Thinking In Education
Interview with Falilnesa Mohamed Arfan
Interview by Azahar Ahmad Nizar (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FALILNESA MOHAMED ARFAN is a highly experienced
tutor and educationist based in our Seri Kembangan Learning
Azahar: Please tell us a little bit about your educational background.
Falilnesa: I obtained my Degree in Malay Studies from the
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya. I
went overseas on a JPA scholarship to study for my Masters
in Curriculum Development at the University of Sussex in
Brighton. When you study overseas, you really do get your
money’s worth … but it’s a lot of money for the worth you’re
Azahar: What are your teaching experiences like?
Falilnesa: I have experience teaching language and literature
in both English and Bahasa Melayu. As a teacher, I am also
privileged to have taught other teachers especially during my
stint with Maktab Perguruan Islam (MPI). There, I used to
teach OUM modules like Learning Skills, English for Oral
Communication and others.
Azahar: What do you understand by the word “think”?
Falilnesa: To think is to use the mind to produce thoughts,
ideas, opinions and the like. It is the highest and noblest
activity available to humanity and as such distinguishes us
from mere animals. All human progress and achievement are
made possible because of our capacity for thinking.
Azahar: Why is thinking so important in education?
Falilnesa: Thinking is important in education because without
it we are no better than parrots. Once upon a time, rote
learning was very much prevalent as an acceptable method
of transmitting factual knowledge. However, this “chalk and
talk” approach obviously has its limitations.
These days, especially with the advent of Bestari or smart
schools, we are gradually moving away from “chalk and talk”
towards more ICT-oriented methods. The recent emergence of
young inventors in increasing numbers is perhaps a sign of the
Azahar: Are there many types of thinking?
Falilnesa: Yes, you could say that. Allow me to illustrate by
distinguishing between creative thinking and critical thinking.
Creative thinking suggests that one is generating something
out of nothing, for example, a poet might experience a flight
of fancy and produces a poem as a result of that. To be critical,
on the other hand, does not necessarily require that anything
be created. Critical thinking allows us to examine and evaluate
pre-existing ideas, to see it from various angles in an inquiring
Azahar: Any last words about thinking?
Falilnesa: Nowadays we hear a lot of people talking about“thinking outside the box”. However, on a humorous note, I
would like to say that there is one situation where this does not
apply. It is when you are toilet training your cat. When your
cat suddenly feels the urge to move outside its litter box, you
say to your cat: “Don’t you ever think out of that box!”