Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Understanding of Curriculum Philosophy among Trainee Teachers in Regards to Soft Skills Embedment

Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Understanding of Curriculum Philosophy among Trainee Teachers in Regards to Soft Skills Embedment

Article excerpt

Abstract

Curriculum philosophy may assist in learning practices that coincide with the philosophy of educational institution and community. This study was aimed to understand how the teacher trainees who pursued Bachelor of Teaching (PISMP) understand the embedment of soft skills into learning activities for core courses in Malaysian Institutes of Teacher Education (IPGMs). This is necessary because embedding soft skills is sometimes considered to be out of interest among the teacher trainees that may lead to neglect the aspects of soft skills development among them. The study was conducted using a case study methodology through the qualitative approach. The respondents comprised of nine teacher trainees from the final year of study. The results yielded the teacher trainees' beliefs and identified the ways soft skills were embedded among them as they pursued their course. The results of this study allowed those involved in the development of teacher trainees' soft skills to generate ideas to develop a model to embed soft skills, in line with the interpretation of soft skills, for the teacher trainees in the IPGM.

Keywords: learning, active teaching, embedding soft skills, case study, qualitative study

1. Introduction

Curriculum philosophy provide educators the knowledge on how students learn and what teaching methods are worthy practices, as well as the idea that learners? philosophies may evolve and continue to evolve along with personal growth and experiences (Omstein, Pajak, & Omstein, 2011). Thus, the best method of soft skills embedment should be by providing the softest skills learning experience for students.

Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of researches that focused on soft skills and were related to the field of soft skills characteristics (AC Nielsen Research Services, 2000; Assiter, 1995; Australian Council for Educational Research, 2001b; Barrie, 2006; Beckett & Hager, 2002; Bennett et al., 2000; Bowden et al., 2000; Clanchy & Ballard, 1995; De La Harpe et al., 2000; Dearing Commission, 1997; Department of Education Science and Training, 2005; Drummond et al., 1998; The Association of Graduate Recmiters, 1995). Yet, despite the interest in soft skills, there is still disagreement about how soft skills can be understood, defined, used, taught, and assessed in the field of education. Interests around the world for the study have resulted in diverse definitions of soft skills and development of soft skills among university students, which are rooted in several factors broadly classified either pedagogical or socio-economic. Pedagogically, situation learning theory suggests that humans would learn more effectively in situations that may give meaning to them. Based on this reason, the embedment of soft skills in the students? study programs or relevant contexts has continued to become the focus in the development of soft skills in higher education institutes.

Harvey et al. (1997) and Te Wiata (2001) found that students? ability to integrate and develop soft skills is connected with the development of confidence to apply soft skills in a new and different context, including in the workplace. In Malaysia, the development of soft skills among university students has been prescribed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) since 2006. Until today, almost all public institutions of higher learning have implemented their own soft skills development programs, guided by the soft skills development framework as proposed by the ministry. At the same time, in the context of other efforts outside the institution, students develop personal and professional skills while staying away from their family, travelling, doing charitable work, and the community also affects their self-confidence, and as a result, these enhance the ability of their employability market (Atkins, 1999). Learning experiences can be harnessed and translated into a class through reflection, but usually it does not occur until it is incorporated into the learning objectives, formally evaluated, and students accept the importance of soft skills in their future career (Bennett et al. …

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