This article describes and analyses one example of a successful grassroots-based collaborative introduction to teacher education class that was based at a small education program in a private Malaysian university. This class formed the beginning of government-sponsored program in English language primary education; developed and implemented at extremely short notice it led to an accidental but extremely informative ‘shake up’ of ordinary teaching practices. This in fact may offer some promise as an alternative to the heavy central planning typically found in the current Malaysian education system. Because this particular class needed to be developed over the space of a weekend and then be taught over a three-week trimester break it was organised and taught in a highly collaborative fashion. This opened up a grassroots-based and entirely non-threatening experimental space in which lecturers drifted in and out. For example an entirely impromptu session ran by this author at five minutes’ notice (because there was confusion about who was to teach) led the author to realise that his academically focussed and carefully structured approach to teaching served to alienate himself from his students. It also revealed that the students in this particular class characterised their ‘ideal teacher’ as rather stricter and much less intellectually demanding than this author had previously presumed. The article argues that although there are challenges associated with implementing critical reflection within a Malay-Islamic context this does not necessarily preclude either some challenging discussions or interesting experiments from taking place within Malaysian teacher education classrooms.
Grassroots Teacher Education Initiatives in Malaysia: An Intercultural Self-Study.
Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(1).