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Sunday, July 31, 2016

How Can You Decorate the School Library to Get the Kids Excited

How Can You Decorate the School Library to Get the Kids Excited

Guest post by Justin Goh (Share your secret tips with 50,000+ Malaysian students)

Things are changing today and the students are significantly more dependent on the ebooks, apps and the web today. In this turbulent time, it is crucial to design the library space efficiently since otherwise, you will face a really tough time to get the students visit them on a regular basis.

Though libraries were earlier associated with the dingy and quiet spaces ruled by pin drop silence, the scenario has changed a lot today and we have realized the value of creating a welcoming and warm ambiance to make the students love the visit to the library.
School Library College Bookshelves

Do you intend to design a library that gets the students excited in paying a visit to it? To design a library that interests the children, you need to understand the ways the students engage with learning socially as well as individually. School libraries occupy a significant part of learning and a proper design is central when it comes to creation of an effective learning environment. Even a small change in the library can cast an impact on the mood of the kids. Certainly, too much decoration can distract the students but just the right dose can work real wonders. Here are a few tricks you can consider when it comes to decorating your school library.

Come with a Flexible Space


You need to structure a library that comes with adequate space. The students need to learn the ways of formulating meaningful queries, appreciate different viewpoints as well as use up an array of resources in the research. Moreover, the 21st-century learners are required to demonstrate their understanding in multiple ways, like producing videos as well as multimedia presentations.

It is better to go for the open spaces that come with reconfigurable materials and furniture, shelves and furniture on wheels as well as opt for the easy setup and breakdown of room arrangements. Ensure flexibility in the structure of the building. It is better to keep the area free from the structural columns as much as possible since they are considered an impediment to sight lines. Even if they are essential structurally, get the design team to manage the spacing, arrangement and the sizing. The columns and the walls certainly can’t be moved but keep the flexibility quotient in mind while you select the shelves, furniture and the carpets.

Change Often


You know pretty well that children prefer changes. In fact, we all love changes. You can try to change the look of the library every now and then. If you change the color of the library, it certainly looks great but it may not be always possible to change the color of the library. In such a case, you can consider shifting the book racks and the other paraphernalia. Changing the layout of the library helps really a lot in altering the look thereby keeping the children engaged.

Decorate the Library


If you want the young kids use the library as well, you need to make your library as inviting as possible. There are several ways you can add beauty to your school library. Consider adding stickers, school logo or mascot, color using bright colors, include bean bags and colorful chairs, a few toys and of course, bulletin boards. This would add up to the beauty of school library substantially.

Arrange the Books Properly


You need to arrange the books properly. Arrange books in a way so that the covers are visible and not the sides. This will help the children choose a book of their choice. Placing books this way would take up significant amount of space but this would be helpful in adding a dash of color to the library.

Stock books belonging to different genre to meet the varying requirement of the students.

There is a rise of electronic collections presently and thus, it is time to think of digital resources now. The printed books are still significant, chiefly for the beginners but, you can’t shy away from the digital reading devices and the ebooks today. You can place a few computers and ebook readers in the library so that the students can browse various websites, read books and gather resources online as well.

Keep Libraries Organized


Organization occupies a significant part of everything. Libraries are not an exception either. It is crucial to keep the school library clutter-free. Install signage so that the students know where they can find their favorite books. You can also separate the different sections by using different colors. These signs can be in different colors and shapes. You can consider hanging them from the walls or place them on the stands. You can also have the shelves colored in different hues or consider using the terms that are associated with specific subjects.

With all the students today carrying global library in pocket, it is crucial to impress on the value of the physical or the traditional libraries. Make sure that you design the school library in a way that encourages exploration, creation as well as collaboration between the teachers, students as well as the broader community. Bring together the best of the physical and the digital world to promote your learning hub.

