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THE STAR Tuesday 5 May 2015

StarSpecial

Accessible
learning

Hands-on approach to science > 5

Early start to gaining language skills > 9

2 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

T is poetic fate that a word


that originated from the Greek
tekhn, which means art or
craft, is continuously weaving
itself into the fabrics of our
academic lives. Discussions on
the importance of technology
in education from preschool to
postgraduate levels continue to
evolve today.
There are many benefits from
technology throughout history
enhanced learning, beginning
from the humble abacus in aiding
calculations to massive open
online courses (MOOC), which
allow education to be free and
accessible to anyone with access
to the Internet.
Author Isaac Asimovs
prediction of technology taking
over the world now seems closer
to reality. In South Korea, for
example, hundreds of robots have
already been hired as teacher
aides, classroom playmates and
foreign language instructors.

Moving with the times


The broader use of ICT

A futuristic norm

The transition from blackboard


to laptop has brought about
changes in how society
participates in the delivery
of education.
Among the efforts by the
Malaysian Government to expand
the delivery of education to rural
areas in peninsular Malaysia were
the launch of Radio Broadcasting
Services to Schools on May 2,
1966 and the introduction of TV
Pendidikan in 1972.
Malaysian children who grew
up in the 1970s enjoyed a variety
of educational programmes
that were available for free on
RTMs TV1 from Monday to
Thursday with a highlight on local
curriculum subjects.
The medium of instruction was
diverse and included childrens
theatre, storytelling clubs and
animation of local fables such as
the tales of the smart and witty
Sang Kancil.
It also brought about the
boom of educational game shows
catered to children such as Pintar
Pintas (a general knowledge and
physical obstacle quiz), Di Mana
Joe Jambul (deduction skills and
knowledge on geography) and
ALONG (mathematics).
The early 1990s ushered in the
era of computers in Malaysian
classrooms. The Education
Ministry implemented several
educational projects such as the
Integrated Learning System and
the supply of computers as the
main activity in the provision of
ICT infrastructure.
The use of ICT in education is so
common now that schools find it
unnecessary to create a separate
class to teach the subject.
Karen McClymont, principal
of Rafflesia International and
Private Schools Kajang, agrees
that the use of technology to
enhance education is no longer a
novelty as the tools blend into the
background and the outcome of
learning becomes a central point.

Technology has aided learning throughtout the centuries, from the humble abacus to the modern tablet.

The use of ICT


in education is
so common now
that schools find
it unnecessary to
create a separate
class to teach the
subject. The use
of technology to
enhance education is
no longer a novelty
as the tools blend
into the background
and the outcome of
learning becomes a
central point.
ICT allows learning to take place anywhere and anytime.
John Fancourt, McClymonts
colleague from Rafflesia
International and Private Schools
Puchong, adds, I wonder if
students even see ICT as a
separate subject, as it frees up
the education process and allows

them to learn anywhere.


Principal of Epsom College in
Malaysia, Martin George, believes
that the idea that only ICT teachers
use technology is well out of date
as ICT is no longer restricted to
computer laboratories.

Some younger teachers


would have been brought up in a
technological environment much
closer to that of the pupils than of
their parents, he says.

Technology and the


human touch

Students with special needs

The uses of technology are


transcending the borders
of traditional classrooms.
Educators are rightly embracing
this evolution in subject matters
not traditionally associated
with the image of a student
sitting in front of a computer.
Here are some insights from
educators who use technology
in teaching:
Technology/ICT is useful
when students want to educate
themselves more about the art
form or to practise a certain
move with the help of YouTube.
Watching videos also helps to
motivate children who aspire to
emulate a trainer they see.
Marissa Parry, owner of Casa
do Capoeira and martial arts
instructor at Alice Smith, GIS,
MKIS, ELC, ISKL.
I have found the use of
technology to be helpful with
children (from age six) who
have learning difficulties such
as dyslexia, dysgraphia and
dyscalculia and who depend
on a wide variety of learning
approaches and platforms for
them to explore seemingly
simple skills and tasks that
are often very challenging to
them. Queenie Tan, educator
(Montessori and special needs).
I use technology to teach
students how to use phone
apps to track their eating
habits and my students use this
information to create and plan
better, healthier meals. Beth
Ann Dagitses, physical and
health education teacher, UCSI
Springhill.
have also been benefiting from
technology-enhanced learning
via augmented reality (AR) a
technology where information
about the real world surrounding
the user becomes interactive and
digitally manipulatable.
AR eye-glasses help students
with hearing impairments
to instantly visualise the
conversation around them in the
form of speech bubbles that also
indicate the direction the voice
and sounds are coming from.
A joint research paper funded
by the Science, Technology
and Innovation Ministry titled
Potential for Providing Augmented
Reality Elements in Special
Education via Cloud Computing
states that AR has been praised
by Malaysian special education
teachers for encouraging
teamwork and helping students
become more confident and
motivated.
>> SEE PAGE 4

StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

NTERNATIONAL schools in the


country have a reputation for
providing a holistic, quality
educational experience through a
curriculum and syllabus primarily
from the United Kingdom.
For this reason, parents,
especially those who intend to
send their children overseas for
tertiary education, are willing
to pay a substantial amount of
money annually for international
school fees.
Epsom College in Malaysia
(ECiM) adheres to similar
standards of education provision
as an international boarding
school.
Opportunities for collaborative
learning are widely available via
ECiMs close link with Epsom
College in the United Kingdom.
This sort of quality education
comes with its costs but parents
can rest assured that their
children will gain valuable
experiences and a wealth of
knowledge in return.

