Sunday, October 30, 2005

Experiences in Context.

I was just reflecting on this, and I would like to say something in a non-judgemental and non-bias away.

Well, this is particularly, because a classmate of mine had stated that she disagreed with what I had written in a childhood editorial.

I feel that each educator has a valid reason for how they see things. This in particular, owes to that particular point of time, where they come from, and the educational and cultural settings that they are in.

Each educator has experiences that they reflect and learn from, unique in their own individual manner, and no one else has the right to discredit it.

I say this, because when I was in class the other day, I was reflecting on some issues. Personally, I feel that it is not appropriate for an educator to judge another educator on what they think is the best practice for how they would like to teach children. An outright lambasting, without any thought of discussing an issue out or concrete thought to put an issue into perspective, is really an accusation that does not hold water, therefore, is not worthy of any time wasted to think about it.

Just as two chinese families, who may be brothers, if one brother decides to bring their family up in a different manner, and the other brother in a dis-similar manner, neither has the right to interfere in each other's family unless permission was sought and given.

In a similar manner, I would not like my parents, nor my brother to interfere with how I bring my children up, because there are values and practices which I would like to instil in my children, and I would not want anyone else except my spouse to be part of it. I may not agree with the way my father brought me up, but that does not mean I would agree to him interfering in the way I discipline my own children.

Of course, the fact that I put my research and thoughts on paper and publish it, means that, there would be people who may not agree to it.

Now, that is where and why I should be prepared in my mind to make my own defence should such occurences take place.

Preparation of music experiences for children.

I find that when I play the music (or tune) on a radio (in the background) before I introduce the song,
the children can get it. As compared to if you are just teaching the song then. What I did a lot was, when I send my children home after school, I normally test out the songs with the youngest child to see how they will respond to it. If the youngest child can respond to it, the older ones would not be a problem. But it is not the same if vice versa...

My observations have made me realise that it is easier to teach or introduce songs to older children, (5 and above), but for younger children, (4 and below), it is a bit difficult. This is due to reasons such as, the children's spoken vocabulary is not there, and developmental reasons, the children just do not seem to respond to it. (My group of 3 & 4 year olds, in particular).

Songs which have lyrics repetitive makes it easy for the children to grasp the words of the song. Songs that have too many words, too wordy, will just float and is beyond my children's comprehension level, so much so that they lose interest whilst listening halfway to the song.

Children also like & enjoying listening to tunes which sound quirky, squeaky, greasy and of fast beat. Even though there are no words to it, the child requested that I replay the song over and over again. *Cute, huh?*

I can say, in preparing and planning suitable music experiences for children, in my opinion, firstly is that the teacher has to be trained in the technicalities of music. The rest is based on trial and error and what the teacher can deduce from it, and seeing the children's responses to it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Don't play-play.

Maybe I am too good-hearted. But I guess not. Perhaps I am too naive and think too well of people. I was given s**t from a classmate who told me I should stop writing for my editorial.

She said my work was *bulls**t*

This is the first time I have received it. But I also know that this won't be the last. So I will have to get myself ready for the rest that may follow. I was upset of course. I did cry as well.

To my friends, thank you for your support. But this is what I will say back to her in return. If you consider yourself a friend, but are not giving me any helpful concrete constructive criticism that would actually help me in any manner to improve my writeups, please keep it to yourself.

If you think that what I am writing is bullshit, perhaps you should write a better one and show me. At least I am doing what I like and making the effort, but you are not.

If you want to make a difference, stop complaining and start writing one yourself. I may not be the best, but I took the time out to research and read for my writeups.Thanks, but I will take this in stride and continue writing.I will not stop writing for anyone, and especially not for myself.

Have a nice day.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Intellectual Property: A serious issue.

Many things have happened in the past one week since I wrote this. I haven't had the time to sit down and write a part 3 on the above, with my much limited time on hands.

The issue of intellectual property comes up today as something pertinent to the above happened in class.

Many of my classmates have done the assignment of childcare and context in Malaysia, and their assignments have been returned since, with a spectrum of varying grades. Among them was a student, whose work has scored almost perfect. Now, she made a presentation today in class, using the powerpoint presentation that the she had created.

