Research Item (21)
Given the long establishment of English as an international lingua franca, the motivation of English learning among the English as foreign language (EFL) learners is still a challenging issue faced by EFL teachers in some contexts. In this study, a survey was conducted with 158 EFL learners in a university in the southern Lao PDR to explore factors that negatively impacted on their motivation to learn English. The results of factor analysis revealed that they reported five dimensions of demotivation in EFL learning, namely, difficulty to achieve linguistic accuracy, negative attitudes toward English, curriculum issues, lack of supports and resources, and foreign language anxiety. The findings of this study offered the directions to cultivate the motivation of EFL learning among the EFL learners in the Lao PDR. In addition, the findings also pointed to the possibility of viewing motivation and demotivation as the two ends of a continuum of L2 motivation; rather than describing these two notions using noncongruent frameworks as currently practiced by both L2 motivation and demotivation researchers.
Foreign language anxiety is common among adult learners, especially those who lack exposure to the language that they are learning. In this study, we compared the foreign language anxiety experienced by monolingual and bilingual tertiary students in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) who were learning English as a Foreign Language. The monolingual students were learning English as their L2, while the bilingual students were learning it as their L3. In general, both groups of EFL learners reported moderate to high levels of foreign language anxiety in relation to EFL learning. In comparison to the monolingual students, the bilingual students were reportedly feeling more comfortable to be with the native speakers of English and had increased self-confidence in using English. This finding was noteworthy since the bilingual students actually received less encouragement from their English teachers in the learning process and they also used less English in their everyday communication. Together, the findings highlighted positive multilingual effects in linguistic self-confidence, which could be useful in reducing foreign language anxiety among multilingual individuals.
- Jun 2017
Many developing countries still face a scarcity of resources and expertise to provide quality education to school-age students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Despite efforts to promote inclusive education for these students, progress is slow due to the lack of multidisciplinary supporting services such as speech and language therapy. In this study, focused-group interviews were conducted with a sample of seven final-year pre-service special education teachers in Malaysia. The pre-service teachers reported minimal to moderate knowledge about ASD and the lack of knowledge about the specific strategies to teach language and communication skills to students with ASD. Based on the findings, the ways to better prepare pre-service teachers to address the speech, language and communication needs of students with ASD in Malaysia are discussed.
- Jan 2017
Code-switching is common in certain English as Second Language (ESL) classrooms in Malaysia. In this study, a survey method was used to account for the impacts of macro-level socio-environmental factors such as school type, school size and class size on ESL teachers' attitudes towards classroom code-switching. The results showed that in general, teachers reported positive attitudes towards classroom code-switching in relation to teachers' persona, subject access, classroom management and interpersonal relationships. Correlation and regression analyses showed that teaching experience was a significant predictor of teachers' attitudes towards classroom code-switching in relation to teachers' persona; while the matching of teachers' and students' ethnicity was a significant predictor of teachers' attitudes towards classroom code-switching in relation to interpersonal relationships. The findings contributed the insights that different socio-environmental factors provided explanations for different aspects of teachers' attitudes towards classroom code-switching. The interplay of factors affecting teachers' attitudes on classroom code-switching is multidimensional and should only be interpreted by considering all possible factors involved.
- Dec 2016
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the perception, awareness, societal attitude, and knowledge about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Malaysian medical students. Methods: An exploratory survey was conducted with 83 medical students in Malaysia. In the survey, the medical students were required to rate their perception, awareness, societal attitude, and their recognition of ASD symptoms. Results: The results showed the senior medical students had increased knowledge about ASD symptoms compared to the juniors, but there was no clear indicator that they had obtained the knowledge through formal training. Specifically, the medical students could better identify symptoms related to restrictive and fixation behavioral patterns than social communicative deficits. While considering the effects of societal attitude, year of study, perception about ASD course and other demographic variables, the year of study emerged as the sole predictor of the medical students’ knowledge about ASD. Conclusion: The findings from this study provided evidence for the need of compulsory training on ASD in medical schools in improve the knowledge and skills of prospective medical practitioners to identify individuals with ASD. Such effort is fundamental for the early identification and intervention of ASD in developing countries such as Malaysia.