Recipe for success

ECiMs curriculum is modelled


after the English National
Curriculum throughout all levels
of schooling.
l Prep School (ages three to
11) children learn through play in
the Early Years programme with
plenty of instruction in numeracy
and literacy.
l Students in Years 7 and 8
(ages 11 to 13) follow a broad
curriculum in preparation for the
start of the International General
Certificate of Secondary Education
(IGCSE) in Year 9 (ages 13 and 14).
l Years 10 and 11 (ages 14
to 16) students take anything

BRIGHT KIDS 3

Pursuing valuable learning


At ECiM students are encouraged to explore their potential through a range
of activities.

A broad curriculum combined with high-quality pastoral care allows students to


develop self-reliance and confidence.
between the 8 and 11 IGCSE
subjects, including languages,
science and mathematics.
l Sixth Form (ages 16 to 18)
students choose three or four
A-Levels subjects out of the 20
offered. Students may also opt to
do a personal project under the
Extended Project Qualification,
which prepares them for
applications to top universities
around the world.
Participation in extracurricular
activities and sports is also
encouraged at ECiM, in the
belief that healthy bodies are as
important as healthy minds.
Students can get involved in

sports such as cricket, rugby,


basketball, water polo, hockey and
squash.
The artistically inclined can
choose from individual music
tuition classes to orchestras,
choirs, ensembles, examined
drama and college or professional
theatre productions to immerse
themselves in.

Sense of value

Headmaster of ECiM,
Martin George, believes that
students who board in an
international school are privy
to a host of benefits, primarily
the opportunity to develop self-

reliance and confidence in an


environment of security, safety
and challenge.
Living with peers of
various backgrounds nurtures
understanding and tolerance
among students, teaching them
to be supportive of others, says
George.
He adds that parents need
not worry about the safety of
their children as the high-quality
pastoral care provided at ECiM
allows children to thrive and
develop through the attention,
support and advice of experienced
boarding staff.
ECiM takes pride in moulding
students based on the three
core values of good manners,
selflessness and hard work.
Tolerance, respect, global
awareness and leadership are also
instilled through lessons and daily
interaction.
Good academic qualifications

are all very well, but on their own,


they are only a partial preparation
for life. Children need to believe
in a set of values that they can
rely upon to find their place in the
world, says George.
Students must be willing to
explore their potential through a
range of activities both in and out
of the classroom to take advantage
of the many opportunities
available, as independent
education is a commitment on
both sides.
An international boarding
school education should therefore
be seen as a wise investment
instead of a financial burden.
As the saying goes, you reap
what you sow, and ECiM is
equipped and prepared to nurture
children who will grow into the
strong leaders of tomorrow.
n For more information, visit
www.epsomcollege.edu.my

4 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

Recipe for good


reading, writing skills
M

Through interactive learning sessions, students at Morris Allen English develop


confidence in using the English language.

OST children are unaware


of the importance of
learning to write.
Writing is for the sharing
of information and children
become good writers when they
become aware of their need
to communicate with people
through the written word.
The interactive learning
approach at Morris Allen English
provides a great recipe for
students to develop writing skills.
They start by looking through
a range of books that contain
new and exciting vocabulary as
well as models of proper English
grammar.
Mixed with a weekly dose
of reading and sharing with
classmates in book review
sessions, they explore the qualities
of interesting passages and
develop strategies to build their
comprehension skills.
With new vocabulary learnt
in each lesson and ample
opportunities for interaction

between students and teachers,


children are exposed to a mix of
the different elements involved in
learning English and writing skills
that will enable them to share
information with an audience.
To gain the best results, this
recipe for learning English writing
skills includes a highly qualified
native English-speaking teacher
who is dedicated to nurturing
childrens learning.
Morris Allen English offers the
English Enrichment programme
for students in nursery through to
Form Five.
Children do not just learn
English writing skills in this
programme.
The classes promote learning
English in a fun way through an
interactive approach.
They focus on the four key
language skills listening,
speaking, reading and writing
and incorporate creative-thinking
activities.
The classes include learning

phonics (for younger students),


grammar, vocabulary,
comprehension and editing skills.
The interactive approach
ensures that teachers equip
students with the skills and
strategies they need to become
confident communicators of
English.
The Morris Allen English
programme follows a thematic
approach so that students can
start at any stage during the year.
Its teaching staff consists of
trained native English-speaking
teachers who are qualified and
experienced educators.
Morris Allen English teachers
understand that each student is an
individual with unique talents and
strive to nurture them to ignite a
lifelong love for learning English.
n For more information,
call 03-7726 7656 (Centrepoint)
or 03-56119296 (Empire
Shopping Gallery) or visit
www.morrisallen-malaysia.com

Despite
technologys
continuing
integration
with
learning,
the human
touch is still
essential.

Technology in learning
>> FROM PAGE 2
Augmented reality has
also helped teachers engage
students with autism and Down
syndrome who are otherwise
prone to being quiet in class.
With social networking sites
infiltrating our daily lives, it is
only apt that modern schools
integrate technology into the
learning process to encourage
collaboration among their
students.
Sites such as Edmodo mimic
Facebook while providing a
secure and closed networking
platform where students and
teachers are able to brainstorm
on assignments, discover and
share new resources, and
provide peer review.
As knowledge becomes more
easily accessible, concerns of
malpractice among students,
which includes plagiarism,
collusion and duplication of
work, require special intention.
Schools implementing the
International Baccalaureate
programme, such as The
International School of Kuala
Lumpur, Kolej Melayu Kuala
Kangsar and SMK Putrajaya
Presint 9(2), employ the use
of Turnitin, a software that
helps in collecting all written
work completed outside the

classroom and checking the


students work against online
sources for similarities.
UCSI Springhill in particular
provides a clear Academic
Integrity policy on its school
website to guide students
and teachers on how to work
collaboratively in an effective
manner, how to properly cite
sources using the Modern
Language Association (MLA)
Style format and to support
a transparent learning
environment.
Despite the growing
integration of laptops, tablets
and smartphones in classrooms,
most educators in Malaysia
agree that the day when human
teachers are fully replaced by
technology will never come.
Kathryn Farrell, principal
of UCSI International School
Springhill, says, Even with
blended or completely
online programmes there
are still educators creating
and facilitating learning
opportunities, courses and
programmes.
She emphasises that, for
many, it is the caring and
trusted presence of the teacher
in the room that supports
learning.

StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

VERY year-end at Sunway


International School (SIS),
parents and members of the
public await the much-coveted
invitation to the SIS Middle School
Science Fair. Held in the schools
multi-purpose hall, visitors are
greeted with dazzling sights such
as fire-proofed water balloons,
man-made tornadoes and applepowered batteries.
Initiated in 2013, the SIS
Middle School Science Fair was
conceptualised to promote
interest and proficiency in science
and technology through a handson approach, providing students
with a platform to apply the
analytical skills and theories that
they have learnt.
The programme is structured
to encourage students to take
ownership of their learning by
making experiential learning a
regular part of the lessons. This is
evident in their science classes.
Students in Grade 7 are
introduced to the use of
microscopes in studying microbes
and by Grade 11, they are capable
of writing laboratory reports.
Constant exposure to
experiential learning allows
students to comprehend theories
and retain them, conduct
experiments with confidence
and analyse data to arrive at
meaningful conclusions.
The reaction to science-based
activities such as the Science Fair
has been resounding enthusiasm
and approval by the students, who
amaze their teachers and peers
with their creativity.
Participation gives students the
opportunity to use the skills that
they have picked up in their daily

BRIGHT KIDS 5

Hands-on approach to science

Experiential learning allows students to comprehend and analyse scientific


data.
science lessons as well as interact
with seniors who specialise in
science.
The success of the programme
has stirred more SIS students to
participate. In response to the
demand, SIS will be hosting the
inaugural SIS Science Games Day
on May 30.
The SIS Science Games Day
aims to encourage a passion for
science by creating interactive
and experiential science-based
competitions.
Its theme is Collaborate,
Construct and Compete. Teams
will compete in multi-event
science assignments leading up
to the event.
At the SIS Science Games
Day, teams will be judged on
their constructed projects and

earn extra points through a


Mystery Box Build competition
and Einsteins Challenge, which
is an online live response quiz
that tests students on biology,
chemistry, physics and space.
The competition has been
extended to other national
and international schools,
which organiser Evan Long, SIS
technology coach, is particularly
excited about.
Long created a fun video
explaining the SIS Science
Games Day programme, which is
available for the public to view at
www.sciencegamesday.com.
He has also devised activities
that will expose students to STEM
(science, technology, engineering
and mathematics)-based learning
approaches.

The SIS Middle School Science Fair and Science Game Day are set to be fun and
immersive experiences for students.
This unique, experientialbased approach to learning
science is an opportunity for
students to engage with and
create a deeper understanding
of scientific concepts. We are
dedicated to continuing this
innovative, hands-on approach
to learning science with the SIS
Science Games Day and showing
students that they can have fun
while learning, says Long.
This initiative comes at an
opportune time.
The Malaysian Education
Blueprint 2013-2025 recently
unveiled by the Education
Ministry is focused on
enhancing students interest
via new learning approaches,
strengthening the curriculum
and combining

higher order thinking skills.


SIS students are already
beneficiaries of these practices
through the experiential teaching
and learning strategies applied at
SIS.
The proof of its success
can be seen in students keen
participation in activities such as
the SIS Middle School Science Fair
and SIS Science Games Day.
By incorporating a unique
approach that allows students to
learn hands-on, science can be a
subject that students can embrace
and excel in, making it the
springboard for knowledge and
human capital creation.
n For more information, call
03-7491 8070 or visit
www.sis.sunway.edu.my

6 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

Talking about the birds and the bees


I

T is understandable that cultural


norms may make it difficult for
many Malaysians to view sex
education in a positive light, but
studies have shown that there
is a growing and urgent need
to address gender and sexuality
issues in school.
According to statistics from the
Women, Family and Community
Development Ministry, 6,820 girls
below age 16 have given birth out
of wedlock since 2000.
Sex education has been part of
the Malaysian education system
for a long time. The Education
Ministry introduced some
elements of reproductive and
social health education in national
secondary schools in 1989 and in
primary schools
since 1994.
The first chapter of the
Year Five physical education
textbook introduces pupils to the
differences between the male and
female reproductive organs, as
well as between sperm and ovum,
and explains the menstrual cycle
and how to identify and handle
unwanted sexual attention.
The current sex education
curriculum in national schools is
based on the Modul Cakna Diri
developed by the LPPKN (Women,
Family and Community Ministry).
The sex education manual is
divided into three main chapters.
The first chapter is
Reproductive Health Information
and covers values and
responsibilities concerning

It is important
to give children
useful and accurate
information that
conveys parents
own values about
sex and sexuality.

sexuality, sexual responsibility,


conduct leading to the risk of
pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and sexually
transmitted infections (STIs), rape,
abortion and baby dumping, and
finally a section called Am
I ready?
The second chapter is called
Techniques to Avoid Premarital
Sex and covers abstinence,
avoiding high risk situations,
mastering the art of delaying
sex, mastering the art of refusing
sex, and a section about the

integration of the techniques


mastered.
Chapter 3 is called Safe Sex and
covers abstinence and protection,
methods of protection and
contraception.
The last chapter is reserved
for student groups identified as
being sexually active, having been
pregnant or acquired a sexually
transmitted infection.
However, teachers at
government schools face a
conundrum: they acknowledge

the importance of broaching the


subject of sex with their students,
especially with those who live
in urban areas, yet they lack the
training to do so effectively.
The Education Ministry
maintains that educators should
not face problems teaching the
subject as certain topics were
already incorporated into the
curriculum despite repeated
calls from the National Union of
Teaching Profession (NUTP) to
address teachers concerns.

