Our proposed teaching activities were to start with classroom observations on Monday morning (28 September). As I woke up in the morning, the first thing I did was look out of my bedroom window. The haze looked a bit thicker than on previous days. During breakfast, Dr Siti advised us that due to the haze, pollution levels were high. As a consequence, all school children in a number of States were advised to stay at home – in short school was closed for the day in Pahang. While this was a downer, on the upside the teachers at Temai Primary were going to be at the school.
As our coach headed to the school, I reflected on a story that Siti shared with some of us the previous day. Sometime last year, Siti talked about the proposed QUT trip with her students at UPM. One of her students, Fadzil Noor Johar approached her and suggested Temai Primary School as a possible project site for QUT students. It was close to his home. His parents – Haji Johar Sulaiman and Hajjah Rozilah also lived here. Siti liked the idea. However, earlier this year parts of Pekan was flooded. Fadzil was crossing the flooded waters just outside his home. In a freak accident, Fadzil drowned. As expected his parents, family and friends were devastated by the loss. Fadzil was a young man with a very bright future. He always extended his hand to help others. So our project at Sekolah Kebangsaan Temai was dedicated to Fadzil.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the Headmaster – Encik Mohd Imeran bin Ibrahim and his staff. Two of his staff members – Encik Mohd Faizul Ramli and Puan Salina Abd Ghafar gave us an overview of the school. These presentations were very informative. It provided us with a good idea of how we might proceed with the classroom activities. The school as a whole was very clean and tidy. It was also well resourced.
From Tuesday through to Thursday the classroom activities flowed well. While students from QUT had spent a few weeks in thinking through their activities, students from UPM were an important part of the jigsaw puzzle. They acted as a bridge between QUT students and the students at SK Temai. This bridge was particularly crucial when there were language barriers. Not all staff and students at the school were fluent in English. This is common in all countries where English (or another language) is not spoken as the first language. In such instances, a mediator can play an important role – one who understands both languages. Thus, the presence of students UPM made a significant difference.
We were quite fortunate that two primary school teachers – Cik Syarifah Nazurah and Cik Nurhezrin Anuar spent their week with us at SK Temai. Both had attained their degree qualifications in Education from QUT a few years earlier. They drove from Kuala Lumpur to join us – this was truly appreciated, and their presence made a significant difference to our work. Their input and advice were invaluable.
By the end of the week, all the teams worked well and attained the desirable learning outcomes as planned. The head teacher and teachers were very supportive throughout and did everything that was possible to ensure that our teams adapted their classroom activities with ease.
In Class 3, the students created stop-motion videos using OpenShot. The teaching team included Georgia, Jocelyn, Vicki, Suhaira, Lorna, Zaitun, Fakhira, Shahfizat, Safri, Fitri, and Faizal.
In Class 4, teaching activities were led by Hannah, Elliot, Nadia, Lorna, Amalina, Aini, Ina, Fatin, Umira, Aisamuddin. By the end of the week, the students created a digital storybook using PowerPoint.
In Class 5, students created video clips based on their local experiences. Classroom activities were led by Kate, Casey, Afiq, Aisyah, Suyhadah, Ain, Munirah, Nadhirah and Kim.
In Class 6, students got to experience new technologies. They had hands on experiences with littlebits (http://littlebits.cc/). By the end of the week, students were also able to create games using Scratch (scratch.mit.edu). Teaching activities were led by Mitchell, Jessica, Anthony, Zulaikha, Hamiza, Clementina, Fatin, Nornajla with Dr Richard Medland advising the team and troubleshooting.
On Friday, there was a parent/community showcase where some student groups from SK Temai talked about the products they had created using digital technologies. They explained their experiences with confidence. Well done students! Well done teaching teams! More details on students’ experiences in the classrooms will be uploaded in future blogs.
I was able to visit each classroom a number of times each day. There was strong evidence of the teaching teams engaging with their students in a range of rich tasks with their students. Most times, the students were on task and were obviously interested and were enjoying what they were doing. While the incorporation of digital technologies into the activities presented a moderate level of challenge, it was a change from the daily classroom routines.
We had some feedback sessions during the week. The feedback from the teams was positive. Many acknowledged the ability of the students and how quickly they were applying themselves to the given tasks. In particular, they were very quick in demonstrating their understanding of how the technologies worked. In each of our reflections sessions – students rated their experiences with mean scores of 7.5/10 in day 1 through to 9/10 by day 2.
Our experiences in classrooms at SK Temai – mirrored what we have seen in other countries. When classroom activities are interesting, enjoyable, challenging, well scaffolded and connected to the real world – learning happens.
We had a memorable week at SK Temai. We are grateful to the Headmaster -Encik Mohd Imeran bin Ibrahim, his staff, and parents for giving us the opportunity to visit SK Temai and for supporting our teams. We wish the teachers, students, and parents of SK Temai the very best in the future.
For more stories: https://theseeproject.wordpress.com