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This is a long email I wrote to all UTP staff today of my own self-reflection on training and learning

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Assalamualaikum wrt & Hello

Greetings from CETaL

I have not written via email for quite sometimes, but I would like to share some reflection with everyone of you just to keep the mood enlightened. Four years ago, I have been tasked to lead our brand new centre, CETaL, an unknown territory. Just so you know, my background is always chemical engineering since my degree until my PhD, and I had never been exposed to any of certification of effective teaching and learning, what else any certification of education. I was in a blurry state for quite sometimes when I was given this task, and really 4 years ago, I started from zero. I didn’t know much, only to know that, yes I do have passion to ensure my students did well in the class, and I dig out all the opportunities to get to know the experts out there, so they are able to share some insights with me. From there I learn how to look into this business holistically.

I met several experts who are really passionate into teaching and learning. I remember quite clearly when I first attended a training on active learning, there were not more than 10 people who turned up. But I went through the training for the next 2 days, and I was very fascinated with the scholarly practice being shared. When I teach in the class, I straight away implemented some of the techniques, just to get the right feeling of doing it. Slowly I developed some materials that can be used to support my Active Learning approach.

When the second similar training offered, I encouraged my colleagues to attend the training (this time we had more than 20 participants), and I attended it for the second time. From there, I learnt what I have done well, and what I can improve. There are few times of my ‘aahhh’ moments, where I actually discovered that, there are times I did wrong unintentionally and have to correct that. When the third similar training kicked in, where our previous DVCA, Prof Ahmad Fadzil Hani joined, I also joined the training fully, but this time around to observe how the facilitators, Prof Khairiyah and Dr Syed Ahmad Hilmi conducted the training.

To cut short, I had attended two times cooperative learning, two times PBL training and two times flipped classroom training fully, just to understand what I did right, and what I did wrong, and what I missed to scaffold my students. I believe I still can learn more if I re-attend the trainings. My point here is, attending training for one time, may not be sufficient for us to make our practice solid. There are times where we miss some points, and if we revisit it back, then we may realise what we did wrong, and what can be improved. But on top of that is of course the passion to keep improving ourselves to become a better educator. We cannot simply become excellent for the first time we attended the training, what else if we never attended training and claim ourselves to be excellent educator. Additionally, if we attend the training, but we delay in practicing it, we will lose the skills that we learnt.

It is true that some of us have the talent as the educator, but research has shown that talent alone is not sufficient to bring the excellence in us, but more importantly for us to acquire grit, being resilience, keep improving self without feeling being forced, but liking to do it passionately.

Thank you for your time reading my self-reflection.