International schools that use


foreign curricula have long since
established safe and consensual
spaces to teach such a sensitive
topic to students. Parents are
expected to sign a permission
form, allowing their children to
take the subject in supervised
classrooms.
In some schools, in anticipation
of awkward or crudely worded
questions, mailboxes are
available in class for students to
write down their queries without
fear of being ridiculed. This will
then be followed by a one-to-one
session with a teacher or school
counsellor.
It is important to give children
useful and accurate information
that conveys parents own values
about sex and sexuality.
Sex education classes are
thus tailored according to age:
pre-schoolers usually ask basic
questions about the human
anatomy and where babies come
from, while teenagers might be
curious about puberty, romantic
attraction and virginity.
Talking about sex, sexuality,
contraception and reproduction
does not give teens the green
light to have sex, as some
parents fear.
An open, honest dialogue can
often prevent misinformation
and unnecessary risk-taking.
Therefore, education institutions
should provide services that do
not stigmatise or pass moral
judgments.

Balanced nutrition for children


OF the many things a parent can do for a
child, almost nothing can be as important
as ensuring that he or she is in the best of
health. A healthy and well-fed child is able
to achieve more in life than an unhealthy
child with poor eating habits or a poorly
planned diet.
However, many parents have testified
that getting their toddlers to eat healthy,
wholesome food can be quite a challenge.
To ensure that toddlers do not miss out
on the proper nutrients during their fussy
eating phases, parents should offer their
children a dose of delicious and nutritious
milk as part of a healthy diet.
Internationally renowned Morinaga is
no stranger to providing nutritious milk
products.
In Malaysia, the brand was the
first Japanese milk product to hit the
supermarket shelves in 1968. Since then,
consumers have been enjoying dairy
products that have helped keep the last
three generations in good health.
Morinaga is pleased to add another
healthy and well-researched product to
its name Morinaga Chil-Kid, a growingup formula for children age one year and
above.
Produced at a state-of-the-art plant
in the Netherlands and using Japanese
technology and stringent double-safety
standard, Morinaga Chil-Kid is a reflection
of the brands philosophy to create a food
culture based on the power of milk.
The milk is enriched with
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), arachidonic
acid (ARA), galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS)
and nucleotides, which have different
functions.
DHA and ARA enhance the development
of the brain, central nervous system and
visual and retina function. Good vision
plus a well-functioning brain and nervous
system are essential for children to learn
well in school and enjoy a quality life.

It is important for children to receive proper


nutrients during their early years.
As the human gut is central to wellbeing and health, Chil-Kid is enriched with
GOS, a prebiotic that helps to establish
a Bifidobacterium dominant flora and
suppresses the growth of harmful bacteria
in the intestinal area.
GOS is important in alleviating
constipation while nucleotides help to
enhance and promote gut health.
Taken as part of a nutritious daily diet,
Chil-Kid helps to enhance immunity in your
children and provides them with optimum
health to enjoy a delightful childhood.
Morinaga Chil-Kid is halal-certified.
n Look out for the advertisement in this
StarSpecial.

StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

Boost your childs


brainpower with a
healthy breakfast
M

ILK contains 16 key


neuro-nutrients
important for growth
and development in children.
Children who have breakfast
that includes milk can
potentially score higher and
display better skills in their
academic performances such
as oral fluency and mathematic
skills than those who skip
breakfast.
As children spend about 30
hours in school weekly, their
brain development is important
to acquire new knowledge.
This makes a brain-energising
breakfast necessary.
A comprehensive
breakfast should provide
enough macronutrients and
micronutrients to support the
growth of childrens cognition
and intellect, giving them
enhanced alertness, sharper
focus and better memory.
Having a good breakfast also
means that children do not have
to combat hunger pangs during
classes.

The importance of DHA

Childrens brain development


requires docosahexaenoic
acid (DHA) as 20% of the brain
consists of this component.
DHA optimises cerebral
growth and nerve cells
growth as well as boosts
brain performance. DHAs
anti-inflammatory properties
shield neurons in the cerebral
hippocampus, which is
responsible for childrens
working and reference memory.
DHA also increases cell
membrane fluidity, which
leads to faster release of
neurotransmitters and
improved density of dendrites
for more effective transmission
of neurotransmitters.
In the frontal lobe, DHA
prevents dopamine breakdown,
leading to sustained motivation,
learning, memory and
communication between the
two brain hemispheres.
When children are
stressed, DHA speeds up
dopamine and norepinephrine
neurotransmission, which
helps to calm anxiety and panic
attacks as well as control anger
and frustration.

