My Classes for Semester 1, 2016

Brainstorming to find what is best for our students

Brainstorming to find what is best for our students

Alhamdulillah after school meeting today, I am given two subjects to teach next semester.

1. Muslim Nations (Islamic History)
2. Fiqh 4 (Contemporary Fiqh)

Both are project base.

Topics on Muslim Nations: Semester 1, Year 2016

Topics on Muslim Nations: Semester 1, Year 2016

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JMS: First Class Islamic Education in Singapore


Today, I am with the team from Khalifah Model School (Secondary) and Khalifah Education Foundation visited MUIS, al-Mawaddah Mosque and PERGAS HQ in Singapore. The last time I discussed about Islamic Education in Singapore with friends, was around year 2007 or 2008 when Madrasahs in Singapore were in dilemma after the government imposed compulsory education back then. I was very worried listening to the stories and at that time I thought, Singapore must do something since the paradigm of Islamic Education at that time looked poor. The disintegration between Diniyyah and Academic curriculum and Madrasahs against public schools was not encouraging. Later on, I was not sure where can I get the latest information and progress regarding Islamic education in Singapore.

But today, I had the opportunity to meet and discuss about the latest progress on Islamic education with MUIS, and we were introduced to the Joint Madrasah System (JMS) and I was overwhelmed listening to the presentation. Not only the integration between the Diniyyah curriculum with the academic has produced many internationally recognised qualifications such as GCSE Cambridge and IB but the Islamic education has also embrace the 21st century education with more learner centered, with high level of progressivism and even learning Islam has become fun, dynamic and exciting.

Now, our Singaporean brothers and sisters can pursue their tertiary education in Islamic Studies in countries like Egypt, Jordan and similar destinations directly from Madrasah, without the need to take a diploma in Malaysia like many did several years ago.

Congratulations MUIS and Singaporean Muslims for the great job in education.

Improving the Way We Praise Good Behaviour

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“Dad, today I got my examination result. I got 70%” Ahmad told his father when he got into the car.

“Awesome. I love you” daddy replied.

“Hmm… did he mean what he said? 70% is not a good grade. Why did he praise me?” Ahmad had this thought in his mind. He doubted his father’s praise.

Today, in our school, we had our weekly circle for teachers. Our CEO was discussing about the art of praise as a form of reward to reinforce good behaviour. Culturally, it is not a very common thing for us to praise good behaviour. When our children or students do mistakes, we spontaneously realise them and we give them remark. But if they put their shoes in order, place their bags nicely as they supposed to do, we tend to ignore them, or our sight simply miss them.

Praising good behaviour is needed.

But at the same time, we need to improve the way we praise.

The evaluative praise is easy especially when you already have the habit.



This is beautiful!

This type of praise works well for beginners.

But we will reach one point where the praise itself sparks doubt. Especially in our society where praising each other has not overcome sarcasm and say double meaning words. The unspecified praise can also mislead our children or students. We want to praise the doing, but being unspecified, we praise the doer. The doer got confused. What did I do that makes me deserved the praise?

We need to upgrade evaluative praise to descriptive praise. Descriptive in a sense that the praise is describing specifically the subject.


source: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

“Dad, today I got my examination result. I got 70%” Ahmad told his father when he got into the car.

“Awesome. I still remember that last semester you got around 60%. It is a good improvement. Keep up the good job. I love you, Ahmad” daddy replied.

“Owh, I thought it is not so good. But yes, there is an improvement and my dad acknowledges it” Ahmad’s inner speech is improved and becoming more positive.

I would say, this is one of the essence we can get from understanding the concept of qawlan sadīdā from surah al-Ahzāb verse 70:


“O you who believe, fear Allah and speak words straight to the point”

Sadīdā comes from the word sadd in Arabic which gives the meaning to contaminate, and direct something towards the intended direction. So when we describe our words as sadīdā, it means that we use the words that lead to the right direction and contain the right meaning. Precise!

When we speak, choose the right words, the right way to say the words, which will lead to the right outcome. This requires a good level of consciousness and wisdom. One might ask, why so fussy about it. Then, Allah relates the important of choosing the right words to the faith itself. Iman and Taqwa. If you consider yourself as a believer in Allah, fear Him and speak using the right words.


He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.

And Allah promise us, worldly, He will adjust your work for your and spiritually, He will forgive your sins. By doing this, you obey Him and His Messenger and whoever has that quality, he verily hath the signal  victory.

Don’t curse or swear, dear teachers and parents.


And improve the way we praise.

Be more descriptive.

Let our praise understood by our students and children.

Allah will forgive us and make our work success, ameen.

Khalifah Model School Secondary

The Bloom’s Taxonomy of Hijrah


Bloom’s Taxonomy

“First, share what you remember from the Hijrah. Its the who, where and when.” I told my students.

This is the most basic part of the forum. Panelists should not over estimate the audience thinking that they already know everything. It is good to remind them of what are we talking about. Which Hijrah are you going to discuss, when did it happen, who involved, it took place from where to where… all these things will enhance your REMEMBERING.

