Tutor Profile: Interview With Kok Ah Moy

Yin and Yang
Interview by Azahar Ahmad Nizar (azahar_ahmad@oum.edu.my)

KOK AH MOY has served OUM for nearly ten years as a tutor for the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences

Azahar: Please describe your educational background.

Mrs Kok: I obtained my BA (Honours) from USM, majoring in History and minoring in Sociology and Anthropology. I did my Master's degree in Sociology in UM.

Azahar: What is your tutoring experience like in OUM?

Mrs Kok: As a tutor, I teach the following courses: Malaysian Studies, Introduction to Social Science and Man, Society and Culture. I was once involved in marking and setting examination questions for Malaysian Studies. I have been appointed as an e-tutor and FAQ developer for Introduction to Social Science.

Azahar: Do you feel that gender makes a difference in education? How so?

Mrs Kok: A few decades back, women had to give way to their male siblings where education is concerned. A Chinese saying goes: "Woman without knowledge is woman with grace." This was meant to console women who missed out on education and to cover up the gender discrimination in education which still happens in poor Eastern societies. Despite their academic achievements, women are considered to be unsuited for certain courses such as civil engineering which are highly technical and require handling of machinery. Culture influences gender differences in education.

Azahar: Females are outnumbering males in universities nowadays. Do you have anything to say about this?

Mrs Kok: In Chinese medicine, an imbalance of "yin? and "yang? in our bodies will make us fall sick. Likewise, the disproportionate ratio of male to female learners suggests an imbalance in society. It means that along the way, males are dropping out while their female counterparts remain committed to their long-term education.

Azahar: It has been claimed, for instance, that, while male learners might like adversarial tutors, female learners tend to prefer a more supportive environment to share problems and achievements. Is this true in your experience of tutoring?

Mrs Kok: This is not always true for adult learners. Both male and female learners need a supportive and lively learning environment given their work commitments. But generally speaking, female learners tend to have more domestic responsibilities. For example, a learner of mine brings her children to a cybercafe in order to participate in myVLE forums because she does not have internet service at home. This rarely happens to a male learner.

Azahar: Do you believe that men and women are equal? Or are they created for different roles and functions?

Mrs Kok: I am not a feminist. I believe that God created men and women for different roles. Having said that, I am fully aware that aside from biological differences such as childbearing and breastfeeding, gender differences are often the cultural product of socialisation and social norms. We should strive to reduce the gender divide in our efforts to develop a more egalitarian society in the near future.

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Gender equality can be promoted in the classroom by:

making sure that both genders have equal opportunities to contribute in the classroom by giving feedback and so on
refraining from cracking gender-insensitive jokes or statements
explaining materials by taking into consideration the sensitivities of both genders
ensuring that there is no gender bias during the teaching and learning process
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