findings – On the basis of these analyses, the study supports that (i) clinical simulation facilitates the infusion of higher order thinking skills; (ii) clinical simulation that uses thinking pedagogy nurtures the development of higher order thinking skills; and (iii) clinical simulation uses higher order thinking modality to promote, understand and transfer learning. While facilitators play a crucial role in engaging learners with higher order thinking modality and make students’ thinking visible by utilizing the use of metacognition and self-regulation abilities, learners become more autonomous, strategic and motivated to apply effort and strategies in a variety of meaningful contexts.
 
Significance – The findings of this study can assist curriculum managers, college administrators and educators regarding the inclusion of clinical simulation as an instructional approach to enhance higher order thinking skills among para-medical students.
 
Keywords: Clinical simulation, higher order thinking skills, instruction and learning strategies, para-medical students.
 

 
Teacher-Led Initiatives in Supporting Learner Empowerment among Malay Tertiary Learners
Naginder Kaur
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – Learner empowerment or learner autonomy is regarded by some theorists as the self-propelled, sole effort of the learner. However, in creating self-directed learners who are empowered to learn, the role of significant others such as the instructor is imperative. This study shows how a committed lecturer can play an instrumental role in facilitating self-directed learning among learners.
 
Methodology – Learner autonomy in vocabulary learning was successfully facilitated among a group of Malay tertiary learners pursuing a Business Studies course in Malaysia. This qualitative study explored the lecturer’s proactive efforts and initiatives in raising learners’ confidence in learning vocabulary. Data were collected through reflective in-depth interviews with the lecturer and learners at the end of every week for one month to obtain insights into their learning experiences.
 
Findings – The lecturer’s pedagogical approaches of providing sufficient learning opportunities in class, teaching vocabulary in context, using vocabulary lists and direct methods, and building lessons spirally to reinforce learning made complex tasks become manageable and achievable. These efforts were well-commended by the learners in this study. The lecturer's conscious decisions, namely, encouraging collaborative learning tasks and not forcing reluctant speakers were guided by her awareness of the learners’ cultural background which impinged on their learning preferences, thus, creating a non-threatening learning environment.
 
Significance – This study establishes the case that learner empowerment is not teacherless learning but is fostered when the instructor is able to pitch the lesson at an appropriate level and create a conducive and positive learning environment to synchronise with the learners’ cultural traits.
 
Keywords: Learner empowerment, autonomy, vocabulary, teacher, Malay tertiary  learners.
 

 
Reassessing the Accuracy and Use of Readability Formulae
Dahlia Janan & David Wray
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose The purpose of the study is to review readability formulae and offer a critique, based on a comparison of the grading of a variety of texts given by six well-known formulae.
Methodology A total of 64 texts in English were selected either by or for native English speaking children aged between six and 11 years. Each text was assessed using six commonly used readability formulae via the Words Count website (http://www.wordscount. info/) which provides automated readability indices using FOG, Spache, SMOG, Flesh-Kincaid and Dale-Chall. For the ATOS formula, the Renaissance Learning website was used (http://www. renlearn.com/ar/overview/atos/). Statistical tests were then carried out to check the consistency among the six formulae in terms of their predictions of levels of text diffi culty.
 
Findings The analysis demonstrated significantly different readability indices for the same text using different formulae. It appeared that some of the formulae (but not all) were consistent in their ranking of texts in order of difficulty but were not consistent in their grading of each text. This finding suggests that readability formulae need to be used carefully to support teachers’ judgements about text difficulty rather than as the sole mechanism for text assessment.
 
Significance Making decisions about matching texts to learners is something regularly required from teachers at all levels. Making such decisions about text suitability is described as measuring the
 
‘readability’ of texts, and for a long time, this measurement has been treated as unproblematic and achieved using formulae which use such features as vocabulary diffi culty and sentence length. This study suggests that the use of such readability formulae is more problematic than may at first appear. Although the study was carried out with native English speaking children using texts in English, it is argued that the lessons learnt apply equally to Malay speakers reading Malay language texts.
 
Keywords: Readability formula, reading material, measurement.

 
The Effectiveness of Finishing School Programmes from the Perspectives of Graduates and Employers
Jamal Ali, Lim Hock Eam, Russayani Ismail, Fauziah Abdul Rahim,
Filzah Md Isa & Ismi Arif Ismail
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – This study examined the effectiveness of Finishing School programmes in enhancing the employability of graduates from institutions of higher learning. The perceptions of the graduates and employers towards the effectiveness of the programmes were analyzed. The effectiveness of Finishing School programmes evaluated through a graduate marketability outcome study and the expectations of employers with regard to the type of soft skills of graduates most needed by industries were also examined.
 
