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Children may need to dispose existing social behaviour mindset to adapt to new normal: NUTP

08 Jul 2020 / 11:08 H.

PETALING JAYA: All that have been traditionally inculcated in children, such as caring for others and friendship, may soon be undone under the new normal.

Instead of sharing, children may now have to be taught to be “selfish”. Rather than be involved in group activities, children are encouraged to isolate themselves.

These are some of the new realities people must face in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and perhaps for as long as a vaccine is not found, according to National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan.

He added that traditionally, children were taught to “beri salam” (pay respect) to others.

“They were also taught that a hug is an expression of love, so to show their affection for someone, they embrace,” he told theSun yesterday.

“However, we are now teaching children to distance themselves from others. We are now going in the opposite direction.”

Children must now be taught to refrain from sharing their pencils, seat or food, he added.

“Children were taught to look out for each other, but now they have to do things on their own.

“Instead of teaching children to assimilate into society, we are now telling them to keep apart from each other,” he said.

With the change in the educational scenario, teachers now also face a new challenge.

Tan said even in the most difficult of times, there was a pedagogy, or science, for online teaching and distance learning, and there were established methods to teach the less-abled.

“However, there is no pedagogy for social distancing. For this reason, NUTP embarked on a study on April 19 to find an answer.”

On June 23, NUTP president Aminuddin Awang commented that the government seemed to be paying more attention to the physical aspects of social distancing at schools rather than addressing the role of teachers in ensuring the effectiveness of current teaching methods in the new normal.

“If teachers are not briefed or given adequate training to teach in a post-Covid-19 situation, they may not be able to work efficiently.”

Aminuddin said NUTP has come up with new pedagogies that also cover social distancing and other safety measures that it said could help teachers in discharging their responsibilities as educators.

He said a research carried out jointly by NUTP and Universiti Malaya showed 93% of 10,000 teachers who responded to a survey said they preferred face-to-face teaching.

Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris counsellor Dr Fauziah Mohd Sa’ad said children above the age of five can easily accept change.

“As they mature, they will pick up the ability to understand concepts. They will be able to grasp the idea (of living in the new normal) if taught well,” she said.

She noted that such changes were inevitable, given the need to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“The recovery rate shows that we are on the right track. This is a community effort. We must understand the impact we would have if we work together,” she said, adding that children will now have to learn these new values.

However, Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the issue would sort itself out as children were eager to return to school while parents were also equally keen on returning to pre-Covid-19 routines.

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