Good teachers are good learners
To teach is to learn. This is what Noor Iskandar bin Salleh, 42, a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Ibrahim Sultan Polytechnic, Malaysia, believes in. “Technology and the world are changing very fast,” he says. “It’s not just our students having to face these changes. Teachers must face them too. If we grasp these changes and learn quickly, we can guide our students better.”
Mr Noor Iskandar has just emerged from a class on computer-aided manufacturing, which is part of the Programme in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). “I keep myself updated through such courses,” he says. In this TVET session, Malaysian engineering educators get to explore multi-axis technology, which uses a computer numerical control to move a part or cutting tool along five different axes simultaneously, so that complex products can be created.
Faridah binti Tajuddin, 36, finds multi-axis technology exciting for intricate creations. She was a drafter and designer before deciding to give back to society through teaching. She now lectures at the Johor Skills Development Centre. Often on her mind are the ways to improve the quality of education for her students.
“I want my students to be updated on the latest practices in the industry,” she says. “By being aware of what is out there, they feel less afraid and more empowered.” Apart from skills and technical know-how, Ms Faridah reminds her students that self-directed research and a great attitude are also invaluable.
For Mr Noor Iskandar, employability is just one of his hopes for his students. He wants them to also stay passionate about learning – even after entering the job market. “When you keep learning, you’ll find it easier to pick up new things,” he says. “This way, you won’t fall behind.”
Participants from Ibrahim Sultan Polytechnic and the Johor Skills Development Centre, Johor, Malaysia, in: Programme in Technical and Vocational Education and Training by ITE Education Services, Singapore, and Temasek Foundation International
Text by Wong Shu Yun.
*More of such stories can be found in Temasek Foundation International's 10th anniversary commemorative book 'Leading Journeys: Inspirations for Asia and Beyond".