- Jun 2016
International Journal of Research in Social Science, June 2016, 6 (6). The interplay between teachers' professional identities and their contextual factors in Malaysia and Bangladesh were compared in the study. The study employed the use of a qualitative approach through structured interviews and discussion with novice teachers in the two regions in Asia. A purposive sampling procedure was used in the selection of schools and teachers to be interviewed. The uniqueness of schools selected was of paramount important as selection was purposively done to private, public and semi-private schools from where novice teachers with less than three (3) years experiences were selected. Novice teachers of different cultural backgrounds in the selected schools within each of Malaysia and Bangladesh context were used in the study. Analysis and findings obtained from interviews and discussion with novice teachers on their identities based on the sub-identities and contextual factors of personal, school, challenge, language, training, and teachers‟ status revealed that the professional identities of teachers in both countries were not too different from each other. Findings revealed that Malaysia and Bangladesh teachers go into the teaching profession because they feel it is a noble profession as well as derive fulfillment and satisfaction therein even though to some, teaching was due to economic pressure. Besides, finding also revealed among others that the negative school context perspective of teachers as well as their training development and teachers‟ status occasioned by low salary level destabilizes teachers‟ identity in Malaysia and Bangladesh in like manner. Implications, conclusion and recommendations such as provision of improved working condition totally void of excess workloads, salary and training, other associated social benefits as enhancement to teachers‟ status and image in Malaysia and Bangladesh for repositioning teacher identity within the various context were made.
- Dec 2015
Globally, journal publication index is used as a key indicator to measure university performance. At the macro level, it contributes to the university ranking. At the micro level, it reflects academicians' scholarship values and credentials. Over the last decade, tertiary education has rapidly grown in the Asia Pacific region. Tertiary institutions are competing among themselves nationally and regionally for university ranking, student intake and research funding. These three elements have numerical figures that are inter-related and powerful enough to dictate the fate and survival of an institution. Journal publication output plays a big role in this numerical game. For that reason, it is the topmost interest of many institutions and faculties to boost research writing output of their members. Paradoxically, minimal efforts have been made in the majority of instances to understand the needs and obstacles for such an aim to be realised. In this study, a preliminary attempt was made to gather the views and perceptions of academicians from an educational faculty in Malaysia. The data were collected via an online survey. The findings informed that academicians were facing different sets of challenges in different stages of their careers. Beginners reported the lack of technical support as the major hindering factor faced by them in producing academic output while the more senior members identified personal factors such as paradigm shift and motivation as the major hindering factors faced by them. Thus, the differential needs of academicians need to be acknowledged and to be supported with suitable mechanisms and catalysts.
Doctor of Education (EdD) is a doctoral level program which is becoming popular in modern times. Additional to the PhD program, professional doctoral program is the highest academic degree program offered in universities. However, many people are not aware of the differences between EdD and PhD programs. The lack of understanding leads to misinterpretation and unrealistic expectation of this program. The inaccurate perception of this program may cause issues in candidate selection, supervision and also in regards to the direction, quality and credential of EdD graduates. This paper consists of literature review that examines these issues, particularly in relation to the dilemmas and challenges faced by the faculty administration in the management of EdD program. The fi ndings from this literature review will be used to plan the development of EdD program, which would benefi t both the students and the administers. Most importantly, it is hoped that the fi ndings would contribute to the development of EdD program in producing high-quality educators for local and international educational institutions.
Fluency is one of the five components of reading competency alongside with phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary and comprehension. It is related to reading comprehension and it can be used to predict the reading competency of a reader. However, research on such relationship is limited in ESL context. Hence, the purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between three sub-skills of fluency (accuracy, reading rate and prosody) and reading comprehension among a sample of ESL students in a Malaysian school. It also aims to examine the concurrent validity of using the objective (i.e. reading accuracy and rate) and subjective (reading prosody) measures of fluency. It is hoped that the findings could shed light in identifying the possible methods of assessing oral reading fluency in ESL classrooms. The participants were 67 lower secondary school students who learn English as their second language. The students completed a reading comprehension test and then they were asked to read aloud the texts used in the test, individually. The individual reading sessions were audio recorded for the analysis of three sub-skills of reading fluency. Bivariate correlation analysis was then conducted to measure the strength of relationships with reading comprehension. The results revealed that all three sub-skills of fluency were strongly correlated with reading comprehension. Both objective (accuracy and reading rate) and subjective (prosody) rating scales were strongly related, and thus could be used in parallel or interchangeably in the assessment of oral reading fluency. The findings provided evidence that in line with the research findings in English as the first language contexts, reading fluency is closely associated with reading comprehension in an ESL context. © 2014, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Press. All rights reserved.