Milk for breakfast

Chocolate milk is an easyto-digest breakfast component


that provides balance in
carbohydrates, complete
proteins, fats, vitamins and
minerals.
The drink contains nine
essential amino acids, including
phenylalanine and six semiessential amino acids such as
serine and tyrosine.
Tyrosine, iodine, magnesium,
zinc and iron are required to

Chocolate milk
is an easy-todigest breakfast
component that
provides balance
in carbohydrates,
complete proteins,
fats, vitamins and
minerals.
activate thyroid hormones to
prevent cognitive decline and
subsequent problems linked
to learning and knowledge
acquisition.
Phenylalanine, serine
and tyrosine are precursors
of neurotransmitters
norepinephrine and dopamine,
which are responsible for brain
function and activity.
The neurotransmitters are
synthesised with vitamin B3,
vitamin B6, vitamin C, folic
acids, iron, zinc and oxygen as
cofactors, which are required
chemical compounds in the
activation of protein biological
activities.
Better transfer of
neurotransmitters stimulate
childrens vigilance, alertness,
organisation, decision-making,
motivation and reward system,
which are critical aspects linked
to creativity.
Furthermore, glucose is the
brains main fuel in improving
alertness and memory plus
stimulating the reward system,
all by significantly increasing
plasma norepinephrine levels.
Protein helps the liver restore
its glycogen supply through
the carbohydrate metabolism,
allowing easy retrieval and its
conversion into glucose.
The brain cannot store
glucose. For this reason, a
sufficient supply of glycogen is
crucial to keep the brain actively
working.
In addition, theobromine and
flavanols in chocolate milk help
oxygen-rich blood to effectively
reach the brain.
JoyAmaze Inspired chocolate
milk provides children with
the highest content of DHA
in milk and 50% of the RNI
(Reference Nutrient Intake) of
carbohydrates, proteins, 12
vitamins and 10 minerals.
JoyAmaze Inspired tasty
chocolate milk is loaded with
important brain development
components such as DHA,
vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D,
vitamin E, vitamin B complex,
iodine, magnesium, calcium, iron
and zinc.
n For more information, visit
www.JoyAmaze.com.my

A nutritious
breakfast can
support childrens
development.

BRIGHT KIDS 7

8 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

ALAYSIA is witnessing what


is probably the fastest ever
expansion of its education
sector in its history. New private
and international schools seem
to spring up every month and
numerous public schools are
undergoing facelifts or expansion.
However, what parents need
to remember is that the key
element in any childs educational
development is not the
Olympic-size swimming pool,
squash courts, state-of-the-art IT
suites or well-stocked libraries.
The critical element is
the teacher. No amount of
technological bandwidth,
concrete, steel and glass can
replace a human being who is
skilled in instruction, facilitation,
guidance, correction and
encouragement in short, a
professional teacher.
It is both interesting and
sometimes a little disappointing
that we look with huge admiration
at successful lawyers, doctors and
merchant bankers but often forget
that without dedicated teachers
to inspire and encourage them at
school or college, they probably
would not have gone on to achieve
the success that they have.
Cambridge English for Life
makes a significant contribution to
ensuring that teachers in Malaysia
not only have appropriate subject
knowledge but are also
well-organised, professional,
skilled and dedicated.
This is done through the
delivery of the Cambridge
International Diploma for
Teaching and Learning (CIDTL).
This qualification is a professional
teaching diploma that sets
international performance

Professional teachers are skilled in instruction, guidance and encouragement.

Teaching is rewarding
standards for the skills,
knowledge and understanding
required to be a competent,
confident and effective teacher or
trainer.
The CIDTL qualification is
awarded by the University
of Cambridge International
Examinations (CIE), which is one
of the worlds leading providers of

international qualifications.
As part of the University
of Cambridge in the United
Kingdom, CIE has been
conducting international
examinations and assessments
since 1863 and currently offers
programmes in more than
150 countries. Candidates can
therefore be confident that

the qualification has value and


meaning.
While teaching can be a highly
rewarding profession, it can also
be very demanding.
The CIDTL programme
prepares aspiring teachers or
those looking to refresh their
skills and expertise, with the
tools necessary to excel in the

classroom regardless of the


challenges presented to them.
The CIDTL programme provides
a clear and detailed framework
for developing effective teaching
methods, strategies and skills as
well as the means to tackle a wide
variety of teaching and learning
situations.
The programme modules
reflect the key stages in what is
termed the teaching and learning
lifecycle and emphasise to
teachers the importance of not
only subject knowledge but also
planning, delivery, regular and
varied assessment of learning and
reflection on practice.
The fundamental truth is that
subject knowledge alone is not
enough to make a good teacher,
nor is being able to stand in
front of one of the most critical
audiences you are ever likely to
find and perform successfully.
To be truly successful, a good
teacher must be able to pull both
of these together through
first-class planning skills.
They must be able to assess the
extent to which their academically
diverse audience with a wide
range of ability levels not only
understands what is being
covered but is also able to put the
principles into practice.
Finally, good teachers must be
self-critical. They must review
what they have delivered in every
lesson and assess the effectiveness
of their lesson in achieving its
aims. This will in turn facilitate
the planning process for the next
time they deliver that topic.
n For more information or to
register, call 03-7883 0912 or visit
www.cambridgeforlife.org

Developing the
holistic learner
THE International Baccalaureate Diploma
programme (IBDP) by the Switzerlandregistered International Baccalaureate
organisation has significantly increased in
popularity around the world.
The number of universities that accept
the IB diploma has grown and to date there
are 105 universities in the United Kingdom,
1,675 in the United States, 57 in Australia
and 156 in Canada that readily accept
IB diploma students into their student
population.
Universities recognise the IB
programmes academic rigour, breadth
of study, emphasis on critical thinking,
internationalism and aim of developing the
whole individual, making it an unmatched
and unique qualification.
The core of the IB programme consists
of three compulsory elements Theory of
Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay and
Creativity, Action, Service (CAS).
TOK stresses critical thinking skills
and questioning. The IB programme has
categorised knowledge into eight areas
natural sciences, the arts, mathematics,
ethics, human sciences, history, religious
knowledge systems and indigenous
knowledge systems.
Lessons in TOK usually take the form of
debates and the assessments consist of a
1,500-word essay (marked externally) and a
presentation.
The Extended Essay is an approximately
4,000-word essay undertaken by the
learner in building the independent
learner referred to in the values of the IB
programme.
It promotes independent research skills
and is often a good experience for learners
to refer to in university interviews where
institutions expect something more out

