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Fulfilling Malay Literature Learning Outcomes and Teacher Difficulty

Ahmad Nazri Abdullah


Noor Asliza Abdul Rahim
Suhaidah Said
Zuhairah Idrus

Universiti Malaysia Perlis

Abstract

Student learning outcomes are the specific measurable goals and results that are expected
subsequent to a learning experience. In the Malaysian secondary school Malay literature
curriculum, there are 29 specific learning outcomes to be fulfilled. These outcomes range
from students’ ability to read, understand, and respond to a text and their ability to
produce and present creative work of prose, drama and fiction to the best of their ability.
This paper seeks to evaluate the perceived level of difficulty that secondary school
teachers of Malay literature have in helping students achieve the learning outcomes. This
empirical study will also try to ascertain possible reasons for their perception regarding
the above.
The Malay Literature Syllabus
The teaching of Malay literature in Malaysia aims to develop the mind, spirit and
emotion of a student with the hope that he or she will become a learned individual.

Apart from that, the teaching of Malay literature can help bolster students’ proficiency in
the Malay language and teach them to appreciate the aesthetics of the language as
reflected in its literary forms.

The syllabus for the Malay literature was formulated in 1991 and was subsequently
revised in 2003 to meet the aspiration of the Philosophy of Malay literature Education.
The revision incorporated several new elements within the content of the curriculum such
as knowledge, socio-cultural norms, human value, and citizenship.

The aim of the Secondary School Malay literature curriculum is to equip students with
the knowledge of literature so that they can relish, appreciate, and feel proud of the
Malay literature within the national education system.

The Malay literature curriculum aspires to help students:


i. understand the content and aspects of literature
ii. appreciate literary work through literary activities
iii. relish and appreciate the aesthetic of the language
iv. appreciate the writer and his/her work
v. express their views, evaluate literary work critically, and nurture humanistic
values and love for the country
vi. produce various forms of literary work that commensurate with their ability
vii. nurture a feeling of affinity for Malay literature for continuous reading

Learning Outcomes

According to Fulks (2004), student learning outcomes are the specific measurable goals
and results that are expected subsequent to a learning experience. These outcomes may
entail knowledge (cognitive), skills (behavioral), or attitudes (affective behavior) that
show evidence that learning has occurred, at a specified level of proficiency, as a result of
a course or program. Learning outcomes are clear and measurable statements that define
what a student is able to do at the end of a course or program.

Learning outcomes are crucial to the evaluation and development of curriculum


enhancement. In the Malay literature curriculum, there are 29 specific learning outcomes
to be fulfilled. At the end of the session, students should be able to do the following:

A. Introduction to Malay literature


1.0 Elaborate on the definition of literature, characteristics, forms, history of development
and the roles of Malay literature
B Prose
1.0 Elaborate on the definition, types, characteristics and roles of prose
2.0 Elaborate on the biodata of the prose writers being studied
3.0 Elaborate on themes and inquiries in prose
4.0 Elaborate on characters and characterization in prose
5.0 Elaborate on plots in prose
6.0 Elaborate on backgrounds in prose
7.0 Analyze style in prose
8.0 Elaborate on point of view in prose
9.0 Analyze human values and didactics in prose
10.0 Produce and present creative work of prose

C Drama
1.0 Elaborate on the definition, types, characteristics, techniques, and the roles of
drama
2.0 Explain the biodata of playwrights being studied
3.0 Explain cognition and inquiries in drama
4.0 Analyze characters and characterization in drama
5.0 Elaborate on plots in drama
6.0 Elaborate on backgrounds in drama
7.0 Analyze style in drama
8.0 Analysze human values and didactics in drama
9.0 Produce scripts and present drama

D Poetry
1.0 Elaborate on the definition, types, characteristics, and the roles of poetry
2.0 Explain the biodata of poets being studied
3.0 Elaborate on the meanings of poetry
4.0 Elaborate on themes and inquiries in poetry
5.0 Analyze forms of poetry
6.0 Analyze style in poetry
7.0 Analyze tone in poetry
8.0 Elaborate on human values and didactics in poetry
9.0 Produce and recite poetry

(Sukatan Pelajaran Kesusasteraan Melayu KBSM )

