Teachers must comprehend their students

Associate Professor Dr Aziah Ismail

KUCHING: While the one-off initiative for recruitment of teachers is a necessary move to overcome the shortage of teachers, there are certain aspects that need to be re-examined as not everyone is made to teach.

Deputy Dean of Research, Innovation, and Industry Community Engagement in the School of Educational Studies Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Associate Professor Dr Aziah Ismail said Bachelor of Education graduates were required to spend four years to learn in depth two important aspects in education, namely content knowledge and how to deliver that content knowledge through pedagogy.

She pointed out that education graduates were not only equipped with the field’s knowledge and pedagogy but were also taught the art of comprehending children and teenagers who would be their students.

“These are some of the aspects that must be taken into consideration. I am not suggesting that the initiative should only take education graduates but they must be prioritised. 

“This is because graduates from non-education programmes may not be equipped with those knowledge and skills. However, there are non-education graduates who have the talent to teach, thus the knowledge must be imparted and training must be given to them,” she said when contacted on Monday (June 21).

Aziah added that education graduates who were interested should be prioritised in filling the vacancies. There were also existing final year students who were undergoing training and practical teaching at the school level.

“Of course, there is a need to look at their performances in the university or teacher educational institution (IPG). There are also some education graduates who have yet to get their postings because they major in different fields from the subjects listed for the teaching posts.

“These education graduates can be given the opportunity through an upskilling and reskilling programme if they are interested in teaching the subjects listed. I believe this is one of the ways to ensure those who are qualified and trained in education are fully utilised,” she explained.

On the ability and skill to conduct home based teaching and learning (PdPR) given the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic, Aziah stated that education graduates were taught how to integrate information communication technology (ICT) among others.

She pointed out that it was common for people to misinterpret PdPR as using digital platform only but the pedagogy in ensuring that knowledge was imparted to the students remained the same as it would in physical teaching and learning.

“The importance of skills in conducting PdPR became very evident when the pandemic happened. At the university level, blended learning is conducted. Besides being taught how to integrate ICT, education graduates are also taught how to conduct online learning. 

“The pedagogy behind PdPR is the same as physical learning and teaching. The accessibility of information and knowledge is very important regardless of the method or technique used by the teachers.

“I believe that education graduates are among the digital natives that do not have any problems in the use of ICT. With the exposure and knowledge on pedagogy as well as PdPR, they can be excellent teachers,” she said.