Papers & Workshops



Creating Enthusiastic Learners through the Project Approach


Assoc. Prof. Norani Mohd. Salleh

Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi Selangor, Malaysia

My family members are my worst critics. We used to discuss at great length about the end products from universities, colleges, and schools. One of their comments was that many of our graduates tend to be passive, not assertive and often lack leadership skills. Knowing that I am in the academic world, they kept reminding me that I should do something about it. I told them that I shall try in whatever small way that I could. Ever since that discussion, I kept thinking about that statement and I felt responsible should my end product (students) fit the description that they had just described. The current topics one hears in seminars, dialogues and colloquiums are on developing our new generation into critical and creative thinkers. We are in the new millennium as well as the Information Technology (IT) Era. Words like computers, internet, networking, multimedia, information explosions, borderless world, global village are new jargons of the day. We want new generation to seek for new knowledge, use computers as vehicles or tools for intellectual development, surf the world through internet or use emails to exchange ideas or network with friends across states, countries, continents and the globe. We want our new generation to be independent and not dependent on others; we want them to be thinkers and not otherwise; and we want them to be leaders and not just as followers ; and we want them to be authorities in their fields of expertise. At the present moment , all these information and knowledge are all over the place and they can be obtained at our finger tips. But, if it is not properly organised and utilised, we can equate this scenario to a very rich and pampered child who is being surrounded by very expansive equipment and sophisticated environment. Unfortunately, he does not know how to utilised the new equipment or utilised his new environment as a launching pad for greater success. The question that has been bugging me for a very long time was: Have we or have we not armed our new generation with the critical and creative thinking skills? If we have done so, we shall have no fear as our new generation will be able to use the appropriate equipment and sophisticated environment as means to achieve a better quality of life. What happens if we had not taught them those two important skills mentioned earlier? The result may not be as rosy as we hope to see. The new equipment and the sophisticated environment may not be fully utilised and our new generation may still remain at that stage which my family members were concerned with. In order to integrate and utilise the wealth that is around us, my 'project approach' in teaching in learning have resulted in many enthusiastic learners, critical thinkers, creative and independent individuals among my undergraduate students. They became a source for new knowledge and I became a active learner. I hope this effort could lead to a new breed of citizens that my family members were hoping for.
  Presentation Format: 45 min. paper

RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

5-9 July 2000

Equipment: Overhead Projector