By Daniel Lim
Irwan Malius has the magic to turn seemingly boring subjects like Study of Religions, TITAS, Malaysian Studies and Constitution into a fun and engaging learning experience.
These subjects under mata pelajaran umum (MPU) – or general education subjects – are compulsory for pre-university qualifications in private colleges and universities in Malaysia.
To make the teaching experience interesting for his students, he organises field trips to religious places and art galleries, or have them perform sketches for class, or make models about ancient civilizations.
“I’m a strong believer of experiential learning. Learning doesn’t come only from textbooks or happens only within the four walls.
“It has to make sense to the students – and all these will help them see the connection between their life and the subjects they learn,” said the Bachelor in Arts graduate who majored in Social Sciences. Irwan has been teaching in IACT College for three years.
He also credits his students for inspiring him to teach more creatively.
“I am teaching students in a creative college, therefore it challenges myself to adopt a teaching method that is more engaging and creative!”
One of the most iconic events Irwan had organised with his students was the two screenings of “Road to Nationhood”, a documentary on the formation of Malaysia, where the director, Yazid Ahmad of Rack Focus Films, was invited to interact with the students.
His students also organised “Say No To Straw” bazaar to raise awareness on single-use plastic recently, echoing the campaign of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change.
“I always encourage my students to explore skills they can get out of these learning experience.
“The students might complain there’s too much effort for MPU subjects but they are eventually happy that they can learn much more from the textbooks.”
This non-conventional teaching method, in Irwan’s words, can be very tiring at times but he sees value in such a method.
“Even though these subjects are quite exam-based, I diversify the content of the assignments so students can learn better that way. After all, I want both myself and my students to enjoy the process too – so it’s a win-win situation!”