Scholarly article on topic 'Multicultural Education Practice in Malaysia'

Multicultural Education Practice in Malaysia Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Noraini Omar, Mohd Aderi Che Noh, Mohd Isa Hamzah, Latifah Abdul Majid

Abstract The primary goal of multicultural education is towards offering fair opportunity to all children with different cultural background and simultaneously enable them to interact with the community of various background, hence, producing a quality and unwavering future generation integrating physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual element. Therefore, Islamic Education teachers must be committed to the realization of multi-cultural education and must understand the concept of cultural differences through distinction of ethnicity, language, and cultural practices. To promote cultural diversity, teachers should be using methods that are appropriate to the cultural diversity of the students so that they will not fall behind in their learning process. This study is aimed to explore the practice of Islamic education teachers in implementing multicultural education in the teaching of Islam. This is a qualitative study using case study design. Data were obtained through semi-structure interviews and analysed using Nvivo 8. Five Islamic Education participants have been chosen through a purposive sampling technique. The study found that teachers have been using various methods of strategies in implementing multicultural education. Such methods are the methods of advice, explanation, flashback, drilling, talk, storytelling, contextual, lectures, and discussions. It is hoped that this study can serve as a guide for the teaching of Islamic Education in a classroom with students from various backgrounds and stimulate peaceful interaction and integration.

Academic research paper on topic "Multicultural Education Practice in Malaysia"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 174 (2015) 1941 - 1948

INTE 2014

Multicultural education practice in Malaysia

Noraini Omara , Mohd Aderi Che Noha , Mohd Isa Hamzaha & Latifah Abdul Majid

aDepartment of Methodology and Educational Practice, Faculty of Education, National University of Malaysia, 43600, Selangor, Malaysia

Department of Al-Quran dan Al-Sunah bFaculty Of Islamic Studies, National University of Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Abstract

The primary goal of multicultural education is towards offering fair opportunity to all children with different cultural background and simultaneously enable them to interact with the community of various background, hence, producing a quality and unwavering future generation integrating physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual element. Therefore, Islamic Education teachers must be committed to the realization of multi-cultural education and must understand the concept of cultural differences through distinction of ethnicity, language, and cultural practices. To promote cultural diversity, teachers should be using methods that are appropriate to the cultural diversity of the students so that they will not fall behind in their learning process. This study is aimed to explore the practice of Islamic education teachers in implementing multicultural education in the teaching of Islam. This is a qualitative study using case study design. Data were obtained through semi-structure interviews and analysed using Nvivo 8. Five Islamic Education participants have been chosen through a purposive sampling technique. The study found that teachers have been using various methods of strategies in implementing multicultural education. Such methods are the methods of advice, explanation, flashback, drilling, talk, storytelling, contextual, lectures, and discussions. It is hoped that this study can serve as a guide for the teaching of Islamic Education in a classroom with students from various backgrounds and stimulate peaceful interaction and integration.

© 2015TheAuthors.Published by ElsevierLtd.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

(http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the Sakarya University

Keywords: multicultural education, Islamic education, teacher practice, secondary schools

Correspondence author: Tel : +6013-3360990/+60389216231; faks: +60389254372 E-mail: aderi@ukm.edu.my

1877-0428 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

(http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the Sakarya University

doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.859

1. Introduction

The Quran specifically mentions that the concept of human diversity is a sunnahtullah. Differences of color, race, appearance, religion and belief are proofs of authority and wisdom of Allah as stated in chapter 30 verses 22. The Quran urges Muslims to help each other, greet and mingle regardless of skin color, culture and race to create interaction between humanity and justice between fellow human beings, as stated in in Quran chapter 4 verses 58. These differences are not causes of conflict among humans.However they are blessings for mankind.

