Cikgu Faruze is the winner of the Most Inspiring Leader for Frog Teacher Awards.
We spoke to him to get some insights on his journey in 21st century education and how he’s become a beacon of inspiration to the teachers and schools in Johor. Cikgu Faruze shares his 10 leadership lessons below
The beginnings of my leadership journey…
I began my journey as an educator in 2005 in SK Telok Lipat, a rural school in Mersing, Johor. I did not have any ICT skills, nor were there any ICT facilities available to me, but I was lucky enough to become the caretaker of the school’s brand new computer lab! This was the starting point of my interest in ICT, my desire to incorporate technology in education and to work with like-minded teachers in the education community.
#1 Learn from Others
Having zero knowledge in ICT for education, I was inspired by a teacher who was using technology for teaching and learning. He was dedicated to helping me understand the importance of its place in education. I also began exploring and learning on my own through the internet and YouTube tutorials. When this teacher was promoted to PKG Officer in Mersing, he invited me to sessions where I could learn from a community of like-minded teachers. From then on, I gained the confidence to join competitions related to ICT in education to expand my knowledge and experience.
“One of the first competitions I joined required me to create a website for my school using Blogspot. Through this competition and many more after that, it became clear to me that there were plenty of other rural schools just like mine who were interested in creating websites, exploring the internet and trying to infuse technology in education”
Cikgu Faruze also learned that many schools from different states were creating domains for their schools to share activities, highlights and important information for their teachers as well as their students.
#2 Create spaces to learn and explore together
In 2012, when the Frog VLE was introduced, I was already familiar with ICT so it was not difficult for me to jump into Frog and use the platform for teaching and learning. FrogAsia approached me to start conducting workshops using my school’s computer lab.
“I was thrilled and excited because it was something fresh and new. My enthusiasm to explore this new platform ignited the curiosity and excitement in other teachers from my school as well as the surrounding schools”.
Because of the activities that we were doing with ICT in schools, we also received a Chrome Lab, fully equipped with devices and connectivity! This lab was a great space for us continuously explore new ideas and experiences with each other.
#3 Provide Hands-On Support
I continued entering competitions and one of it was the national and state level Anugerah Kepimpinan Teknologi Maklumat dan Komunikasi. Although I did not win this, it was a valuable experience for me. Coming from Johor, I gained the attention of JPN & BTPN Johor who then offered me a position as PKG Officer in Endau. Here, I started collaborating with my mentor and we began conducting workshops that educated teachers on using the Frog VLE. Our main aim was to provide hands-on support for teachers to learn to connect to the internet, use the virtual learning platform, explore digital learning and share ideas and insights.
#4 Let people help!
When I was promoted to BTPN Officer in 2017, I became the State Desk Officer to manage Frog VLE in Johor. I knew that there were many experienced teachers who are eager to teach and help others, so I formed a team of teachers and officers to run programmes to promote the use of the VLE in Johor. These teachers took on the role with such tenacity and went on to every district, every PKG, and every school to conduct workshops and roadshows.
“As a BTPN Officer, I wanted to bring all these districts together to create a culture where 21st Century teaching and learning was a priority in Johor schools. To do that, we needed to help one another”
#5 Provide relevant professional development
To ensure a culture of 21st century teaching and learning, one of the most crucial things to do is to work together with government agencies and corporate organizations. I worked alongside the Sektor Pengurusan Akademik and Sektor Pengurusan Maklumat ICT Johor as well as with FrogAsia to put in place events and activities where teachers could explore ICT and also provide professional development so these teachers had the support and the right set of skills.
#6 Establish a sense of unity towards a common goal
To further create a sense of community, 5 state officers came together to form the Council of Younger Johor. This council involved expert teachers from Johor who worked towards the common goal of spreading the use of ICT in Johor and helped to increase the confidence of teachers to use ICT in teaching and learning. Our aim is to always support teachers and give them the help they need to explore and discover digital teaching and learning.
#7 Identify Issues and Challenges in your Community
It is important for us to identify and understand the pain points of teachers and schools before coming up with solutions. In Johor, the biggest issue was that the senior leadership (SLT) in schools were either not aware or not supportive in implementing 21st century teaching and learning. There are many talented teachers and dedicated officers across Johor, but when school leaders are not on board, the process of implementation is harder. Our goal was to break this mentality of fear and of low confidence by also creating a Sesi Khidmat Bantu Khas with 45 PKGs to keep school leaders informed, updated and to provide an avenue for feedback and support.
#8 Keep Encouraging, Keep Motivating
With the collaboration of the PKGs and the Council of Younger Johor, we continued to promote and encourage schools to join competitions focused on 21st Century education such as Frog World Championships and Boost Your Play. These competitions enabled us to identify potential schools that are outstanding. The competitions gave these schools a sense of achievement and something to look forward to, other than just learning and sitting for exams.
“Cikgu Maimon (Guru Besar), Cikgu Norlaila (GPK) and Cikgu Baizura (ICT Teacher) were diamonds in the rough. They were really interested in technology and I worked alongside them to champion their school, SK Teriang to use Frog and also take part in the YTL Foundation Schools Awards (YTLSFA). We approached the school’s SLT and convinced them to allow these teachers to take part in the competition.”
#9 Celebrate and Share Success
When SK Teriang became one of the winners of YTLSFA, it became the talk of the town! A rural, Orang Asli school entered a big scale, national competition and WON! This not only built up the confidence of SK Teriang in using technology in education, it also became a culture in the school. Even when when Cikgu Baizura and Cikgu Norlaila were transferred, they continued to utilize technology in the school.This school has been an inspiration to all the other schools in Zon Endau and Mersing district.