Pre-service special educators' Malay word structure knowledge was assessed through their analysis of words. A total of 69 participants analysed a vocabulary list based on a set of criteria formulated from the Malay language word structure. Results indicated that they were able to count syllables and phonemes, and identify types of affixations; however, they were unable to identify syllabic structures and word categories accurately. The morphemic and phonetic structure of words also had a moderating effect on their analysis of syllabic structures. The results implied that pre-service teachers of a transparent language still needed explicit instruction in grapheme–phoneme skills, phonic skills, morphological structure and word categories, but less instruction on phonological structure.
This article traces the evolution of special education in Malaysia across four chronological stages: before and during the early colonial period (before 1900), pre-independence (1900–1957), post-independence (1957–1990) and modern Malaysia (1990 to the present), through document analysis. By placing current issues and trends within a historical perspective, we can provide a context for understanding current practices in relation to shifts in policy paradigms. The effects of policy changes throughout the years are discussed in the context of issues facing special education today. Identifiable areas of improvements are organised into eight themes: (1) provision of education for students with special needs and the degree to which they are inclusive; (2) encouragement of diversity within highly structured education systems; (3) the importance of funding; (4) restructuring pre-service teacher preparation; (5) multidisciplinary support and collaboration; (6) programme outcomes; (7) provision of related services; and (8) epidemiological data.
The prevalence of autism is increasing globally. While most of the published works are done in the Western and European countries, the trend in autism research is shifting towards the Asian continent recently. In this review, we aimed to highlight the current prevalence, diagnosis, treatment and research on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Singapore and Malaysia. Based on database searches, we found that the awareness about autism among lay and professional public is higher in Singapore compared to Malaysia. The special education system and approach towards autism treatment is also different between both societies although the culture is similar and the geographic location is close. Main findings and implications were discussed in this review. The lack of study on autism prevalence in this part of the world commands a critical need for further research. Perhaps more collaborative work between both countries could be done to expand the knowledge in autism. © 2014, International Journal of Special Education. All rights reserved.
- Jan 2014
The Online Malay Language Corpus-based Lexical Database for Primary Schools discussed in this paper is a long-term research project by the School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia. Based on a corpus of Malay language textbooks used in primary schools, the project aims to develop a lexical database of Malay words commonly encountered by elementary school children in Malaysia. Available online, the database has an interactive interface that allows users to search in real-time primary linguistic features such as word frequency, word length, phoneme length, number and type of syllables, as well as word category. The database has proven to be a useful resource for both researchers and practitioners who use it to identify linguistically and culturally appropriate sets of word stimuli for material development, language assessment, language teaching, and language remediation. These applications facilitate and promote evidence-based teaching and research practices pertaining to reading acquisition in the Malay language. The system has undergone initial validation and is continuously being revised and expanded to improve on its usability, readability, and accuracy.
- Jul 2013
The inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream regular schools has been seen as the best practice in special education provision, most markedly since the 90s. International research has provided amassing evidence towards the advantages of inclusive model over a segregation model of special education provision. However, nearly two decades after the signing of the international pledge, namely the Salamanca Statement (UNESCO) towards accepting inclusive education, Malaysia has not yet fully gained the momentum to implement inclusive education for children with special needs, especially for children identified within the category of learning disabilities. Because of the delay in policy implementation, inclusive education remains sparingly practiced in some schools without formal support. This study aims to investigate a scenario of this practice in a mainstream primary school via interviewing the regular teachers. The ultimate aim of this investigation is to identify ways to move forward from the current practice of ‘unconscious inclusion’.
Abstract Malay is described as an alphabetic language with salient syllabic structures. In our attempt to develop a reading intervention program for early Malay struggling readers, word analysis of Malay children's stories was conducted. Additionally, in order to have a better understanding of Malay word structures, a cross-linguistic comparison with English was attempted. The results indicate significant cross-language differences for Malay and English words in terms of phoneme-grapheme correspondences, syllabic structure and types of ...
Scholarly output, particularly in the form of journal publication is a key indicator in various levels of university performance. It contributes to university ranking, faculty ranking and academicians scholarship credentials. Therefore, scholarly output has become a standard measure used to determine intake, promotion and tenure renewal of academicians at the faculty and university levels. In this paper, the Deans office of an education faculty in a Malaysia university collected and analyzed the faculty members journal publication outputs in 2011 as a way to determine the directions to move forward. From an integrated quantitative and qualitative investigation, research supervision and group publication were identified as the major catalysts for research publications. The findings informed the importance of project development and training in these two areas.
