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Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction (MJLI) Vol. 17, No.2 July 2020

Joanna Joseph Jeyaraj
Teoh Sian Hoon, Siti Syardia Erdina Mohamed, Parmjit Singh & Kor Liew Kee
S. Kanageswari Suppiah Shanmugam,  Vincent Wong & Murugan Rajoo
Malini N. G. Ganapathy, Debbita Tan Ai Lin, & Jonathan Phan
Nadarajan Thambu, Mohamad Khairi Haji Othman & Noor Banu Mahadir Naidu
Charanjit Kaur Swaran Singh, Revathi Gopal, Eng Tek Ong,Tarsame Singh Masa Singh, Nor Azmi Mostafa & Rhashvinder Kaur Ambar Singh
Nurfaradilla Mohamad Nasri, Lilia Halim & Mohamad Asyraf Abd Talib
Poi Hun Sun & Sek Yan Lee
Norhafezah Yusof, Tengku Faekah Tengku Ariffin, Rosna Awang Hashim, Hasniza Nordin & Amrita Kaur
Fathiyah Mohd Fakhruddin, Sharini Che Ishak, Asmawati Suhid, Ahmad Fauzi Mohd Ayub, Norlizah Che Hassan, Lukman Abd Mutalib & Wan Marzuki Wan Jaafar

Joanna Joseph Jeyaraj
Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College 
Corresponding author:
Purpose – In this study, the writing needs of postgraduate research students are explored, so that support structures that enable successful completion rates and student satisfaction can be identified. Postgraduate education is expanding in Malaysian public and private higher education institutions; yet research tends to focus on public institutions, because private institutions have traditionally been oriented towards teaching instead of research. Therefore, this study explores the needs of students in a branch campus of a private overseas university in Malaysia.
Methodology - Semi-structured exploratory interviews were carried out with six postgraduate students, so that a deeper understanding of their research writing needs could be obtained. Interviews were then analysed using a general inductive approach.
Findings – It was found that students required support in three main areas: writing, supervision and ICT. Students sought English language support and more workshops and programmes which specifically dealt with thesis writing. They also believed that peer support groups would be beneficial. Secondly, more guidance was needed from supervisors to enable greater clarity on writing and institutional processes and procedures. Finally, students wanted greater access to ICT writing tools to facilitate writing and language learning.
Significance – The findings of this study are beneficial to institutions seeking to provide greater support for postgraduate students to ensure timely completion rates and greater student satisfaction. Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that postgraduate support incorporate 3Ps, i.e., be pedagogically driven; peer oriented; and programmatically implemented.
Keywords – postgraduate research writing, academic writing, thesis, postgraduate support.
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1Teoh Sian Hoon, 2Siti Syardia Erdina Mohamed, 3Parmjit Singh & 4Kor Liew Kee
1-3Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA Selangor, Puncak Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
4Faculty of Computer & Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA Kedah Campus, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:
Purpose – Most literature has focused solely on either knowledge about number sense or understanding of fractions. To fill the research gap, this study examined pupils’ abilities in both number sense and fractions. In particular, it investigated Year 4 and Year 5 pupils’ use of strategies in developing their fraction sense.
Methodology – This study adopted a descriptive research design, utilising a mixed approach in data collection. An instrument called the Fraction Sense Test (FST) and a clinical interview were used to collect data. The FST comprised 3 strands: fraction concept, fraction representation and effect of operation. A two-stage cluster sampling method was employed to select 396 Year 4 and Year 5 pupils from a district in Selangor, Malaysia. The sampling involved random selection of the primary schools in the first stage, followed by pupils within the selected schools in the second stage. In addition to descriptive statistics, content analysis of interview transcripts was conducted to identify the presence of concepts and strategies applied among the pupils.
Findings – The study found that the pupils scored lowest in effect of operation. It was also revealed that there were four strategies which helped the pupils to develop fraction sense, namely (1) comparing fractions using benchmark fractions of common fractions such as ½, ¼, zero and 1, (2) understanding denominators to determine the size of equal parts, (3) comparing fractions using unit fraction, and (4) applying the strategies in (1) and (2) to manipulate fractions in effect of operation.
Significance – The findings provide useful input to facilitate the development of fraction sense ability.
