What Master Teachers Do: A Case Study of Planning, Facilitating, Role Modelling and Developing Materials

  •  Noraini Ibrahim    
  •  Azliza Aziz    
  •  Radha M. K. Nambiar    


Teaching is the foundation of our educational system. As such teachers are privileged with the responsibility of nurturing the young and inadvertently, shaping the future. To this end, the Malaysian government is fully cognizant that our future is dependent on the development of a highly skilled and innovative workforce serving as the critical enabling factor for economic growth. Hence, several initiatives were introduced in the education sector, and one of them is the Skim Guru Cemerlang or Excellent Teacher Scheme. The premise is that these Master Teachers comprise the crème de la crème of the Malaysian teaching profession and their teaching practices will be different from the general, non-master teachers. This paper reports on a study that investigated the best practices of three Master Teachers of the English language in two secondary schools in Malaysia. As these master teachers were selected by the Ministry of Education based on very stringent prerequisites, the question is, how different are master teachers from ‘normal’ teachers? Further, in terms of classroom discourse, how is this difference manifested? Based on a research design that incorporated ethnography and applied discourse analysis, three master teachers were selected and observed during formal teaching hours as well as outside the classroom. Interviews were then conducted with the teachers as well as other stakeholders, namely the students and school administrators to triangulate the data. Additionally, documents were then collected and perused. The data went through a four-step analysis. Several key findings will then be revealed and the paper ends with suggestions for further work.

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