Current Issues in Visual Arts Education Essay
Current Issues in Visual Arts Education
Reading has always been a part of my life. So do playing. Play in the sense of enjoying our life. What I hate most is formality, a life exist without freedom. Then I combined these two interests into one, to study about something fun, and can benefit others too. The study of literature has consumed most of my waking moments. Of course, I have done other things, but the more I have explored the more connections I see between the written page and the world in which I live in. How I realize I am the same with others, too. I think I am master enough naming and knowing the Malay traditional games that exist till now, but I am wrong.
The daily games like ram-ram rip, rangkai-rangkai periuk, da da ko, cak lerang benang emas, tebang-tebang tebuk, ting-ting gula batu is already alien to me while I am searching the literature. However, the more I learn, the more I realize what I do not know. Actually, my thesis writing was under supervision of one kind-hearted professor of my school, which was under Research Methodology subject that I took last semester. She really influenced me in guiding the do and don’t in thesis writing. Her positive comments often play in my minds and always keep me awake.
It is such a reflection to me. Although reflections are difficult to look into because we see what was lacking and what was missing, but I always feel relieved and more focused after seeking her advises. On the other hand, nothing could be more valuable. I have constructed this paper to reflect a dynamic process in writing my thesis. That is when I write a paper, it is not necessary I should be sitting in front of my computer, but rather I have to jot down what are appears in my mind on a piece of paper, otherwise it should left undone anywhere it could be.
Hence, looking back at saved articles and references has often inspired me to expand upon an idea in completing the thesis writing. Thus, I have included list of articles for references, followed by the more polished works that have grown out them, with minimal faultlessly. I hope so. Statement of Research Problem and Research Objectives The reason why I as a researcher, trying to dig the problem of Malay traditional games because I realize that these games has been disappearing in our Malaysian community.
As we know, Malaysian’s strong sense of community is reflected in many of their traditional games and pastimes. With the multicultural Malaysia, the traditional games especially among the Malays developed over a period of many centuries in the wake of important cultural influences. Some of the oldest surviving Malay traditional games like the real congkak and wau bulan still exist, but it is hardly to find one while newly developed games consoles explore brand new gaming style nowadays. Consciously or not, by the 80th era the existence of Malay traditional games is already faded out .
For some concerns, traditional game augmentation aims at adding new value and playful features to a traditional game with keeping its original looks-and feel (Yamabe, Iwata, Shichinohe, and Nakajima) is the best way to keep the originality from disappear especially from the eyes of the new generation. I still remember my lists of childhood’s games. But have we ever thought that our children ever experience sitting in a circle on a wooden hut near paddy field to play batu seremban? Do they manage to collect every players shoe to build a cone-like shoe pyramid while playing tuju kasut?
Or hiding under a huge tree near the bushes and get bitten by army of ants while playing aci sembunyi or hide and seek? Children are missing out of the benefits of traditional games that their parents and grandparents played in their childhood (Casbergue and Kieff ). More children are engaged in solitary games such as computer games, portable play station and other high-tech portable devices such as iPad. With the changes of time, many of the traditional games cherished by generations have their own history.
Sometimes we are not even care where does it come from, including me. If I am not the researcher of this study, I think I don’t even bother about the history of congkak. The game of congkak, for example, is a mancala game of Malay origin where the oldest mancala game boards were found in a ruined fort of Roman Egypt and date back to the 4th century AD. There are frequent references to the game of marbles in Roman literature; precursors to modern-day marbles, spheres or flint, stone or baked clay have been found in archaeological sites around the world.
Another popular traditional games, playing kites or ‘wau’ is believed to have been derived from the Arabic letter ‘wau’, because the shape of the wings resemble the outline of that particular Arabic letter. Of course as we played the traditional games, we were totally unaware of their long traditions. Especially for young children, they were simply having fun the same with generations before us without noticing the important part of inner value; preserving the games for the future. Traditional games are very significant in Malay cultural heritage.