In terms of Islamic education' role, intelligence, and appearance of Islamic Education teachers in teaching is necessary because their role is not only to be a teacher or instructor, but also as da'i (preacher) (Ab.Halim 2005). Implementation of cultural values could also be carried out by co-curricular activities (Syed Ismail et al. 2010). Cultural values diversity such as respect, cooperation, tolerance, unity of interest, can be implemented indirectly. Similarly, the importance of tolerance, solidarity, and cooperation regardless of ethnicity could be emphasized especially in maintaining the peace and prosperity of the nation (Najeemah 2005; Syed Ismail and Ahmad Subki 2010). The understanding of diversity is not solely for the purpose of academic achievement but also to promote unity among students from different races (Abdul Razaq et al., 2010). It is hoped that this understanding would prevent stuff that will cause conflict and misunderstanding among citizens, especially Malaysian citizens which comprise of different ethnicity.

The diverse backgrounds of students in Malaysia's education system requires citizens to understand others, ethnics and stay united in hope of creating a harmonious society (Shamsul Amri 2012). Therefore, the need to celebrate the diversity of students was enshrined as one of the five aspirations of the Malaysian education system, which is "an education system that offers a shared experience and values to children by appreciating diversity" (National Education Development Plan 2013-2025:p: 21). This is consistent with the composition of Malaysian population which was 28.3 million in 2010, comprising of 67.4% Malay, 24.6% Chinese, 7.3% Indians, and 0.7% other. Thus students' and young generations' understanding and awareness of cultural diversity since school help ensure the survival of the nation and country. For example, through implicit and explicit curriculum, the Ministry of Education sought to create a united and mutually accepted cultural differences between races (Ahmad Ali Seman, 2010).

1.1 Concept Of Cultural Diversity In Islamic Education

Islam provides for freedom of religion for mankind as stated in Quran verses 256 chapter 2. Cultural diversity of nations such as language, way of life, religion and dress habits and practical values are indicators of civilization for a human (Ibn Khaldun 2000). The existence of race or nationality, culture and the variety way of life have recognized in Islamic teaching. Whereas in language, it also has a relationship with the socio-culture. This means an ethnic language is influenced by cultural factors. The prophets for example, received a revelation in their own ethnic languages as stated in chapters 14 verses 4. The existence of multiple languages is also a sign of the greatness of Allah. Muslims have recognized any languages in the world. The essence of Islamic teachingsare suitable to be incorporated into any language More everit is an advantage for teacher who serves as preachers if he or she skilled more than one language,as recounted in the Quran about the superiority and advantage of the prophet Sulaiman who is proficient the language of animals and spirits. The ability and skillfull of many languages would help preacher in culture of people and nation.

Cultural diversity in education is possible through a variety of dimensions including intellectual intelligence, gender, race, ethnicity, and family background. Thus, it has implications on student's learning style and culture. Dealingwith diversity, teachers need to be wise in giving fair education(equity education) to students. Indeed, teachers'wisdom are to manage the learning situation and provide activities that foster an appreciation of the values of solidarity, create understanding, reduce polarization, and change students' perceptions about race relations, especially in this era of globalizationAli Seman (2011).

As stated above, therefore such question should be raise, are the Islamic Education teachers has the competence

in teaching classroom which consist of diverse cultures?. The study provided some views of Western scholars in the success of multicultural education. According to Banks (2001) and Ladson & Billing (2000), as the curriculum implementer, teachers should have two skills in multicultural teaching. Firstly, awareness and the complex sensitivity of the students. This means that teachers should have sensitivity to the diversity in the classroom, including self-awareness and awareness to the others as civilized human, whether the diversity are in terms of religion, culture, ethnicity, language, economic status of the students and their background .

