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BUBBLES IN THE OCEAN

The humble journey to The Creator: After all, we are just a tiny bubble in the ocean

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BERHENTILAH JADI MUSLIM YANG MERASA DIRI SUPERIOR DAN ‘JUDGEMENTAL’

judgmental.jpg

Saya bersembang di whatsapp dengan seorang adik, kenalan Sabah (saya harini cerita pasal orang Sabah saja, haha) yang saya pernah ceritakan dalam satu post saya bulan April yang lalu. Insha Allah tak lama lagi dia akan menjadi graduan. Tapi hari ini, ceritanya tidak kurang memeritkan perasaan saya.

Beliau aktif dalam sukan bolasepak di universitinya utara semenanjung, yang pastinya bukan UTP haha. Tapi dalam pasukannya, hanya dia sahaja yang belum Islam. Lawatan saya ke Sabah pun dulu menunjukkan masyarakatnya biasa sahaja dengan saudara mara dan jiran-jiran yang berbeza agama, tidak judgmental, tidak ada yang cuba menyisihkan antara satu sama lain. Aman, tenteram, bahagia.

Tapi sebentar tadi, dia mesej saya menceritakan ada di kalangan sahabat sepasukannya di universiti tempat dia belajar sekarang yang mempersoalkan dia, kenapa dia tak masuk Islam? Dia tanya kembali, kenapa? Alasan kawannya, yelah, dah kawan-kawan kau semua Islam, masuklah Islam. Lame excuse. Ini saya copy balik apa yang dia mesej pada saya

“Depa igt tukar agama lepas tu alhamdullilah ada saudara baru. Tp depa x tau mcm mana struggle org tu nak mendalami agama baru dia. Malah depa xbantu pun”

Keduanya dia beritahu ada seorang perempuan Muslim menyampaikan salam kepadanya, kemudian perkara ini terjadi..

“Hari ni ada budak perempuan kirim slm. Yang budak perempuan ni xtanya pun pasal agama saya, tapi tiba2 member balas kat perempuan tu yg saya ni bukan islam. Sampai mcm tu sekali depa letakkan perbezaan”

Atas alasan yang kawan-kawannya berikan supaya dia masuk Islam, dia cakap camni

“Saya fikir, saya berkawan dgn hang bukan sebab agama hang. Sebab hang tu manusia mcm sy. Sebab tu aku berkawan dengan hang”

Teman-teman sekalian, cuba letak diri kita sebagai seorang Muslim di kalangan 20 orang Kristian atau Buddha yang mengusik-usik kita bila nak masuk Kristian, apa perasaan kita?

Kalaulah kita pamerkan wajah Islam sebegini rupa, siapa yang nak masuk Islam? Sekurang-kurangnya saya bersyukur, adik tu masih mesej saya untuk menyatakan rasa kurang senangnya, masih ada tempat mengadu dan saya beritahu pada dia, tiada siapa pun yang berhak memaksa seseorang yang tidak Islam masuk agama Islam. Itu semua hidayah yang Allah jentik dan berikan kepada setiap seorang. Seyakin kita sebagai seorang Muslim, yakinkah kita akan mati sebagai seorang Muslim?

Kalau kita ada kawan yang belum Islam sekalipun, janganlah mainkan perasaan mereka. Mereka manusia seperti kita. Kadang-kadang kita yang jauhkan mereka dari Islam kerana kita nak sangat tunjuk kita yang superior. Tak ada langsung perasaan Islam sebagai rahmat untuk sekalian alam, rahmatan lil alamin.

Itulah yang terjadi di Malaysia ni juga, sebagai Muslim kita rasa berhak atas segala-galanya. Yang belum Islam ni tak layak pegang ketua hakim, tak layak pegang menteri undang-undang, dan tak layak pegang peguam negara. Kesemuanya dilabelkan. Wajah Islam apakah yang kita cuba pamerkan?

Salahkah mereka ini lahir di kalangan bukan Islam, di kalangan cina, India, Kadazan dan Dusun yang akhirnya kita menjadi zalim menidakkan hak-hak mereka sebagai manusia yang merdeka?

Kalaulah akhlak buruk yang kita pamerkan, bagaimana yang belum Islam ini akan minat dengan Islam? Kalaulah sikap judgmental yang kita pamerkan, siapa yang akan masuk Islam?

Masuk Islam bukanlah satu benda yang boleh dipaksa-paksa, ia semuanya kerja Allah Taala. Allah dah sebut dalam Surah Al-Baqarah ayat 256. Yang penting kita sebagai Muslim ni menjadi wasilah buat yang lain untuk menjadi Muslim juga. Tapi kalau kita sendiri tunjukkan contoh yang tak baik, akhirnya kita sendiri menjadi fitnah untuk Islam.

Ya kita memang excited kawan baik kita masuk Islam, tapi sedarilah bahawa ia adalah satu proses, bukan satu paksaan. Rapat dengan mereka dan santuni mereka bukan kerana kita ada niat tersembunyi, tetapi kerana keikhlasan sebuah persahabatan itu. Mungkin dengan asbab itulah hidayah Allah terjentik.

