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Special Issue on "Graduate Students Research on Education", 2017

Mageswary Karpudewan & Chong Keat Meng
Ayuni Akhiar, Al- Amin Mydin & Shaidatul Akma Adi Kasuma
Namirah Fatmanissa & Kusnandi
Khor Mui Kim & Ruzlan Md-Ali
Muhammad Kamarul Kabilan, Hallijah Hussin, Nooraishah Zul-Qarna, Anna Christina Abdullah, Shuki Osman, Hairul Nizam Ismail, Mahbub Ahsan Khan & Mohammad Ali Zinnah

1Amani Abdullah Mubarak & 2Nordin Abdul Razak
1Science Department, IPG Kampus Darulaman,
Kedah, Malaysia
2School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia
1Corresponding author:

Purpose – This study investigates the relationship of student and teacher level variables on Trend for International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 Science achievement among Malaysian students. Specifically, it aims to examine the effect of students’ achievement when a science inquiry approach is considered.
Method – Thirteen educational context variables were selected from the teacher and student questionnaires and were tested on the TIMSS 2011Science achievement. The data were retrieved from the IEA official website and consisted of 177 Science teachers and 5,549 Grade Eight students. A secondary data analysis was employed to examine the relationships between the variables from the perspective of the Dynamic Model of Educational Effectiveness Research. A two-level model of the Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM) consisting of Teacher-Student Level was employed. The 13 independent variables are: student gender, parents’ education level, home educational resources, liking Science, valuing Science, teacher gender, class size, teacher who emphasises on academic success, inquiry approach, science assessment, frequency of science test, teacher experience and teacher qualification. The nested data of students and teachers were analysed using Hierarchical Linear Modelling 6.0 statistical software.

Findings – The study finds that teacher differences between schools account for 70% variation in the students’ achievement due to factors, such as teacher gender, enthusiasm of teacher in emphasising the academic success of students and class size. However, Science Inquiry is not a contributor to students’ achievement in Science; it has only a moderating effect on students’ achievement to value Science learning.
Significance – The findings have important implications for stakeholders, specifically to Teachers’ Training Institutions, Curriculum Development Centres and the Teachers’ Development Division, on the Science teachers’ quality in Malaysia. Affective domain of the students is equally important as the cognitive domain and should not be ignored.

Keywords: Science, TIMSS, secondary data analysis, dynamic model of Educational Effectiveness Research (EER), Hierarchical Linear Modelling.

1Mageswary Karpudewan & 2Chong Keat Meng
1School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
2SMK Methodist (ACS), Kampar, Perak, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:

Purpose – Many students associate science with negative feelings and attitudes which discourage them from continuing with science. This is supported by findings indicating a positive correlation between attitude and achievement. The learning environment is an important construct that influences students’ attitude. Following the claim that attitude is important and the learning environment is the determinant of learners’ attitude, in this study, an attempt is made to investigate the effects of classroom learning environment and laboratory learning environment on students’ attitude towards learning science.
Methodology – Survey research design was used to identify the students’ perception of learning environment and attitude. A total of three sets of questionnaires on science laboratory, classroom learning and attitude towards learning science were administered to 272 (109 males and 163 females) lower secondary school students. Purposive sampling approach was used to identify the samples. Multiple linear regression was used to answer the research questions.

Findings – The results show that attitude towards learning science is positively correlated with both classroom learning environment (r =.515) and science laboratory learning environment (r =.526). Both classroom learning environment and science laboratory learning environment are significant predictors of attitude. Cooperation, Equity and Investigation from the WIHIC and Integration, Material Environment and Students Cohesiveness from the SLEI are identified as significant predictors of attitude.
Significance – The findings obtained from this quantitative survey suggest the presence of causal effects among the learning domains. This finding suggests that teachers should seriously consider the causal effects of the domains when designing their teaching strategies to enable the development of 21st-century skills.

Keywords: 21st century learning, attitude towards learning science, lower secondary students, science laboratory and classroom learning environment.

1Ayuni Akhiar, 2Al- Amin Mydin & 3Shaidatul Akma Adi Kasuma
1&3School of Languages, Literacies and Translation
2School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:

Purpose – This study examines university students’ perceptions and attitudes towards the use of Instagram in English language writing. Like other social networking sites (SNS), the design of Instagram promotes community-centeredness, and supports the dissemination of authentic content that creates opportunities for meaningful interactions among language learners.

Methodology – There were 101 participants of this study who participated in a descriptive English essay writing activity on Instagram, answered a set of questionnaire with 20 closed-ended items, and five open-ended questions about using Instagram for English language learning. Focus groups’ discussions with all of the respondents were held to elaborate the open-ended items. The closed-items were analysed quantitatively using mean scores, while the open-ended items were analysed both quantitatively (mean scores) and qualitatively (content analysis).

Findings – The results demonstrated students’ high positive perceptions and views towards using Instagram in improving their writing skills, but moderate attitudes.