Keywords: fraction sense, fraction concept, fraction representation, effect of operation.
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1S. Kanageswari Suppiah Shanmugam,  2Vincent Wong & 3Murugan Rajoo
1School of Education and Modern Languages,College of Arts and Sciences, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
2Primary Chinese National Type School Chung Hwa Wei SinKuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
3Research and Development Division, SEAMEO RECSAM Penang, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:
Purpose - This study examined the quality of English test items using psychometric and linguistic characteristics among Grade Six pupils.
Method - Contrary to the conventional approach of relying only on statistics when investigating item quality, this study adopted a mixed-method approach by employing psychometric analysis and cognitive interviews. The former was conducted on 30 Grade Six pupils, with each item representing a different construct commonly found in English test papers. Qualitative input was obtained through cognitive interviews with five Grade Six pupils and expert judgements from three teachers.
Findings - None of the items were found to be too easy or difficult, and all items had positive discrimination indices. The item on idioms was most ideal in terms of difficulty and discrimination. Difficult items were found to be vocabulary-based. Surprisingly, the higher-order-thinking subjective items proved to be excellent in difficulty, although improvements could be made on their ability to discriminate. The qualitative expert judgements agreed with the quantitative psychometric analysis. Certain results from the item analysis, however, contradicted past findings that items with the ideal item difficulty value between 0.4 and 0.6 would have equally ideal item discrimination index.
Significance -The findings of the study can serve as a reminder on the significance of using Classical Test Theory, a non-complex psychometric approach in assisting classroom teacher practitioners during the meticulous process of test design and ensuring test item quality.
Keywords - Classical test theory, item difficulty index, item discrimination index, test item quality, psychometric properties.
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1Malini N. G. Ganapathy, 2Debbita Tan Ai Lin, & 3Jonathan Phan
1-3School of Languages, Literacies and TranslationUniversiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia 
2Corresponding author:
Purpose – This study examined the types of written corrective feedback provided to ESL students in writing classes in Malaysian secondary schools, and their perceptions towards the provision of written corrective feedback in the Malaysian context.
Methodology – A survey questionnaire was administered randomly among 720 Form Four students from 10 secondary schools in Penang. The questionnaire was based on a Likert scale and responses were analysed using descriptive statistics.
Findings – Results showed that most learners benefited from and preferred direct feedback, and tended to focus on form such as grammar, paragraph organisation, content and clarity of ideas. Students preferred this form of feedback as they were able to understand errors more clearly. It was found that most students were unable to self-regulate their own errors; a majority could not locate their own errors and had become passive learners within the Malaysian schooling system.
Significance – The study is significant to Malaysian secondary schools in its effects, depicting the many forms of corrective feedback available in the ESL context that can be employed in school besides the popularized direct feedback used within the syllabus.
Keywords: Second language (L2) pedagogy; written corrective feedback (WCF); second language acquisition (SLA); types of feedback; perception of feedback.
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1Marfunizah Ma’dan, 2Muhamad Takiyuddin Ismail & 3Sity Daud
1School of Government, College of Law, Government & International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
2&3Political Sciences Programme, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
1Corresponding author: 
Purpose: This study aims to identify the focus and strategies of Malaysian public universities to enhance graduates’ competency levels, as well as their key challenges.
Methodology: The study used an exploratory approach, applying a qualitative method. Data were collected at eight selected public universities in Malaysia through face-to-face interviews with expert informants that included a deputy vice chancellor of academic affairs and directors in charge of graduate employability. Content analysis was used to analyse the data.
Findings: The results revealed the practical roles of Malaysian public universities in enhancing graduates’ competency levels and subsequently securing their employability by meeting market demands. Nonetheless, stronger changes and reforms at the institutional level are needed to support the degree of competency among graduates, such as improving teaching methods and programmes offered. Furthermore, university–industry collaboration should also be strengthened to develop a competitive and capable talent pool in the country.
Significance: The paper extends the core focus and strategies that have been implemented by public universities by providing more detailed and practical solutions to ensure that curriculum design more effectively supports the development of graduate competency. The study findings are useful for improving universities’ strategies and implementation processes to pursue a balanced quality of education in developing future talent.
