TEACHING FROM THE HEART AND SOUL (12 September 2023, Tuesday)

This talk was by Prof Dr Abdul Karim Alias.

These are some of the questions that he posed at the beginning of his talk: “Are you passionate about research but finding teaching to be just another box to check? Do you wonder if there is more to being an educator than just delivering lectures and grading papers?”

The emphasis is on inspiring students who would carry the torch in the future to be “inspired, curious, and passion-driven scholars”. How can we not only embrace our roles as researchers but also “be change-marks, nurturing a new generation of brilliant minds and solidifying out institution’s legacy of academic excellence”?.

UNESCO’s four pillars of education: 1) Learning to know, 2) Learning to do, 3) Learning to be, and 4) Learning to live together.


  • Project positive vibes to students regardless of what we experience at the moment.
    • “You are rainbow in clouds”. We can bring meaningful experience to our students’ lives. We can make difference in their lives. Refer to Maya Angelou’s poem “Rainbow in the clouds”. The analogy of rainbow symbolizes hope and renewal. Rainbow also symbolizes inclusivity, diversity and all embracing image of love and friendship.
    • Concern about the well-being of students beyond the compliance to OBE.
    • Falsafah Pendidikan Kebangsaan is the beacon. It should be the guiding principle as it also includes the spiritual parts especially about the belief in God. Based on the Falsafah Pendidikan Kebangsaan, the key message is “Learning is about being – not having”. It is not about having good results (CGPA) etc., but being human beings in its truest essence. “The quality of life is invariably related to the spiritual being first rather than the material being” – Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.
    • The focus should be about building character and values, not just focus on intellectual capacity and competency.
  • VUCA world (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity). It presents so many challenges that make us as the academics to feel overwhelmed, distracted and extremely busy.
  • Know your own self-worth as an individual who hold so many positions and responsibilities. Do not let yourself to be defined by figures and numbers of KPI etc. What matters most? Finding balance is not about 50-50 of things that we do but knowing our priorities without jeopardising our health (physical etc.)
  • Do personal SWOT analysis from time to time.

Pit-stop questions (Take a moment to think about these crucial soul-searching questions):

  • What is the purpose of education?
  • What does it mean to be a “good teacher”?
  • Who is your model? Can you recall a teacher who made a lasting impact on you? What made them special?
  • What does professionalism in teaching mean, and what does it entail?
  • What does it mean to teach from heart and soul?
  • How can I assist my students to find their own passion for learning?
  • Does the culture of academia influence your teaching style?
  • What is your best investment so far for your personal and professional growth?
  • How can I avoid burnout?
  • How do I achieve work-life balance?

Three qualities: Integrity, Intelligence and Energy. Without the first, the other two are meaningless.

Teaching is hard work because it is “heart” work.

When u make time for Allah, Allah will give you time that you need. When you practice calmness and peace in solah, Allah will give you calmness and peace that you need. – Hussain Yee –

List of books to read

  • Unraveling Faculty Burnout: Pathways to Reckoning and Renewal
  • The courage to teach

Note: For more details, you may refer to the notes by Prof Abdul Karim.

Published by


I am who I am and what I am cannot be defined by what I have/posses or have done. Therefore, I am me.