Santunilah mereka ini sebaiknya. Kerana mereka juga punyai jiwa, akal, hati dan perasaan seperti kita.

Pen off.

Really frustated.

What is your practical life aim?

Somebody asked me, where do I find the passion to do what I’m doing now. I answered the query like this:

1. You have to look at the bigger picture what you’re doing. Ultimately, everything that we do is to please Allah Taala. May Allah forgive us with our wrongs and all the deeds that we put effort to strive will be piling up all the hole of sins that we made earlier.

2. My wife Putri Nurizatulshira had made me enlightened recently. When I was at my low point, she made me realised that what matters the most is we do things that Allah pleases with us. We have to remember that at our adult age, we spent large number of hours for working, that is where we want to get halal rizq to feed the family. Sometimes we have to be away from our family, is it worth it if we just do it for the sake of money, promotion or power? In addition, going over some shortcuts or backdoors to get the promotion or fulfilling our working KPI for example, is it worth it?

3. The same thing when we talked about our DNA. What is our values when it comes to our ibadah of hablum minannas? Should not we be doing work that contribute to help others be it in anyway, instead of just thinking about our own KPI? Instead of chasing things that we’re not sure whether it will be counted or not as part of the ibaadah.

4. That’s where my motivation and passion lies. I know that in Malaysia, good education is a critical area for us. Even for me, it is beyond the importance of improving the economies of the nation. Once we give wrong education direction, few generations will be ruined. As such we’re accountable when we make the necessary changes.

5. I found that our society is lack of critical thinking and ability to synthesise information due to the ability to acquire high order thinking skills. I found that we’re lack of good values in ourselves, not many of us learn the right values via formal education, perhaps it was the parents who put attention on it, but maybe it is still lacking at school and higher institutions because we’re very adamant on academic achievement

6. To fix this, I need to equip myself well with the right knowledge. I learn engineering not only for the technical competency but I learn the leadership

skill. And when I’m particularly concern about education, I have to make myself verse on the subject matter, hence the reasons i need to expand my knowledge further.

7. I believe that I cannot do this alone. I need support. I need more people to be part of the changes, marching together to go against all odds. Hence the reason why I passionately shared with others, especially the academia who are so comfortable on their own chairs to come down together and educate our students well. And I know that if I spread it out beyond my institution, we’ll see it become systemic in nature, and we’ll have more people who are equally passionate to change our future generation.

8. The job as the academic staff has to go beyond making its institution achieve the ranking and what not. We can be very strategic to achieve what we want on the paper, but are we really making an impact to the society out there? Or perhaps we’re just the ivory tower who’ll soon become irrelevant to the society? We must bring ourselves down to the people. We must educate, because as the academia, we’re educator first, our discipline second.

9. As such, getting promoted until I become a professor or meeting the KPI is just the intermediate for me. It is not my ultimate aim, I usually don’t give a look to that, but as best as I could work wholeheartedly to get His blessings by making the right transformation not only to this university, but with the hope that I made the right contribution to the society and nation.

10. Looking at that vision, made me never tire of doing my task passionately. Insha Allah, I know that if I’m persistent to what I’m doing, if I acquire the grit (the passion and the perseverance to do what I want to do), I am sure Insha Allah I’ll be there.

11. So here you go my life’s aim. Being a professor? Sure why not, but that’s not the end.

Tips for SCL Implementation

Over the past few years I had been holding CETaL’s Head, also becoming the practitioner of SCL in my own class, there are several things that I noticed that I learned over the experience I had. As such, I’d like to share with all of you prior to the start of the semester, so we can improve our classroom deliveries.

1. Start small, and gradually increase it over time. Don’t overkill it.

Some people observed that I have been doing things very fast, moving from active learning towards PBL etc. I have a reason for that. If I move slow, it is difficult for others to move because I’d not be able to share much examples. Thus, if I do it fast, I can try to enhance my experience doing it, share with all of you so you can start at natural pace. The key important point here is , increase gradually over time. Please don’t do at my speed unless you’re being trained well. If you just attended active learning training once, do not push yourself to do beyond the books end division model, such as doing JIGSAW for example. The Jigsaw activity is a formal cooperative learning technique, where you’ll learn the details in the second part of the training (cooperative learning). I notice that because of the lack of explanation or the way how the staff conduct jigsaw, students found it to be inefficient because they felt that they had to do the teaching and the lecturers are not teaching them at all. So the techniques such as think pair share, brainstorming or pair note taking are reasonable enough to be conducted as the intermediate activities in between 50 mins lecture.

Please do not conduct any kind of problem based learning (PBL) or project based learning adopting cooperative/collaborative learning or flipped classroom if you had not attended the training once, or at least your teaching partner has already attended them and able to coach you doing the facilitation. If you’re doing it alone, restrain yourself from doing it unless you’re trained. You can still achieve the stretch (I know that many want to achieve great, which is good!) of doing active learning, by simply adopting some simple tools in your class (such as padlet, kahoot, Socrative, mentimeter etc etc), and disseminating your practice either at the departmental level or CETaL COP.