Keywords: Graduate employability, university leaders, qualitative, public university, higher education institutions, Malaysia.
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1Nadarajan Thambu, 2Mohamad Khairi Haji Othman & 3Noor Banu Mahadir Naidu
1&3Faculty of Human Science, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia.
2School of Education and Modern Languages, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia.
1Corresponding author:
Purpose –The power of forum theatre in education and various other fields is well known by educators. However, the use of forum theatre in Malaysia, particularly in the field of moral education, is still limited. At the same time, the development of thinking skills is one of the aims of the Malaysian moral education curriculum. Therefore, this study examined the use of forum theatre as a pedagogical tool in developing various levels of thinking skills among moral education students.
Method –The study adopted a qualitative research design and was underpinned by Bloom’s revised taxonomy as the theoretical and analytical framework. A total of 14 moral education students participated in this study. Data were collected qualitatively using classroom observations, interviews, and journal writing. Thematic analysis was utilized to analyse and present the findings.
Findings –The findings revealed that various theatrical activities that underpinned the four elements of forum theatre: (i) writing a script, (ii) delivering a dialogue in an anti-model play, (iii) discussion and decision-making in a forum session, and (iv) improvisation in an intervention play, show the development of students’ thinking skills at the level of analysing, evaluating and creating. Therefore, this study suggests that forum theatre can be used in moral education pedagogy to enhance higher order thinking skills.
Significance – Meaningful instructional pedagogy must inspire thinking skills to foster creativity and innovation among students. This is considered an important skill in 21st century learning. Hence, these findings are beneficial for teachers, lecturers, parents and instructional designers who wish to plan and implement suitable teaching methods such as forum theatre to empower and improve students’ thinking skill levels.
Keywords: forum theatre, thinking skill levels, higher order thinking skills (HOTS), technique, moral education, pedagogy.
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¹Charanjit Kaur Swaran, ²Revathi Gopal, 5Eng Tek Ong,6Tarsame Singh Masa Singh, ³Nor Azmi Mostafa & 4Rhashvinder Kaur Ambar Singh
1-4Faculty of Languages and Communication,
5Department of Educational Studies,
Faculty of Human Development,
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia
6English Language Unit, Language Department,
Institute of Teacher Education, Tuanku Bainun Campus, Malaysia
Corresponding author: 
Purpose - This research focuses on ESL teachers’ strategies to foster higher-order thinking skills to teach writing to weak ESL learners in two selected secondary schools in Malaysia. ESL teachers’ strategies to foster higher-order thinking skills to teach writing to weak ESL learners were captured and encapsulated to enable the ESL learners to understand and master higher order thinking to improve their writing.
Methodology – A qualitative descriptive case study design was employed in the study.  The sample was based on a snowball sampling and 4 ESL teachers were selected from two different secondary schools in Malaysia. The main data collection method was classroom observation while thematic analysis was used for data analysis. Each teacher was observed twice. Classroom observation forms and video recordings were used as a main source in data collection.
Findings – Findings showed that ESL teachers selected strategies to foster higher-order thinking skills to teach writing including the general procedures in implementing higher-order thinking skills for teaching writing and major considerations at each stage of the implementation. ESL teachers exposed learners to the general procedures of the higher-order thinking skills which were explaining and helping students to understand what higher-order thinking is, leading students to connect to concepts in writing, helping students to infer through real-life situations, using more graphic organizers and teaching problem-solving skills.
Significance – The findings can be used to guide decisions on higher-order thinking skills training for ESL teachers, educators and curriculum developers regarding the thinking skills strategies to be mastered in teaching writing.
Keywords: Higher-order thinking skills, L2 writing, ESL teachers, ESL learners, questioning.
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1Nurfaradilla Mohamad Nasri, Lilia Halim & Mohamad Asyraf Abd Talib
Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:

Purpose - Self-directed learning (SDL) requires students to be active throughout their learning process by deciding and finding their own learning objectives, learning strategies and various learning opportunities as well as learning resources. This study, which investigates the university students’ perspectives of university learning experiences, aims to shed light on the extent university ecosystem’s support and ensure the effectiveness of SDL implementation.