Learners of the IB programme learn to be


inquisitive and critical thinkers who have a heart to
serve the community beyond the classroom.
of students.
CAS, on the other hand, focuses on
developing the whole individual and
promoting compassionate thinking and
responsibility for our society.
Many believe that the broad and rigorous
IB programme prepares learners for a
smooth transition and integration into
university life.
Nexus International School Putrajaya
runs the IBDP because its values line up
with the philosophy of the school, where
learners are nurtured to be inquisitive,
internationally knowledgeable critical
thinkers who have a passion for serving the
community.
The efficacy of the IBDP at Nexus is
evidenced by the succes of its graduates,
such as Teh Wen Wen, who obtained a
scholarship to study neuroscience at Johns
Hopkins University and who recently made
the deans list for academic excellence.
n For more information, call 03-8889 3868
or e-mail enquiry@nexus.edu.my

StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

BRIGHT KIDS 9

Early start to gaining language skills


C

ONFIDENCE and language learning go


hand-in-hand. Often, we find the most
charismatic leaders are those who
are confident and adept in conveying their
thoughts and visions.
Since 1980, Lorna Whiston has helped
students discover their voice and confidence
in using the English language.
With interactive classes that engage
students in listening, speaking, reading and
writing in English, students are groomed to
develop their own voice and confidence for
communication.
Children between the ages of four and
six can attend intensive language classes at
Lorna Whiston.
These programmes for preschoolers
encourage all-round academic, social,
physical and emotional development of
young children to ensure that they get the
best possible start to their education in the
English language.
Intensive language programmes at Lorna
Whiston place significant emphasis on the
development of early reading and writing
skills.
With a wide range of resources, including
big books, interactive learning games and
educational computer software, each child
grasps the essential foundations of literacy
and numeracy in English.
Children are also encouraged to express
themselves and develop their natural
creative flair through art and craft activities,
music and drama.
Lorna Whiston offers a wide range of
weekly English language courses that are
approved by the Malaysian Ministry of
Education.
Catering for students aged four to 18,
the courses include English language

development and extension, public


speaking as well as speech and drama.
Lorna Whiston recently introduced
a new programme called the Advanced
Language Digital Content for secondary
students.
The programme covers a range of
areas, including the ability to generate
ideas, develop online content, become an
imaginative problem-solver and deliver
persuasive, polished presentations.
This helps build creativity and personal
learning and thinking skills.
New students are assessed to ensure
that they are appropriately placed in classes
based on their capabilities and skills.
Classes are taught by fully qualified
and highly dedicated teachers who are
native English speakers from Europe, North
America and Australia.
Mastering any language is a dynamic
process that requires a multi-faceted
approach to ensure students maintain their
momentum and interest in developing their
skills.
Students at Lorna Whiston enjoy
optimum teacher-student interaction with
small and friendly study groups. Each class
accommodates a maximum of 12 students. At Lorna Whiston, children are encouraged to find their voice and develop their confidence in using the
The centres are located in Taman Tun Dr English language.
Ismail and Taman Melawati. Each centre is
fully equipped with extensive libraries and
the latest technology to provide students
with resources that inspire their creativity
and self-expression.
Lorna Whiston is currently conducting
assessments for its programmes.
n For more information, call 03-7727 1909
(Taman Tun Dr Ismail) or 03-4147 3229
(Taman Melawati).

Easing constipation woes


CONSTIPATION in children is often a
temporary though common condition
during which they experience trouble
passing motion. A child who is experiencing
problems with bowel movement may
display symptoms such as stomach aches
and bloating, bloody stools or soiling
incidents.
As a parent, there are steps you can take
to prevent constipation in your children.
A few are preventive in nature such as
ensuring your child drinks enough water,
has a balanced diet and takes part in regular
physical activities.
Starting toilet training too early can
also cause constipation, so it is important
to ensure that your child is ready for the
change before getting rid of the diapers and
nappies.
It would be better to delay potty training
if your child begins to display symptoms of
constipation.
While it is best to take your child to the
doctor, there are also a few home remedies
you may try.
Prune juice can do wonders for digestion
and healthy bowel movement, so on top of
sufficient water, you may encourage your
child to drink this.
If he or she finds the juice hard to
swallow because of its bitter taste, you can
mix it with sweeter juices such as apple
juice.
Loading up on fibre and cutting down on
foods that can cause constipation such as
chocolate and cheese can help as well.
Some nutrients can help improve
bowel movement naturally. For example,
magnesium attracts water to the colon
to soften the stool and help stimulate
intestinal peristalsis (the wavelike motion
that pushes stool through the intestine and
colon) to make stools easier to pass.
Some food sources of magnesium are
spinach, ladys finger and legumes. In

Home remedies
can be employed
to help treat
constipation.

addition, lactose, which is naturally present


in milk, also helps to attract water to the
colon to soften the stools.
While constipation is usually easily
treatable and nothing to be worried about,
this may not be the case when it is chronic.
Chronic constipation is characterised
by anal fissures (painful breaks in the skin
around the anus), stool withholding and
avoiding bowel movements because of pain.
The latter can cause impacted stool to
collect in the colon and rectum to leak out,
which is a conditon called encopresis.
If you think your child is experiencing
chronic constipation, it would be best to
consult a doctor immediately for a physical
examination.
This includes a thorough examination
to ensure the cause and administration of
the best treatment, including non-invasive
procedures such as abdominal x-ray or
marker study.
Minimally invasive procedures such as
an anorectal manometry or motility test,
barium enema x-ray or rectal biopsy may
also be applied.