Prophet Muhammad as the greatest teachers, accomplished these principles to celebrate the diversity of the students when providing education to their new friends and learn about Islam to (Abu Ghudah, 2009). The Prophet enough to celebrate the differences of each individual learn whether those who served the missionary call or to ask (Abu Guddah, 2009). He interacts with each individual based on his understanding and appropriate position. He also takes care of the feelings of the new study, the Prophet did not teach them what is being taught to those who have been long. The methods used by the priests As-Syafae, Malik, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Abu Hanifah and Al-Ghazali, all based on the methods used by the Prophet Muhammad (Abu Guddah, 2009).Prophet Muhammad had accomplished some techniquesin controlling andthat celebrates the diversity of students while educating the others and who were new to Islam during his time (Abu Gudah, 2009). He interacted with every individuals based on the and capability of knowledge.

Sociologists such as Linton (1936), Emile Durkheim (1956) view that the education system acts as a disseminator of culture. According to Linton (1936), each of the similarities and differences communities need to be studied. School is not only seen as anagent that only emphasize teaching skills and knowledge, but it also strives to indoctrinate the community values. Teachers also have a set role in the classroom, and in order to achieve their role as teachers, knowledge communicators, consultants, evaluators, and subject specialists in the classroom, factors such as experience in teacher training, social class origins, work experience, skills in subjects, teaching experience, and subject specialization influence their practices and expectations. Sharifah Alwiah (1986) added, the basic concepts of sociology that are related to education are the concepts of race, ethnicity, nation, society, class, and social status and role. If not managed properly, theses differences will be a source of conflict. This usually happens because of human relation is usually based on the differences between groups; rarely it is based on their similarities.

Ab.Halim (2005) asserts that, as a teacher of Islamic education, the task of the educator is to be missionaries but if possible they should be the best preachers to students and the community. The role of teaching of multicultural education was played by teachers as purveyor of knowledge. Consequently, the expertise of Islamic education as preachers to students who are not yet Muslims is indispensable. In this case, the teacher plays an important role in ensuring that all ethnic groups are adequately represented in teaching materials in schools (MOE 2012), especially in the selection of teaching aids so that multicultural education can be delivered effectively (Ali Seman, 2011; Najeemah, 2005; Syed Ismail & Ahmad Subki, 2010). Teaching Islamic education should also emphasize education across the curriculum by focusing on various aspects of culture, whether directly or,indirectly, or as aspects of absorption (Sidek, 2006).

Shamsul Amri (2007) emphasized the importance of implementing multicultural education and national identity in school, but the implemented ineffectively. Najeemah (2005) previously study concluded that most teachers do not realize or accept their responsibility as educators to the realization of multi-cultural education. This is because some of them have not much knowledge and do not understand the concept of multicultural education. Therefore, to implement the curriculum, they should understand the culture from every student for teaching and learning Ladson-Billing (2000). Moreover, teaching based on cultural diversity is actually capable of forming socialization among students towards national integration (Mansor Mohd Nor, 2006).

Ali Seman (2011) stressed that educational issues which are static, outdated, stereotypical, and does not reflect the multi-ethnic culture and more of a Malay Centris (using the example of the Malays)will not happen if the Islamic education teachers have a solid understanding of multicultural education.Usage of variety of examples and involves all pupils should exist so that learning will be more effective (Nejeemah 2006 dan Syed Ismail & Ahmad Subki, 2010). By the usage of appropriate methods, it will not only help teachers to deliver their subject matter. The variety of cultures among students can be used as a way to attract students to study Islamic education and as a means of propagation. We do not want the misconceptionsm of non-Muslims against Muslims to be due to the weakness of the Muslims themselves who are not effectively convey the message of Islam and could not give a good example to non-Muslims (Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, 2010; Zainab Ismail et al., 2009).

Islamic Education therefore been seen as a medium to bringing diverse culture of the students. This is because the goals of Islamic education is to produce students who have the following characteristics: strong and steadfast

faith and devotion as a bastion of endurance, master knowledge offardu 'ain andfardu kifayahas a guide and a way of life, observing the fardu 'ainandfardu kifayahto meet the religious and moral responsibility as complementary pillars of self and culture (Islamic Education Syllabus ICSS 2002, the Department of Islamic and Moral Education, Ministry of Education). This coincided with the resolution achieved in Islamic Studies at the National Level seminar from 2 to 5 October 1995, which reads:

"Islamic education should be at the core of the national education system in the implementation of integrated education system which is based on the integration of science, reason and revelation, towards eliminating the dichotomy and dualism in education".

