The monsoon floods that hit many Malaysian states in December 2021 left a devastating effect on so many people and so many sectors. I believe the flood survivors may need a lot of time and support to recover from the trauma, and I am sure every responsible Malaysian is trying their level best to help the survivors in one way or another.
However, may I pull your attention a little bit towards our emergency response team who went all out with ground work? #KitaJagaKita has been trending on various social media platforms again for a reason; how heartwarming it is to watch the new generation of Malaysia getting down and dirty (literally) with such good sense of urgency and empathy towards one another! Videos after videos, photos after photos and news after news on social media have proved from day one that the new generation of Malaysia is a generation driven by empathy, tolerance, teamwork and dependability. I have never felt so hopeful for the future of Malaysia!
This should be more than enough to convince education policy makers and curriculum developers to emphasize more on social emotional learning for the upcoming batch of students. Social emotional learning (SEL) is a methodology that helps students develop healthy identities, manage emotions, attain personal and collective goals and establish relationships. SEL should not be taught in isolation under religious or moral studies subjects; the components of SEL should be integrated seamlessly into critical subjects as well so that students realize the need to develop their humanistic characteristics in all situations.
Teachers and parents can expose students to SEL using various activities that are often simple but powerful. A simple Google search can yield thousands of results that teachers and parents can select and personalize according to the kids’ needs. All it takes is conscious and genuine effort. I truly hope there will be more awareness for SEL in 2022 and beyond in the Malaysian education system.
Again, I am sending so much of love and support to not only the flood survivors, but also to the people working day and night on all our behalves for flood relief measures. You remind us time and time again that there is so much of power in kindness!
Dr. Sarala Thulasi Palpanadan
Centre for Language Studies
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)