Malaysia - Science Across the World

Science Across the World, Malaysia

Wednesday 26 January

The week began with an evening discussion in one of the foyer bar areas of the Rennaissance Hotel. There were around 30 participants, from all levels of education, from museums, from educational publications, there were parents, and learners all interested in the issues related to English-medium Science education.
It was a good way to start the week giving me an insight into some of the issues and concerns of a representative group of the Malaysian population dealing with education. On the background of more than two years’ experience of English-medium Science and Maths education in Malaysia. The programme is working its way through the system and now after an initial period of very difficult implementation, I get the impression that things are settling down and schools and teachers are getting on with the everyday process of the teaching and have managed to cope with the heavy job of implementation so far. There are many concerns. A parent of Chinese origin expressed worries about his children coping with the learning through the medium of English and that his own English wasn’t good enough to help his children, ‘what can I do?’ he asked. It’s a common concern.

Café Scientifique

Thursday 27 January

Dr Cheah opens the event

Mme Ho – Supertaster!

Thursday was an all-day workshop with teachers & officers from the Curriculum Development Centre at the Arcade Room, again in the Renaissance Hotel. These master trainers are responsible for the training of English-medium Science and Maths teachers regionally and I was invited to present Science Across the World to this group as well as present a review of some of the materials which are to be used by Science teachers.
The programme included an introduction to Science Across the World (, materials and website and all of the trainers were offered the chance to sign up for free to the programme. John Clegg ( and I had carried out a review of some of the materials and guidelines for Form 1 Science. Our conclusions included suggestions for supplementing the materials with activities for supporting the production of language, in both spoken and written form. These conclusions formed the basis of activities presented to the group of master trainers.

Colleagues discuss diet and disease

Colleagues clustering arguments on genetics

There is only so much we could hope to achieve in the space of one day but there was a lot of interest in the language support activities and there were suggestions from Mme Ho, Dr Cheah, and Dr Yeap, colleagues from the Ministry of Education for further meetings with a practical materials supplementation focus. Other suggestions included expanding on the review to include a whole unit and then piloting this unit, recording the practice and using this material for further training.
There are some interesting links at the Ministry website including a guidebook on developing thinking skills in primary children. This article makes use of the skills.

Friday 28 January
In a short gap in the day’s programme there was time made for busy British Council Teacher Centre teachers to attend a presentation on Science Across the World and ideas for incorporating the programme into language teaching.

Saturday 29 January
On Saturday I had the privilege of attending the Teachers’ Club 2nd Anniversary Event which was held at the Renaissance Hotel. This was a meeting to celebrate the 2nd birthday of the Teachers’ Club in Malaysia and Scott Windeatt presented on the use of ICT in language teaching while I presented Science Across the World to the 200 plus teachers present. The new Teachers’ Club portal was also unveiled.

Take a look at the BC website, there’s lots of news on events for teachers and educational projects

Birthday balloons are released!!!

 The programme was warmly received and a number of colleagues approached me afterwards to ask for further information.
All in all the week was full of opportunity both for Science Across the World and for teachers in Malaysia looking for contacts in schools in other countries around the world. I think there will be a large takeup among teachers from this week. The next step would be to bring them together again at a later date to share their experiences with the programme and also to offer more practical activities for the classroom.
There’s certainly a lot that Science Across the World can offer teachers in terms of techniques for developing communication in Science as well as opportunities for making contacts with teachers in other countries. On top of this, the Malaysian English-medium Science and Maths initiative is one to watch in the near future. With each year that this programme grows, there will be another year of materials, of experience, of challenges.
Watch this space!