Thus, the curriculum of Islamic education have supported the ideals of pure and superior ambition in line with the national education philosophy. This is because the goals, philosophy, and values brought by the Islamic Education are sourced from the Quran and Sunnah. Goals, philosophy, and values in Islamic education are derived from the Quran and Sunnah is the basis of culture and civilization. Therefore its functions to develop behaviours, skills, personality, and outlook on life as a servant of Allah for self, society, the environment, and the country should be appreciated and understood by educators so that this goal can be nourished in the hearts of students. Thus, in order to achieve the philosophy of Islamic education, the concept of Islamic education is covering the theoretical and practical aspects of the combination of various teaching methods and teaching approaches in imparting Islamic education.

1.2 Concept Of Teaching And Learning Islamic Education

In particular, Islamic education curriculum will not be complete and perfect if teaching and learning methods are not emphasized. A perfect acquisition of knowledge and character building are not only from the stature and personality of the teacher, but also due to a comprehensives curriculum and supported by a perfect teaching methods. Similarly, the effectiveness of teaching and learning Islamic education, should include some aspects which are motivation, knowing the level of maturity of the students, knowing the individual differences, observing the understanding level of students, integration of existing knowledge with original knowledge, and make the process of education as students 'exciting experience. However, Mohd Aderi (2008) found that teachers' teaching practice in Malaysia is still at a moderate level. They are still using and old and simple approach which is delivering information to students in a one way communication. The approach by using teaching aids and practical works are less practiced (Suhaimi, 2008). In other words, learning strategies are more focused and cantered on the teacher.

Atan (1978) has highlighted three important aspects in shaping the effectiveness of a teacher; teacher's personality, background of the knowledge to be taught, and the methods or means of delivery. While Al Syaibani (1979) thinks that a good teaching and learning method is the one that is able to help students acquire the knowledge and skills, improve attitudes and behaviours, and instil the values desired. Educators are also encouraged to deliver their teaching according to their students' thinking level (al-Ghazali 1998; IbnKhaldun2000; Syaibani 1979). Usually students' existing skills and knowledge will become blurred and more complex when the teacher delivers a lesson without taking into account the students' level of thought and achievement.

For example the Quran has and uses a comprehensive methodology or approach in shaping human behavior. It is appropriate to its function as a major source of Islamic values and morals. The methodological approach to morals and values in the Quran are like (i) uswahhasanahapproach (a good example) by displaying admirable character of the prophets and apostles to be followed by human beings, (ii) the approach of storytelling and narrative, the Qur'an uses approach to storytelling and narrative style that is beautiful, interesting, and really bring good teaching and affect the individual soul of Islam, (iii) teaching and advice.

The use of this approach in the Quran is to educate people in the pursuit of truth, goodness and patience to be able to raise awareness and confidence in the teachings of Islam, (iv) reward and punishment approach, used to warn people to follow Islamic law in everyday life, (v) comparative and equative approach. The aim is to educate and

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develop human character. The Quran expresses this beautifully it can leave an impression in the psyche of those who think, (vi) the causal approach. There are many verses in the Quran that outlines the causes and consequences of an act or behavior, noble and well-being, certainly yielded good results. On the other hand if the behavior is bad, unethical and immoral then the effect is devastating. People live and make a difference and be alert to the effects of all actions.