Evaluation and Teacher Improvement


Teaching and teacher improvement is a never-ending story. A teacher is one who strives
to improve on his teaching so that students will be able to reap the benefits of his effort.
Darling-Hammond et al (1983) define teacher evaluation as "collecting and using
information to judge." Two evaluation types exist: formative and summative. Formative
evaluation is a tool used to improve instruction. Summative evaluation is a tool used to
make personnel decisions.
Criteria for evaluation must include intangible and tangible teaching aspects (Darling-
Hammond et al, 1983; Wise et al, 1984; Woolever, 1985). Intangible aspects include
student rapport and social responsibility while tangible aspects comprise well-written
lesson plans and test scores. The wide range of suggested criteria for evaluating teachers
has resulted in numerous methods designed to quantify those criteria.

One evaluation technique is teacher self-evaluation. This method usually supplements


more formal evaluation methods and is used with other data to identify weak areas of
instruction and classroom management skills. It serves as an important source of
information for staff development (Darling-Hammond and others, 1983).

Objectives of Study
This study aims to gauge the perceived level of difficulty that Malay Language teachers
in several secondary schools in the northern states of Perlis and Kedah think they have in
helping students achieve the learning outcomes as stated in the Malay literature
curriculum. Teachers’ perception of their ability to help students achieve the learning
outcomes as stated in the curriculum is used as a sort of formative or self -evaluation tool
that can help them identify their weaknesses or strengths in assisting students fulfill the
specified learning outcomes. The study will also identify possible reasons that might
hinder or assist them in their effort.

The objectives of the study are, specifically:


1. To gauge the perceived levels of difficulty among school teachers in fulfilling
the various learning outcomes
2. To identify possible reasons that might hinder or assist them in fulfilling the
outcomes

Procedure

Participants
A total of 20 Malay language teachers from 6 secondary schools in the states of Kedah
and Perlis participated in the study.

Instrument
A specially designed questionnaire comprising four parts was used to collect data needed
for the study. PART A: Demography; PART B: Twenty-nine Likert-style statements on
language teachers’ perception of the level of difficulty in fulfilling the learning outcomes
of the Malay literature component in the Malaysian Secondary School Malay Language
Curriculum; PART C: Eight Likert-style statements on reasons they think influenced
their choice of answers in Part B; and PART D: Subjective statements of other factors
they think pose a hindrance to them in fulfilling the learning outcomes.

Simple descriptive statistics was used to present data garnered from respondents.
Results

PART A: Demography

Table 1: School

No. School Respondents


Male Female
1. Sek.Men. Kepala Batas Alor Star, Kedah
1
2. Sek. Men. Keb. Tunku Abdul Malik Alor
Star, Kedah. 2

3. Sek. Men. Tun Sharifah Rodziah, Alor Star,


Kedah 1 1

4. Sek. Men. Darussaadah, Titi Besi, Kepala 1


Batas, Alor Star, Kedah

5. Sek. Men. Keb. Changlun 1 2

6. Sek. Men. Syed Sirajuddin, Jejawi, Perlis 3 8

Table 2: Age

No. School 25-30 31-35 36-40 41-45 46-50

1. Sek.Men. Kepala Batas Alor Star,


Kedah 1

2. Sek. Men. Keb. Tunku Abdul


Malik Alor Star, Kedah. 2

3. Sek. Men. Tun Sharifah Rodziah, 1


Alor Star, Kedah 1

4. Sek. Men. Darussaadah, Titi Besi,


Kepala Batas, Alor Star, Kedah 1

5. Sek. Men. Keb. Changlun 1 1 1

6. Sek. Men. Syed Sirajuddin, Jejawi, 1 1 3 4 2


Perlis
Table 3: Academic qualification

No. School Certificate Bachelor Master Not


mentioned

1. Sek.Men. Kepala Batas


Alor Star, Kedah 1

2. Sek. Men. Keb. Tunku 2


Abdul Malik Alor Star,
Kedah.