2. Don’t simply do SCL- we need to reflect and measure its effectiveness 

One typical failure of SCL or any kind of intervention being done in the class is our failure to self-reflect the activities that we’ve done and how it has improved the students’ learning. Usually, we have a tendency to use this and that techniques and fail to see whether the students are really getting something out of it. Thus, it is important for us to gather some reflection from the students for example (1 minute paper for example), look at their performance be it in cognitive, psychomotor or affective domains and self-reflect ourselves, what could be done better or what goes wrong with what I’ve been using before. On the SCL implementation techniques, there’re more than 1000 scholarly papers out there that you could refer on their successful implementations and we can always learn from these scholars to improve our deliverables.

3. Collaborate among the instructors

I noticed that some of the courses divided the groups of students and two or three different lecturers will teach from week 1 until week 14 for different groups, and there are also practices where turn teaching is adopted i.e. split 14 weeks into two, the first half covered by one lecturer and the next half covered by other.

For the first practice, consistency is very important. If one class is doing AL, it is advisable for other classes to use similar practice too. Students will complain if they found that one lecturer do extensively compared to another lecturer.  Therefore, it is important for the instructors to collaborate in terms of the assignment given, type of activities etc etc. As we’re aiming for collaborative students, why in the first place that we’re not collaborating and be in SILO?

As for the second practice, it is not advisable to do so as the students will perceive the first 7 weeks and the last 7 weeks are totally disintegrated and they’ll see it as a different subject. How extensive the second part lecturer had to do depends on how good is the understanding of the students in part 1. At the same time, the lecturers failed to create a good relationship with the students within the short period, hence deteriorating the quality of the classroom management. This will create more resistant among the students if the second part use SCL while the first part is highly teacher centred.

Collaboration among the instructors be it for one single subject or to come out with integrated project for few courses, are advisable. For the past two years we had been working on integrated PBL/project based learning, and we had reduced tremendously the burden of a single lecturer preparing everything (rubric, assessment, case study, communication with students etc.)

4. Don’t be deceived by the complaints

We know that some of the students are highly resistant to SCL approaches, but there are only small numbers of vocal students. If and only if the complaints come from the majority of the students in the class (which perhaps indicating that we had been doing something not right in the class), we should realise that we cannot please everyone. There are students who will not like it in the first place or they are at a bottom part of the trauma cycle (you’ll learn more about this trauma cycle in cooperative learning training), therefore, we should always try to motivate them. Using some TED talk from the YouTube may help to boost their motivations in learning. Perhaps this link can be useful to you (check first with the class whether they’ve watched them or not)

Life is a marathon not a sprint 🙂

https://youtu.be/H14bBuluwB8

Remember that while 10% are angry at what you’re asking them to do, the remaining 90% will one day come to you and say Thank You.

5. Provide CLOSURE

There are reasons why sometimes you receive a large number of complains in the class for some type of activities that we conducted. Firstly is because the amount of work given is burdening and taxing the students, and we had not given them appropriate scaffolding. Assigning a huge chunk of project at week 1, leave the students to deal with it without proper scaffolding/guidelines, and expect them to submit in week 14, no one will like it. Hence a proper meeting to check their progress from time to time, to motivate them to complete it is very important. Peer rating is also important, there are ways to do it, and you’ll discover more in training part 2.

For any kind of SCL activities, please do a proper closure. The students need assurance of what they had learnt is correct. Otherwise they’ll be left hanged and unsure whether they’re learning correctly or not. Please allocate 10 minutes to recap back what they had done and what they had learnt before allowing them to leave the class.

I think that’s all for now. Will share more later! Thank you.

Regards

Assoc. Prof. Mohammad Tazli Azizan, PhD, DIC

Head, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

Seri Iskandar 32610

Perak

05-3687611 / +60(0)-134355007

MY LEARNING REFLECTION

Semasa zaman undergraduate di UK dahulu, saya menyedari bahawa saya tidak mendapat kepuasan pembelajaran yang sebenar. Hampir keseluruhan pensyarah saya hanyalah pensyarah, dan mereka sangat ‘teacher-centred’ dalam pengajaran. Dengan berlatarbelakangkan pendidikan dari Malaysia yang sukar membuka mulut untuk bertanyakan soalan yang kita tidak fahami, I’ve been deprived from learning. Apa yang saya tidak faham di kelas, memang saya takut nak soal balik pensyarah. Belajar kejuruteraan kimia pada saya membosankan kerana saya tak dapat ‘clear picture’, apakah itu kejuruteraan kimia.

Saya hanya mampu mengatasi segala salah faham saya dan ketidakfahaman saya dalam kelas melalui study group. Mujur kami ada study group di kalangan kami pelajar Malaysia. We formed the group ourselves, we assigned each other a course that we must never ponteng throughout the semester. By the end of the semester, every member should prepare notes/mindmap to be photocopied and shared with others. So during the study group time (we’re fortunate to have one month study break before the exam), each of us take turn to teach the members. Tapi bila part yang sama-sama kami tak faham, kami hafal je pakai mnemonic LOL. Nak jumpa pensyarah pun segan.