Examples of approachesin al-Quran present us with the theoretical models of teaching and the teaching of values and morals. For researchers, in the aspect of implementing multicultural values, these approaches are very suitable to be used as they include learning theories that are not only dominated by the west, but also Islamic scholars. The appreciation of the contents of the Quran and the wisdom usage of the common sense that God gave, can make man as the vicegerent of Allah on earth and deserves to be the heirs of the prophets, especially in teaching their students.

It can be concluded that the priority and importance of choosing strategies and methods of teaching and learning is an important factor for the effectiveness of the teaching imparted to the students. The need for a diversity of strategies, methods and approaches will be able to attract and motivate their students to a subject that can push their academic achievement.

2. Research Methodology

This study applied a qualitative approach and case study. Data collection is through teaching observation and interview technique. Interview method is to examine the methodology of teaching in education based on cultural diversity. The sample is a purposive sampling based on criteria set by the researchers. Data were analyzed using NVivo 8, then formation themes were derived from interviews and observation data.

3. Findings of the Study

The results below were obtained through interviews and observations conducted to answer the research questions that have been proposed. Findings from interviews and observations of teaching are used to answer how cultural elements are embedded in the teaching of Islamic education.

3.1 How process of teaching Islamic education based on cultural diversity?

3.1.2 Teacher-centred strategy

Teacher-centred strategy is teaching and learning by actively involving teachers in the delivery, while the students just listen and accept only medium presented by the teacher. This teacher-centred strategy contain various methods. In total there are 9 methods used. Such methods are the methods of advice, explanation, flash back, drilling, lectures, storytelling, contextual, lectures, and discussions.

For P1 teacher-centred strategy will be used when dealing with students who learn new term. This was done by using repetition accompanied by explanation method when students are faced with the problem to master a new term for them such as fasakh term. Similarly, this also applies when teachers teach verses. This assertion is supported by the following statement; "For example when we teach comprehension of the Quran, when we give an explanation to a relatively new student, we use the method of repetition. This means that if there is something that is not clear, or there's lack of understanding, we will repeat. Also for another instance, in secondary 5 we use new terms like 'fasakh' Student will be blurred. So when we give explanations and they do not understand the first time, we will give an explanation for the second or third time".

In an example of the practice of tattooing among the Iban P1 explain; Iban has repented and believe in Islam, complete with their machete, complete with everything, prayer, but how? According to Islam it does not burden, just according to affordability, Islam is not a burden. The one that is not possible is the Muslims.

Based on the P1 statement it is clear that the repetition method needs to be used for students to learn new terms. The use of inappropriate methods will cause difficulty for the students to understand the true meaning of the term. P1 also celebrate each level of students in his classes. He will attempt to use appropriate methods so students can

follow the lesson of the day. He took example in the Jawi script, in which he would use contextual method. Each student has different words according to ability and level respectively. This is explained in the following passage; "During direct teaching in the classroom, I give, every word she teaching and learning, a simple, easy level, medium level and high level. So all students according to the level will be observed ".

On the other hand P2 uses the lecture method in the teaching of Islamic education. However, she does not state the techniques used in applying the elements of culture since the application of elements from various cultures is carried out indirectly. For example, when he describes the culture of Arab society and Malay community in dyeing; "Manners of the Arabs does not matter, it does not hinder for prayers. Dyeing is possible.

Contextual method is also used by P2 in her teaching. She gives many examples to relate what they have learned during the day and its relation to the daily lives of students. As stated in the following passage; "If at home, what would it be? For example manners, manners with parents, how would one enters the home? Okay, what if meeting with relatives. Usually I would do something like this". This approach is taken when teachers teach about topics related to manners. This is because the method of contextual will indirectly help students practice what they have learned in the classroom in their daily lives.

