Dr. Frances Lee Moi Fah
PECERA 2018 Second Keynote Address by Dr. Frances Lee Moi Fah from Malaysia
Title: Young Learners’ Predisposition (P) to Performance (P) and Progress (P)
The PPP research is an on-going investigation into the basic principle of teaching. It is on how do teachers begin working with a group of learners, especially young children. Although several teaching-learning principles guide teachers of good practice, the focus here is on ‘start where the learners are’, meaning that teachers need to find out what learners know before beginning teaching and bringing about new learning. Another ingredient is on what do teachers believe learners can do, especially young children. Child development theories claim that they are inherently curious while teaching-learning theories state that when they are interested and are successful, they are motivated to learn anything and everything. Predisposition of learners as in their curiousity and interest would be the social and psychological state while successful learning will be the expected outcome. Performance is therefore an expectation of successful learning which leads to continuous development along a continuum. Progress is the developmental continuum of each learner and the age group, so it is relative to the peer group of learners. The PPP research findings across five differing Malaysian settings such as, isolated interior rice farming communities, semi-rural villages and towns, small and large housing estates, institutional and primary school settings, towns and cities housing areas, which to a great extent determine what learners come with that impact on teachers’ teaching practice. The PPP research is a consolidation of more than twenty (20) years (1997-2010) on teachers’ competencies and the involvement of five thousand (5,000) carers and educators of young children from infancy to primary school when the first national public examination is taken at twelve (12) years old. The highlight of this PPP research study is on teacher-led interaction in the provision of act-on rather than hands-on experiential learning that engages young learners as play, which leads to the development of thinking. It is this teaching-learning competency that is the recommendation for professional learning of carers and educators.
Dr. Frances Lee Moi Fah, Consultant for Literacy Development and Education Forum (LDEF) is an educationist (PhD Education, U of London; MEDU Educational Psychology, Academic Diploma in Education and PGCE, Uni of London Institute of Education UK; BA Uni of Malaya) to several NGOS and rural indigenous communities; and was Professor of Education at HELP University, KL, Malaysia (2013-2017).
Her involvement in early childhood education (ECE) stretches over more than thirty years and research is an on-going project in three main areas of teaching, learning and child development. First is the impact of formal preschool teacher education on good practice. Another is the development of early literacy and thinking as making sense of the ever-changing environment. Lastly, quality of early learning experiences that go beyond standard and standardization. These are the projects that engage her, consolidating into a study on young learners’ predisposition (P) to performance (P) and progress (P). The PPP research work is Dr. Frances Lee’s current focus.
The ECE pursuit began in 1987 in Singapore at the Institute of Education where a longitudinal study of the moral and cognitive development of two hundred (200) preschoolers, from four to six years old was conducted, funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation (1985-1989). Language and home education were found to be most significant and it resulted with the Longman publication of the book, ‘Growing Up in Singapore: The Preschool Years’ in 1989. She continued her ECE interest when she assumed the Edith Cowan University Coordinator for Malaysian students on the Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies (1993-2007). Her writing has been on developing training materials on nine early childhood learning areas for supporting the pool of local trainers servicing student preschool teachers on their workplace practicum such as, teaching young children English, Early Mathematics, Early Science, Early Social Studies and Environment, Physical and Health Education, Early Visual Arts Program, Early Music Program, Young Children’s Literature and, Early Computer and Technology through the appropriateness of the Thematic Integrated Childcentred (TIC) Programme for young learners from Nursery to Junior Primary School.