After we taught each other, we did the tutorial given to emphasise our understanding. Then we divided an exam question each, try to do ourselves and show to each member how we did that and if we’re stuck, we discussed. Towards the end we came out with a compilation of answer scripts that we inherited to our juniors for their revision.

Cuma yang saya seronok lebih part chem eng ni bila masuk final year, buat plant design because my mind is activated. Hands on sendiri. Discussion among group members. Barulah nampak apakah kejuruteraan kimia yang sebenar. Subjek yang paling minat masa tu Process Safety sebab subjek tu la yang pensyarahnya pakai visual (video) untuk analyse case study pasal Bhopal 1984. Itulah pengalaman pembelajaran paling aktif yang saya pernah lalui dalam kelas masa zaman sarjana musa.

Afterall, masa belajar dulu kena banyak belajar sendiri. Untungnya kami, almost each time of the exam, markah exam kami yang duduk dalam study group ni memang dekat-dekat, kecuali kalau tiba-tiba blank dalam exam tu different story. Alhamdulillah saya berjaya dapat border line first class honours.

Nak dipendekkan cerita, chalk and talk learning pada saya menyebabkan saya rasa bodoh di dalam kelas and becoming superficial learner sebab masa tu saya hanya nak score untuk exam. Itu pun tak score jugak. Kalaulah dianjakkan masa dan pensyarah-pensyarah saya buat student centred learning, pastinya pengalaman saya di dalam kelas akan lebih bermakna kerana saya berpeluang kenal rakan-rakan lain seramai 60 orang itu dan get to learn together. As I said earlier, I was deprived from learning. Hasilnya cuma campur dengan kawan-kawan Melayu dan housemate je lah. Pensyarah saya pun saya rasa tak kenal saya pun.

Jadi pada asbab itu, apabila saya diperkenalkan dengan student centred learning (SCL)ini sebagai seorang pensyarah, saya tak berpatah balik semula ke belakang, kerana saya mahu menyediakan pembelajaran yang bermakna kepada pelajar saya. I told them why I did this and I told them that I care for them hence why I am doing this.

SCL here you go. I am all the believer. I’ll sell you out all way long.

IT HAS BEEN THREE YEARS AND COUNTING

When I was first appointed as the Head for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETaL) at my institution, I had zero knowledge about what are the things that I suppose to learn and what are the things that I suppose to do. CETaL in addition was a recently established center looking at improving the T&L at UTP and I had no idea how this particular center should be running.

You see, I just completed my PhD in Chemical Engineering in May 2014 and I was appointed to be the first Head of CETaL in September 2014.

However, I noticed that the management offered me this position because they saw that (and I admit too) I have a strong passion in teaching and learning and how badly I want to transform the teaching and learning experience at the university and how badly I want to shape my future generation. I want to make sure that the students are not spoonfed even they have been doing this for the past 12-13 years of their formal education. I want them to become human with humanities and values, and not just an intelligent robot. I clearly mentioned to the management about this during the interview session.

So I took up the challenge. Initially, I tried to garner important information such as who are the key important people in this area, something like well-renowned professors who are good at this area. I consulted them, I went to the trainings of modern pedagogy. I approached these experts to be my mentors. There is a professor who is good at engineering education and modern pedagogy like Prof Khairiyah from UTM, another few who are the expert in enabling technologies for T&L like my sifu Prof Abd Karim Alias and Dato Prof Amin Embi, another one who is excellent in Scholarships of Teaching and Learning like Prof Raja Maznah. These mentors are highly instrumental to me and to CETaL and now they are still our CETaL advisory panel members.

On top of that, I went to several trainings on technology for T&L. Then, before I imposed or preached others on how good is this and that pedagogy and technology etc, one important thing that I do is I tried it in my class. I ensure that I perfected my skills in T&L. Whenever I ventured into something new from the trainings that I attended, I must make I sure I tried and experienced it first before others. Only this I believe that, I can convince others to jump the train with me. I showed to my colleagues the evidence that I gathered when I made even small changes in my class.

I knew that there are other faculty members at my institution who are equally passionate to T&L. I seeked for help like from Subarna Sivapalan and Emy Elyanee Mustapha to be the cluster leaders of CETaL. Within the first few months, I roped almost 20 faculty members from different departments in and appointed them as the founding members of the center. They are also instrumental to the center to help me steering CETaL.

From time to time, we had more and more faculty members joining us. More numbers during the sharing session and community of practice. I called myself as Dora the Explorer. I have to wander around looking for the best practices in T&L, bring the speakers in and train us. I’ll be the one who must sit in that seminar room to listen for the first time from these speakers.

Once the management had decided to transform the T&L using a dedicated roadmap, I have my team ready to train others. From no one knows what is active learning all about, we have now 20 trainers who are actively training other lecturers, graduate assistants, lecturers from other universities and the teachers at schools because only that we can make change, not only at our institution but to the whole nations. We’re also now will be having additional 20-30 trainers in cooperative learning, problem based learning and flipped classroom, for which we are developing our own modules by next year, Insha Allah.

The journey is still long. From a tiny space that we have, now we have a dedicated building to conduct all the transformation plan needed to be done. Now, we received many submissions of SoTL grants proposal, and the lecturers are creative and innovative in their own classroom, Alhamdulillah.