Justin Goh
Justin Goh is a former teacher and prolific writer, penning blogs to help the parents, students and the educators alike. Regularly contributing articles for MyPrivateTutor Malaysia, he prefers to write on varying aspects of education ranging from learning strategies and preparation tips to the ways to reach out to the students better.


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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Teachers and Their Secret Identities

Guest post by Md Saifullah Razali (Share your views with 50,000+ Malaysian students)
In lights of recent news about violent teachers, I would like to offer my perspective about the matter.

Did you know that the highest ranking reason for people entering the academic world is because they wanted to change something? Did you know that their main concern is very seldom about the salary nor their own position, but rather about the bright future of their students? Did you know that teachers usually have secret identities?

The gestures they use in front of their students are not always their favorite, but it is always the most necessary. Sometimes they even use phrases which are quite alien to the students, for multiple of reasons. One of these phrases is "grace marks".
Teachers & Their Secret Identities

My first encounter with this phrase was back when I was an undergraduate student. "Don't be too happy.. you only passed my subject because of grace marks", said a lecturer to me while bumping into each other. I gave him a smile and he gave me that. I didn't understand what he meant but I didn't like it.

So I asked him, "What did you mean by that sir?". In a more serious tone than before, he reverted; "You failed my subject last semester. Then I helped you. I added a few additional marks under you name; grace marks. That's how you passed my subject."

If I had an open wound and someone threw a bag of salt to that wound, I imagined that would be a better feeling than what I felt by hearing those words.

So since the add/drop period was not over yet, I registered for that same subject again (note this is a common practice undergraduate students do when they are not satisfied with the mark of a subject, the higher mark will later overwrite the lower). This time under a different lecturer. This was my protest. To make long story short, in the end I got an A for that subject.

In that moment, I can only think of one possible explanation for me acquiring that A; the second lecturer was better than the first. It was not because of myself that I actually failed the subject. It was all because of that first lecturer. He was not a good lecturer at all. I thought.

Then I went on to proceed with the other semesters. I studied the remaining subjects with a similar hope; that I will never get grace marks out of pity again. Thank God, I didn't.

Years later, it struck me; the second lecturer was not really better than the first. Their teaching ability had very little to do with my results when compared to my own will. It was that will to prove my self-worth that fueled my body to study. The will which might have never came without that lecturer's hurtful words.

I've never bumped into that lecturer again after graduating. I honestly don't even remember his name now. But if somehow by God's grace you accidentally read this article, please know that this article is actually my thanks to you.

I never found out the real intentions behind those word. But in my point of view, he changed at least one student with those words. Those marks turned out to be grace marks after all.

But had I took another kind of measure after receiving the lecturer's cold treatment that day, my life would definitely be very different. In the end, our lives are just series of consequences for the choices that we took.

Md Saifullah Razali
Md Saifullah Razali is a PhD student at UPM doing research on Sentiment Analysis. He is also a lecturer at School of Computing, University College of Technology Sarawak. His articles are combinations of his research, experience and opinion.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How to Launch Your Career Successfully? 5 Best Tips for Students

5 Best Tips for Students: How to Launch Your Career Successfully

Guest post by Veronica Kavanova (Share your favourite tips with 50,000+ Malaysian students)

Finishing a university course can be a daunting prospect and entering the job market can be overwhelming. Often students will battle through choosing a career and then find the fight is not over as they have to start climbing the career ladder.

In this article, we have provided the 5 best tips to launching your career.
Careers Jobs Malaysia Ambitions

You Have More Skills Than You Think


One of the biggest mistakes that students make when they start their career is to assume that they don’t have the necessary experience to make a splash in their field. While you might not have the same level of skills in certain areas as those that have been in the industry for many years, this does not mean you have no skills to offer.

Instead of looking at their level of experience, students should focus on their transferable skills. These are those abilities that you have developed throughout your time at university, whether through education or extra-curricular activities.

When launching your career you should immediately:

  • Identify all of your transferable skills,
  • Understand how these will help you to grow within your field,
  • Highlight these skills and use them to succeed.