Many novice researchers are encouraged to write and publish for the benefit of their careers. However, not many researchers have successfully published in the top-tier journals. Previous research on the writing outputs of researchers provided evidence that the organization of writing is among the major weaknesses which hinders this group of researchers. This paper aims to scrutinize the common issues and mistakes related to the writing practice of novice writers based on the research reports. Our investigation took place via content analysis of a database of manuscripts obtained from 23 postgraduate students, and reviewed by two experienced guest editors. The editorial remarks were analyzed and summarized using an analytical framework by Jaroongkhongdach, Todd, Keyuravong and Hall (2012) which observes five different aspects of manuscript quality. The five aspects include: justification, clarity, coherence, appropriateness and awareness. The findings indicated that many writers in this study lack awareness about research writing. The lack of this technical knowledge severely impacts the conceptualization of their written outputs. Consequently, they could not achieve the expected appropriateness in the construction of their writing in terms of justification, clarity and coherence issues of their texts. It is essential to understand the writing issues that are faced by the novice writer, so that suitable strategies could be identified to help these novice writers and potentially others to overcome their obstacles in writing.
- Jul 2012
Dyslexia remediation in Malay is still in its infancy stage of development. In this case study, a pilot treatment decoding program in Malay was developed and trialed with a child with dyslexia. The treatment program made use of the widely researched English reading remedial principles as a starting point for a remediation. The results indicated that even though the student showed progress in phonological awareness skills and letter-sound knowledge in isolation, these skills did not generalize into word decoding. The major lesson learned is that phonological processing skills need to be taught within a real word context and that the word structure of a language should be considered when designing decoding instruction. Another lesson learned is the need for metacognitive procedures to prompt students to analyze words accurately.
- Apr 2012
Cross-linguistic studies showed that young readers are sensitive to the orthographic and phonological structures of the languages in use. In our attempt to develop a Malay reading remedial programme, we conducted a word count analysis on Year 1 and Year 2 Malay textbooks. The results provided empirical evidence to describe the orthographic and phonological features of Malay, which functions to inform the cross-linguistic adaptations needed for a Malay-reading remedial programme. The results revealed that words with single-letter grapheme are common, and grapheme–phoneme mappings are transparent in the Malay language. However, different from English, monosyllabic words are few in the Malay language. The under-representation of monosyllabic words necessitates the use of two-syllabic words as the primary set of word stimuli for a reading remedial programme. It is also shown that the Malay language is more complex at the syllabic and morphological levels, which we argue will affect word reading acquisition, despite having a transparent orthography.
- Dec 2011
Background: Globally, there is an increased prevalence of preschool and school-age children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Current reports show that about one in every 110 children fall within this category of disorders. Consequently, the successful inclusion of these children in both regular and special education classes is becoming a critical issue to address. Aims and methods: In this paper, attention is placed on the children' speech, language and communication skills which are the primary deficits associated with this category of disorders. Approaching it from the perspective of speech and language therapy, this paper will offer insights and suggestions to educators in regular schools and special education programs on how to teach speech, language and communication skills to young children with severe Autism Spectrum Disorders. A case study is illustrated to provide the objective exemplar of how a child with severe ASD could learn and improve once being given the appropriate, evident-based and individualized teaching management and intervention. Conclusion: The teaching of speech, language and communication skills to children with severe ASD requires a prior understanding of their behavioral patterns and learning styles. The teaching could be targeted to help them to develop the deficient skills and to use compensatory strategies to facilitate communication. A better understanding of how to teach children with severe ASD in schools will lead to a better teaching and learning experience to both the teachers and the children, with important implications on promoting sustainable inclusive education for these children.
- Nov 2010
This paper reports the findings of a survey of 100 mothers of Chinese children aged between 6 and 36 months from middle to upper-middle socio-economic backgrounds in Penang, Malaysia. The findings include the language backgrounds of these mothers, their contextual uses of multiple languages and their language choices with their children. Through this survey, the mothers' multilingual language use practices with their young children were profiled. The primary function of this profiling was to identify the type of language learning context experienced by the mothers' young Penang-Chinese children and to assist in predicting the pattern of language shift taking place in their households.