10 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015


By THERESA BELLE

ECENT soaring childhood obesity rates


in the United Kingdom commanded
the nations attention to this epidemic
a reported 170 children were admitted
to hospital in Greater Manchester alone for
weight-related problems in the past three
years. Some of these children were as young
as four or five years old.
Here in Malaysia, we do not seem
too far away from the same problem.
Already widely known as the nation with
the highest number of fat people in the
region, recent research on Malaysian
school students indicate children are also
becoming more and more overweight.
The increasingly unhealthy lifestyles and
diets of children today are largely cited as
causes of this growing problem.
High-calorie foods that are also highly
processed make their way into the diets
of many children when they begin eating
solid food. This, combined with not
nearly enough physical activity, makes an
unbalanced lifestyle for children.
Many children do not move around
as much as they should to burn off those
calories.
Families unknowingly contribute
to the problem by creating unhealthy
environments for their children. Highcalorie foods are easily available at home
and little importance is placed on physical
activity.
The importance of fresh, home-cooked
food and exercise is often forgotten.
Many dismiss toddlers and younger
children with excess body fat as being
chubby, thinking it is acceptable for a child
to be overweight as they will shed the extra
weight eventually.
This attitude is potentially dangerous,
especially to the development and selfesteem of the child who does not realise
his weight is an issue until he is teased
about it at the playground or when health
complications arise.

Curbing childhood obesity


Why should we worry?

Outdoor activities keep


children active and help
prevent them form
becoming obese.

Heart
problems

Obesity at a young age


creates a susceptibility
to health conditions
usually experienced
by adults, including
cardiovascular diseases,
higher cholesterol levels
and blood pressure,
which will lead to
other complications in
adulthood.

Diabetes

Excess fat, lack of muscle


mass due to inactivity
and high cholesterol
levels can increase
insulin resistance. Obese
children easily develop
Type 2 diabetes due to
the elevated glucose
levels caused by this
resistance.

The extra weight on a


childs body can cause
problems with the
development of their
lungs. This can lead to
Breathing
complications breathing complications
and other pulmonary
medical conditions such
as asthma, which can
have a severe overall
effect on a young child.

Prevention
It is imperative that we go beyond finger-pointing to curb the worrying condition
of obesity. Technology, sedentary lifestyles and lack of physical education in
schools have all borne the brunt of blame at one point or another, but at the end of
the day, parents should take on the responsibility of ensuring their childs
well-being. While it is true that children can have different body types and frames,
turning a blind eye to childhood obesity will only produce negative results.
What can parents do to play their part in keeping obesity at bay in their
children?

Foster healthy
eating habits

Eating out should not be a regular occurrence. Healthy eating


begins at home by cooking wholesome meals with fresh
ingredients for the family. Dry foods with longer shelf lives may
seem like an easy option but they are actually rich in salt and fat.
Once children are of schooling age, parents should continue to
monitor their eating habits by packing meals from home and
controlling their spending in the school canteen.

Teaching children why they should and should not eat certain
foods will create an understanding of healthy eating and remove
the problem of fussy eating habits.
Try to make them see that they are benefiting their own body
Set food rules to
instil self-regulation with good food choices and make consistent changes instead of
spontaneous changes. Fixed meal times, proper portions and a
balanced diet should be highlighted while desserts and sweets
can be occasional rewards.

Encourage
physical activity

Take your child


for regular health
check-ups

Be a paragon of
healthy living

Children who spend too much time in front of the computer or


TV sacrifice time that could be spent playing outside.
Parents should ensure that their children dedicate some time
every day to sports or outdoor activities. In fact, they should get
involved as making it a family activity could enhance the appeal
to younger children.
Children should be constantly moving, walking and running. So
avoid carrying them or placing them in strollers unnecessarily
although it may seem like the easier option.
Paediatricians will be able to advise on any lifestyle changes
necessary to maintain a childs health. Annual health checkups will allow parents to monitor their childs health and
development. Having a family doctor will make this easier and
any red flags raised during these check-ups should be addressed
immediately.
Younger children are very observant and impressionable so
practising healthy habits in front of them will teach them to do
the same.

StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

BRIGHT KIDS 11

Children of today, leaders of tomorrow


I

N recent years, there has been growing


recognition among economists, educators
and scientists of the importance of the
first five to six years of life in the formation
of intelligence, personality and social
behaviour.
What and how much children learn in
school in later years depends largely on the
social, emotional and cognitive skills that
they develop in their first few years.
Founding father of the United States,
Benjamin Franklin, once said, tell me and
I forget, teach me and I remember, involve
me and I learn.

He loves to read
but never took it
seriously. After being
introduced to Smart
Readers Intensive
English programme, he
developed the interest
to learn.
- Nor Sarashimatun

Nurturing interest in learning

At Smart Reader Worldwide, children


are exposed to a fun and exciting learning
environment with opportunities for handson learning experiences.
Smart Reader Worldwide strongly
believes that every child should be provided
with a quality education and nurtured to
develop to his greatest potential.
Smart Reader Worldwides modules are
created to facilitate thinking and engage the
minds of its students.
Last year, Smart Reader Worldwide
introduced the Intensive English
Programme.
This fun-filled and exciting programme
is specially designed for children between
the ages of three and seven.
Children can spend their afternoons
at Smart Reader Kids centres brushing up
on their English language skills in fun and
interactive learning sessions.
The Intensive English Programme
focuses on various aspects of English
language literacy. It also involves learning
through play.
Play is important as children should
enjoy the learning process if they are to
remain interested in their lessons, retain
what they have been taught and be able to
use the skills they have learnt.
Children are taught the English language
through poems and rhymes, word-building
activities, songs, dance and activities that
require movement and compositions of
simple songs.
These creative methods of teaching the
language keeps lessons stimulating and fun
for the children.