By doing this, you will assist with your professional development.

Only Opt For Those Willing To Invest


It can be incredibly frustrating for students that are looking to rapidly invest in their career to end up in a company that does not assist their employees in achieving this goal. When launching your career you should certainly be focusing on how easily you will be able to continually improve your skills and how readily available assistance will be.

The ideal choice of an employer is one that has a track record of investing in the staff and one that includes a solid and well-documented training program. It is crucial to ask about professional growth opportunities at the interview stage so you will be able to avoid falling into a limited position in a dead-end company.
Different Career Paths Malaysia

Face Forward


It seems like something from a cheesy motivational poster but you should never give up. Starting a career is going to have setbacks, a whole lot of rejection and failures. In fact, it is the very nature of the steep learning curve that launching any career entails.

To be successful when launching a career, the student needs to be able to keep their chin up and needs to make the most of the opportunities that failures provide.

There are many examples of highly successful individuals who started out with devastating failures. While not all of us will go on to write a bestseller or found a Fortune 500 corporation, we will still have our fair share of setbacks that will feel like the end of the world. Knowing that these are coming, dealing with them appropriately and moving on is the key to starting a successful career.

Be (Temporarily) A “Yes” Man or Woman


“Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids.” – Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman.

When starting a career it is never wise to underestimate the power of being open to opportunity. It can occasionally feel as if you are being taken advantage of when you are agreeing to all of the most mundane tasks but all of that extra experience and the “Brownie points” really add up.

By saying yes to opportunities you will be:

  • Able to understand more aspects of your work,
  • Gaining experience in a range of positions, one of which might suit you better than the one you currently hold,
  • Recognized more by your colleagues and management,
  • Less likely to miss out on making a good impression.

It is, of course, a temporary method to being successful and eventually you will have to learn when to accept new responsibilities and when not to. When launching a career, however, there is certainly room for the word “yes”.

Get Connected


It seems like an obvious point in today’s world of networking but it is often forgotten by students that are moving onto the career ladder. A student generally understands the importance of pooling resources, but at the end of the day, it comes down to their personal effort whether they make the cut or not.

Veronica Kavanova
While there are similarities in the workplace, networking is the lifeline to true career success. By connecting with other professionals you will not only increase your overall opportunities but you will be able to gain further transferable skills. Creating a network is important but it is crucial to act upon this afterward. Make sure you continually make connections and do your best to maintain them.

Veronica Kavanova is passionately interested in writing, social media, and marketing. All of these comprise a big part of her life. She is now a Head of Marketing and PR at freelancehouse.co.uk.


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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Part Time Jobs that Can Be Helpful for Students

Part Time Jobs that Can Be Helpful for Students' Education

Guest post by Karen Tomita (Share your ideas with 50,000+ Malaysian students)

Many students tend to fail to cover their living costs. Others face the necessity to cope with daily duties and taking care of their families.

According to the latest surveys, about two-third of all students are forced to look for part-time jobs just in order to not live from hand to mouth. The recent statistics show that almost 50% of all part-time working students spend their money to cover various expenses ranging from accommodation to household and food bills. Conducted surveys show that the amount of part-time working students is actually equal to full-time employees.
Full Time versus Part Time Employment

A part-time job appears to be the only source of income. While most of people think it can be to the detriment of the academic progress, others have already started taking benefits from positions that may be rather helpful boosting the education process as well. So, how can a part-time job be helpful for students? Can it positively affect the academic process?

Part-Time Job Benefits

A part-time job is not only a source of income for students letting them solve financial problems. It can appear to be a great source of additional experience. Students can pick up lots of essential skills that will eventually form their knowledge background in addition to other handful abilities. The main benefits include:
  1. Money – the first and foremost reason to take a part-time job is cash. On the one hand, having an income will certainly boost their individual confidence when they reach adulthood. Some may spend their income on tuition as well as student loans. Others are more eager to have fun turning students’ life into one of the most remarkable moments. In spite of your goals, having a constant cash source is certainly a plus!
     