3. Sek. Men. Tun Sharifah


Rodziah, Alor Star, Kedah 1 1

4. Sek. Men. Darussaadah, Titi


Besi, Kepala Batas, Alor 1
Star, Kedah

5. Sek. Men. Keb. Changlun 1 2

6. Sek. Men. Syed Sirajuddin, 3 7 1


Jejawi, Perlis

Table 4: Teaching experience

No. School Less than 5 6-10 11-15 More


years years years than 15
years
1. Sek.Men. Kepala Batas Alor Star,
Kedah 1
2. Sek. Men. Keb. Tunku Abdul
Malik Alor Star, Kedah. 2
3. Sek. Men. Tun Sharifah Rodziah,
Alor Star, Kedah 1 1
4. Sek. Men. Darussaadah, Titi Besi,
Kepala Batas, Alor Star, Kedah 1
5. Sek. Men. Keb. Changlun, Kedah 1 2

6. Sek. Men. Syed Sirajuddin, Jejawi, 5 2 1 3


Perlis
PART B: Tahap Kesusahan Memenuhi Hasil Pembelajaran Sastera Melayu/ Level of
difficulty in fulfilling the Malay Literature learning outcomes

Saya merasakan 4- Sangat Mudah 3-Mudah 2-Susah 1-Sangat


Susah untuk membuat pelajar supaya memahami atau dapat memenuhi hasil
pembelajaran berikut:

I feel that it is 4-very easy 3-easy 2-difficult 1-very difficult to make my students
understand or able to fulfill the following learning outcomes:

Hasil Pembelajaran/ Learning Outcomes 4 3 2 1

1. Menghuraikan definisi kesusasteraan, ciri, bentuk, 1 10 9 -


sejarah perkembangan, dan peranan kesusasteraan
Melayu

Elaborate on the definition of literature,


characteristics, forms, history of development and
the roles of Malay literature

2. Menghuraikan definisi, jenis, ciri, dan peranan 1 8 11 -


Prosa

Elaborate on the definition, types, characteristics


and roles of prose

3. Menerangkan biodata pengarang prosa yang dikaji 5 13 1 1

Elaborate on the biodata of the prose writers being


studied

4. Menghuraikan tema dan persoalan dalam karya 2 15 3 -


prosa

Elaborate on themes and inquiries in prose

5. Menganalisis watak dan perwatakan dalam karya 5 10 5 -


prosa

Elaborate on characters and characterization in


prose
6. Menghuraikan plot dalam karya prosa - 12 7 1

Elaborate on plots in prose

7. Menghuraikan latar dalam karya prosa - 3 13 4

Elaborate on background in prose

8. Menganalisis gaya bahasa dalam karya prosa 1 11 7 2

Analyze style in prose

9. Menghuraikan sudut pandangan dalam prosa - 10 8 2

Elaborate on point of view in prose

10. Menganalisis nilai kemanusiaan dan pengajaran 6 10 4 -


dalam karya prosa

Analyze human values and didactics in prose

11. Menghasilkan dan mempersembahkan karya kreatif - 7 9 4

Produce and present creative work of prose

12. Menghuraikan definisi, jenis, ciri, teknik, dan - 12 8 -


peranan drama

Elaborate on the definition, types, characteristics,


techniques, and the roles of drama

13. Menerangkan biodata pengarang drama yang dikaji 5 11 4 -

Explain the biodata of playwrights being studied

14. Menjelaskan pemikiran dan persoalan dalam drama 2 11 6 1

Explain cognition and inquiries in drama

15. Menganalisis watak dan perwatakan dalam drama 4 12 4 -

Analyze characters and characterization in drama

16. Menghuraikan plot dalam drama - 10 10 -


Elaborate on plots in drama

17. Menghuraikan latar dalam drama 4 12 4 -

Elaborate on backgrounds in drama

18. Menganalisis gaya bahasa dalam drama 2 11 5 2

Analyze style in drama

19. Menganalisis nilai kemanusiaan dan pengajaran 5 11 3 1


dalam drama

Analysze human values and didactics in drama

20. Menghasilkan skrip dan mempersembahkan drama - 4 9 7

Produce scripts and present drama

21. Menghuraikan definisi, jenis, ciri, dan peranan 1 11 8 -


puisi

Elaborate on the definition, types, characterics, and


the roles of poetry

22. Menerangkan biodata penyair yang dikaji karyanya 3 12 5 -

Explain the biodata of poets being studied

23. Menghuraikan maksud puisi 1 12 5 2

Elaborate on the meanings of poetry

24. Menghuraikan tema dan persoalan dalam puisi 1 14 4 1

Elaborate on themes and inquiries in poetry

25. Menganalisis bentuk puisi 5 8 7 -

Analyze forms of poetry

26. Menganalisis gaya bahasa dalam puisi 1 12 4 3


Analyze style in poetry

27. Menghuraikan nada dalam puisi - 12 7 -

Analyze tone in poetry

28. Menghuraikan nilai kemanusiaan dan pengajaran - 6 9 5


dalam puisi

Elaborate on human values and didactics in poetry

29. Menghasilkan dan mempersembahkan puisi - 7 9 4

Produce and recite poetry

PART C. Faktor Sukar Mencapai Hasil Pembelajaran/ Factors that make it difficult to
fulfill the learning outcomes

1 Sangat tidak setuju 2 Tidak setuju 3 Tidak pasti 4 Setuju 5 Sangat setuju

1. Strongly Disagree 2 Disagree 3 Not Sure 4 Agree 5 Strongly Agree

Faktor/ Factors 1 2 3 4 5

1. Saya mempunyai cukup latihan 1 2 5 10 2


untuk mengajar sastera Melayu di
sekolah

I have been given enough training to


teach Malay Literature in schools

1. Saya memahami kesemua teks 2 2 4 10 2


yang perlu diajar

I understand all the texts that need


to be taught

3. Penguasaan Bahasa Melayu pelajar 2 10 5 3 -


saya sangat baik
My students’s command of the
Malay language is good

2. Para pelajar saya merasakan 4 3 8 4 1


pelajaran sastera Melayu penting
dalam kehidupan

My students feel that Malay


Literature is important in life

3. Para pelajar saya merasakan sastera 1 5 9 4 1


Melayu sangat menyeronokkan

My students feel that Malay


Literature is fun

4. Saya sangat suka mengajar sastera - 2 6 10 2


Melayu pada pelajar saya

I like to teach Malay Literature to


my students

5. Masa yang diperuntukkan untuk 1 4 5 8 2


mengajar sastera Melayu cukup

The time allotted for the teaching of


Malay Literature is adequate

6. Saya mempunyai segala 1 5 5 8 1


kelengkapan yang diperlukan untuk
mengajar sastera Melayu di sekolah

I have all the necessary equipment


needed to teach Malay Literature in
schools
PART D: Sila nyatakan dan huraikan faktor lain yang saudara/saudari rasa menyukarkan
saudara/saudari memenuhi hasil pemelajaran sastera Melayu yang ditetapkan/
Please state and elaborate on other factors that you feel make it difficult to
fulfill the Malay Literature learning outcomes

1. Students are not interested in studying literature. Therefore, they pay less
attention on the subject. (Para pelajar kurang berminat mata pelajaran sastera.
Oleh itu mereka kurang memberi tumpuan terhadap pelajaran.)

2. Students are lazy to read the texts and thus making it difficult for them to
understand the story and to analyze character,plot, lessons, etc. (Sikap pelajar
yang malas membaca teks menyebabkan sukar untuk pelajar memahmi cerita dan
gagal untuk menganalisis watak, plot, pengajaran dll.)

3. Some students like to skip classes and this has an influence on work quality, exam
results and they would miss on some important points that they should master in
preparing for the SPM. (Sikap segelintir pelajar yang sering ponteng
mempengaruhi hasil kerja, pencapaian dalam peperiksaan dan terlepas bahagian-
bahagian pelajaran yang sepatutnya dikuasai oleh semua pelajar sebagai
persediaan menghadapi peperiksaan SPM.)

4. Students are not interested in reading the assigned texts. (Pelajar tidak berminat
membaca teks yang ditetapkan.)

5. There is a wide range of questions asked and this makes it difficult for students to
master them all. (Soalan yang dikemukakan terlalu luas menyukarkan pelajar
menguasai kesemuanya.)

6. Literature is not suitable for students who are from the ”weak” class. They cannot
read and lazy to study. (Pelajaran kesusasteraan tidak sesuai untuk pelajar kelas ”
belakang”. Mereka tidak boleh membaca dan malas belajar.)

7. There are students who are completely dependant on the teacher. They are lazy to
read the compulsory texts. (Terdapat pelajar yang bergantung sepenuhnya kepada
guru. Mereka malas membaca teks wajib.)

