Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Communication and Leadership Skills: A Comparative Study of the Malay Language Specialization Trainee Teachers in Malaysia

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Communication and Leadership Skills: A Comparative Study of the Malay Language Specialization Trainee Teachers in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Abstract

This research was conducted to compare generic skills involving the Malay language specialization students in Malaysia from two higher education institutions: a public university (PU) and a teacher training institute (TTI). The two skills investigated to study the 127 participants were communication skills and leadership skills. From the total number, 77 participants were from the PU and the remaining 50 from the TTI. The MyGSI instrument was employed to measure the skills and data were analyzed and reported into mean value. The findings suggested an acceptable account of mastery among the trainee teachers in both skills even though a higher proficiency was evident among the PU students. The study implicated 1) a further in-depth research on the syllabus of these institutions as to how the results were not at variance, 2) an effort for a standardization of an improved syllabus to encourage the production of excellent teachers across schools in Malaysia, and 3) a portfolio assessment among the students where the display of generic skills through program participation and management by the trainee teachers is graded officially by the training institutions.

Keywords: generic skills, communication and leadership, higher education, Malaysian teacher training

1. Introduction

Generic skills are part of the essentials for a person to function efficiently and holistically in everyday life and these skills have been addressed extensively at all levels of formal education in Malaysia especially the higher education. Generic skills are not only limited to the skills related to the subject matters in a student's major (Lizzio & Wilson, 2004), but rather, they include communication skills, teamwork skills, and problem-solving skills (Biggs, 1999) among others. In order to produce a generation of students with a great set of generic skills, teachers should be able to integrate the elements that encourage the development of these skills during the teaching and learning process. Thus, as a guide to school teachers, the Curriculum Development Center (1995) listed the skills that must be possessed by students for the purpose of career preparation, namely skills in: 1) communication, 2) technology and numerical application, 3) planning and administration, 4) teamwork, 5) problem-solving and decision-making, and 6) cross-cultural understanding. Naturally, it is imperative that these skills be mastered by trainee teachers in their training period in order to serve as effective future agents of socialization in the community. Apart from the prerequisite subject content mastery, the trainee teachers should also be acquainted with as many generic skills as possible to meet the requirement in the national education syllabus.

Quality teachers are not beyond reach, but will require significant investments. Some are naturally born with the appropriate pedagogical skills while others are willing to strive hard to develop these skills in them. Their roles are of crucial importance to ensure that the national agenda of progressing towards a developed country is achieved by the year 2020. This is evident in the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2006-2010 which expounded the role of education in developing knowledgeable and highly skilled individuals with good values to successfully achieve Vision 2020. Thus, this research attempted to investigate the level of generic skills among a group of future teachers in a public university (PU) and a teaching training institute (TTI) that focused on two aspects, namely communication, and leadership.

2. Problem Statement

The higher education institutions are the key players to foster the growth of the society, especially in empowering Malaysia as a knowledge-based developed country. Their roles transcend the traditional responsibility from merely expanding and promoting the culture of knowledge towards fulfilling the national aspiration and expectations. This shiftaims at producing outstanding students who are creative and innovative and rational thinkers with high self-discipline and moral values (Dickerson & Green, 2004; Hogarth & Wilson, 2005) in response to the national agenda of education (Hashamiza, 2004; Mohd Izham, 2011). …

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