Academic Profile : Faculty

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Assoc Prof Mohd Mukhlis Bin Abu Bakar
Head, Asian Languages & Cultures
Associate Professor, National Institute of Education - Asian Languages & Cultures
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Mukhlis Abu Bakar is Head and Associate Professor at the Asian Languages & Cultures (ALC) Academic Group, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Mukhlis was trained in speech perception at Bangor and Edinburgh universities in the UK for his graduate studies, a field that crosses the disciplines of phonetics and cognitive science. He went on to work on Malay linguistics at the National University of Singapore, his first academic appointment. His interest in education brought him to NIE where he developed an expertise in literacy practices in preschoolers before expanding into bilingualism and biliteracy. In recent years, he picked up phonetics again, specifically socio-phonetics, researching on pronunciation and identity in the Malay language. In between, he ventured into madrasah education.

Mukhlis has secured several research grants as Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator and Collaborator for projects on literacy, bilingualism and socio-phonetics. Among his recent publications include a volume "The Bloomsbury Handbook of Culture and Identity from Early Childhood to Early Adulthood" (2021) with Wills, de Souza, Mata-McMahon, Mukhlis & Roux as co-editors, and a book by Routledge "Rethinking Madrasah Education in a Globalised World" (2018) with Mukhlis as sole editor.

Mukhlis teaches in the areas of linguistics, critical discourse analysis, sociocultural approaches to literacy, and bilingualism and bilingual education, for which he has received several teaching awards. He also conducts workshops for teachers on Bilingual Teaching Methods.

Mukhlis supervises MA and PhD students and has served as Higher Degree Internal Examiner at NIE as well as External Examiner for universities in Singapore and Malaysia. He currently sits on the Editorial Board of Jurnal Bahasa, a publication of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (Malaysia), and Jurnal Linguistik, a publication of the Persatuan Linguistik Malaysia. He has previously served as Associate Editor of Asia Pacific Journal of Education and Co-editor of Journal Pendidikan Awal Kanak-kanak.

Mukhlis has served in the NTU Board of Discipline. His current public service roles include: Member of the Malay Language Council and Co-Chairman of the Anugerah Guru Arif Budiman (an award for Malay Language teachers), MCCY; Member of the Singapore National Translation Committee and Head of the Malay Resource Panel, MCI; Member of the Project Evaluation Committee of the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism (LKYFB) as well as its Research Advisory Panel, MOE. Mukhlis has previously served in MSF's Advisory Panel on Parenting, and MOE’s Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee, 2005 Malay Language Curriculum and Pedagogy Review Committee, and 2010 Malay Language Review Committee. He has also served as Member of the Board of Directors of Mercy Relief, a local disaster relief agency, and currently sits on its Advisory Council.
Mukhlis's research interests revolve around bilingualism and language identity and the implications on policy in education. The work covers childhood bilingualism and biliteracy, teachers' beliefs and practices, literacy learning in the home, school and faith settings, and socio-phonetics (pronunciation issues in the Malay language).
  • An Evaluative Study on the Mother Tongue Support Programme for Mid-Primary Students
  • Leisure Reading in Two Languages: Reading Habits and Preferences of Bilingual Children in Singapore
  • Words in two Languages: Fostering Vocabulary Development in Kindergarten Children through Synchronized Bilingual Reading Programme
  • CORE 3 Research Programme: Baseline Investigation of Mother Tongue Pedagogies in Singapore's Primary and Secondary Classrooms (C3MT)
  • Growth in Bilingual & Biliteracy Proficiency: Environmental, Individual & Experiential Factors (GIBBER)
  • Biliterate Shared Book Intervention with Disadvantaged Preschoolers
National Day Awards, The Public Service Medal (PBM), 2022
NTU Nanyang Education Award, 2020
NTU 20 Years Long Service Award, 2020
NTU 15 Years Long Service Award, 2015
NIE NEXUS Award (Research Team), 2021
NIE Excellence in Teaching Commendation Award, 2011, 2018, 2020
NIE Excellence in Service Award, 2017
NIE Excellence in Service Commendation, 2021
ALC Contribution Award, 2018
ALC Research Award, 2016, 2021
ALC Research Champion, 2017
ALC Pedagogy Champion, 2017
Fellowships & Other Recognition
Fulbright American Studies Institute Program, Boston College, 2003
Courses Taught
AAD10D Malay Phonetics and Phonology
AAD20A Malay Morphology
AAD30D Readings in Language Education
AAD40B Bilingual Learners and Bilingual Education
QCJ52G Sociocultural Context of Literacy
MML910 Bilingualism and Multilingualism
MML913 Critical Approaches to Language
Supervision of PhD Students
Nurul Taqiah Yussof (on-going) - Singaporean Malay language teachers’ beliefs, factors influencing beliefs, and the relationship between beliefs and actual practices
Suryani Atan (completed 2012) - Classroom critical discourse analysis: interactions in the teaching and learning of Malay language at secondary school
Koh Guat Hua (completed 2010) - Preparing for school: an ethnographic study of young Chinese children's literacy learning