Methodology – Data for this study were obtained through a survey questionnaire administered to graduates and focus group interviews with selected employers. The primary data involved a large sample (n = 1092) of graduates from public universities and also 31 selected employers from various industries. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square tests, and a multinomial logit model. Due to the unavailability of a population frame, the data were collected using a convenient sampling design.
 
Findings – Graduates had a positive perception of the effectiveness of Finishing School programmes. However, in terms of the marketability outcome, Finishing school programmes currently
 

 
Teacher Autonomy Support: Does it Hinder Motivation among Thai Students?
Amrita Kaur, Rosna Awang Hashim & Mohammad Noman
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – This article examined the relevance of teacher autonomy support [TAS] among Thai students. It is based on a study conducted to compare the effects of TAS on motivation among Thai students. The issue of motivation among Asian students has invited controversy as few cross-cultural relativists have claimed that Asian students get motivated when teachers use controlling strategies.
 
Methodology – The study collected data through a quasiexperimental study with an appended ABA withdrawal design. The subjects were 105 Thai students who completed self-reported questionnaires that assessed perceived autonomy support, intrinsic motivation and self-regulation, before, after and on withdrawal of experiment intervention.
 
Findings – MANOVA results revealed that students in the experimental group who were in the autonomy supportive teachinglearning environment reported greater interest, effort, relatedness and integrated regulation compared to the control group taught using a traditional approach. Furthermore, students in the experimental group experienced less pressure and reported less external regulation compared to the control group.
 
Significance – The findings support the claim in Self-determination theory (SDT) that autonomy is not a culturally bound value, and is a pedagogical concept equally relevant to Thai students as it facilitates motivation. The fi ndings will encourage Thai educators to adopt autonomy as a pedagogical concept that will help facilitate motivation among their students.
 
Keywords: teacher autonomy support, motivation, quasi experimental, Thai education reforms, Self-determination theory.
 

 
The Impact of Quantum Teaching Strategy on Student Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem in Inclusive Schools
Gunarhadi, Mustapa Kassim & Abdull Sukor Shaari
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – This research was aimed at showing the impact of a teaching strategy called the Quantum Teaching Strategy on students’ academic achievements in two school subjects, namely in Bahasa Indonesia and Science, in comparison to that experienced through classes using a conventional teaching strategy. This research also examined the role of self-esteem on the students’ academic achievements in both the subjects in inclusive schools in Indonesia.
 
Methodology – This research was a quasi-experimental study on two intact groups of sixth graders of two different inclusive schools. The sample was assigned through multi-staged cluster sampling from 78 elementary schools in 15 sub-district areas. The data on student academic achievements was collected by means of tests, while the data on self-esteem were obtained through a questionnaire. T-test was used to analyze the different impacts of the Quantum Teaching Strategy and conventional teaching strategy on the academic achievements of students, while ANCOVA was applied to determine whether the students’ self-esteem infl uenced their academic achievements in Bahasa Indonesia and Science.
 
Findings – The t-test showed that the Quantum Teaching Strategy had a better impact on both Bahasa Indonesia and Science achievements as compared to the conventional teaching strategy.
 
Significance – Findings of this study can be used as a guide for planning and using Quantum Teaching Strategy in teaching and learning Bahasa Indonesia and Science in inclusive schools.
 
Keywords: Quantum teaching strategy, academic achievements, self-esteem.
 

 
Pengetahuan Pedagogi Kandungan Guru Bahasa Iban yang Baharu dengan yang Berpengalaman di Sekolah-Sekolah Menengah di Sarawak
(Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Novice and Experienced Iban Language Teachers in Sarawak Secondary Schools)
Magdeline Anak Nor & Zamri Mahamod
Faculty of Education
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
 
Corresponding author: d-zam@ukm.my
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Tujuan – Keberkesanan dan kepakaran seseorang guru dapat dinilai melalui teknik pengajarannya. Oleh itu, fokus akan diberikan kepada proses pengajaran guru bahasa Iban untuk memastikan keberkesanan pengajaran guru-guru bahasa Iban di Sarawak. Kajian ini dijalankan berdasarkan teori yang diperkenalkan oleh Shulman, iaitu Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) atau juga dikenali sebagai Pengetahuan Pedagogi Kandungan (PPK).
 
