Friday, January 17, 2014

Experiencing Malaysia

2 years ago Mr Au Yeong collaborated and brought in Mr Bradley on a teacher-exchange programme and this is his blog/website "Experiencing Malaysia".  It would be most interesting to read what he has to say about my school in particular and Malaysian schools in general other perspectives if you care to click on the other links.

Au Yeong Weng Hang and I in front of the school
  I was able to teach for two weeks at SMK Seri Permaisuri, which is a 

secondary government-run school in Kuala Lumpur.  Malaysian culture is a 

blend of three main groups of people including the Chinese, Malay, and Indian

 populations.  There is also an assortment of populations from Singapore, 

Indonesia, and Thailand.  Malaysia is a Muslim state.  There is a mosque on

 campus and prayer is included as part of the daily ritual.  About 85% of the 

school population is Muslim as the other 15% is made up of Buddhist, Hindus,

 and Christians.  Permaisuri has a strict dress code, which includes appropriate

 hair length, orderly uniforms, and head coverings for Muslim females.  The 

school serves a community that has struggled in the past to meet 

standardized test expectations.  Many of the students live in nearby 

government subsidized housing. 

Assembly in Main School Courtyard
The Permaisuri school building is quite different than many American schools. 

 There are essentially no outside doors as the school has a series of open 

walkways that lead into a main courtyard of three story buildings housing 

classrooms and offices.  Most of the classrooms have open windows spanning

 the length of two of the walls and no air conditioning.  The school has been 

equipped with some projectors and a couple computer labs, but due to a lack 

of resources to maintain the technology, much of it has grown unusable or 

unreliable.  Students are assigned to a specific room and it is the staff that 

moves around from room to room to teach.  As a result, many of the rooms 

are barren of decoration and contain student graffiti on desk and chairs.  The 

school has made ample efforts to combat this trend as most of the common 

space walls (stairwells, pillars, courtyard walls) are painted with inspirational 

quotes, uplifting images of potential success, and school regulation

 reminders.  There is a canteen (cafeteria) that serves breakfast and lunch for 

students and teachers.  The school utilizes the courtyard for physical 

education in addition to its full size basketball court, track and field. 

Standard Class Room Setting
Permaisuri school serves the equivalent of American grades 7-12 with the high school meeting in a morning session from 7:20-1:20 and the middle school meeting from 1:20-7:20.  Students juggle very similar workloads including math, science, Malaysian and history, but do not have the option to take drama, band, or upper level technology courses.  English is a required class for all students throughout the entire education in Malaysia, but there is a wide spectrum of proficiency amongst students and staff.  Sports have been made compulsory for students in Malaysia as a part of a national effort to instill students with health conscious habits.  However, sports teams do not compete against teams from other schools.  Instead, the student population is broken up into four teams who compete for points that can be earned, both on the field and in the classroom.  Often times, sports will occur throughout a full school day or two instead of instruction.  Teams are celebrated at school assemblies, which take place every morning. 

School Assembly
 Malaysian assemblies resemble those found in America with announcements 

and celebrations, but differ in its daily occurrences and some practices.  For 

example, the Monday morning assemblies include the singing of the national

 anthem, state song, school song, and my very favorite, the “Thank You 

Teachers” song.  You can probably guess how enthusiastically these are sung

 on a Monday morning by teenagers.  Muslim prayer and songs are also added

 at different times throughout the week.  After assemblies, students are 

dismissed to trickle into their classes.   

A picture with me (in blue) participating in Bradley's worskshop.

He said:

"My butt hurt after witnessing this act exercised on a confessed smoker."

(rotan or caning)

and he posted this pic of discipline teachers cutting students' hair!

he tried durians and managed to eat only three fruits (seeds)

and tried the fish massage! hahaha!!!

Walking in any mall in Kuala Lumpur (and there are many malls), one can see this in the front window 
of a massage salon. This is called Fish Massage and although many of the locals thought I was crazy for doing it, there are many more who have made this a common practice. Customers pay to visit a series of fish tanks divided by the size of the fish. Ultimately, the fish feast off of the dead skin on the customer's feet. This was one of the weirdest things I have ever done and I am a weird guy.

No, he is not a weird guy....

Malaysia is weird!!

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