Malay language teachers honoured for new approaches, getting kids more involved

Ms Siti Rohani Selamat (left) is one of three winners of the Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award, while Ms Elna Hussin was presented with the Role Model award. ST PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Malay language teacher Siti Rohani Selamat, 35, has tried to incorporate technology and gaming elements into her lessons to make learning the Malay language and about the culture more immersive for students.

And when schools moved to home-based learning this year, she created quiz games online to help students consolidate what they had learnt in a more enjoyable way.

The Fuhua Secondary School teacher said: "Students are driven into a digital world, and not using it eliminates the younger generation from potential learning opportunities."

Ms Rohani is one of three winners of this year's Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award (Agab), which honours teachers for their outstanding contributions in the teaching and learning of the Malay Language.

On Saturday (Dec 19), Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, presented the awards to the winners.

Agab 2020 is jointly organised by the Malay Language Council Singapore, Malay Language Teachers Association, Berita Harian, and the Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee.

The Role Model award for teachers with 10 years or more of service went to Ms Elna Hussin, 44, who has 17 years of teaching experience and remains committed to self-development by learning new teaching concepts to plan more engaging lessons.

The finalists of this year's Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award (Agab). PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

She said: "Students tend to 'shut off' in class as not all of them understand or speak Malay very well."

The Westwood Primary School teacher organised field trips to Kampong Lorong Buangkok to immerse her students in Malay culture, as opposed to learning about it in classrooms.

She also conducts oral lessons using Flipgrid, an application that allows students to watch videos and verbally record their responses at home, enabling her to give personalised feedback to help them speak Malay more confidently.

Ms Syahirah Sa'adon, 28, who won under the Motivation category for teachers with under 10 years of service, is both a Malay Language teacher and a Values-In-Action coordinator at West View Primary School.

West View Primary teacher Syahirah Sa'adon won under the Motivation category for teachers with under 10 years of service. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

When schools reopened, she continued lessons at a slower pace and encouraged her pupils to share their concerns to ensure that she does not overwhelm them with schoolwork.

She also organised events to encourage charity and civic-consciousness among her students.

In 2019, she collaborated with Food From The Heart and tasked students to donate food items and raise awareness for the cause.

She said teachers must be role-models to encourage students to embody good qualities and a deeper appreciation for Malay language and culture.

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