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Helping Rural Students Through Intervention

Last update: 24/08/2010
By Nashir Mansor

TAWAU, Aug 24 (Bernama) -- Given a choice, the Orang Asli students prefer to follow their parents to gather rattan, resin and other jungle resources or to hunt wild animals instead of coming to school.

Thus, the Orang Asli schools suffered poor attendance and even when students came to school it was obvious that they lacked personal hygiene.

A study done on six Orang Asli schools in Peninsula two years ago found that intervention strategies implemented by teachers and their coaches under Instructional Coaching Programme helped improve student attendance and hygiene.

The first step that the coaches proposed to the teachers was to get the parents involved in the school and classroom activities including a competition for the best bathing technique and the best dressed child.

After three months, most of the non-attendees came to school voluntarily and regularly on their own without being accompanied by their parents. Besides, there was a vast improvement in their physical appearance as they looked clean and fresh after a morning shower and dressed in their freshly pressed school uniforms.


This is but just a peek into the success story of the Instructional Coaching Programme introduced by the Teacher Education Division, Ministry of Education.

The programme assists teachers in poor performing schools to solve some learning and related problems through collaboration between the schools and specially trained teachers who play the role of coaches.

Teachers in Sabah were the pioneers of the programme, said the programme's coordinator Dr Zaida Mustafa adding that about 101 excellent teachers and lecturers currently attached in the various Teacher Education Institutes in the state, have undergone the four-day programme.

They will go to the 144 schools in Sabah identified a low performers (largely due to poor public examination results) to help teachers resolve learning and other problems faced by these schools.

"This is an outreach programme and a smart partnership between excellent teachers and the school community," Dr Zaida told Bernama.


"Sometimes it happens that there are teachers in certain schools who have run out of ideas. They just need some new innovative ideas or technical support. Thus when these coaches come with a new perspective about classroom problems, these teachers might be able to rethink the right approach to solve the problems.

Therefore, Dr Zaida said the programme module assists teachers upgrade their students' capabilities and develop their self-potentials apart from identifying and developing the teacher's potentials and capabilities.

According to Dr Zaida the module comprises six core areas, namely Motivation, Instructional Coaching, Classroom Management Skills, Student Assessment Skills, Instructional Strategy Skills and Understanding Professional Learning Community.

"For me, this programme has been planned and arranged in such a way that we can identify the causes of learning difficulties in primary and secondary schools that result in the students' poor academic performance," Dr Zaida said.

Dr Zaida concluded that the smart partnership will build professional learning communities among teachers, schools and coaches. All the concerned parties will team up and look for the best approaches and practices to solve learning problems in schools which are considered obstacles for high learning performance. Solutions are generated collaboratively by the coaches and the school learning community.