In this second section, as promised, I will express my personal opinion on three areas contained in Awang Goneng’s newspaper column and the comment he left for Pakcik.
(a) Of methodology
It saddens me whenever I find teachers believing that, firstly, ‘methodology’ is the tool without which teaching is meaningless and, secondly, knowing ‘exam format’ is of necessity to score good results. The business of teaching by old methods and the use of old proven reference and text books are looked upon with disdain. For the lack of these necessities I was once belittled. I relish the thought of relating in brief the occasion I was spoken of as an individual unqualified to teach.
Some time ago a secondary school, headed by a new principle with brilliant ideas, decided to introduce an ‘elite group’ in Form Three. Naturally, the group was made up of the top performers of the previous year’s Form 2 exam. The aim was, of course, the typical number game, to achieve greater number of top scorers in the PMR exam at the end of the year.
Together with their parents, about fifteen pupils with potential to satisfy the thirst for excellent results were called for a special briefing by the principle to mark and publicise the launching of this special 'elite' plan. Among the many steps to be taken for this special group – (never mind the bulk of other Form Three pupils numbering not less than three hundred) – many extra classes and special ‘camps’ would be arranged. It so happened that most of these selected pupils had been attending tuition classes at Almanar steadfastly for two years. Many of them were average performers when, two years earlier, they began their Form One at the school.
During the question time that followed, a father of one of the pupils, the top performer in that group, stood up to make an appeal that, whilst the many extra classes planned for the 'elite' group were appereciated, he hoped that his son and his friends would still have time to continue attending tuition classes at Almanar as they had been doing so for so long. In response to that appeal a senior official of the school proudly declared, in the presence of his boss, that Pakcik of Almanar was nothing more than an x-x-x- , not a qualified teacher by profession, and as such, was unlikely to be familiar with the methodology and exam format required to help pupils perform well in the exam, full stop.
The above father was so disgusted with the derogatory remarks uttered that he decided to call on Pakcik at the end of the day to relate the incident, and to say how sorry he was over the stance shown against Pakcik of Almanar. He was more than convinced that his son with 2A,2B and 1C ( the 'C' was in English) would not have progressed that far over the two years without some help from Almanar. (Incidentally the boy continued to get ‘A’ in English, Maths and Science subjects in his PMR through to SPM.)
(b) Of extra-mural activities
Of the ‘extra-mural activities’ mentioned by Awang Goneng I have to admit belonging to the old school. My advice to pupils is to enjoy whichever games they like but never at the excessive of their studies. If it is just reading they like, by all means, so be it. But these days one is almost literally forced to take up extr-mural activities under the threat of not getting into a university without the precious 10% points – a must even if one fails in all the academic subjects which account for 90%! Pakcik would probably be a fisherman today as a punishment for getting 0% points in extra-mural activities more than half a century ago when my buddies played soccer bare-footed.
Now let us see what has become of tuition class at Almanar on a sports day.
Yesterday was a record day for Almanar. It was sports day at school and I did not know it. Children were required to attend - or be punished, so I was given to believe. As a result we had a record of ONE pupil who turned up at Almanar for Form 1 tuition class! But that was not all because the one who turned up was a boy, hence another record , 100% male!
Now who is this boy, so brave to absent himself from the school sports?
He is the third, the youngest, of three brothers in a family. His two elder brothers attended Almanar, obtained all the As they wanted in their PMR and SPM exams and are now in universities. And this little brother, in my assessment, has the highest potential of the three. I found it my duty to teach him yesterday and I did it with great pleasure ; he was so much like my own grandchildren. I think, Insya Allah, this boy will perform no less than his two successful elders.
To be continued.
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan