For those of you who don't read newspaper because you were sick of the UMNO assembly, here's something new: Sejarah will be made a must-pass subject in three years time. Oo...
I don't question the rationale behind the decision of making it a compulsory subject to pass in SPM like Bahasa Melayu (or Malaysia? They change it all the time. Next minister come in, they'll change it again). What are the consequences? It's okay for the 90% maybe who will pass it, but for the rest? There will be another subject for them to worry about if they want to get their high school certificates.
Again, I don't question the rational. I don't want to question the content of our Sejarah syllabus as well as I'm not even an expert. Lots of discussions in newspapers however really delusion all of you guys with the fact that the columnists are all historians. So, be careful.
What I want to bring as an issue is the methodology of teaching and assessment of Sejarah. Kesian for many of us who does not have the ability to grasp the subject and forced to do something they are not good at.
Teaching of Sejarah in schools normally would involve one-way communication. Teacher talks, you listen. You tak dengar, cikgu baling kapur, hahaha! Or marker! Better, group presentation. You talk, others listen. When exam is coming, wooosh! There comes the tonnes of past year papers! Woosh, answer that. Look in the textbook a little bit, and then tomorrow, you can answer the exam. That's the case for the smart students.
What's the purpose of Sejarah in school actually? Which one is better? You know all the facts, and then can put it in the essays or you have to analyse the Sejarah by knowing all the facts? That's the problem with Sejarah lessons. You don't feel the Sejarah is alive. When talking about this, there's a report saying that the methods will change by putting more time on forums, discussions, debates and even drama and theatre! What? They are the activities the students are running away from! Malu la I nak berlakon jadi Sultan Melaka..sape jadi Hang Li Po..ouuu..
We, students want to watch movies! We want to go jalan-jalan. So, bring us to historical sites! We want to get marks for that! We will remember the significance of the A'Famosa better if we go there and not just look at the pictures in the full-of-words-with-no-interesting-pictures-at-all textbook.
Thinking about thinking in Sejarah? Look at the questions. The only thinking question is when it come to the "Apakah pengajaran daripada peristiwa ini?". Nearly all of the students can answer pengajaran questions...duh..
I guess (because I'm not an educationist) it is better if the question goes like this: Bagaimanakah kejatuhan kerajaan Melaka membawa kesan kepada empayar di bawah kekuasaannya? Cewah, wat poyo skit. You have to think to answer it (think). You have to know which states were in the empire (facts). You have to predict because I don't happen to remember this fact is in the textbook (analyse). It's like you are playing with your minds to imagine what will happen to those states under the empire. Don't just put you-know-or-you-don't-know questions like this: Apakah sumbangan kerajaan Agraria? You know, you get full marks. You don't know, urmm padan muka.
We are talking about the larger masses of students here. Those who don't want to be historians. I lauded the move to make it must-pass subject, but change the method of teaching and assessment.
ps: there's no interesting history movies like how good Upin and Ipin is..
-The Chukai Insider