Academic journal article International Education Studies

Investigating Malaysian Secondary School Mathematics Teachers' Perception of National Philosophy of Education

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Investigating Malaysian Secondary School Mathematics Teachers' Perception of National Philosophy of Education

Article excerpt


The purpose of this study is to investigate the Malaysian secondary schools mathematics teachers' perceptions towards the National Philosophy of Education (NPE) and its applications in their teaching practices in their classes. A qualitative and case study approach was used for this study. The participants were secondary schools teachers of mathematics with at least three years of teaching experiences in eighth grade (Form 2), who were selected using the snowball sampling method. Due to the aim of this study and in order to identify the teachers' perceptions of the national philosophy of education, interviews were conducted with seven teachers, and it was counterchecked with the documents of the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Malaysia to find out how familiar the participants were with the MOE aims and guidelines. Moreover, observations were conducted to examine teaching practices of the teachers to find out how they reflect on the guidelines of Malaysia MOE in determining their teaching practices. Analysis of the data revealed that the teachers had some knowledge of national philosophy of education in Malaysia. However, they had different perspectives of the aims and objectives of NPE so that each of them came up with her own approach. Furthermore, the teachers and MOE aims were to build up individuals who deeply believe in God and they attempted to adopt the educational syllabus of Malaysian schools to achieve the national goals toward producing the knowledgeable and competent students in Malaysia.

Keywords: mathematics teachers, national philosophy of education, ministry of education Malaysian, mathematics, educational mathematics

1. Introduction

Mathematics education has always been treated as an important section of general education and specifically science education (Shahrill & Clarke, 2014). Mathematics became the driving force for almost all technological and scientific developments in the 19th and 20th century. Scientific and mathematical models and their transformation into technology had big influence on natural, economies, and social sciences (Reyna & Brainerd, 2007). They also had large impact on all activities in the professional, social and daily life (Maasz & Schloeglmann, 2006).

Formal Education in Malaysia dates back to the time that the country was a British colony. Before that, education in Malaysia was intended only to teach some life skills to students. For example, the first College in Malaysia, that is, Sultan Idris Training College (today is called Universiti Pendelikon Sultan Idris) was established in 1922 to train Malaysian teachers how were to teach skills such as, weaving and planting chilies and papayas, and some basic reading and writing competencies at the minimum level (H. Ismail & M. Ismail, 2011). When British entered Malaysia, they started a reform in Malaysian educational system. A British officer (Dussek) was appointed as the head of the Sultan Idris College and he started compiling basic textbooks for educational use. Then, some mathematics textbooks were published for the first time to be used at the Malaysian schools (H. Ismail & M. Ismail, 2011). The British build new system of education in Malaysia based on a secular education using the Western styles. The British curriculum that was implemented in colonized India in 1850s was adopted in Malaysia as well. The first mathematics textbook was called Kitab Hisab written by Durell which includes logic, algebra, and geometry (H. Ismail & M. Ismail, 2011). In 1967, modern mathematics was implemented in Malaysia by a Scottish Mathematics group. This group was inspired by a western mathematical philosophy, that is, laicism by Russell and it was adopted in the schools in Malaysia till 1980s when a reform in education took place and a holistic and integrated philosophy in education was introduced (H. Ismail & M. Ismail, 2011).

In the early years after the independence of the country in 1965, Malaysian educators tried to make some changes in the education system to fulfill the needs of the nation and to promote national unity. …

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