I was late, so I didn't get to watch the entire presentation. *my bad, huh?*
The students all requested if they could make a hardcopy of her presentation, to which she declined, saying to the effect that her work would be published soon, because she has kinda "given up" the rights to this publisher.

If an author submits an article to an editorial, and is paid for it, who then holds the rights to the article printed? The issue is compounded by the fact that the author has not been made to sign any kind of contract in to whom the rights to the article has been published.

All the entries in this blog are protected under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial NoDerivs 2.5 license. The literary work here falls under the boundaries of Copyright Act 1987 (Malaysia).

Please ask for permission before you extract anything from here.

Related links:
Who holds the rights?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Quality Taska/Tadika: Part 2.

This is a continuation of my previous entry.

This entry seems to have garnered the most response from readers so far, so I shall try to address some of the questions raised.

I shall have to use the Malay term, so that readers can differentiate between both services, as there is the tendency to mix up what is Childcare and what is Kindergarten. Just to re-iterate, TASKAS / CHILDCARE CENTRES are a different set of establishments compared to TADIKAS/ KINDERGARTENS.

As said, both establishments need a different license to run, but in Malaysia the situation is a bit different here. Tadikas are allowed to have taska services, but they need to apply for separate licenses. Taskas services run until about as late as 6 to 8pm at night (depending on the location, or demand).

Tadikas run until about 3pm, and I feel that with a lot of children going to chinese schools in Primary 1, a lot will and are begining to cater for the older 6 year old group (staying until 3pm). Of course, that too depends on the Tadika itself, or if parents are willing to pay more for that (which is currently still an option).

From what I know, under the new ruling, in Malaysia, institutions that do not have the word TASKA or TADIKA, tend not to be registered, except if the school has already long been established before the ruling came about, so they do not fall under that category.

If the name of the centre is in English, parents have to make their own investigations still to check whether the centre is credible or not.

If the centre has a license, it would show that the centre has at least met the minimum basic SAFETY requirements for quality set out by the government when the authorities came to check.
This is about at least the most parent should look for, as many centres in Malaysia are not registered, and this takes away a lot of the credibility and yes, financial "rice pot" from centres which are registered.
Lack of manpower by the authorities in Malaysia is another reason why unregistered centres still prevail.

The requirements for local TADIKA teachers are currently a certificate in teaching & SPM. Of course, if there is a diploma or degree, that obviously would be preferable. However, the number of TADIKA teachers that hold a diploma is a handful, and as for degrees, that is even less than a handful. This too depends on the Tadika itself. :-P

The salary of a kindergarten teacher, in local TADIKAs, I shall say, is hardly enough to make ends meet, except unless one is employed in an international institution, or the teacher takes up another job.
It is preferable for international employees to work in an international school/ institution, as the school would cater better for international staff (legislations and all). A lot of international schools require a degree (regardless of major), and their regulations to hire/employ differs.

TADIKA or Kindergarten teachers should be professionally trained, to a certain level, hopefully, a diploma level, to get the accreditation they deserve. In other countries, teaching children at Kindergarten level is a professional vocation.

In countries like Australia, teachers who handle a class require a 4 Year degree before they are given a licence, whereas the Manager of the Kindergarten only require a 3 year degree (since they do not really have to handle the children, and handling adults are always much easier to handle than the children anytime.)
This differs from country to country. Requirements in NZ is a Teaching Diploma but the government will upgrade requirements to a degree in about 5 years time (they hope that is. haha!). It too depends on the social and culture context of the country as well.

The younger the age group of the class is, the more important and paramount that the teacher IS & SHOULD be professionally trained.

Unless the current mindset of Malaysians change, the current situation that prevails in Malaysia for Tadika teachers will remain as it still is. As for change anyway, it will still take TIME for that to happen.

I shall write more on quality Taska centres later. Please wait for Part 3. ;-)

Quality ChildCare essay back!

Got my essay on Quality ChildCare back from the college today.

I passed!!

Woo hoo!!!