8. Texts and course syllabi are too wide- in the form of text analysis. The structural
approach is boring. Does not fulfill career requirement. (Teks dan sukatan
pelajaran sukatan pelajaran terlalu luas- dalam bentuk analisis teks. Semuanya
menggunakan pendekatan struktural-menjemukan. Tidak memenuhi keperluan
kerjaya.)
9. Not interested in the subject, especially the male students. In class discussion,
they do not really participate. (Kurang berminat terutamanya pelajar lelaki. Di
dalam kelas pula tidak memberi tumpuan dan semasa aktiviti perbincangan
kumpulan pelajar lelaki kurang memberikan kerjasama.)

10. Students who take the course are weak in Bahasa Melayu and do not have mastery
of the 3R. (Para pelajar yang mengambil mata pelajaran ini terdiri dalam kalangan
mereka yang lemah dalam mata pelajaran BM dan ada yang tidak menguasai 3M.)

11. Teachers do not have the experience teaching the subject (Guru tiada pengalaman
mengajar sastera Melayu.)

12. Different culture and ethnicity in society make it difficult for students to
understand the Malay language. (Pelbagai budaya dan bangsa dalam masyarakat
menyukarkan pelajar memahami bahasa Melayu.)

Analysis

If we take a frequency count of 10 as the mid-point to decide on whether the learning


outcomes in PART B of the questionnaire as easy or difficult to fulfill, then, on the
whole, we can say that respondents feel that most of the learning outcomes are easy to
fulfill and they have not much difficulty in helping students understand lessons.
However, there are some learning outcomes which teachers feel as somewhat difficult to
fulfill as evident in their responses to PART B on the questionnaire. These are items:

2. Elaborate on the definition, types, characteristics and roles of prose


7. Elaborate on background in prose
11. Produce and present creative work of prose
20. Produce scripts and present drama
28. Elaborate on human values and didactics in poetry
29. Produce and recite poetry

Prose work learning outcomes, it seems, pose the greatest challenges to the respondents
to fulfill, followed by poetry and drama. And if we look at the comments given by some
of the teachers in PART D, the reasons might be that some students are weak in their
language and reading skills and are just too lazy to read the assigned texts. Prose work,
being longer, might seem less interesting and less engaging than the other types of
literary genres. Literature, being a reading subject, might not be a suitable subject for
those who do not like to read or do not have the skills to do so. Other factors cited are too
many things to cover in the syllabus, lack of teaching experience, lack of students’
interest in the subject and students coming from different ethnic and cultural groups.

And if we look at responses in PART C, most teachers feel that they are adequately
trained, that they have no problems understanding all the texts to be used, they love
teaching literature, that enough time is allocated for the subject, and they have enough
facilities in school to conduct lessons. Most agree that their students do not have a strong
mastery of the Malay language and they are not sure if their students like the subject or
feel that Malay literature is important in life.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, most of the participants perceive that the majority of the learning
outcomes are easy to fulfill with several exceptions as highlighted above. Most feel that
the problem resides mostly in students’ attitude and reading skills and habits rather than
the teacher themselves. It would be most interesting to conduct a survey on students who
are taking the subject to get their views on the matter. It would make for an interesting
research work in future given the fact that interest in the subject is waning as evident in
the number of students taking the course each school year. A more comprehensive and
far-reaching research needs to be done if we want to ensure that the teaching of Malay
literature does not die a slow death. This research has shown that, in a small way,
teachers’ perception of the degree of difficulty in fulfilling the learning outcomes
provides an important indicator of what needs to be done in future planning to ensure that
the teaching of the subject will flourish rather than come to a premature end.

BIODATA

Zuhairah Binti Idrus lahir pada 29 Mei 1980 di Pulau Pinang. Pendidikan Awal di
Sek.Ren.Tunku Abdul Malik, Kulim Kedah. Pendidikan menengah di Sek.Men.Sultan
Badlishah, Kulim Kedah. Memperoleh Ijazah Sarjana Muda (Kepujian) Pengajian
Melayu di Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur dalam pengkhususan Kesusasteraan Melayu
dan Bahasa Melayu. Bertugas di Universiti Malaysia Perlis pada Jun 2004 sebagai Guru
Bahasa Melayu.
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