Monday, November 8, 2010

What I learn from ‘Al Hidayah’s Merit Certificate’.

In Al Hidayah Islamic School, Bentley, WA, my class consisted of a good mixture of genders, nationalities, first languages, and of course, different level of learning abilities. The year 3 students were at a super active age, who loves to try and learn; and I had a marvelous time creating and improving lessons to feed these thirsty young minds.

Al Hidayah beliefs in the philosophy that all learners need to achieve success on a regular basis and such achievements must be recognized and celebrated. Every Friday, the class and religious studies teachers will have the opportunity to award students with merit certificates. The ‘merit’ was not only applied to excellence in assignments or tests, it also applies to the fantastic behavior (adaab) in class, as well as honoring their progress in learning. I learn that a wonderful climate of achievement can be fostered using this method. Al Hidayah celebrates all students, not just the ‘more intellectually capable’ ones. And I love that philosophy.

Some of the examples of Merit Certificates.
I got them from here.

What I learn from the philosophy of setting a wonderful climate of achievement were, as teachers as well as parents, we should:

  1. Show optimism;
  2. Demonstrate positive expectations to young people;
  3. Emphasise success and potential rather than failings and shortcomings;
  4. Stress the value of effort, persistence and the learning process;
  5. View mistakes as opportunities for learning;
  6. Ensure our judgement and assessment should focus more on the differences between past and present performance, so then the improvement(s) can be seen.
  7. Celebrate each success, however small it is, so young people know that they’ll be acknowledged by doing good deeds, even it’s so minute.
  8. Understand that all children are born with potential, and we cannot be sure of the learning limits of any child. Hence, shower them with as many learning opportunities as we can.
From the short 2 years I worked in Al Hidayah, I saw considerable evidence to show that when teachers and parents have high expectations of children, they will usually achieve greater success in their learning, and vice-versa. The high expectations should always be accompanied with motivations, support, positive encouragement (and re-encouragement), patience and of course, lots of TLC (tender loving care). Teachers and parents can dramatically influence young people’s attitudes to learning.


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