Methodology - Twenty Malaysian public university students were interviewed to obtain their views on SDL, and to explore their SDL experiences. A constructivist grounded theory approach was used to inform the methodological and analytical framework of this study. A ‘backward-and-forward’ approach was used to analyse the interview data.
Findings - The findings suggest that abundant university curriculum could potentially inhibit SDL, yet majority of university students acknowledge that SDL can support their lifelong learning journey, and prepare them to be skilful workers. Most research participants suggest that SDL moves beyond educator-designed learning strategies to a type of learning where freedom in learning becomes priority. 
Significance - As the mastery of SDL skills is very important to ensure that the students are competent in facing real world challenges, this study suggests that for effective implementation of SDL, both students and educators should acknowledge their roles as equal learning partners.
Keywords Self-directed Learning, Empowerment, Freedom, Learner Autonomy, Learner Control, Students’ Learning Experiences.
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1Poi Hun Sun & 2Sek Yan Lee
1Department of Economics and Finance,
2Assessment and Accreditation,
Sunway University, Selangor, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:
Purpose – Given the importance of quality assurance and enhancement of curriculum in a higher education institution, it is vital to have a systematic process to measure students’ performance objectively and effectively for continuous improvement in the programme/curriculum. The purpose of this study is to analyse the process of setting up an Outcome-Based Education (OBE) system in a business school of a private higher education institution in Malaysia. The importance and challenges of the OBE system are discussed, while some recommendations for common issues are suggested.
Methodology – Document analyses and observations were conducted on ten undergraduate programmes in the business school of a private higher education institution, from 2015 to 2019. These mechanisms are to assess and discuss the processes needed in implementing OBE; while the importance and challenges of having an OBE system in the business school are included.
Findings – To have a smooth-running process of implementing an OBE system, proper planning needs to be in place. Data from the OBE system and its utilisation are essential to ensure continuous quality improvement to the curriculum and to give assurance to relevant stakeholders about the quality of graduates. There are several steps that are discussed in this paper to give pointers and guidance to other education institutions in setting up of the OBE process. However, it is undeniable that investment of time and effort is needed to ensure the smooth-running of the OBE establishment and maintenance.
Significance – This study is essential to provide a guideline to relevant parties in setting up an OBE system in education institutions. An OBE system is needed to measure students’ performance objectively and effectively while enriching students’ learning experiences. This study will give pointers to the management of the education institution, policy makers, accrediting bodies and academics on implementing an OBE system in the education institutions.
Keywords: Outcome-Based Education (OBE), constructive alignment, curriculum, continuous quality improvement, quality assurance, educational accreditation.

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1Norhafezah Yusof, 2Tengku Faekah Tengku Ariffin, 2Rosna Awang Hashim, 2Hasniza Nordin & 2Amrita Kaur
1School of Multimedia Technology and Communication,
2School of Education and Modern Langugaes,
Universti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:
Purpose – The primary aim of service learning is to produce holistically developed students. Despite the mandate from the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia to infuse service learning in the programs of studies since 2015, service learning in the country remains in its infancy. Critical insights concerning contextual compatibility are still missing in the Malaysian context. In this regard, the current paper aims to investigate the perspectives of lecturers and students on the challenges they have encountered while participating in service learning.
Methodology – The study employed a qualitative approach and the principles of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) guided the collection of data. Students and lecturers who participated in the study were selected using purposive sampling techniques. The data from the students was collected using focus group interviews, while in-depth face to face interviews were used to collect data from the lecturers. These two sources of data were then analysed using a thematic analysis method. 
Findings – From the perspectives of the students, the challenges encountered were as follows:  1) there is a gap between theory and practice and 2) the lack of cognitive autonomy, while from the perspectives of the lecturers, the challenge was lack of structural support. There was also a theme seen in the common challenges experienced by the participants which was about the relationship and rapport with the community.
Significance –The findings provide insights into the challenges faced by lecturers and students in a public university where service learning is practised. These insights may have implications for academic developers providing training workshops on service learning and for lecturers involved in the design and implementation of service-learning projects. 
Keywords- Service learning, Teaching and Learning, Higher Education, SoTL.
