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Today: October 22, 2016

Introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) for Learning and Teaching Thinking Skills

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Developing and providing Open Educational Resources (OER) to practitioners is on of the most important initiatives in promoting Education For All. The nature of OER which makes learning resources available to utilize, modify and redistribute at minimal or no cost is seen as advantageous in transferring and sharing knowledge and expertise around the world. In Malaysia, OER is still in its infancy. There is an immense need to innovate how resources are made available to teachers and students currently. As a starting point, this research aims to develop OER on thinking skills in selected subject-matter. The understanding of thinking skills and the teaching of thinking skills have always been issues in the Malaysian education system. The emphasis on thinking skills is evident in the National Philosophy of Educaton. Since the inclusion of thinking skills in the curriculum in 1999, much effort has been taken to churn out more knowledge workers with higher order thinking skills. However, the result has not been optimistic. The problem of unemployed graduates reflects the inadequate thinking skills learned in schools. The teaching of thinking skills is challenging due to the traditional teacher-centred classroom and examination-oriented instructional activities in many classrooms (Rajendran, 1998). 

     Previous studies conducted have shown that Malaysian teachers were facing problems in teaching thinking skills (Rajendran, 2004). Although about 59% of teachers in Malaysia had received some form of training in teaching thinking skills, many were reluctant to incorporate it as part of their instructional strategies (Rajendran, 1998). Two major factors have been identified. Firstly, teachers are not confident to embark on teaching thinking skills because  of the lack of knowledge and understanding of thinking skills. This is especially evident in the 41% of in-service teachers who do not have any form of training on thinking skills. Secondly, the insufficient availability of resources (Rahil Mahyuddin et al., 2004) to assist and sustain the teaching of thinking skills in schools also poses problems to teachers. Another study conducted by  Rahil Mahyuddin et al. (2004) reported from the teaching of thinking skills from the perspective of the students. Students perceived that the teaching of thinking skills was average. Teachers have to solely depend on the textbooks and courseware prepared by the ministry. Teachers and students need more than that as variation of instructional activities as the key to succesful learning. Rajendran (2010) also found that even though the teaching of thinking skills haas been integrated in the pre-service teacher education, student teachers are not able to teach thinking skills well. There should be more opportunities and resources made available to teachers for them to improve their knowledge and pedagogical skills on an on-going basis to teach thinking.  

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October 2016

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Aminuddin Baki Centre for Global Studies, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI)


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