Additionally, I have a strong support team consisting of my clerk and executives even they are not many, who ensure the planning will go on as planned. I want them to believe that they have their own strength that need to be nurtured, and I’ll make sure their strengths and passions are aligned with their job role.

If in the near future I would not hold this post anymore, I’ll still championing and advocating for the changes in T&L not only at the university, but also to the society to make then aware that our education has to change. This position makes it easier for me to advocate for changes, but it doesnt have to be perpetual for me.

As a career advice for a new hired manager, I can summarize my experience holding my managerial post as follows:

I. Take the post if you are passionate on it

Ii. Lead not manage- be the one to see the possible dangers before others.

Iii. Own it

Iv. Empower and nurture trust to others to make the changes with you, and dont do it alone.

V. Identify others strengths and leverage it

Vi. Seek help from the experts

Vii. Empathise others and listen to your colleagues

I still have more to learn, and more to improve. Please make do’a for me, to be successful in dunya and akhirat.

Thanks for reading this!

Making Your Flipped Classroom Succesful


Flipped Classroom seems to be the ‘in-thing’ and the buzz word right now among higher education educators. It looks like a good model where all the students and the teacher collaborate together to accomplish the learning tasks. However, there are many things that we as the educator need to do in ensuring the flipped classroom is successful. I’d like to advise my fellow colleagues to do/acquire the followings if you intend to conduct flipped classroom in the near future:
1. You are passionate enough to do it and driven intrinsically to do it rather than wanting to do it because of your KPI, social and peer pressure, or you feel you want to do it for fun, or for the sake of experimentation without putting the right soul. Many failed flipped classrooms are not due to unavailability of tools but due to lack of intrinsic motivation among the faculty members, hence making them being mechanistic rather than putting soul in doing it.
2. You have high degree of perseverance to do it and would not return back to your traditional teaching style whatever it turns out to be. Students who come from spoonfeeding culture will be complaining a lot to you when they have to watch and prepare before the class. They’d want you to repeat again whatever that you have put in the video. They’d demand you to explain all over again as if they have never watch the video. They’d claim they paid their tuition fees for you to teach them so they can sit back and relax at the back while listening to you. 
3. You acquire high motivational skills to motivate your students to watch the prepared videos prior to their class session. You need to constantly motivate your students to acquire self-learning skills. You need to show powerful motivational materials so they could acquire more grit and be perseverance in learning so they’ll be able to grab more skills throughout their learning journey. You need to be able to inspire them so they know and do what it takes to be somebody in the future. 
4. You undergoes several training before you intend to do it. At least a 2-day workshop that will train you how to prepare good videos, quizzes and activities in the class. You wouldn’t want to repeat the same thing over and over again because there’ll be no element of surprise in the class and you don’t want to be predictable. 
5. You inform the students and convinced them throughout the semester why you are doing this and why you believe flipped classroom will work for your students. You don’t want to end up putting so much effort but students see little values in what you are doing. So, activate them as early as possible. Prepare them to embrace the change.
6. You show to your students that you care for them and will be alongside with them to assist them in their learning. You dont want your students to drown in the sea without direction. After all, this is your new job scope, facilitating your students learning. Get to know each and everyone in your class. Get to know their names and it gives them big appreciation that you know them. Treat your students like the adults and tell them that you are going to treat them like adults. If they misbehave or rude, they are no longer an adult.  
7. You build the material together with your teaching partner or you build it slowly. Start small. Don’t overdo it too.
8. You reflect from time to time on how to improve your delivery rather than just doing it. 
9. You provide a collaborative environment in the class where the students are free to mingle with each other to solve your assigned problems. Here, you’ll need to be creative in coming out with the right activities. 
10. You do it for the sake of your students learning, not because you want to do it for your own fame and for writing a publication. 
11. You love what you do, and you take high ownership of the success and the failure of your flipped classrooms. 
12. You treat your students as the individuals, rather than numbers. When at least a student come to you and saying thank you for whatever that you did for him/her in shaping him/her, give a pat to yourself at the back. At least you have touched a soul. 
So, please don’t do it if you dont have passion to do it, because it will just bring a bad name in the pedagogy itself.

It requires a lot of works. But if you have started doing it, go on and enrich your students’ learning experience!

KENAPA ADA MAHASISWA TAK ‘PERFORM’ DALAM KELAS?