When we talk about something traditionally, at the same time it will reflect the culture. They reflect the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Malay forefathers in creating their own games by using inexpensive materials for their pastimes and recreations. These indigenous games are fun, and developing strong social skills among children. Lack of exposures from early ages of the children will affects the identity and originality of the traditional games. Nevertheless, future generation have no chances to explore the games if most of these traditional games faded out.
According to (Akbari, Abdoli and Shafizadeh, pg. 123-129), traditional games have humanity and cultural values, beliefs translate by these from one lineage to other. These games were forgotten as a result of industrialization in recent years. As the thesis writing is upon completion of masters degree in education field, I tried to look at the issue from the angle of Malaysian education system. The implementation of traditional games into the syllabus is still lacking except for the Physical and Health Education subject specifically in primary schools.
Furthermore, only a small part being inserted into the Preschool Curriculum under the thematic subject, Tunjang Kesihatan dan Kecergasan. These games, although simple, have cultural and social value and encourage children to exercise their ingenuity, especially in fostering team spirit in school and in the neighborhood. Three years back, I was a preschool teacher in my school. While doing this thesis, it jogs my memory when teaching the kids. Seriously, they were very excited at that time when I asked them to play galah panjang and baling getah. And as usual, they were asking me to play the same games the next day.
Another interesting experience to share was during teacher’s day celebration in 2012. Both teachers and students were requested to compete in galah panjang games at that day. The best part was female need to wear kain batik while the male will wear kain pelekat. Everyone was having so much fun. Thus, I came out with the idea in order to preserving the true identity of Malay traditional games towards the students. I hereby conducted a case study research to implement the effects of applying Malay traditional games in the classroom for a group selection of primary school students.
The application of these games wills actually results into the cognitive skills and the learning styles of students, also in teaching and learning environment in the classroom. As a result, I make the case that educational games can impact in the developing world. Significance and Limitation of the Study I am not suggesting that these games should replace existing explicit teaching strategies or supplant instructional time. My concerns are to improvise the teaching and learning style in our education by applying a new fun and interesting method while learning.
The children are most likely to have peer interactions without teachers input by learning about the culture of childhood from their peers, not their parents or teachers. According to (Casbergue and Kieff), making traditional games available in the classroom could give children the opportunity to develop intellectual and physical skills within a supportive environment. An important void in the existing research literature would also be filled. This fact alone makes this research very significant. In addition, we have to remember that social skills are culturally based.
Therefore, it is important for teachers to understand and be sensitive to the culturally based behaviors of students and use a variety of activities to foster acceptance of individual differences. They also can show students how to play ethnic games and encourage students to play in groups (Church, Gottschalk and Leddy). The study will then shows the importance of preserving the original identity of Malay traditional games from faded out. One of the goals of this both quantitative and qualitative research is to study the process of playing Malay traditional games and number of repetition within a certain period.
I know that is important to note that the name and process may vary from one practices to another, as many version of games rules and how-to-play version, which could not be controlled by me. Sometimes, it may create confusedness among players. Brief Review on Malay Traditional Games People may see that traditional game is a simple thing, but actually traditional games are valuable elements of a culture. Their inventions show how creative the humans are, a combination with high imagination. It is such a precious heritage to be preserved and imply with the history of its creation.
Furthermore, it is hard to find the true inventors of the games and how it is evolved. I have never thought who are the one created konda-kondi, tuju kasut and dam aji. This kind of heritage is a basis where a human group funds its identity, its projects for the future, its memory, its history, its fears, its desires. When people lose this untouchable, fragile fragment of their culture, then they will lose their reason for living, their past and their future (Civallero). Traditional games are a sort of intangible cultural heritage with its richness of Malay cultural values and ethics.
Normally, the original version of traditional games had been manipulated by the oral from one to another. This effects the exaggeration of the true identity of traditional games itself. Traditional Malay games usually require craft skills and manual dexterity and can be traced their origins since the days of Melaka Sultanate. Sepak raga and kite flying are among traditional games that were mentioned in the Malay Annals being played by nobilities and royalties of the Malay Sultanate (Ooi). I think we should discuss on few numbers of existing Malay traditional games surround us.