*floating on Cloud Nine now!*

Will go through what my lecturer noted in my essay and share it will you people later.

See ya!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Don't give up.

Let us do it step by step,
Do not worry if it's wrong,

Easy or difficult,
It does not matter at all.

Try again, Try harder,

Don't give up,
Take your time.

We can always try again,

Do not worry if it's wrong,

Easy or difficult,

Until we have done it right.

Try again, Try harder,

Don't give up, Take your time.

By Malaysian ECE Songwriter: Victor Tan.

I was reflecting upon this today.

What do you think?

I feel that a lot of Chinese parents (or Asian parents) expect their children to get it right the first time, and failing the first time is very shameful indeed.
Second chance, is probably not a term found in our "culture".

But isn't persistency what drove Thomas Alva Edison to invent the light bulb?

Just because a person may not do well academically does not mean that they will forever be failures.

Just because a student may not excel well mathematically does not mean that they will not excel in other academic areas.

I feel that this drive may have even crept through down to preschool level.

However, If a student fails due to mere laziness, they deserve to be reprimanded. SEVERELY.

New parents are, and tend to be very idealistic about what their children can achieve.
But few years down the line, REALITY normally hits them.

Once they see their own children having a stress breakdown due to undue pressure, they will normally back down from pressuring their children too much.

However, that does not mean that they can't hope, ya know!

The reason I say that, is because when I was younger, I had many friends who think that the only they could gain their parents affections is through excelling academically. I feel that it is a very unhealthy practice, as these friends of mine had low self esteem, until at least they reached college.

I have friends, who are pitted against their own siblings, and the amount of affection they get varies depending on how well they excel academically.

You can imagine how they felt

This extends even to my own family lar....

I survived. But the journey down that route was a long, tough one.

Sometimes parents do not understand that giving too much affection to one child will be detrimental and have adverse reactions in other members of the family. But I think that new parents, perhaps, are getting more educated on it these days.

One thing I can say, no matter how badly my children (when I do have kids!) did academically, I would still accept and love them for they are, but at the same time, will keep on encouraging and motivate them to perform their best. That should be the way.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I know I said I wouldn't write anything, but this is something worth writing down! Well, the kindergarten was interviewed for TV! I was picked to be interviewed.

*well, for obvious reasons, which I shall not make known!*

The programme is a special one for Children's Day, and will be aired one of these Saturdays for it. My interviewer will inform me when it will be broadcasted!

Imagine that, on real life tv!

Ok, I am sorry, but still, I can't reveal the name of the kindergarten, as this would invade the privacy of the children. Much as I would like to give the school some media publicity, at the same time, I would like to remain impartial and professional with my work, notably those the children whose observation I am noting, and I do not want people to think that I am promoting only my kindergarten just because it carries the name Montessori.

I was informed this morning and had to drive off early in the morning to one of the other centres, so I couldn't stay in my base centre this morning. Obviously, I had to change to a more suitable attire accomodate the shooting. The interview took place in Malay.

Well since our school just had their school concert recently, one of the 5 year old classes presented their Alley Cat dance song and the videographer just took it all in. They then went to each class to shoot each class.

I was working in this class, (3-4 year olds). The teacher wanted to present the Number Rods to the children, so I worked on this small group of children with it. I think the children were more interested in the Rods than the videocam. It was interesting to note that the children didn't show any self consciousness. They must have got immune to it to the amount of photography that took place during the concert, with practically all the parents having one.

We did a pre-recording practice where the person who interviewed me gave me the questions first and we did a practice. The interviewer said that the video would be edited at the studio, so even if I did make any mistakes, the viewers wouldn't know!

They mostly asked me stuff about the school and some questions ( like what DZOF interviewed me for our blogger meet up at MidValley, which was in English instead). I must have got practice from there, heh? ;-)

Will tell you more later when I hear from them!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Music & Movement exam.

Ok, I will be having my Early Childhood Music & Movement unit exam this Friday.
Am currently busy practising the percussion instruments, remembering the lyrics, creating hand actions, memorizing the notes for the pitch singing and studying for the written exam, so I can't really update till after Friday.