FIXED MINDSET VS GROWTH MINDSET

Sepanjang pemerhatian saya mengajar kelas kejuruteraan ini sejak tahun 2005, saya mendapati mereka yang kerap memberikan alasan untuk menghantar lambat ‘assignment’, tidak terlibat aktif dalam aktiviti kumpulan, tidak ‘perform’ dalam kelas dan mempunyai pencapaian yang ‘mediocre’ boleh dibahagikan kepada beberapa kategori antaranya:

i) Pelajar-pelajar yang sedia lemah dan kurang motivasi dalam pelajaran
Mereka mungkin tidak tahu dengan lebih jelas kenapa mereka perlu belajar subjek kejuruteraan ini. Ada di antara mereka sendiri tidak pasti kenapa mereka mengambil jurusan kejuruteraan ini, ada yang rasa mungkin buat engineering ini ‘cool’ tetapi rupa-rupanya apa yang mereka pelajari sangat susah, dan tidak terjangkau dek akal mereka. Ada juga yang mungkin di’paksa’ oleh parents mereka yang juga jurutera. Ada juga yang rasa terbeban kerana pada pundak merekalah terletaknya harapan keluarga. Maka apabila berhadapan dengan subjek-subjek yang susah, mereka makin tak ketahuan dan akhirnya mengalah sahaja. Tambahan pula bila bertemu dengan rakan-rakan yang sekepala dengan mereka, mereka membuat konklusi, ada juga yang sama kepala dengan aku. Jadi aku taklah sorang-sorang jadi loser yang ‘cool’. Let the time heal and go with the flow.

ii) Pelajar-pelajar yang terlalu sibuk dengan ‘event’
Ada di kalangan pelajar ini yang merasakan bahawa bidang yang mereka pelajari bukan lagi ‘forte’ mereka, menyibukkan diri dengan event-event yang akan menyebabkan mereka tidaklah rasa lemah, sebaliknya mereka disanjung atas pengorbanan mereka dan sumbangan mereka. Inilah dinamakan sebagai escapism. Maka saban tahun, makin banyaklah pula event yang mereka ceburi kerana ‘they feel good when they are actually doing this!’. Akibatnya, apabila tidak dapat mengimbangkan antara belajar dan event, ‘performance’ mereka di dalam kelas menjunam dan kerap memberikan alasan terlibat dalam event untuk menghantar lewat ‘assignment’.

iii) Pelajar-pelajar yang sudah terbiasa dengan ‘spoonfeeding style’.
Sistem persekolahan selama 11 tahun yang hanya melibatkan interaksi sehala antara guru dan pelajar (guru memberi, pelajar menerima), dan apabila menghampiri peperiksaan akhir (UPSR/PMR/SPM) maka disajikan pelajar dengan latih tubi dan ‘spot’ soalan peperiksaan mengakibatkan mereka hanya menunggu sahaja metod yang sama disajikan kepada mereka di peringkat universiti. Apa yang berlaku, mereka sukar untuk mengubah cara mereka mempelajari sesuatu perkara dengan metod yang baru dan akhirnya apabila banyak diharapkan kepada mereka untuk melakukan SELF-LEARNING, mereka gagal untuk mengadaptasi dengan benda baru. Ini terjadi kerana mereka sudah terbentuk dengan fixed mindset dan bukannya ‘growth mindset’. Sejak kecil, mereka dipuji kerana kepandaian mereka dan bukannya usaha mereka. Sila lihat link video yang saya kongsikan supaya pembaca sedar apa maksud growth dan fixed mindset. Kredit kepada founder Parent Connect, kak Fidah atas perkongsian video ini kepada saya tempoh hari.

iv) Pelajar-pelajar yang terlibat dalam kumpulan Islamis dan menggunakan alasan buat kerja untuk Islam lebih daripada mencukupi untuk ‘score’ dalam kelas

Saya tak pasti samada saya menggunakan pemilihan title yang bijak ataupun tidak dalam perkara ini. Saya pasti ia menimbulkan kontroversi, tetapi itulah realitinya. Sepanjang pemerhatian saya sejak saya bergelar pensyarah, pelajar-pelajar yang lemah juga datangnya daripada mereka yang aktif dalam persatuan Islam dan bergelar ahli jemaah kepada jemaah tertentu. Mereka sibuk dengan aktiviti usrah, tamrin, persatuan, amal jamaie dan amal ijtimai’e mereka, tetapi saya tidak tahu kenapa mereka tidak bermotivasi untuk belajar secara bersungguh dalam bidang disiplin mereka sendiri. Mereka bukanlah ‘failure’ tetapi pencapaian mereka biasa-biasa sahaja. Ada yang mengulang subjek. Saya sendiri pernah terlibat dalam kumpulan ini sejak zaman ‘undergraduate’ dan ada juga beberapa kali saya dihidangkan dengan analogi pencapaian akademik tidak sepenting kerja-kerja untuk Islam, namun saya tidak bersetuju dengan pernyataan itu. Saya dan rakan-rakan saya termasuk isteri saya sendiriPutri Nurizatulshira, cuba untuk ‘defy this myth’ dan Alhamdulillah kami mendapat keputusan yang baik kerana kami tak follow the flow. Saya meyakini ia tidaklah menjadi pegangan dan prinsip utama jemaah-jemaah ini, tetapi sekiranya ia datang dari mulut salah seorang yang mereka sanjungi (seperti naqib mereka, senior mereka) dalam sesi-sesi pertemuan (usrah, ziarah, tamrin), ia sedikit sebanyak boleh mempengaruhi cara pemikiran mereka. Sebagai contohnya, jika ada senior yang sudah bekerja, menyampaikan pengisian contohnya kita tak perlu pun belajar hebat-hebat sangat, nanti dapat kerja jugak sebab kita dah tolong buat kerja untuk Islam, pada saya itu adalah satu pernyataan yang sangat berbahaya dan sangat dangkal.

