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Many in the West end up in teaching

Published on: Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kota Kinabalu: There is a growing trend of young professionals taking up the teaching career after they have armed themselves with a basic degree in other disciplines.

In the United Kingdom, for example, young people tend to decide on their career at 18 or 19 but they have no clue what they want to do.

Initially, many take up professions like banking, finance and insurance but at the end of the day, they look up to teaching and become teachers.

Making this observation at the recent Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers (CIDTT) Certificate Presentation here, Chief Academic Officer Mark Wright from the Kuala Lumpur-based Cambridge English For Life Sdn Bhd said: "They realise how much they love to teach. When you love what you do, it's a passion, not a job."The CIDTT is a professional teaching qualification which is equivalent to a one-and-a-half-year undergraduate programme in the field of education in the United Kingdom.

Wright feels strongly about providing this programme for young Malaysians in Sabah. "As educators of leaders of tomorrow's generation, it is appropriate for teachers to acquire this qualification," he said after witnessing the presentation of certificates to 16 teachers of Maktab Nasional and SRS Datuk Simon Fung.

They completed a three-month intensive CIDTT training course that took up 100 hours with emphasis on lesson planning, practical delivery of the lesson plan, and assessment of students' learning. The trainees were required to prepare at least two lesson plans with a commitment to follow through with the plans.

Said Wright: "In the classroom, teachers must use real life situation to bring a subject to life and make students visualise.

"We equip the teachers with practical tools, the right set of tools to do the job so they become enthusiastic professionals.

"In fact, a couple of Mathematics teachers showed commitment to innovation by trying out new thingsÉ.very encouraging."

He was impressed with the teachers' high level of performance during the practical teaching session over two days.

"They had shown a high level of enthusiasm in engaging more effective ways of getting the class involved in the learning process. Their love of teaching is reflected in the effort they had put into their course assignments."

Saying students are not empty vessels to be filled up, Wright stressed that they are to be filled with knowledge, and skills to analyse the knowledge.

"Gone are the days when we filled them with information. Today, teachers evaluate students and vice versa (anonymously). As educators, they must be brave enough to accept criticisms. They (teachers) are taught how to build assessment into their teaching process," he pointed out.

Answering a question, Wright said learning is not just based on worksheets so teachers must consider every possible way of understanding and learning a particular subject.

This is because there are different learning styles such as touching, listening, watching and doing.

"Given that students have a different learning preference, we encourage teachers to be creative by incorporating all of those elements when they deliver a lesson so that all students will benefit."

Another approach is learning by making a model, Wright added.

"It's useful. People do get something out of it."

Principal of Maktab Nasional, Winnie Voo said it was worth investing in the 16 teachers who had earlier obtained a basic degree in other fields of endeavour.

"With the Cambridge International Diploma, they have upgraded their level of professionalism to be competent educators."