  2. Budgeting – Whenever you start to earn on your own, you learn how to plan your spending in advance. Wise budgeting is a handy skill that teaches students to consider their daily necessities as main priorities when we are talking about paying the bills. You would rather spend a couple of extra bucks on new textbooks then buying a new pair of shoes.
     
  3. Time Management – Applying for a part-time job means a total lack of time. Most of them need to combine academic process with working duties, which is certainly a tough challenge. On the other hand, students are forced to plan their free time in advance. Meeting the toughest deadlines will no longer be a problem thanks to a wise time management and planning skills.
     
  4. Working Experience – Some part-time jobs can be closely related to your future career. It lets you gain necessary experience in the field. Having a job that is not connected to your future profession is also a plus. It provides and introductory experience that is strongly appreciated by the employers. Work results in maturity. Students obtain necessary operation practice and learn how to work in a team
Employees Working Part Time for Economic Reasons

Finding a Part-Time Job

So, you are in a need for some extra cash to cope with your daily needs. Finding a part-time job will hardly be a problem with so many offers on the labor market. Follow these easy tips to take the best bet for you in accordance with your likes and preferences. There are several sources to look into:
  • Student Part Time Jobs Malaysia – The most popular part time job board for students in Malaysia, featuring only one high quality part time job suitable for student every day. It also features tips on identifying scam jobs (such as this data entry job scam) so that students do not get cheated or work for bad employers.
     
  • University Job ShopsCheck your university website or local labor unions and communities. You will certainly find tons of information on all available vacancies. Most of such job shops are available online. You will only need to complete a simple registration to get a full access to vital information;
     
  • Talk to People – Sometimes, all you need to do is to simply step out of your room and talk to your friends and mates. There is always a person who knows something. You can easily drop to a local restaurant or a cafe;
     
  • Holiday Vacancies – You know all major holidays. It means that you can plan your time in advance. Opt for vacancies available for Christmas, Thanksgiving or any other holiday. As a rule, such vacancies are provided by hospitality industries and retail sectors. Businesses always look for extra helpers during holidays;
     
  • Market Research – The best and yet the most efficient way is to proceed with a regular labor market monitoring. Track the current situation and point out the best bids in the market considering average salary, working conditions and other key factors.

The List of the Best Part-Time Jobs for Students

Students are always free to opt for a list of the most typical part-time vacancies like babysitting or wait staff in a restaurant. These jobs have already proved to be rather handy when it comes to extra cash. However, you can establish a more entrepreneurial approach as well as develop your professional skills including writing, designing, developing and more. While hospitality and retail have always been the most attractive niches, there appeared some new directions that can also be rather beneficial.
Teen and young adults employment by industry
  1. Web Designer – those who can boast of great technical skills can be involved in web designing. This niche has always been in a great demand with plenty of well-paid offers. The job is based on the outsourcing, letting you plan your working time as well as develop professional skills.
     
  2. Freelance Essay Writer – this is a great alternative for copywriters, editors, tutors and proofreaders. You can come across dozens of writing companies that provide great job opportunities. You can work as a freelancer and write on various topics. However, you should be prepared to pass the additional tests and examination before entering a writers’ team. The average fee is about $4-5 per page;
     
  3. Personal Assistant Services – There is always someone out there calling for your assistance. Whenever a person needs to walk with a dog, wrap a gift or do shopping, you will be there to lend a hand. The average salary may vary from $6 to $10 per hour;
     
  4. Landscaper – No matter if you deal with lawn care or landscaping, you can always benefit from an opportunity to earn extra $50 per one visit! At the same time, it is a great chance to work outdoors enjoying a great weather;
In spite of motivation to find a part-time job, every vacancy can come with an essential experience and many other advantages to benefit from. It can result in obtaining a solid working experience in future.

