English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Teaching accounting 101

Teaching is no easy task, especially when you are teaching accounting. From the one year of teaching accounting subjects, this is what I have concluded:-

1. For most of the students, the choice to study accounting was made by their parents. The students themselves would rather study something else

2. Students (and sometimes their parents) choose to study at this college because it is close to home / in KK.

3. Minimum entrance requirement into this college is only 3 credits for SPM! I thought that was a shocker. It is very very low.

I think it is very important that students like the subject that they are studying in. This semester (January 2011) I have been entrusted with the task of passing my knowledge in auditing, basic financial accounting and management accounting. I am so glad that the college has decided to let me teach again the subjects I have taught before, and that most of the subjects are at basic level, not advanced like the previous semesters! It was really too much. To be new at teaching, and then being pushed advanced 2nd or 3rd year subjects when you've barely gotten the hang of it.

In order for the organisation to survive financially in a competitive environment where new learning institutions are just sprouting everywhere, it seems that one of the steps they took is to lower the entrance requirements. While this obviously brings more students to our door you can't help but think that at such entrance requirements, if the students are even truly interested in continuing their studies. Were they even motivated to do well in their SPM? I do understand that having lower grades somehow opens less doors careerwise, and so what the college is trying to do is give these students a second chance. Hmmmm... However, not to say that ALL students are a bit slow in studies, I have come across quite a number of very good and intelligent students. There would be at least 2-3 per class that stand out (and we have very small classes here) and makes me feel like maybe there is a good chance that some of these students will go on to be great achievers.

I think the main problem with students nowadays could be that they lack motivation and hasn't seen the 'light' yet. These are afterall the Generation Y students, and they have a different mindset compared to students from my generations. Much have been written about them. Just google Generation Y. They are also known as the Generation Why?? Because everything in their life came easy (hey, they have everything - mobile phones, computers, cable tv, etc etc), Keyword: instant gratification. They envision the ideal life as depicted in the popular tv shows where success comes with little effort, so ask them to work a little harder on something and they go 'Why???' Read Understanding Generation Y http://www.learningtolearn.sa.edu.au/colleagues/files/links/understandinggeny.pdf I don't see it just in the students I teach, but my daughter as well.

It occured to me after seeing some vendors selling toothpaste squeezer machines in Suria Sabah the other day that while the current generation are smart, hardworking people who think out of the box, we are actually breeding a whole new generation of lazy people?? I mean, will it ever come to a day that we have a blackout and these people will feel helpless to the point of not knowing how to put toothpaste on their toothbrush manually? Yeah, I am being dramatic ;-) But it is already evident today. Kids are constantly complaining about boredom without television, the need to have computers and Playstations. At my generation, we did have tv, but certain programmes were aired only at certain times. In the meantime, we did have other things to do, and wow we did survive! And the generation before mine, my parents. They didn't have tv at all! Probably seems unfathomable to the current generation, but people did survive, and they had interesting lives as well.

Steering back to my earlier topic... well, I can't control the kind of students I get to teach, but I guess what I could do is to try and spark some interest in their future careers. While to them, they see only a few years of studying, once you choose a career, most likely you will be stuck with it for the rest of your life. Auditing is a dry subject, I agree. So is basic bookkeeping work. So one of the things I am going to try is to organise a field trip to one of the big 4 accounting firms. And maybe to an accounting department in another organisation, like a hotel. And I have just been looking for inspiration online about how to teach accounting using games and other strategies.

Anyway, before I can start motivating others, I have to motivate myself ;-) While the current environment is not doing much for my work motivation, I decided to be creative and find my own source of motivation. Hence, my own vision and mission :-D Time to start Exceeding Limitations!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Is it possible to die of starvation in Malaysia?

This question came up during lunch today when we still had half the serving of briyani rice left and trying to persuade my nephew to finish it. Grandma's appetite isn't what it was before, so often we have leftovers whenever we dine out. I told my nephew, 'Think about the starving children in Africa'. And my mum said, 'We never hear about people who actually die due to starvation here, do we?' My dad, 'Is it actually possible to die of starvation in Malaysia?'

Hmmm.... let me ponder on that for a while. A glum topic indeed, I would say no. If anything, it seems more likely that a Malaysian will die from a heart attack or suffer from hypertension than to die of starvation. Why? Because food is plentiful and cheap! For RM1 you can probably buy pau or a bun. For a little over RM1 you can get roti canai. I once told some of my friends from overseas that it is perfectly possible to survive on RM20 a day for food ;) Perhaps even less?? And that's the cost of eating out! If you are not too fussy, that is. Amazingly, sometimes the cost of eating out can be even cheaper than eating in!

It is possible to find an eatery open at the wee hours, like 3 a.m. which probably unheard of in a lot of other countries. With some fast food outlets that now operate 24 hours a day, you have to wonder what the heck is going with our people? So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that we have 15 year-olds, like in the unfortunate case of Aminulrasyid Hamzah, driving and hanging out with their friends at 2 a.m. The latest case however, in Labuan, involved a 13 year old driver! Scary.

We live in a land of milk-and-honey, if you stop and think about it. Food is never scarce, and it comes easy. Just sometimes we forget how lucky we are :) Now, how about some roti susu for supper? ;)

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