Welcome to CYB| Chea-Yee's Blog.

This blog captures the musings and anecdotes of the daily life of a Malaysian who is now living in Melbourne, Australia.


The status of pre-school teachers in Malaysia.

What do you visualise when someone mentions that they are "pre-school teachers?"

I have been in this line for a while. I've known and met the preschool teachers in this field.
What is my perspective?

Granted, lots of pre-school teachers in Malaysia are not trained. In what sense?

Lots of them come out with a Form 5 education (SPM) and think that they are TOO qualified to teach preschoolers. That all pre-schoolers need to know is to learn A, B, C, 1, 2, 3, and that teaching pre-schoolers is peanuts.


What is my opinion?


How can any preschool teachers tell anyone that they are fully trained if they've not heard terms/words/people like,

the acronym P.I.L.E.S,

Piaget, Freud, Parten, Montessori, Holistic development, Normalization, Attachment, Manipulatives,
Scaffolding, Play, Observation,

or at the very least The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

and etc.

That's a bloody bullshit un-trained employee. (I shall not even dare to call her a teacher).


In Australia, to be even qualified or work as a pre-school teacher, one needs to have a 4 year Bachelor of Education (Honours), before one is qualified to teach. That also adds to the credit point system when one applies for PR in Australia.

Employees who hold a 3 year Bachelor of Childhood Studies can only be employed as the principal. Granted, I can truthfully say, teachers there are more highly paid than the managers because of the extra year of studies.

When I was reading through my Value of Play textbook today, I was reminded of my childhood time. How rare is it to find a keen observant trained teacher who is patient and sensitive to the needs of a child?

Regarding the current-parents-pushing-the-pre-school-kids-to-excel-academically-trend that is happening in Malaysia as well in other parts of Asia, what most that I reflected upon was the use of play in terms of helping children socialise and playing with other children. A lot of developmentally delayed or special needs children have trouble entering play sessions with other normal kids.

What a lot of pre-school teachers here lack is that understanding that, how children are as kids,
will affect them as they grow, is if it is not dealt with as a child.

How is Play a cornerstone of Development?

Parents are always pushing kids to excel academically, but forget the socialisation part of the child's development. As a result, I'd say, many kids grow up to excel academically but the personality is stilted.

Below are some traits that adults take for granted, but expect children to have as they grow and start relationships. If they don't practise, how can they acquire good traits, may I BOLDLY ask?

Play develops Symbolic Thought.
The ability to transform objects or situations, through the use of imagination, into meanings that are different from the original object/situation forms the foundation for intellectual development and communication.
Symbolic Role Play is a trait relevant to adults in the sense that it allows a chld to create pretend roles and situations without the use of costumes and props. Children move from playing using props to without props.
It is relevant to adult life, as for situations where props are not available such as in confrontations,
interviews, thinking long term and egocentrism.
It also requires mental effort on the part of the child, where "they engage in symbolic transformations in their play, the use of objects which do not resemble what they symbolise calls for mental effort....The greater the distance, the more intellectually demanding play becomes."
Playing with peers requires perspectivism, in which the ability to take viewpoint of others in order to negotiate group play situations.
How is this relevant to adult life? People are seen to be egocentric when they are not able to take to understand or take on another person's viewpoint.
I still know someone who is SO like that.....(shall not name names!)

It involves inventing strategies. When playing with games, "the player is required to reflect on the relationship of all the players within the framework of the rules".

"These and similar meta-cognitive demands on the skilled games player require even further levels of distancing in order to view both social and symbolic behaviour from an objective stance- and then use that information to formulate a strategy" (Kamii & Devries, 1980; Zan, 1996).

Distancing- degree to which a transformed object represents what it is intended to symbolize.
I find it relevant to me, because as a child, I remember one time, I was so pissed off with losing a game of Monopoly with my family that I totally threw everything apart. and I was nine years old!!
Horrors! I can still remember what my mom said after that!

I can still remember that from long long ago...Thank gawd I don't do that anymore!!! Pity my valuables and makeup..

Playing involves Problem Solving

Flexibility in thinking that allows one to solve a problem from a fresh perspective or use a tool in a unique way is highly valued in the literature on critical thinking (Adams, 1976)

It is the same way as how an adult would talk through a problem, and the consequences they would face.

Research on children who are popular with peers indicates that childrn who are flexible in their thinking frequently come up with unique alternatives for resolving disputes and suggesting compromise.
"Conflicts and subsequent negotiations that occur as children shift from actors "in play" to directors "out of" play, force children to consider the perspectives of their playmates."
"Play based curricula can be beneficial for those children who are unable to resolve problems when they arise. This includes many children with emotional disturbances and children with developmental delays. ...Extended opportunities to interact with peers in play can support the development of problem solving skills."
Finally, something that includes scaffolding from the teacher. When children are not able to join in games or children, the tendency is that teachers will scold the children and expect them to let the "outsider" join in.

Do you for one instance even think that works? That RARELY RARELY works. I know, coz i was one of the outsiders before. Yup. When I was younger. 14 years old to be exact. The other kids just pulled a face and disliked the teacher more.


Anyway, back to the point (Guardian of the Gate) states that ways a sensitive pre-school teacher helps to intervene include introducing an accessory and suggesting a new role, among others. I believe that teachers, trained teachers, that is, can help mould and effectively change a child's outlook in life and how she approaches it. IN THE LONG RUN.

What do I say to that? I had to learn all this as a growing adult. And now there's even classes being held for adults on learning how to hold conversations and to enter social circles.


If only we learnt that as a kid in KINDERGARTEN!!

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