A NATIONAL Seminar on Literacy 2014, entitled “Modified Approach Used in Sound Blending to Address Malay Literacy Difficulties Among Students”, was held at the Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College (MDPMAMB) on September 8.
Organised by the Special Education Unit (SEU) under the Ministry of Education, the National Seminar was aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge of challenges faced by students when reading and writing in Malay.
Around 450 participants comprising principals from both primary and secondary schools, officers from various departments within the Ministry of Education, officers from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, special education needs assistance (SENA) teachers, home room teachers of the Pre-Vocational Programme and Subject Teachers attended the seminar.
The National Seminar began with a welcoming speech from Pengiran Sarimah binti Pengiran Haji Ahmad, the Acting Head of SEU cum Chairperson of the National Seminar and Workshop on Literacy 2014.
In her speech, Pengiran Sarimah stated that the learning support progamme was first introduced by the Special Education Needs Coordinators (SENCO) within primary schools with guidance and advice from Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr Isahak Haron in 2013.
The programme consisted of a Guidelines Package, Learning Methods and Assessment Methods which were used as reference materials for SENA teachers in developing and improving Malay literacy among students. These were distributed to every primary school who employed SENA teachers in November 2013.
Pengiran Sarimah also expressed her desire for participants to become resource teachers or mentors in assisting other teachers develop their teaching skills in resolving literacy difficulties among students. This is consistent with the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Education, which has identified teaching and learning excellence, professionalism and accountability and efficiency and innovativeness as the areas of focus in its five-year plan.
The guest of honour at the seminar was Datin Dr Hajah Asmah binti Haji Morni, the Acting Director General of Education, who in her speech stated that the outcome of the implementation of this learning support programme based on the ‘Modified Approach Used in Sound Blending to Address Malay Literacy Difficulties Among Students’ by SENA teachers in Brunei Darussalam has been very promising.
Within six months of implementation, 84 per cent of students in the learning support programme have shown improvement in their Malay reading proficiency while 87 per cent of students have shown improvement in their Malay writing ability.
Datin Dr Hajah Asmah went on to encourage SENA teachers to continue in their efforts to ensure positive outcome for these students.
A lecture on ‘The Use of a Modified Approach in Sound Blending Promotes Early Malay Reading and Writing Skills’ was then delivered by Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr Isahak Haron, Senior Research Fellow from the Faculty of Education in University of Malaya, Malaysia.
Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr Isahak Haron will also be conducting a workshop – held in the afternoons over the three days subsequent to the National Seminar – and he will be working in the capacity of an adviser to ensure the successful implementation of learning support programmes based on the principles included in the Modification Approach.
The participants will include SENA teachers, home room teachers and officers from the SEU as well as officers from the Department of Schools. The workshop is aimed to develop and enhance participants’ knowledge and skills in using the Modification Approach in syllable combinations to improve Malay literacy skills among students.