Association of Science, Technology and Innovation, ASTI, have been organizing the National Science Fair for Young Children for the past 10 years. Over the time, we have found that students have started to excel and have won many awards both nationally and internationally. We have also been tracking the students and found out from our research that the main reason for the students’ success is mainly due to effort taken by the important stakeholders, the students’ teachers and their headmasters.
We found that these teachers are very motivated and with the right knowledge and empowerment, they are able to bring their students to the next levels of great achievements. Therefore ASTI decided to start the work to upgrade and to empower these teachers to be future leaders of the community. Hence we decided to conduct a special programme for these teachers whom we have found to have shown exceptional motivation and exhibited amazing capabilities in bringing out the best in their students.
We have introduced the “On the Wings of Fire” series to do this. The first programme in this series is the ASTI’s Teachers Conference 2016. This special conference for teachers was specially designed to help teachers to think of their students as a person and understand that education and learning happens within the context of the socio-economic background of the students’ community. We also highlighted some alternative teaching methods in this conference and for the teachers to think themselves to be leaders of their community rather than just teachers. We also tried to network these teachers in order for them to get and share knowledge on a ‘peer-to-peer’ basis.
ASTI’s Teachers Conference 2016
We sent invitation to Tamil school science teachers who were part who have contributed greatly towards Science Fair by guiding the student for the event. We have extended invitation to about 70 Tamil school teachers who have participated in Science Fair in 2016 and in the past years.
The event was held on 12 and 13 November 2016 at Grand Seasons Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. It was held on the weekend, on Saturday and Sunday which will be convenient for the teachers to attend the conference. About 70 Tamil school Science Fair teachers were invited to participate in the event. A total of 46 teachers turned up and participated in the 2 day event held for them. Six guest speakers were invited to motivate the teachers. The guest speakers are Ms. Daya Bhagwandas – Director of Neuro Network Australia, Mr. Sethupathy Ramasamy – senior lecturer in Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia, Kampus Temenggung Ibrahim (Johor Bahru), Coach Kamal bin Kasim – founder of the World Cup Vision Football Club, Dr. M. Shanmuga Siva – certified medical practitioner and also the advisor of MySkills Foundation Malaysia, Mr. Rohn Rajan – Managing Director of RRC Worldwide (Malaysia) and Principal Partner / Consultant of Human Capital Group Asia Ltd (Hong Kong); and Dato’ Abdul Manap bin Abdul Wahab – President Direktur of Pt Sumber Energi Alam Lestari (Pt SEAL), a coal mining company in Kalimantan (Indonesia).The event started with arrival of teachers and registration on the first day at 9.00am.
The first speaker at the event was Ms. Daya Bhagwandas. The topic of her presentation was “Empowering the Brain”. The next speaker was Mr. Sethupathy Ramasamy whose topic was on Problem Based Learning, Models and Strategies for e-learning and Flipped Classroom Method. The final speaker on the first day was Coach Kamal Bin Kasim. His presentation was about “Using Sports To Inculcate Collaborative Learning And Discipline”. The teachers gathered again for dinner hosted By YB Dato’ P Kamalanathan A/L Panchanathan at 7.00pm after the motivation session. On Day 2, the teachers came together for the welcoming address at 9.30amfollowed by Dr.Shanmuga Siva’s talk on “Understanding A Child’s Behavior And Background During Teaching” at 10.00am. Next was Mr.Rohn Rajan with his talk on “Educators are Transformational Leaders / Agents”. The final speaker at the Teachers Conference was Dato’ Abdul Manap bin Abdul Wahab and his topic was “GURU – Change Leader”. With that the event came to an end with the closing ceremony at 4.00pm.
The conference was successful and most of the feedback received shows the teachers benefited from the conference. They mentioned that they would participate in future programmes organized under “On the Wings of Fire Series”. We feel that programmes such as this can empower teachers to be true leaders of the community and to bring back the dignity of the teaching profession as the most important profession among all professions.
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