Editorial Board (Issue 9 - 2014)

Suhaidah Tahir, PhD (Chair)
Corrienna Hj Abdul Talib, PhD (Editor in Chief)
Hazura Ab Bakar, PhD
Mohd Sazali Khalid, PhD
Ng Khar Thoe, PhD
Nur Jahan Ahmad, PhD
Thien Lei Mee, PhD
Dominador D. Mangao
Ong Mei Yean (Editorial Assistant)



1. Helping Normal Technical Students With Learning Mathematics – A Preliminary Survey (pp. 1-10)

Toh Tin Lam & Lui Hah Wah Elena

Classroom anecdotes have shown that teachers find it challenging to teach Normal Technical [N(T)] students in Mathematics. The authors conducted a survey on a group of teachers teaching N(T) mathematics in July 2013 in an attempt to identify the N(T) students’ learning difficulties in mathematics, and the strategies and resources that the teachers have used to help their students in learning the subject. This is a follow-up of an earlier research project on “Positive social climate for enhancing students’ mathematics self-concept” that the authors have engaged together with several other colleagues from the Singapore National Institute of Education in the period 2002 – 2004. In the July 2013 survey, we found that teachers have identified several major factors in their students’ learning difficulties, which can be broadly classified under three categories: cognitive, psychological and socio-emotional. The survey also indicates that teachers have resorted to the use of a variety of resources and strategies to help their students in learning the subject, ranging from manipulative developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education to a number of creative methods in teaching mathematics.

2. Teaching Numeracy Through Rekenrek (pp. 11-23)

S. Kanageswari Suppiah Shanmugam & Leong Chee Kin

One of the more important tasks for primary mathematics teachers is to help young children develop powerful mathematical understandings of numbers, their meanings, their relationships to one another, and how we operate with them. The rekenrek which is developed by mathematics education researchers in the Netherlands combines various strengths of other manipulatives (e.g., number lines, base-10 blocks, counters, etc.) in one accessible tool. It is a powerful tool for teaching a range of strategies for addition and subtraction which can be extended to multiplication and division as well as enhancing pupils understanding and applying the properties of operations. However, rekenrek is new to most countries in this Southeast Asia region. This study in the form of a workshop introduced Rekenrek to a group of mathematics teachers as one of the topics of their in-service course. The objective is to explore teachers’ perception in using rekenrek as mathematics manipulative during their lesson after they have undergone training and to determine the trained teachers’ perspective on the effectiveness of using rekenrek to develop pupils’ number sense. The data were collected through a questionnaire, observations made by the authors as well as analysis on their completed tasks which is part of the workshop activities. The study revealed the many positive perceptions the teachers had on the use of rekenrek in schools. Among them are the ability to draw out the many different strategies from the pupils, promoting exploration, subitisation, decomposition and automaticity. The study also reveals that it is quite easy for the teachers to introduce its use as well as to make rekenrek in the mathematics classrooms.

3. Musical Mnemonics To Facilitate Learning Of Transcription Of RNA (pp. 24-34)

Miranda P. Yeoh

Malaysian students need to be skilful in both English and Malay in this global era. Matriculation students learn Biology in English, and they have difficulty in remembering the facts. Musical mnemonics were used to enable the students remember the facts of the process of Transcription of RNA correctly; and in the right order. The medians for the experimental group and control group were 10.0 and 4.0 respectively. Mann-Whitney test showed a significant effect was produced by the teaching approach; W (76) = 780, Z = -8.066, p = .0005. Based on the findings, the researcher suggests that musical mnemonics should be used to facilitate recall of other biological processes. As a learning tool, musical mnemonics must meet several criteria in order to be effective, and the researcher has suggested the criteria. The results of this study imply that, with some innovations, Biology can be successfully learned in English.

4. Improving Engineering Students’ Performance In Higher Mathematics Subjects At The University Of Eastern Philippines, Catarman, Northern Samar Philippines, Through Screening Examination (pp. 35-40)

Benjamin D Varela

Students’ performance in higher engineering mathematics subjects at the University of Eastern Philippines was very poor from School Year 2003 – 2004 to School Year 2006–2007. This resulted in high dropout rate of students and unmotivated professors. This scenario prompted the researcher to formulate the screening examination strategy, wherein a retention score is prescribed aside from the passing score. A study was conducted to assess whether said strategy will improve students’ performance in higher engineering mathematics subjects. This study will help second and third year engineering students improve their academic performance. So the researcher, starting School Year 2010–2011, reformulated his long examinations into screening examinations. The results revealed that the screening examination strategy increased the passing percentage of students in higher engineering mathematics subjects. The conduct of screening examinations implies that students are afraid to be screened out and so they will study well.

5. Exemplary Practices In Search For Youth Science And Mathematics Researchers (Series 4): ‘Search For SEAMEO Young Scientists’ (SSYS) (pp. 41-57)

Ng Khar Thoe, Dominador D. Mangao & Baharulnizam Baharum

Science learning is at its best when questions, issues or authentic problems are posed that motivate students to find solutions through investigative research and inquiry-based learning. Literature also revealed the enormous benefits of informal and out-of-school learning experiences in stimulating and captivating students’ interest to learn science and mathematics especially when they work on authentic community problems. In this fourth series of the article on exemplary practices in SEARCH for youth researchers through blended learning, elaboration will be made on another sub-portal of SEARCH, entitled ‘Search for SEAMEO Young Scientists’ (SSYS) [http://www.recsam.edu.my/ssys].The SSYS programme was founded in 1997 with organization of biennially held science congresses at SEAMEO RECSAM, a regional training centre for Science and Mathematics Education in Southeast Asia, that organized this youth scientific programme to showcase research findings among young researchers. SSYS serves as a platform for exchange of ideas and presentation of investigative projects by student delegates who were coached and accompanied by teacher delegates from SEAMEO member countries and beyond. The event was also promoted through blended learning platforms since 2006 using Facebook social networking site and the closed forum of ‘Science Project/problem-based Activities inCorporating Activities Management’ (SP3ACEMAN), a blended learning platform that was introduced in third series of the article in SEARCH for youth researchers. This article presents the authors’ experiences in organizing the SSYS congresses since 1997. A brief account of the types of research projects and the events in the congress will be elaborated with some highlighted projects that were archived in SP3ACEMAN forum site. Two model research projects that reflect experiential science and mathematics learning, as well as the benefits derived, will also be presented as case studies. Educational implications and future directions will likewise be explored.


6. Awareness Of Climate Change Among Globe Trainers (pp. 58-65)

Corrienna Abdul Talib, Rainer Zawadzki & Zurida Ismail

This study explores the awareness of the trainers regarding climate change of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program. The GLOBE program is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program. The GLOBE's vision is to promote and support students, teachers and scientists to collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of the environment and the dynamics of the Earth system working in close partnership with NASA, NOAA and NSF Earth System Science Projects (ESSP's). GLOBE hosted a Lower Mekong Initiative Train-the-Trainer workshop at Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai, Thailand from 23-28 January 2012. The week-long workshop qualified 63 GLOBE trainers from seven countries including Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. About 52 trainers volunteered to take part in this the survey for the study. Each participant was given a self-administered, pre-tested questionnaire to solve on the spot. This paper will discuss the various traits of trainers’ attitudes, awareness of climate change issues and challenges over the years, implication of environmental awareness to impart knowledge as well as inculcate values that would nurture sustainable behaviours.