Bayangkanlah saya pernah berhadapan dengan satu kes di mana seorang pelajar ini merupakan ahli jemaah, dia tidak terlibat aktif dalam kumpulan studynya dan mengakibatkan seorang pelajar bukan Islam di dalam kumpulan itu, melaporkan kepada saya yang pelajar ini lambat hadir ketika perbincangan tentang projek dan sukar nak menetapkan tarikh pertemuan hanya kerana pelajar ini ada ‘event’ lain. Apabila buat sesi refleksi selepas pembentangan, pelajar Muslim ini ‘menyindir’ pelajar non-Muslim itu dengan mengatakan kita perlu bersabar, dan membaca ayat al-Quran Innallaha ma’as sobirin di hadapan pelajar non-Muslim itu. Saya terkesima. Wow.

Dalam sharing session kepada pelajar Muslim yang saya pernah kongsikan dengan mereka ialah berkenaan surah Muhammad ayat 7 yang selalu disalahtafsirkan. Allah akan membantu kita jika kita membantu agama Allah. Benar!
Tetapi Allah bukan akan terus bagi kita dapat GPA4.00 apabila kita terlalu sibuk buat kerja persatuan, sampai terus lupa dan menangguh-nangguhkan kerja/assignment yang diberikan oleh pensyarah. Apa bentuk bantuan Allah berikan mungkin saja dalam masa yang singkat kita dapat siapkan revision dengan baik. Contohnya, orang lain perlukan 4 jam, mungkin kita dapat 2 jam sahaja cukup untuk buat revision. Bacalah juga surah al-Mujadalah ayat 11, Allah tidak akan mengubah nasib sesuatu kaum itu melainkan kaum itu sendiri yang mengubah nasibnya.

Saya juga khuatir dengan persepsi yang dikongsikan oleh sebahagian golongan agamawan dalam jemaah mereka apabila dikongsikan cerita-cerita mitos yang tidak dapat ‘verification’. Saya dulu pernah disajikan dengan cerita yang ada seorang naqib usrah ini ditugaskan untuk ‘travel’ ke luar kawasan ketika mana esoknya dia ada ‘exam’. Jadi beliau bertawakkal ikut arahan yang diberikan, dan keesokan harinya apabila tiba waktu exam, beliau tidak study pun dan beliau dapat jawab dan cemerlang dalam peperiksaan. Ada beberapa kemungkinan tentang cerita ini, 1. Mungkin ustaz itu dah buat revision awal, 2. Mungkin dia seorang yang memang pandai, dan cuma absorb apa yang dipelajari di dalam kelas. Ada juga yang menambah cerita tersebut dengan mengatakan dia tertidur semasa exam, dan dapat jawapan di dalam mimpi. Entahlah..kalau muda-muda dulu, saya hampir-hampir percaya tetapi saya yakin, Surah Muhammad ayat 7 itu perlu dibaca sekali dengan Surah Al-Mujadalah ayat 11. Kita bukan wali Allah apabila kita terus isi borang nak masuk jemaah, sebaliknya keterlibatan di dalam jemaah adalah untuk ‘improve diri’, dan sepatutnya proses memperbaiki diri itu juga termasuklah dengan pembaikan kita dalam proses menuntut ilmu.

Satu lagi yang sangat merisaukan saya ialah apabila ilmu sains dan kejuruteraan ini disamakan dengan ilmu sekular, dan tidak sama dengan ilmu Feqah, ilmu Syariah dan sebagainya. Mahu saja saya hempuk kepala sang penceramah yang menceritakan perkara bukan-bukan kepada para pelajar ini. Jujurnya, saya pernah ada pengalaman yang ada di antara rakan-rakan sejemaah yang rasa loser dan nak berhenti ambil kejuruteraan dan nak sambung ambil pengajian Islam dan masuk sekolah pondok untuk belajar agama. Dahulu kala, ulama yang faqih dalam Islam, mereka juga faqih dalam bidang kejuruteraan, perubatan dan sains. Contohnya Ibnu Sina. Tetapi sekarang, cabang ilmu yang meluas mengakibatkan kita terpisah dalam menuntut ilmu tentang Islam itu sendiri dan ilmu jurusan sains dan lain-lain. Namun kita lupa, semuanya ini adalah ILMU ALLAH! Kalau kita tidak menghargai ilmu dan bidang masing-masing, adakah kita mengharapkan orang bukan Islam yang akan bawa agenda pembangunan negara ini, sedangkan ia juga adalah tuntutan Islam?