Firstly is ‘Dam Impit’. The purpose of this game is for players to test their expertise and brains to collect as many as opponent’s dam and getting close to opponent side of the dam’s table. Playing Dam Impit helps the player to sharpen their thinking skills, capable to develop their patience and discipline among the players (Nasarah and Nasarah). Children can play this game on free time. Adults also make this game as their spare time hobby. Secondly is Cuit Bintik. It is a very fun game to play.
In certain places they call this game as Orang Ganjil Kena Cuit. The rules of the game is whoever had been touched by others at certain part of the body need to become the ‘toucher’ while holding their particular part of body and chasing for the next victim (Nasarah and Nasarah). According to (Nasarah and Nasarah ), Jarum Mas is one type of recreational game, not in a form of competition. Players can enjoy the game with one of the main character in the game as the ghost or ‘hantu’. The role of ‘hantu’ is to look after the treasures in the drawn circle.
Player who had been caught by ‘hantu’ will become the next ‘hantu’ and the game will be repeated over again. For me, this one is a very interesting game to play. The game represents the culture of sending kuih to neighbors that has always been a practice to Malay people since a very long time ago. Traditionally, the kuih was made by the mother or the family members during Ramadhan or fasting month for break fast. In the research by (Nasarah and Nasarah), there is a game called ‘hantar kuih’ , often play by the boys at night of the fasting month.
The game is plays for the whole month, consisting two groups A and B. The group will send the kuih secretly with name taken and wrote in a piece of paper. Whoever had been caught by the opponent will lose. By the end of the month, all players will forgive one another during Hari Raya. This kind of game test the level of children’s speed from chasing by other players and how to avoid themselves from been caught by enemies. (Nasarah & Nasarah) said players who had been touched by the chaser need to sit squat until just one player left.
The sitting playing is considered as died, and the only one player left will be the winner. The Malays also have a variant of Mancala board games known as Congkak Lubang Sepuluh or Congkak Lubang Dua Puluh. The game is played by moving stones, marbles, beads or shells around a wooden board consisting of twelve or more holes. At my time, my friends and me often play using marbles. Traditionally, (Nasarah & Nasarah) said the real ambience to play congkak is on the ground with players wearing sarungs.
The function of wearing sarungs are much easier for the players to collect marbles to put in Rumah Ibu. Rumah Ibu is the two big holes dig on the ground with optional numbers of Lubang Rumah Anak. I ever had this kind of experiences during my childhood. The ambience playing under our wooden house was really incredible and amazing. At this time, I don’t know that congkak has a different name too. Historically, mancala or congkak is acknowledged as the oldest game in the world, with variety versions of playing rules depending on the culture of the player.
Its origin is traced from Ancient Egypt. As the game dispersed around the globe, every culture has invented its own variation including the Malays. It is common to assume that digital games are something of a new phenomenon. In fact, historians on digs and discover of ancient records all over the world have been able to blow this assumption right out of the water. Many of the forms of traditional games that we see today have been around the centuries, even as earlier since ancient Egypt. Time passes as well as the traditional ways of gaming for the children.
As they keep themselves entertained, the generation of video consoles and touch screen are now at the forefront (Boyajian). Nowadays, highly advanced gadgets packed the markets and as time goes by, they are becoming more and more advanced. If once upon a time, the traditional games still can easily be seen played by village boys and girls, in rural or sub urban area. Rarely now, the situation are not the same when the village boys and girls are exposed to technology, to suit with the changes of era. So, where are the traditional games for the Malays?
I often asking myself about this, and sometimes I asked my circle of friends, family whereby why it is hard to find one now? Are they also aware of it? Are they realizing the disappearance of our one of the most valuable cultural values too? Just like ‘the evolution’ of society was imagined as a one-way transformation from tradition to modernity (Eichberg). Yes, we can’t deny modernization, but must the tradition being abandoned? Perhaps, not. Research Methodology and Analysis My real concern about the study is actually to investigate the Malay traditional games practices in classroom.
