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I’m often asked about STEAM and how to go avout implementing it in a school. It is unfortunate that in Malaysia we are more focused on the STEM agenda with folks thinking that integrating the arts into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics will water it down but it is not the case at all. S:  Physical and Social SCIENCES T:  Incorporation of TECHNOLOGY E:  Principles of ENGINEERING and Design A:  English Language ARTS M: Application of MATHEMATICS Just imagine studying the patterns and architecture in birds nests and applying those in constructing an original work of art. To me the best example of STEAM is to be found in the work is Leonardo da Vinci.
I’ve added some links to the Georgia State Education Dept. and their STEAM guidelines. A MS Word doc can be downloaded for free. Petrosains Malaysia is doing outstanding work on promoting STEAM, especially through their Science Drama competitions. I am wondering how far they are pushing the STEAM agenda and how Malaysian teachers can get involved?
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Over the past few years I’ve met so many interesting people who are all passionate about what they do. These are people who are not focusing on their jobs or careers, but have a passion for the causes they are promoting. People with passion for life and who have a clear mission in life, will not be counting the years/months/weeks till retirement. No, like the honorable Tun Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad who is an amazing man. He dedicates his life to a clearly defined mission – and this keeps his mind agile and incredibly sharp! tun Another person who has impressed me tremendously with his passion for education, is the honorable H.E. Mr Anand Panyarachun, previous Prime Minister of Thailand. He is a fervent supporter of educational reform and sees the role that education plays in Thailand as crucial to the future. myxj_20160823164910_save The drive and commitment to improving education in Malaysia shown by the Chairman of the PINTAR Foundation Board, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Utama Arshad Ayub. What amazed me about him, was again his excellent sense of humour and ability to touch the hearts of the PINTAR Foundation principals. His insight in what needs to be done in Malaysian education is remarkable! 20160917_174858 Two of my personal heroes who inspire me greatly have to be included in this reflection. Firstly, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, founder and group CEO of Air Asia and Tune Group of Companies. This man is truly inspiring, and to listen to his no-nonsense and practical approach to life, one can’t help but be inspired. What impressed me most about him, is his belief that any young person can thrive. He is not into pomp and ceremony. He is the epitome of a person who is following his mission in life! 20160511_135604 Then comes the man with a vision to provide quality free education to people across the world, another hero of mine, Sebastian Thrun. Sebastian Thrun is an innovator, entrepreneur educator, and computer scientist from Germany. He was CEO and cofounder of Udacity. Before that, he was a Google VP and Fellow, and a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. I believe his model of creating nano-degrees which are industry recognised is the way forward in education! sebastian-thrun If you do not have a mission, take stock of your life. In RITE Education, we hope to improve the educational experience of children all over the world. We want them to love school and be nurtured as emotionally intelligent, mindful and resilient human beings who care for the the planet, their country and the people around them. We also want to be a conduit, a connector, an enabler, that brings people and organisations together in innovative ways. Key to this is networking and participating in as many events possible. Sharing your knowledge and carrying it forward. A beautiful thing that so many young people in Malaysia are doing. Young people like Edmond Yap from EduNation Malaysia, Alina Amir from Arus Education, Amy Ang, Daniel Loy from Petrosains, Prof. Foo from Sunway University…the list just goes on and on! People with a mission to make a difference to the lives of others. We salute you! 14370437_10153703785576930_6619895666274322077_n
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RITE Education has been appointed to support Mutiara International Grammar School in the final phase of its journey to the prestigious CIS accreditation. Mutiara International Grammar School (MIGS) has been providing the British Curriculum to local and international students for the past 20 years. The school has recently opened a new school building, library, refurbished canteen, computer centres, and are in the midst of further modernisation of there facilities. The school has always had a fantastic ethos, and was recently given a Five Star Quality Standards Award by the Ministry of Education Malaysia. http://migs.edu.my/ Visit their website and view the fantastic new buildings!
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RITE Education Consultancy presented a workshop at the Petrosains Science Festival on 13 September in order to support Science and Maths teachers with strategies to engage students during lessons and to promote thinking skills. It is key to all educators to understand the learning needs of the brain, and to ensure that students are fully engaged in their learning. student-engagement Students need to feel emotionally and physically safe. Once the brain is emotionally hijacked, it becomes very difficult to access the prefrontal cortex and higher-order thinking skills. What makes a SAFE environment? It is an environment where students feel that their voice is heard, where positive affirmations are constantly used and the focus is on what they are doing right, instead on what they are doing wrong. It is an environment where there is structure and routine, which calms the amygdalae and prevents the short circuit to emotionally driven responses. In this environment, there are clear agreed positive behaviour management systems, and students are also given the opportunity to learn in the modalities that they are most comfortable with. There are no put-downs by others, since the classroom models respect and empathy. When students are experiencing behaviour challenges, the teacher is equipped with the necessary strategies to deal with it. Students also practice mindfulness techniques, breathing for stress, and choices. Furthermore, in this environment, the teacher realises that “flow”, the best learning state, happens when there is a good balance between challenge and ability. This would be different for different students who have different learning needs and abilities. So, a teacher who plans a “one-size-fits-all” approach, can be sure that neurological stress will result among her students. Some will be disengaged since the work is too difficult, and for others boredom since the work is not challenging enough. Therefore, the teacher needs to plan lessons that offer choice and different difficulty levels. At the same time, teachers in effective learning environments, will plan stimulating displays that support learning visually. There will be thematic displays that are developed during the course of a topic. These are interactive displays that promotes student thinking with key questions, opportunities to provide feedback and documented displays. Key questions such as “what are we learning about”, and higher order thinking prompts such as “what if…” or “what do you see, think and wonder” will be displayed. Teachers will also involve students in creating these displays, giving them a sense of ownership and pride in their classroom. Students will learn together in cooperative learning groups, utilising cooperative learning structures. These structures deliver an embedded social curriculum, therefore encouraging peer learning and giving students an opportunity to ask and answer questions, share opinions, differ in a constructive manner, and learn simultaneously. Extensive research on the use of cooperative learning has shown that it impacts significantly on student outcomes. RITE Education Consultancy has designed our own Cooperative Structures and also implement structures that are widely available online. These structures are content free, and repeatable steps, that can be introduced in any curriculum area at any age group. I have introduced cooperative learning across continents in hundreds of schools and have seen the impact on not only the academic outcomes of students, but also the social and emotional learning that results. Have a look at the RITE Product section on the website where you can order a set of posters printed on durable acrylic fabric and supports the learning environment with clearly articulated steps and visual reminders for students and teachers on how to implement some of these structures in their classrooms. Learning can be fun if students learn socially, move around to promote brain health and improve retention of new material, when learning has meaning and relevance and sufficient time is given to students to process new information. We will explore these areas in a next blog. Do it the RITE way!
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