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					                ICT Support for Science and Mathematics Teachers in
                         The Implementation of ETeMS

                                  Dr Fong Soon Fook
                              School of Educational Studies
                                Universiti Sains Malaysia
Since the year 2003, the language used for the teaching of Mathematics and Science in
Malaysia was changed from Bahasa Melayu to the English language. This sudden
change in the medium of instruction for science and mathematics in schools requires a
drastic adjustment on the part of teachers in terms of delivering lessons. Being trained to
teach in the National Language (Bahasa Malaysia) and having taught in that language for
many years, it was rather difficult for these teachers to make an overnight change and be
experts in delivering lessons in the English language.

To help them cope, the Education Ministry planned ongoing training and workshops to
improve English proficiency among teachers. Besides ongoing training to enhance the
quality of English language teaching, the Ministry also enlisted the aid of a language
solution and training provider, to develop CD-ROM-based courseware in English for the
teaching of mathematics and science (ETeMS).

However, the implementation of this policy poses a number of challenges:

      The need to upgrade the language proficiency of Science and Mathematics
       teachers in order that they may conduct their lessons in English
      To update their knowledge of Science and Mathematics methodology
      To induct these teachers to the revised curriculum in English

A five prong strategy was used as a strategy to train these teachers:

      Interactive Phase 1 (totally language based with subject content)
      Interactive Phase 2 (language and subject with technology)
      Self-instructional package for self-directed studies (print and non-print)
      Web-based (
      Buddy support system

The interactive phases are aimed at creating the climate for a community of learners to
interact and to learn with each other. It was never the intention to include proficient
science and mathematics in these courses.

For science and mathematics teachers who need further language support, there is the
self-instructional package, the grammar books, dictionaries with CD-Roms and a web-
based portal.

In the case of schools in the outreach, the 'safety feature' built into this training strategy is
the Buddy Support System. This is conceptualized on the belief that teachers learn best
from each other.

Supporting Coursewares

(a)     General English language courseware.

        The objectives of the general English language courseware:

           to improve students’ level of achievement in English
           to revive students’ interest in learning English through the use of interactive
            electronic material;
           to help minimize the problem of not having enough English teachers
            especially in the rural areas.

(b)     Teaching Courseware for Mathematics, Science and English (Perisian
        Pendidikan Sains, Matematik dan Inggeris – PPSMI) for primary and
        secondary schools

In line with the policy to teach Mathematics and Science in English, it was decided
that teaching courseware be made available to schools for Mathematics, Science
and English. This is a collaborative effort between The Centre for Curriculum
Development, Ministry of Education (CDC) and private courseware companies.

The development of these courseware were done in stages, starting with Year 1, Form 1,
Lower 6 and Matriculation Programme. In developing the English courseware there are
certain guidelines that have to be adhered to.

               One of them is that the courseware is a teaching aid and not to be mistaken
                as a courseware for self-access learning (SAL).
               Teachers play an important role in ensuring that the courseware is utilised
                to the maximum in the classroom.
               The courseware is also intended to fulfill the needs of teachers who are not
                proficient in English.
               Content-wise, it is in tandem with the current subject syllabuses and is
                based on pedagogical principles.

A small study was carried out by CDC on the effectiveness of the programme for
Year 1 and Form 1 pupils. In this study, some 273 primary schools and 72 secondary
schools were involved.

The findings of the study shows that:

              Generally the achievement level of pupils in English for Year 1 in both all
               schools is encouraging. The children scored 75% and above in their tests.
               The number of pupils scoring grade A in English is also high. This means
               that given times, these Year 1 pupils have the potential of acquiring a good
               command of English.
              The achievement level of pupils in English in urban schools is much
               higher compared to children in rural schools. However, the range of
               difference between the two is rather small about 0.8%.
              In general, the initial survey showed that student performance in English
               is encouraging.

However, observation and interviews with teachers in the classroom showed that not
many teachers were using the courseware in the classroom. They cited the fact that the
courseware slowed down their teaching and that they had much to cover and would be
behind time if they were to depend on the courseware.

The Education Ministry continue to remind teachers that the coursewares has a role to
    1. To teachers who are not very proficient in the language, the courseware can be
       used as a model of pronunciation and the use of sentence patterns and instruction
    2. The teacher can emulate the pedagogical principle put into play.
    3. To the pupil, the courseware is a novelty that can be used to enhance motivation
       in learning the language.

Guidelines for the preparation of Courseware (for Courseware Companies)

      The development of the courseware should consider the state-of-the-art teaching
       approaches and various capabilities of students.
      The lessons must be appropriate to the local culture, environment and avoid
       sensitive issues. The lessons must adhere to the Malaysian National Curruculum.
      Lessons must incorporate the appropriate pedagogical practices, activity-based
       learning and student centeredness. Thinking skills and values must also be
      Lessons must ensure accuracy of facts, concepts, principles and grammar. The
       language used in the screen texts, narration and voice-overs must be of standard
       English (British). The narration and voice-overs must be undertaken by
       professionals or trained personnel.
      Lessons must allow for teachers to pause to give time for students to engage in
       some activities.
      A lesson must comprise of the following features:

           o   Objective
           o   Introduction
           o   Contents
           o   Activities
           o   Evaluation
           o   Summary
           o   Extension
           o   Glossary
           o   Teacher’s resources

      End-user equipment:
          o Minimum Pentium 3-800 mhz or equivalent
          o Content should be viewable from display system that supports 800x600
             pixel resolution and 16-bit/thousand colours.
          o For remote schools, laptops and television set powered by generators
          o Laptop standard: Pentium 4 1.8Mhz, 20 GB HD, 14.1 TFT LCD,
             common resolution 1024x768 pixels.


Sharifah Maimunah bt. Syed Zin (2003). The Crucial Role of English in the
Implementation of the “Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English” Policy with
Highlights on Support Programmes in English Last retrieved 15 May

Zaidi Yazid (2003). Support for Science and Mathematics Teachers in The
Implementation of PPSMI: Challenges Ahead and Strategies to
Sustain The Momentum Last retrieved 16 May 2006.

ETeMS Homepage. Last retrieved 14 May 2006.

MySchoolNet Homepage. Last retrieved 14 May


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