Some of my students will become the panelists in a forum organised by our primary school (Khalifah Model School). Two of the panelists and the moderator were students there during their primary education, and one panelist will be a guest panelist. The forum is a part of the family day organised by the primary school. They invited students from the secondary school to conduct a forum on Hijrah, and the audience will be the primary school’s students and their parents, including the teachers.

“Okay, next stage, I suggest you to demonstrate your UNDERSTANDING. What do you understand about the Hijrah of the Prophet PBUH? Was it because they were afraid of the kuffar in Mecca? Or something else. Why Hijrah was so significant to Muslims? Well, what do you understand about the connection between Hijrah, and the development of Islamic calendar during the time of Khalifah Umar bin al-Khattab r.a.? These are the things that you can explore” I continued the coaching session.

Since early this year, we promote the Bloom’s Taxonomy as our strategy to promote High Order Thinking Skills. It has to be embedded in the learning, presentation, assessment, and all other possible activities.

Some of the students wrote down some notes, some were drawing, and I just smiled knowing each of them has their own way of learning. I hope so!

“After remembering and understanding, we should try to move to the next stage. The moderator can invite the next panelist to demonstrate his or her capability of APPLYING. If you live in Mecca during the time of the Hijrah, how would you see yourself as part of the historical event. What was your expectations? Will the face of Islam changed after the Hijrah? How confident you were at that time?” I added the next step to the strategy.

I don’t want to provide answers to all these questions. I want them to find them themselves. In fact, the questions should come from them. But at this stage, some sort of coaching is still needed.

“Does a forum has specific way to talk? Does it have to be formal, or… what do you think, ustaz?” one of the students ask me.

“Don’t worry about that. Which ever makes you more comfortable, then use it. Balance between them. And remember, you don’t have to impress the teachers or the parents. They are there, but I think, just concentrate on your juniors, the students.” I suggested.

Knowing that parents will also attend the forum, my students looked nervous.

“Well, the next stage, try to show some efforts on ANALYSING. Does Hijrah only refer to the physical movement from one place to another? Is there any other form of Hijrah? Are there still a requirement for us to hijrah? Did our Prophet PBUH mention anything about categories of Hijrah? Can you categorise Hijrah?” I continued with the Bloom’s.

I suggested them yo watch a video clip on Youtube when I talked about Hijrah on TV3 several years ago. I hoped they can see some different ideas on Hijrah, some different interpretations and understandings.

“The moderator can find your way to ask the next panelist to show the EVALUATING skills. What do you think about the current situation of Muslims? How they perceive Hijrah? How by improving their commitment to the better understanding of Hijrah can help them to change their life into betterment? Do you agree with the tradition of Hijrah marching or parade on the streets? If you agree, how you defend your agreement? If not, how do you argue?” I bombarded them with more and more questions.

I hope their experience in this forum will spark their mind to read, research and present in a more critical manner. If discussing about Hijrah goes only around where, when, who and a tinge of why, they will get bored and boring.

“Last but not least, can you come out with some skills on CREATING? Any action plan to help your peer? How you can help them improving themselves, and fulfilling your second duty as khalifah, help others to become good?” I concluded the coaching session.

I believe, if students can get into the habit of using Bloom’s Taxonomy in developing a content of any form of discussion, they will fulfil the objective of education, and that is LEARNING and developing the most precious skill as a human being and that is THINKING.

All the best, guys!


Building a Learner-Centered Course Outline


“The Malay paper for IGCSE is quite simple. So, I develop the course outline based on what I believe is needed for the students, beyond IGCSE’s requirement. But I found the content is overwhelming. Too many to cover (in a semester)” one of our teachers said during our consultation hour.

She has just recently joined us after her graduation and a short service as a substitute teacher in public schools.

This is a good example to contrast a teacher-centered classroom against a learner-centered classroom. To transform the teacher-centered classroom, a teacher needs to embrace the point that students need to play their active role as knowledge builders and teachers must step back from the front side of the classroom. How to reflect that on the course outline? A teacher needs to tolerate the function of content, and reflect on the learning outcome he or she wants the pupils to achieve.

Look at the content as a whole.

Understand the subject as a one big unit. Get the big picture.

Summarise the content, and explain the rational behind your summarisation.

Use a diagram for example, to visualise the flow of content from one category to another, from one point to another.

Again, try to categorise the content and organise them into themes.

Separate the themes from each other.

Evaluate the themes, criticise them and question if each of the themes can stand on its own as a module.

Build the course outline based on the themes into several modules.


This means, a teacher must have a strong sense of big picture of the subject he or she teaches, and possesses good details when the subject is zoomed in.

But at this transition period, I don’t prefer teachers to create a lesson plan on daily basis. I don’t ever prefer it to be called as a lesson plan. When a teacher has a lesson plan, he or she will ‘teach’. Perhaps at this stage, we will call it as a lesson strategy.

We have nobody from authorities to pressure us on reporting. Our ‘business’ in Khalifah Model School (Secondary) is only assisting the students to learn. Knowing how to know is always our priority, against the knowledge and gathering them. So, put your trust on your capability to develop, use your critical and creative mind, enjoy being a teacher.