Metodologi – Kajian kualitatif ini dijalankan untuk meneroka dan meneliti secara mendalam pengetahuan pedagogi kandungan (PPK) yang dimiliki oleh guru bahasa Iban baharu dan berpengalaman di sekolah menengah di Sarawak. Tiga orang guru bahasa Iban dari Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (PPD) Subis dan seorang guru bahasa Iban dari PPD Miri dipilih sebagai peserta kajian temu bual dan pemerhatian. Transkrip temu bual dianalisis secara teliti dengan bantuan perisian QSR Nvivo9.
 
Dapatan – Kajian mendapati bahawa PPK guru-guru bahasa Iban dipengaruhi oleh disiplin ilmu masing-masing kerana kesemua guru bahasa Iban berlatar belakangkan pengkhususan yang berbezabeza. Dapatan kajian juga menunjukkan tidak ada perbezaan PPK yang ketara antara guru berpengalaman dan guru yang baharu. Sebaliknya faktor keperibadian guru yang membezakan penguasaan PPK guru, sama ada guru tersebut baharu atau berpengalaman hanya menjadi faktor sampingan sahaja. Strategi pedagogi kandungan guru-guru bahasa Iban juga didapati dipengaruhi oleh latar belakang pengkhususan mereka. Pemerhatian pengkaji mendapati PPK yang baik terhasil apabila seorang guru itu benar-benar menghayati dan menghargai mata pelajaran bahasa Iban.
 
Kepentingan – Kajian ini penting kepada pihak pengurusan sekolah agar memastikan guru-guru bahasa Iban yang berkelayakan sahaja yang dibenarkan mengajar mata pelajaran bahasa Iban.
 
Kata kunci: Pengetahuan pedagogi kandungan, guru bahasa Iban, sekolah menengah
 

 
Perbezaan Gender dalam Sokongan Pembelajaran dan Pencapaian Akademik : Peranan Perantara Keterlibatan Murid di Sekolah
(Gender Differences in Learning Support and Academic Achievement: The Mediating Role of Student Engagement)
Zalizan M. Jelas, Amla Salleh, Norzaini Azman, Rohana Jani, Ramlah Hamzah, Izwan Mahmud, Zaleha Ab. Hamid, Hanizah Hamzah & Hutkemari
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Tujuan – Kajian ini bertujuan untuk meneliti perbezaan gender dalam sokongan pembelajaran, keterlibatan murid di sekolah dan pencapaian. Kajian ini juga meneliti sejauh mana keterlibatan tersebut berperanan sebagai perantara kepada gender, sokongan pembelajaran dengan pencapaian akademik.
 
Metodologi – Kajian ini menggunakan model keratan rentas yang melibatkan hubungan gender dengan keterlibatan murid di sekolah, sokongan pembelajaran dan pencapaian akademik. Sampel kajian adalah seramai 2,359 remaja lelaki dan perempuan berumur 12 hingga 16 tahun dari sekolah harian di kawasan bandar dan luar bandar. Instrumen Keterlibatan Murid di Sekolah dan Sokongan Pembelajaran digunakan untuk kutipan data. Kedua-dua instrumen telah diterjemah ke dalam bahasa Melayu untuk meninjau sejauhmana keterlibatan murid di sekolah dan persepsi mereka terhadap sokongan pembelajaran daripada ibu bapa, guru dan rakan sebaya. Kesahan dan kebolehpercayaan instrumen menunjukkan nilai tinggi. Analisis inferensi korelasi Pearson dijalankan untuk menentukan hubungan antara pemboleh ubah. Analisis model persamaan berstruktur (SEM) dilaksanakan untuk mengenal pasti peranan keterlibatan murid sebagai perantara gender dan sokongan pembelajaran terhadap pencapaian akademik.
 
Dapatan – Dapatan kajian menunjukkan bahawa tidak terdapat perbezaan gender yang signifi kan dalam keterlibatan murid di sekolah, sokongan pembelajaran dan pencapaian akademik. Keterlibatan murid di sekolah merupakan perantara dalam hubungan gender dan pencapaian akademik. Keterlibatan murid di sekolah juga adalah perantara bagi sokongan guru, sokongan ibu bapa dan sokongan rakan sebaya terhadap pencapaian akademik.
 
Kepentingan Dapatan kajian ini meneguhkan teori mengenai peranan dan sumbangan keterlibatan murid di sekolah, dan sokongan pembelajaran untuk meningkatkan pencapaian murid seperti mana kajian yang dilakukan di Barat terhadap konstruk yang dikaji. Dapatan kajian ini membantu menyediakan cadangan intervensi untuk meningkatkan sokongan pembelajaran dalam kalangan remaja.
 
Kata kunci: pencapaian akademik, perbezaan gender, keterlibatan murid di sekolah, sokongan guru, sokongan ibu bapa, sokongan rakan, analisis perantaraan.