Meanwhile, be patient, and pray that I will do well for it ya!!
Luv you all !
God bless.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Learning skills through music.

Next Friday, I will be having my Childhood Music & Movement course grading exam. Wish me the best ya!

One of the requirements for the exam is that students have to work together in a group playing percussions to two songs prepared by the lecturer as well as a group dance. Sometimes people think that being good at playing an instrument alone, or playing solo, is more than adequate.

However, to perform harmonious sounding notes & music, it requires that not only the person playing the instrument is skilled & knows what s/he is playing, but requires co-ordination and timing with the rest of the band/orchestra and that takes time, experience and skills as well.

Can you count how many skills those are??

This is something that we have to keep reminding ourselves. So, the next you see a band or the orchestra playing, remember how much effort and practice it took them to even put on that short (or long hours) of show!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Blog intro: by Mom's Daily!

I have always wondered about people doing an intro entry on me...

Well, now I know lar.

Mom's Daily has done one for me!

I'm so pleased! Thanks Lilian!

Mathematics: A Large Number Card experience.

After presenting the Touch Boards 2 to the children, I worked on the letters of the sound with the children. I asked them to guess the sounds and letters of the corresponding objects on the pictures given on these flash cards. The flash cards are used in conjunction with the reading texts the children are working with in class.

As the names of the objects were printed behind the cards, all I had to do was to turn the cards so that the children could check if they had got the sounds correct!

The children were so happy! Then after, we sang a song in relation to each picture flashed.

Today, before distributing the plates out, I asked the children if they could remember what I had told them day before. The children could tell me that putting plates on their heads were dirty and if they ate out of it, "choong-choong" (worms) could grow and give them a tummy ache!

After that, I went up to an elder class to work with on another lesson.
I presented Large Number Cards with an elder class. The cards were arranged from the units to the thousand cards (40 cards in total!), and the children could pick the correct cards when asked.

Sometimes I wonder if there is any use if children working with such large numbers?

I mean, they would not really use (unless I really saw them working with it!). The children had previously worked with the Golden Beads materials, so quite a number of them could tell me the names of it straight away (but referring to it by way of 1000 squares, although it was a written symbol).

Hei, at least this tells me that the children remember something from their previous lesson! It is not gone to waste, nonetheless!

Monday, October 03, 2005

No playing with your food (or plates for that matter!)

During break time, some of the children had a bad habit of taking the bowls and either twirling it around with their fingers or putting it on their heads. My colleague, LY was in a fix over it. So before having our break today, I told the children that I had observed some of them doing it. So I told them a nice little story on how unhealthy it was to do that.

I told them that the hair has a lot of dead skin, bacteria and many other extra things, and if they put the food into it, (after putting it on their heads), all the bacteria will go into food and back into the stomach, and "choong-choong" or worms will grow in it and they wouldn’t like it if they got a bad tummy! (which is true anyway!)

I also told them that the plate was not a toy plate for playing, and if they want that, it would have to be toy plates specially meant for that purpose.

The story seemed to work, as none of them played with the bowl after that!

Our 10th Annual Graduation & Concert!

On Saturday, the kindergarten had its 10th Annual Graduation & Concert at a Golf & Country Club Resort nearby. Three schools participated, with almost 100 over children graduating, clad in their black mortar boards and gowns.

It took me forever to find a proper attire to dress as the M.C for that day. I probably took an hour before I could come up with the most suitable one. It was a nice maroon purplish reddish suit. Just lovely! I have lovely pictures from the event, but I will post them up later, ya? The suit even matched my hair, which I has recently just cropped. Very matching!

The ceremony started at 10pm and ended at 1pm. But teachers and parents arrived as early as 8.30am onwards. Praise God for the event took place without any glitches.

The children had really practised weeks and weeks for their dance items, and finally it is over! What a total relief! I had rallied my friends to pray for the entire event, and my friends were all sending well wishes and text messages to encourage me for the event!

After the event, the entire academic and administration staff took a group photograph and adjourned for a high tea tete-a-tete session at the clubhouse below. (BTW, the food sucked! One of the worst buffets I have ever had in my entire life!!)

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