MALAYSIA: Some 60 teachers from the Punjabi Education Centres (PECs) in Selangor converged for a one-day workshop to prepare schemes of work and lesson plans for the newly released Punjabi textbooks.
They were assisted by a pool of 16 trained teachers from Government schools who are familiar with the process.
At the end of the one-day session yesterday (1 Feb 2015), the team had produced lesson plans that will incorporate activities that teachers deploy to teach for some of the 14 chapters in the textbooks for Primary 1 to Primary 6.
“We learn new ideas and take home new techniques. It will make us better teachers,” says PEC Rawang teacher Jagdeep Kaur.
“These lesson plans are lifesavers. When I first started teaching, we had limited teaching aids,” says Gurjit Kaur who has been teaching at PEC Selayang for 13 years.
“Now, we have developed eight lesson plans for each chapter. That can make teaching all the more interesting,” she adds.
The task undertaken by the teachers and their facilitators is crucial to the teaching of Punjabi in Malaysia, now undertaken by the PECs as national schools no longer provide Punjabi as a subject.
The workshop held at Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya (GSPJ) is part of a series of workshops planned for the year.
The first was held in December 2014. The third workshops is planned for PECs in Perak and the north at Ipoh (21 March 2015) while the fourth is meant for Federal Territory, Pahang and southern states at GSPJ (26 April 2015).
The new textbook contains 14 units, or chapters, each. Teachers are supposed to cover each chapter over two weeks of schooling. Each chapter is to be broken up into eight lessons, with the four lessons to be taught in the first week, and the other four in the following week.
Hence, an untrained teacher may not be able to impart the essence of the chapter and also make the class interesting and exciting.
“We need to be creative. For example, I download geets (folk songs) onto the handphone and play them in class. The students get excited with it, so much more than just asking them to pick up their books,” says Reetwinder Kaur, who has been teaching at Rawang since 2007. Earlier, she was at PEC Kampung Pandan.
Kulwant Kaur, who teaches at PEC Petaling Jaya, says the group exchanges during the workshop was a great way to pick up ideas. “I found it very interesting. I really wanted to attend the workshop, and I’m glad I did.”
Such workshops, indeed, help teachers like Reetwinder and Kulwang to pick up ideas how to better and more effective teachers.
HOUSEWIVES AT WORK
Most of the PEC teachers are housewives who have taken up the challenge to teach Punjabi at the centres run by Punjabi Education Trust Malaysia (PETM), the education wing of Khalsa Diwan Malaysia (KDM).
A majority of the PEC teachers posses diploma in Punjabi language teaching provided by KDM in annual courses oganised nationwide over the years.
“One challenge teaching the kids here is their lack of command in spoken Punjabi,” says Gurinder Kaur, who has been with PEC Petaling Jaya for 13 years. “It’s very different to teaching in Punjab.”
The 46 PEC centres nationwide received a new set of Punjabi textbooks at the beginning of the year. Prior to this, students were using books published by the Singapore Sikh Education Foundation.
The project to come out with Malaysian-based books began in 2012. In January 2015, the Primary 1 to 6 classes received their new textbooks. The team will soon embark on producing Punjabi texbooks for the secondary classes, expected to be completed in two years. – ASIA SAMACHAR (2 Feb 2015)