Substantial progress

Many parents have seen growth in


their childrens language skills since
enrolling them in the programme.
Nor Sarashimatun Sapian saw

Khaalish Arman Mohd Fadzrizal, student of Smart Reader Kids Kota Warisan, Sepang, with his mother,
Nor Sarashimatun Sapian.
significant improvements in her six-yearold son Khaalish Arman Mohd Fadzrizal in
less than three months of enrolling him into
the Intensive English Programme at Smart
Reader Kids Kota Warisan, Sepang.
He loves to read but never took it
seriously. After being introduced to
the Intensive English programme, he
developed the interest to learn, says Nor
Sarashimatun.
Khaalish now gets excited when he
recognises words and has more confidence
to speak in English with his parents,
teachers and friends.
Besides that, his pronunciation of English
words has improved tremendously and he
has learnt a lot of new vocabulary in the
past three months.
Nor Sarashimatun says Khaalish loves
telling stories and all it takes is a picture to
inspire him and get him started on
narrating a story.
The exposure he received in
Smart Reader Kids Intensive
English Programme has made

Farish
Ashraff,
student
of Smart
Reader Kids
Damansara
Heights, with
his father
Termizi Hashim.

him a creative and imaginative person.


Nor Sarashimatun says she is proud that
her son is more advanced in his English
language skills than other children his age.
For Mohd Termizi Hasim and Azlina
Aziz, the improvement that they have seen

in their five-year-old son Farish Ashraff in


less than two months of enrolling him into
the Intensive English programme at Smart
Reader Kids Damansara Heights has made
them very pleased. They are satisfied in
their choice of Smart Reader Kids.
From being completely unable to
converse in English, Farish Ashraff can now
speak confidently and hold conversations in
the language.
His English grammar has also improved
tremendously since he started the
programme and he now tries to speak in
English with everyone he meets.
He now answers questions in English
although he did not have the confidence to
do so previously.
He enjoys the classes and loves the
environment at Smart Reader Kids, says
Mohd Termizi.
n For more information, call 03-6279 5555
or SMARTLine at 1300 885 555 or visit
www.smartreaderkids.edu.my or
www.smartreader.edu.my

12 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 5 May 2015

HERE has been increasing awareness


that childrens growth and health are
responsive to bacteria residing in the

gut.
Changes to gut bacteria caused by diet,
medications and other factors can therefore
affect childrens health and growth.
There are more than 500 types of
beneficial bacteria. Bacteria are a normal
part of human microflora and those that
reside in the gut have several beneficial
functions.
Some of their functions are inhibiting the
growth of pathogenic bacteria and aiding in
digestion and vitamin B synthesis.
However, when there is an imbalance
of microflora, the intestinal lining is
compromised and the immune system
becomes impaired.
This leads to many problems such as
a poor immune system, poor nutrient
absorption, food allergies and constipation,
affecting childrens growth and health.
Good bacteria or probiotics were
initially defined as a live microbial feed
supplement that beneficially affects the
host by improving its microbial balance.
Lactobacillus acidophilus (LA-5) and
Bifidobacterium lactis (BB-12) are probiotic
strains that are clinically proven to optimise
food digestion and nutrient absorption,
improve gut function and modulate
immune function.
LA-5 functions by increasing the
phagocytic activity of blood leukocytes
and its adherence to the gastrointestinal
tract, which helps in lactose digestion and
reduces lactose intolerance symptoms.
Meanwhile BB-12 is an extensively
studied probiotic strain that has high bile
tolerance, acid resistance and widespread
colonisation in the gut.
On the other hand, prebiotic inulinoligo fructose is the non-digestible food
ingredient that beneficially affects the host
by selectively stimulating the growth or
activity of bacteria in the colon.

For a healthy gut

Good bacteria in the gut aids in digestion and overall growth.


According to a recent report from the
European Commision Concerted Action
on Functional Food Science in Europe (a
concerted action to establish a sciencebased approach for concepts in functional
food science within a multidisciplinary

European network), the criterion for a food


ingredient to be classified as prebiotic is its
ability to selectively stimulate the growth of
potentially beneficial bacteria in the human
gut.
Prebiotics are oligosaccharides that assist

digestion in the small intestine and are


fermented in the colon.
They reduce the growth of pathogens
and induce systemic effects to give potential
health benefits.
A combination of prebiotics and
probiotics produces synergistic effects.
Hence, taking prebiotics and probiotics
together (a synbiotic) will promote the
growth of good bacteria in the gut,
improve intestinal microflora and lead to
better intestinal function (better nutrient
absorption, especially of calcium and other
vitamins).
All these will in turn produce better
overall growth and health in children.
A clinical study consisting of 626
underweight preschool children aged one to
six and published in International Pediatrics
in 2002 was conducted to measure the
effect of oral nutritional supplementation
with and without synbiotics on childrens
sickness and growth.
The children were divided into two
groups the experimental group who were
given LA-5, BB-12 and prebiotics and the
control group.
At the end of the study, the group
that were administered with synbiotics
showed improvement in their nutritional
status. They also demonstrated an overall
reduction in constipation and the number of
days they were sick.
Children who have unhealthy gut
usually display symptoms such as hard
bowel movement, a smaller body frame
compared to other children of the same age,
poor digestion and appetite and falling sick
easily.
With the help of LA-5, BB-12 and inulin
(prebiotics), better gut condition and
nutrient absorption can be achieved so
children can grow to be healthy.
This article is brought to you by BiO-LiFE.
n For more information, e-mail
health@biolife.com.my