Jujurnya, saya mengharapkan ada masa depan yang lebih gemilang untuk para mahasiswa ini. Saya mengharapkan pelajar-pelajar dalam kategori 1-3 sedar bahawa dunia berubah dan memerlukan mereka untuk berubah menjadi pelajar yang lebih fleksibel dan seimbang, dan terbuka untuk menempuh kesusahan supaya lebih berjaya pada masa akan datang. Bagi kategori 4 pula, tiada nasihat selain daripada cuba untuk bersikap terbuka dan kritikal dalam menganalisa segala pengisian yang diberikan oleh para penceramah kalian di dalam jemaah kalian. Sekiranya banyak disajikan dengan mitos, kalian perlu lebih waspada. Jangan senang-senang dimudahkan otak kalian didoktrin oleh mereka yang memanggil diri mereka orang yang nak bawa kalian kepada agama Allah, tetapi akhirnya menggunakan kalian untuk kepentingan mereka sendiri. Akhirnya, kalian juga yang rugi.

Moga-moga ada sinar yang lebih baik pada masa akan datang. Demi negara ini dan ummah itu sendiri. Kalau kalian mengharapkan suatu ketika nanti kita dapat membebaskan al-Aqsa dan Syria dan mereka yang tertindas di seluruh dunia, inilah masanya. Belajarlah bersungguh-sungguh dalam bidang kalian. Buktikan otak kalian otak yang bernas dan bijak supaya kita dapat mencipta teknologi membebaskan mereka yang tertindas, samada mereka Muslim ataupun tidak.

TRUST ME, TEACHING IS NOT EASY

tuckman-model1

 

Sometimes in life, especially when we are working in a team, we’ll need to undergo all these stages as ruled out by Tuckman, if we want to be a performing team.

No exception as well for the lecturers-students relationships. There’ll be a time when the storm comes. If there is no storm, it can possibly be
i. the lecturers are too accommodating and putting too much scaffolding (or in other words, too much spoon-feeding), hence didn’t allow the students to use their thinking critically or learn about perseverance OR
ii. the lecturers/ students themselves refused to listen and being authoritative in making decision for the classroom.

Both cases are detrimental for the students future development because for case i, you are making the students had a fixed mindset and taken aback when there are challenges and turbulence facing them and for case ii, you didn’t allow for a feedback to the students’ learning, and they will learn to be authoritative as well in the future. Of course authoritative is good at certain time, but the key important point here, when we teach it is not about us, it is about the student’s development.

Be positive when the storm arrives. Keep our mind open. Listen and give feedback where necessary and after that forgive and move on. The important key point here is, if the students did wrong, tell them what they did wrong, solve it and forgive them and never penalise them (in terms of grading whatsoever) for their unnecessary behaviour. Difficult isn’t it? Yes, lecturers need to be the big-hearted one. We are not only teaching the content to the students, or only about thinking skills. We also need to teach values, properness and building a resilience generation for our future.

For example, they call you b*b* or crazy. Don’t simply dismiss it. Highlight it and ask what is their problem. Tell them what you feel and understand their feeling too. Correct their action and move forward. Teach as usual.

As for my students, whenever there are storms arise in our class, I’m not that ‘terasa hati’. I know to err is human. And conflict would not happen if only one side causing it. So, just forgive each other and move on. Teach as usual. Relationship and bond created (norming) and only then students will perform.

Trust me, teaching is not easy.

FLIPPED CLASSROOM?

 

Screenshot 2016-06-22 08.23.40.png

 

Many of the teachers & lecturers may want to know how should we conduct a flipped classroom, as it is becoming the ‘in-thing’ right now.

What is flipped classroom?

My respected sifu & mentor, Prof Dr Abd Karim Alias was one of the pioneer of flipped classroom in Malaysia and I learnt a lot from him.

You can try to understand a little bit about flipped classroom, from these videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQWvc6qhTds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojiebVw8O0g

What is the benefit of flipped classroom?

1. The lecturers/teachers can spend a lot more time with their students. Watch this TED talk. Teaching is about creating a relationship. How do you create a relationship, if your classroom is entirely lecture and power point presentation?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFnMTHhKdkw

2. The lecturers/teachers can have more meaningful activities during the lecture hours allocated for them to enhance the thinking skills among the students.

3. Some skills and values can be imparted in the class especially via group work activities.

So, what’s my practice?

I also created my own videos (well we, because to ensure that we’re not burdened in creating the videos, my teaching partner , Dr Raihan Ramlicreated half of the content and I created another half), but I also curated some videos (such as taking the youtube videos of others and shared the link with my students).

Some of the examples of the videos that we created are as follows:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzhCWapBwzE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leeFWBwod_I

But is that all? NO

We need to design some activities to ensure the lecture hour assigned to us are being fulfilled to ensure it brings a new understanding on the courses you teach to the students. As for example,

1. Jigsaw activities to solve problems
2. Mind map to recap the lectures/notes from the videos
3. Quizzes & Polls to investigate their understanding
4. Problem solving and discussion of higher level, and many more

How do we make sure the students watch the videos?

As for now, we do have some online quizzes and conduct it with the students. Though it is still prone to cheating, the students who cheat and not watching the videos will find that they are at lost, when they step into the class. Few of the examples of what I’ve done so far for this semester:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6azXJlXh3o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAJ45OODM3I

It looks easy, but two important skills that need to be acquired by the lecturers are:

i) Facilitation skill

ii) Motivational skill

If you are interested to start with a flipped classroom activity, start small and expand. Tweak where necessary as time goes by.

Happy trying! All the best.

 

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