Karen Tomita, Nisei from Georgia. She is a student and Japanese language teacher with a deep passion for blogging. Currently she is working at Eduzaurus as a contributing writer.


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Monday, July 04, 2016

Matriculation College Life: Grow Up. Grow Strong.

Matriculation College Life: Grow Up. Grow Strong.

Guest post by Winna Low (Share your education experiences with 50,000+ Malaysian students)

Time flies and it had come to the last paper in my first year of degree. Out of a sudden, I opened the browser and typed www.kml.matrik.edu.my subconsciously. Then, only I came to realise it has been the second year since I left Kolej Matrikulasi Labuan (KML). How are all juniors doing? Memories within ten months played back like flashbacks across my mind and one question doesn’t disappear from my brain: How on earth did I survive through the ten months when it seemed to be like ten years to walk through when I was there.

1. Go flexible. Adapt. Embrace


My previous post was regarding the preparation before going to the Matriculation college. After the excitements, tiredness and homesickness, time for you to really face the reality and understand you are now officially a Matriculation student, ready for the ten-month battle. Thus, the best thing you can do is wipe tears of homesick, pack up your bags as you used to do for the past 17 years, you are now ready for the study journey.
Kolej Matrikulasi Labuan (KML)

Check which class you are in, download the timetable, plan your day. Make life more meaningful and contented while counting days to go home. Those were basically how I embraced my Matriculation life and survived the days, majority did, I bet. So, be realistic and have a clear image of how your ten-month days will be.  Be flexible and adapt to everything.

2. Aim high. Set goals.


You need to know one fact: you excelled your SPM. You passed with flying colours than anyone else for you to be where you are right now. You have got the opportunity which one may have longed for just because they did not get it. You opt to accept the opportunity that God has given to you. The very next thing, continue to aim high and set your goals to achieve after the ten-month. Frankly speaking, there were only two things which I had been thinking during my matriculation days: Get a flat FOUR and GO HOME. That’s it. Your parents sent you there, and just bring them a 4.00 when you go home. That will make all their efforts and worries of valued, that is the best reward to them. Of course, it is not necessary for everyone to target for 4.00, but always aim high, go for a result that will impress everyone, including you yourself.

3. Make new friends. Learn together.


Make new friends in the college. Not just your classmates but go and meet new people. Find the right bunch of people, start off with a study group if that works for you. If you feel study group does not suit you, it is fine to study alone but always SPEAK UP and ASK. Do not go nerdy way or role play yourself as a genius in the college with 2000 and more students. Everyone has their strengths and weakness in different subjects, Speaking from experience, it is either you ask help from your lecturers or friends to solve a Mathematics problem or you cooped up in your own room whole night trying to get the solution. Burdens shared are burdens halved. Lecturers in matriculation are nice, I mean it. Make a way, make your life easier.

4. Have faith.


What I believed in and what I hold on to, until now, up to my degree life. I believe that God is there, always there. I have my faith in Him who is in control and He will walk me through ups and downs. During the matriculation days, there are times where you are really fragile, you are weak, you feel lonely, helpless, directionless, worn out, and all sorts of obstacles come into your way. It is totally understandable and do not feel you are not strong enough. You are, no matter how strong a person is, we all have weaknesses, this is where you need to have your FAITH. Have your faith and He will work everything out for you. God has the best plan for you, and all He needs is our faith and trust. Thus, at times you feel lost and giving up in your Matriculation, have faith, hold on a little more longer, and you know God is always there for you, strengthening you throughout the journey.

Last but not least, ten-month will be a blink of eyes. Just be strong, embrace life, and do not forget to countdown for homebound! Matriculation is more than growing up, it is growing strong.

Winna Low, a Malaysian student, currently doing Bachelor of Pharmacy in USM. I believe in faith, and having that means hard work always pays, be it either way. Do not lose faith in education, for it is what makes you who you are in your life. Keep going, as the tough gets going, the going gets tough.

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