The difference between a teacher and IPG lecturer: What’s in a name — Azizi Ahmad

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DECEMBER 2 — A teacher is the general term for someone whose job it is to teach normally in primary or secondary school. 

Originated in a Hindu context signifying the sacred place of knowledge and the imparter of knowledge. “The etymological claims that ‘gu’ means darkness and ‘ru’ means light — therefore ‘guru’ literally mean ‘the one who brings you from darkness to light’.

Teaching spans a much larger spectrum and is a two-way interaction where teachers go far beyond just delivering content. It entails understanding of the affective domain and to cater to diverse learning styles through various kinds of teaching and testing methodologies.

The essentials of good teaching lie in contextualisation, learner-centredness, careful lesson planning, balancing of process and product, and gradual spiral progression including personalised remedial for learners who require more help at certain stages.

The target audience for such teaching is usually in high school and below. At higher levels, the lines between teacher and lecturer could blur and intersect, but generally, lecturing is one part of teaching, intended for specific purposes, and usually with a more limited yet relatively relaxed job profile

Teachers do it all. They have to. Across all ages, languages, ethnicities, and subjects, teachers are, and need to be, some of the most widely skilled people around in order to be successful.

A day in the life of a teacher can vary greatly depending on the subject and grade level in which they teach.

From kindergarten to high school and special education to statistics, one theme runs consistently throughout every great teacher’s career: their job does not end with the school day. Although standing in front of the classroom is a huge part of a teacher’s responsibilities, they extend far beyond that into the lives of their students, their students’ families and their community.

A teacher may help a student-in-need after class, attend PTA meetings and root on the school’s sports and games team on the weekend. 

A teacher may also attend relevant conferences, network with other teachers and engage in continuing education to stay at the forefront of their specialty.

Teachers teach, and we all know that. Teachers also do so much more. Teachers motivate, inspire and lead. They interact with their community to affect positive change through their students and themselves. Teachers change lives.

A lecturer is someone who gives a lecture or formal presentation, particularly at a college, educational institutes or university without professorial status.

Lecturing is a kind of teaching, usually in tertiary education levels, catering to students in graduate or undergraduate levels. It is most a mostly a one-way method of delivering content where students are older and thus expected to be self-regulated learners who have sound auditory skills.

Lecturing does not require the lecturer to know his/her students and usually begins and ends with the lecture itself.

Despite what the name might imply, a lecturer is not someone who harangues you about combing your hair, driving too fast, tucking in your shirt, or eating all your vegetables.

Quite to the contrary, a lecturer is a person who is well versed in either specific or multiple subjects, and imparts his advice to an audience in search of knowledge or inspiration. Most commonly, such speakers are experts in their field. That said, as can be testified to by anyone who has ever sat through a boring lecture, not all of these orators are trained in public speaking.

On the professional lecture circuit, you can find a host of celebrities, politicians, and authors. The purpose of their lectures can come in many forms. Some take the podium to promote a personal cause, while others may be relating life experiences for the entertainment of the crowd. Some lecturers are attempting to make a persuasive argument, convincing those who listen that their views or opinions are more correct than those of others. Some are simply promoting a book, movie, or product, interspersing amusing anecdotes amidst the sales pitch.

So who are actually the IPG lecturers who are worried about going back to school as ‘teachers’, worrying about missing the same holidays period with the school. They are actually school teachers,  carrying the same DG (Darjat Guru) grades as the Malaysian school teachers, they are teachers in schools before,  except that when they were selected or placed in IPG they are called ‘lecturers’ (and my guess they love the word).

Now, what do they do in IPG as lecturers? Of course, the term lecturer means they ‘lecture’ and maybe they had forgotten to ‘teach’. My guess is they just ‘throw things out’ and that’s it. But in reality, the IPG lecturers do the same as the school teachers except they do have time in not being involved with extra-curricular activities like the school teachers do. They do come sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays to teach PPG programmes, KDC programmes which is paid programmes.

And recently, the IPG lecturers are supposed to write, do research and published their writings, and this may affect the lives of the ‘lecturers’.  The lecturers may now be at the level of ‘university lecturers’, while teachers in schools need to do action research. So what is that to worry, go on with the wonderful life of an educator, after all ‘teaching’ is a noble profession.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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