According to P2 and P3 if teachers just explain something without associating it with their lives and without associating with students' prior knowledge, students are less interested to learn Islamic education. Therefore teachers need to diversify methods by including question and answer and provide examples that can be associated with their daily lives. This is explained through the following interview excerpts; "... Sometimes when we describe something, we only describe without associating or without touching a sensitive, existing knowledge of students. If we just deliver it plainly, students are not interested ..." and this is attracting students. Based on the observation of P2 teaching and learning Islamic education process, P2 often questioned the students about their everyday experiences and for example answer questions related to the experience of slaughtering chickens. The combination of question and answer method, discussion and explanation are often practiced in his teaching.

For P3, a description method is normally implemented during the development stage of teaching. This is because at this stage the relevant facts of the lesson content should be presented and explained in detail with students. This is his explanation; "The development of education, which they have, usually the fact, objective that I want to present, I will explain". Even in terms of the implementation of the multicultural elements, he will continue to relate examples of cultural elements that can be associated with the topic. However, the achievement will be the main objective of his teaching. For example, in explaining the situation of social practice that still carry out superstitious activity; "For examples the sorts of things that invalidate faith. For the superstitions, we know that our students believe in birds chirp. Indirectly, I can say that this kind of superstitions is being practice in our culture".

4. Discussion

The use of indirect approach by giving examples and current issues and relate it to everyday life could develop good values from diverse culture within the student which could be practiced in daily lives. This approach provides awareness to students about the importance of unity in life and avoid doing things that could cause separation among students. This is explained by the following interview. The use of teacher-centred strategies in implementing various educational elements, and the usage of question and answer method asks students about the needs of the diverse cultures such as keeping values of solidarity among students and the concept of unity. This description method is also used on students in the lower class. Through this description method, he was actually giving a lot of examples to his pupils.

Teacher-centred teaching and learning strategy is actively involving teachers in the delivery, and the students only listen and accept information presented by the teacher. This teacher-centred strategy contains various methods. In total there are 10 methods used in S1-S6. Such methods are the methods of advice, explanation, glance back, gradually, talk, storytelling, contextual, lectures, and discussions. Teachers should choose a teaching method, and modify it to suit the goals of education (al-Syaibani 1979).

Through the explanation method, teacher explains the importance of multicultural values such as keeping the values of solidarity among students and the concept of unity. For example, in explaining the hadith material teachers

have explained in detail about the responsibility of a Muslim to another Muslim which is not to oppress them and not to let them be in contempt. The usage of this description method is to give awareness to students about the importance of unity in life and avoid doing things that could cause separation among students. The sensitivity of teachers to relate current issues with the life of students and associate them with different cultural values is to strengthen the understanding of students. This has been found to increase the effectiveness of their teaching. According to research participants this effort could develop good multicultural values into students which can be practiced in their daily lives.

This description method is also used in explaining the meaning of hadith material which requires in depth explanation such as to explain the meaning of piety found in the hadith. Through the use of explanation, teachers can help students to improve their comprehension and thus enables them to understand the true meaning of the concept being taught and eventually achieve the specified objectives. The tendency of teachers to use the method of description in teaching and implementing the multicultural values is in line with Ahmad Munawar (2009), Ab. Halim (2003), in which the use of centralized teacher is the most preferred trend, consistent with previous studies.

However, in researchers' view the use of this method should be primarily to provide clarity and understanding for a concept. Similarly, in other topics such as explaining the difference between the act of cheating and lying, small sins and big sins, culture and laws and especially topics related to faith. A descriptive method is used in order to explain to the students about the things that need further clarification. This is because there are students who do not have a strong foundation in Islamic education for. Example students whom their parents just converted to Muslim.

4.1 Conclusion

Excellent teachers of Islamic education in this research adopt elements of various cultures briefly and indirectly through the methods, techniques, and activities they use when delivering teaching and learning Islamic education. Usage of appropriate approach in teaching to produce a balance in all dimensions of physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social and strive to produce students who are able to appreciate good values as intended.

5. Acknowledgements

We would like to thank lecturers and teachers who were involve direct or indirectly for their participation in this research. Our appreciation also goes to Faculty of Education, University Kebangsaan Malaysia.

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