Saturday, June 4, 2011

News: Students weak in two soft skills - Communication and Critical Thinking

Dear All,

This news is nothing new as we have been hearing this since I was in school (70s).

However with the advent of the electronic media and opportunities to be involved in co-curricular and even classroom activities during the PLBS / ULBS (Oral English Tests), our students still cannot communicate well or at all.  I think it has to do with something deeper i.e. the personality and character of the students and the teacher's role in shaping and encouraging the students to express themselves.

Besides, critical thinking is developed through reading and applying the tools of critical thinking (e.g. the Seven Hats) which the teacher can help to encourage and guide. The student needs to be questioning things rather that be a sponge, absorbing all that is spoon-fed by the teacher.

I admit as a practitioner that it is not easy to inculcate these critical thinking values when a third of my own Form Five students are working part-time--coming to school (if at all) sleepy and tired, and drags themselves to school because their parents expect them to.

Another important factor is the relationship between the students and the teacher. Having a working relationship where the teacher is respected by the students and the teacher having a firm but caring heart may help.

What are your thoughts on this matter?  Comments are welcomed.

Rodney Tan

Students weak in two soft skills

KUALA LUMPUR: University students’ communication skills, especially in the English language, are not up to par and can be further improved based on the Malaysian soft skills scale (My3S).

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the My3S, which was introduced last year, gauged the soft skill proficiency of 10,828 final year and 39,465 first year university students.

“The scale’s findings pointed to two weak spots among university students – communication and critical thinking.

“The ministry would like universities to engage students both inside and outside the classroom to improve the situation,” he told reporters after officiating at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) Third Medical Undergraduate Annual Scientific Meeting.

He said the scale monitored students’ proficiency in seven areas covering communication, critical thinking and problem-solving, morals and ethics, knowledge management and lifelong learning, teamwork, leadership and entrepreneurship.

He added that the students should also be encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities such as public speaking, especially in the English language.

Saifuddin said students need to learn how to argue their point critically and clearly in the English language.

A total of 57 groups from various departments within UKM’s medical faculty took part in the event to showcase their work.

Asked whether there would be an undergraduate representative within the Youth Parliament as proposed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last week, Saifuddin agreed that there should be one.

Last Sunday, Najib said the Government wants to further connect with youths by introducing six initiatives including the setting up a Youth Parliament and a 12ha extreme sports park in Bukit Jalil.


No comments:

Post a Comment