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1Fathiyah Mohd Fakhruddin, 2Sharini Che Ishak, 3Asmawati Suhid, 4Ahmad Fauzi Mohd Ayub, 5Norlizah Che Hassan, 6Lukman Abd Mutalib & 7Wan Marzuki Wan Jaafar
1-3Jabatan Pendidikan Bahasa dan Kemanusiaan,
4,5Jabatan Asas Pendidikan,
Fakulti Pengajian Pendidikan, Universiti Putra Malaysia
6Fakulti Syariah dan Undang-undang, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
7Jabatan Pendidikan Kaunselor dan Psikologi Kaunseling, Fakulti Pengajian Pendidikan, Universiti Putra Malaysia
1Corresponding author: 
Tujuan -  Kajian ini dijalankan bagi menerokai proses dan kaedah pembelajaran tahfiz dalam kalangan murid di sekolah menengah agama kerajaan di Malaysia.   Kajian lampau menunjukkan terdapat masalah pencapaian hafazan dalam kalangan murid tahfiz berpunca daripada kelemahan memilih kaedah pembelajaran yang sesuai. 
Metodologi - Pendekatan kualitatif dengan kaedah kajian kes dipilih kerana ia dapat meneroka secara terperinci kes atau fenomena yang khusus iaitu proses dan kaedah pembelajaran tahfiz yang digunakan oleh murid.  Teknik persampelan bertujuan digunakan bagi memilih peserta kajian yang dapat menjawab persoalan kajian.  Seramai 12 orang murid terlibat sebagai peserta kajian dan disokong dengan data daripada enam orang guru.  Temu bual mendalam secara individu merupakan kaedah pengumpulan data bagi  mendapatkan pandangan dan pengalaman peserta kajian tentang proses dan kaedah pembelajaran tahfiz. 
Dapatan - Dapatan menunjukkan bahawa kaedah pembelajaran tahfiz yang digunakan oleh peserta kajian merangkumi enam kaedah; kaedah membaca, pengulangan, penguasaan hukum tajwid, penggunaan satu mushaf  khas,  kaedah kefahaman dan  kaedah penulisan.  Manakala proses pembelajaran tahfiz berdasarkan dapatan menunjukkan peserta kajian memberi tumpuan kepada empat aspek iaitu disiplin daripada pengurusan masa, aspek pemilihan tempat, pemilihan masa serta aspek kelas bimbingan. 
Kepentingan - Kajian ini memberi implikasi penting kepada pihak yang membangunkan sekolah aliran tahfiz, pihak sekolah dan guru tahfiz. Hal ini penting bagi mereka untuk memberi fokus kepada proses dan kaedah pembelajaran yang sesuai, berkesan dan menekankan aspek kefahaman dan hafazan.   Kedua-dua aspek tersebut penting bagi membantu pencapaian hafazan khususnya murid yang berada di sekolah menengah agama kerajaan di Malaysia.
Kata kunci: Pendidikan tahfiz, pembelajaran tahfiz, kaedah pembelajaran, proses pembelajaran.
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Purpose -  This research was conducted to explore the process and methods of tahfiz learning among students in government religious secondary schools in Malaysia.  Past studies showed that there were quite some problems regarding memorisation achievement among tahfiz students due to poor selection of the suitable learning methods.
Methodology -  A qualitative approach with case study design was chosen to explore in detail the specific case or phenomenon of process and methods of learning used by the students. Purposive sampling technique was used to select participants in answering the research questions.  Twelve tahfiz students were involved as participants and supported by six tahfiz teachers. In-depth individual interview was used as data collection technique to obtain views and experiences from the participants. 
Findings - Data showed that the methods of learning comprised of six methods; reading, repetition, mastery on tajwid knowledge, usage of specific mushaf, understanding as well as writing.  The findings also showed that in the process of learning the participants focused on four aspects; disciplinary aspect of time management, selection of place and time to memorise as well as counseling class. 
Significance - This research gives a clear implication for those who develop tahfiz schools, schools and teachers of tahfiz to focus on the suitable and effective process and methods of tahfiz learning that emphasise on understanding and memorization. These two aspects are important in assisting achievement of memorization among tahfiz students especially those who study at the government religious secondary schools in Malaysia.
Keywords: Tahfiz education, tahfiz learning, methods of learning, process of learning.