Computers smart choice in schools

Thursday, 27 April 2006

A leading Malaysian scholar is paving the way for teenagers to become more proficient in the English language.

Nadzrah Abu Bakar, who is a lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, has just completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide, studying the use of computers for teaching English to secondary school students.

For the past three years, Nadzrah has worked under the supervision of University of Adelaide linguistics experts Dr Peter Mickan and Professor Peter Muhlausler, studying the best methods to help Malaysian secondary school students at Smart Schools improve their English.

Her PhD at the University of Adelaide has shown that computers in the classroom can be beneficial tools to teach English, the country's second language.

"But in order for the integration of computers to be successful, the education system in Malaysia needs to change and become less exam oriented," Nadzrah says.

"Teachers have very little time in the classroom at the moment to use computers. They are too focused with the syllabus and need to be freed up to use computers as a valuable teaching tool."

While all Smart School students have computers in the classroom, most Malaysian schools do not.

"Eventually every school in Malaysia will have one, and I hope my PhD will help encourage this," she says.

Nadzrah was born in Seremban, Negri Sembilan. She received her first degree (BA in English) from the University of Western Illinois, USA, and her second degree (MA in TESOL) from the University of Northern Iowa, USA.

She taught in a secondary school for seven years before joining Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia as a lecturer. The university and the Malaysian Government have sponsored her PhD in Adelaide.

Nadzrah graduated with her PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences from the University of Adelaide on Sunday, April 23 at the Hotel Nikko.

Some of the University's other illustrious Malaysian alumni include Royal Selangor managing director Datuk Yong Poh Kon, and the Chief Minister of Sarawak the Honourable Pehin Sri Dr. Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud.


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