The research methodology chosen for this study contain a number of selected gaming activities in classroom, loosely based on the research written by four researchers from different universities under the same disciplines. (1)Matthew Kam (Human-Computer interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, USA, (2) Akhil Mathur and (3) Anuj Kumar both from Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Gujarat, India, and (4) John Canny (Computer Science Division and Berkeley Institute of Design, University of California, Berkeley, USA.
The title of the study is ‘Designing Digital Games for Rural Children: A Study of Traditional Village Games in India. This is the best article I’ve found to assist me in writing this study, as it’s quite hard to find related scholarly articles or journals about the study. Again, I am not to design a game, but I am investigating the appropriateness either the implementation of Malay traditional games in classroom is suitable to be applied during teaching and learning or not, in any subjects not specifically in Visual Art Education subject.
Conducting the study means that I am finding the best methods and relevant ideas for teachers to apply it in classrooms. Mixed method of quantitative and qualitative case study approach is used for the investigation. The intention of this study is to exemplary the research methodology adopted for the study, which is a case study design. According to Merriam states that case study is “often the best methodology when understanding is sought in order to improve practice” (as cited in Zeyad ). Case study investigations “can explain the reason for a problem, the background of a situation, what happened and why”.
A case study designed is employed to gain an in-depth understanding of the situation and meaning for those involved. The interest is in discovery rather than confirmation (as cited in Zeyad ). At the first place, I thought descriptive design is the best and safer way for doing research, but after gone through few steps ahead my research, I found that case study is the best to carry mine. Besides exemplary the case research done by (Kam et. al ), I also had conducted a preliminary investigation called pilot study as well as the literature survey.
The pilot study is pointed to the process of inducting theory using case studies- from specifying the research questions to reaching closure. Besides carried out as a trial study, this pilot study also assisted me in testing the feasibility, reliability and validity of the design. I then selected a number of samples to carry out the pre-test, or in easier words to play the Malay traditional games inside a classroom before the actual investigation is done. I then used the information gathered in pilot studies to refine or improve my research or evaluation procedure being piloted before it is used on a larger scale.
This internal pilot study was established through a variety of ways (1) I had approached school directly via headmaster or teachers or management itself to seek permission on conducting the small scale research internally, (2)I had work ‘in partnership’ with the students and interested teachers in contributing to the research, and (3)I drew on personal and professional contacts to set up projects with colleagues who are already aware of game-based learning specifically in traditional and digital ways. Clearly, implementing a game in a teaching and learning session is risky.
Either the learning objectives can be achieved or it can be left undone. To design a game that combining a traditional game and completely match the understanding of students while playing, good data collection methods will be more culturally meaningful to rural students. Although I am not designing the game, but at least I am already have in my mind that traditional games might not be playing in traditional ways only, but we can suit with the current modernization. It just how creative the teachers’ are, to add up some spice in their teaching methods. I conducted an initial focus group interview for the student during the pilot study.
I asked the participants to recall the everyday games that they love to play for us to videotape. I got a tremendous response from the participants saying their favorite everyday games, including both traditional and digital games. From the feedback, I hypothesized that they still know the Malay traditional games is still exist. I then conducted four methods of data collections which are (1) combination of semi-structured and unstructured interviews, (2) participant observation, (3) follow-up questionnaires and (4) collection of documents with the participants.
All gathered information will be recorded for transcribing in data analysis. By using the different methods of data collections, a cross check data will assist in interpretation of data gathered later. Generally for semi-structured and unstructured interview, close-ended and open-ended questions will be asked in order to allow the participants to create options for responding on the current research topic. Participants can also voice their experiences and perspectives on the research area without boundary. They are free to talk and voice out their opinion in order to make the session is more fun, interactive and meaningful.
The participant observation will allow me to role as the participant observer during the activities being held. But the observational roles can be changed later to suit with the activities conducted. Additional data came from the participant’s responses to follow-up questionnaires developed specifically to obtain answers to new questions raised after the initial interview data had been analyzed. These follow-up questionnaires were also used to clarify initial answers and verify interview findings. Public and private records will be a good source of text data in assisting the study. Permission was obtained before using the documents.