Significance – Based on the more favourable responses, it is about time that language teachers implement the preeminent social media platform such as Instagram to create conducive learning environment that could boost students’ motivation in English language learning. 
Keywords: Instagram, English language writing, language learning, mobile learning, university students, quantitative and qualitative data

1Namirah Fatmanissa & 2Kusnandi
Faculty of Mathematics and Science Education
Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Indonesia
1Corresponding author:

Purpose – Word problems are still considered challenging for students when compared to other type of mathematics problems. Many emerging findings regarding this issue highlight that the challenges are predominately caused by linguistic aspects. This article aims to present a review and synthesis of literatures regarding the linguistic challenges of mathematics word problems and recommend solutions to address these challenges.

Methodology – Systematic search was done and 35 articles from inside and outside Indonesia were selected. The linguistic challenges and recommended solutions found were analyzed using the main features constructing mathematics language: multiple semiotic system, particular features of vocabulary and grammar, and complex syntax.

Findings – The review shows various difficulties shown by students in each feature of mathematics language. The review also recommends the practice of mathematics teaching and learning in which language aspects are discussed and exercised both among students and between the students and the teacher in order to help students face their linguistics challenges. It is also imperative for teachers to understand the structure and linguistic features involved in constructing word problems.

Significance – This review breaks down the difficulties of mathematics word problems from the perspective of linguistic features constructing them. The findings of this review offer teachers  different point of view to deal with teaching word problems, which is by understanding word problem as an entity of language rather than only as an entity of mathematics. This review also provides some solutions to help teachers address the difficulty for each linguistic feature.
Keywords: mathematics, word problems, linguistic challenge.

1Khor Mui Kim & 2Ruzlan Md-Ali
School of Education and Modern Languages
Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine the effect of GeoGebra dynamic geometry software on students’ cognitive skills in critical thinking, communication, collaborative, creative and innovative thinking for geometry problem-solving in the topics of Shape and Space in supporting 21st century learning within the context of mathematics education.

Methodology – The researcher collected quantitative and qualitative data. A pre-test and post-test quasi-experimental research design was employed. The Topical Test (TT) and Spatial Visualization Ability Test (SVAT) were the instruments used for the pre-test and the post-test. A total of 102 Form Two students were involved in the study. The quantitative data were analysed using MANOVA Test whilst descriptive analysis was carried out for the qualitative data which were collected via interviews, observations, video recordings and students’ work. The research participants were divided into three groups, 33 in experimental group 1 (received treatment), 35 in experimental group 2 (received treatment) and 34 in the control group (received no treatment). A guideline book on using GeoGebra dynamic geometry software in learning Shape and Space, which was developed by the researchers, was used by teachers and students within the experimental groups. A panel of experts validated the guideline book. The reliability of TT and SVAT is 0.972 and 0.953, respectively.

Findings – The TT and the SVAT post-test mean scores for both the experimental groups are significantly higher than the TT and  the SVAT post-test mean scores of the control group. The learning of Shape and Space using GeoGebra dynamic geometry software enabled students to produce work, indicating the presence of critical, creative and innovative elements. Students viewed the use of the software as a new approach and an attractive way to learn mathematics because they had the opportunity to experience handson the learning of mathematics using ICT. It is their hope that they can continuously use the dynamic geometry software GeoGebra when learning other topics to enhance the 21st century learning.
Significance – Using GeoGebra dynamic geometry software as a method that integrates technology in the teaching and learning of mathematics in schools has the potential to promote active involvement of students in a student-centred learning environment. The experiential learning provides students opportunities to produce quality, creative and innovative work. The logical and systematic approaches in solving mathematical problems are supported by using the software that triggers multiple ways of interactions. Collaborative work among students is enhanced. Students’ creative and innovative thinking is elicited which indicates the potential support towards
realizing 21st century learning in Mathematics Education.

Keywords: GeoGebra, Mathematics Education, creative and innovative, shape and space, 21st century learning.

1Muhammad Kamarul Kabilan, 2Hallijah Hussin, 3Nooraishah Zul-Qarna, 4Anna Christina Abdullah, 5Shuki Osman 6Hairul Nizam Ismail, 7Mahbub Ahsan Khan & 8Mohammad Ali Zinnah
1,2,4,6 School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia,
3Harvest Academy, Perlis, Malaysia
7&8Institute of Education and Research, Dhaka University, Bangladesh
1Corresponding author:

Purpose – International teaching practicum (ITP) is seen as an avenue for future teachers to broaden their world views and enhance their personal and professional development. Based on two teachers’ experiences of ITP in Bangladesh, in comparison to their teaching practicum experiences in Malaysia, this paper aims to examine the impact of the ITP on their professional development as future English language teachers.

Methods – Two female teachers were involved in this qualitative research, whereby data were obtained from the teachers’ observations, reflective journals and face-to-face interview. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyze the data.

Findings – Findings indicate that the two teachers had gained positive professional development experiences as a result of participating in the ITP, especially in terms of these four aspects: (i) confidence; (ii) teaching skills; (ii) perspective on education and culture; and (iv) interpersonal skills. 
Significance – The study indicates that ITP could be an alternative platform for future teachers to gain positive professional development experiences, which then would prepare them for the challenging teaching environment.

Keywords: Teaching practicum, international teaching practicum, professional development, globalization, culture and cultural issues, personal and interpersonal skills.