Impacting Lives: Co-Teaching with Teach For Malaysia in Semporna, Sabah

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Often, we ask ourselves about how we turned out to be who we are today? In the absence of guidance from our parents, teachers, mentors and bosses, it would have been challenging to find the path, particularly towards a rewarding career. Growing up in the city allows for experiences and opportunities that is different from rural areas. Opportunities including access to quality education is always a challenge in rural or frontier towns.

Cagamas’ Corporate Strategy & Communications Senior Vice President, Mr. Leong See Meng experienced this when he volunteered to co-teach an English lesson with Teach For Malaysia (TFM) Fellow Hazwani, in Semporna during TFM week this year.

See Meng spoke about the importance of a long-term goal and how to achieve this through  a series of short-term goals. The occasional failures serve as lessons to gain wisdom in  longer term.

“I often coach people in my team and nurture them to achieve their potential in the  workplace. By sharing my experience, I hope that I’ve inspired young people to expand their  horizon and opened their minds to the endless possibilities out there,” said See Meng.

Apart from sharing his experiences and success story with the class, he also co-taught a  workshop on financial literacy – needs and wants.

“For me, financial literacy is life’s most important lesson to help you achieve your life goals. I  was excited to be able to teach some of this to a class of eager learners,” See Meng added.  The financial literacy lesson was designed around materialism, needs and wants. Hazwani  had the entire class involved in the preparation of lesson materials.

“I was amazed at their enthusiasm and energy during the financial literacy workshop. It is  heartening to see their determination to communicate in English,” See Meng added when  asked about the lesson.

TFM lesson plans uses the 21 st century learning approach which is student-centric based on learn, show and do. Real-life issues such as credit cards, loans and ‘tempting’ purchases were incorporated into the group-work simulation. It was an interesting observation that teams prioritised long-term needs over short-term gratification during group discussion. This was demonstrated when teams had to present spending rationale whilst being judged on their task fulfilment, idea articulation and presentation style.

“It’s remarkable to see the level of maturity displayed by the students. One particular student classified a Porsche as a ‘need’ since it’s transportation for work!” he laughed while relating an anecdote.

TFM Fellow Hazwani agreed that the co-teaching session with See Meng had made an impact to the class.

“Over the past week, a few of the quietest students in class started to volunteer more and those who are already taking the first step out of their comfort zone, continued their proactive behaviour in and out of the classroom,” said Hazwani.

“My vision for my students is for them to be a leader for themselves and their community and I am delighted to see some of the students wrote this down in their reflection form as well,” she added.

Being able to inspire young adults on the possibilities beyond the classroom while creating awareness on responsible financial management is central to Cagamas’ sustainable initiatives of shared prosperity in underserved communities. Our partnership with TFM helps us realise a core focus that we have been passionate about which is to raise education equity for highest-need schools and communities by providing education excellence to every child, regardless of their background thus empowering them to be leaders of their own learning, their future and the future of our nation.