Sunday, 31 August 2008

All the Best!

To 5S1 and 5S2 students,

All the best in the coming SPM trial girls. Remember to read the questions carefully and do your best!! Remember after 'to' is followed by the base form of the verb, elaborate ALL the points given in directed writing, write brief but complete answers for comprehension, show plenty of textual evidence in the novel question, don't count the continuous writing essay pls just the summary, hmmm.. what else...yes, don't leave any blanks!! (What a teacher :-))

Action Research: A real surprise!

Yesterday, I won the District level Action Research competition in High School. A complete surprise as I went there thinking it was only a presentation!! Only half an hour before did I discover it was a competition. You can't beat that! To make matters worse, my new notebook had Windows Vista software which somehow could not connect to the lcd!! Luckily I had a thumbdrive and managed to save the file in another notebook provided by the organisers. Long story eh?

When it got to my turn I was soooo nervous I didn't quite finish what I wanted to say..well hard luck i thought. 15 minutes was definitely not enough..then came question time by the panel of evaluators...lucky me..their questions were not so gruelling as the others. But the PPD had questions too! Anyway, I'll be representing the district at the state level competition in Kota Tinggi in October. Definitely need to improve my slides...too many and simply too much information!! By the way the research is entitled "WORDWISE: Using pictures and explicit vocabulary teaching strategies to improve 5S1 Descriptive Compositions'. I must say 2008 has been quite a year thus far!!

Friday, 29 August 2008

Ramadhan is here again!

Selamat Berpuasa to all my Muslim friends!
The Holy month of Ramadhan is fast aproaching. I look forward to it and hope to be able to improve myself spiritually and ask for God's forgiveness and blessings. Let's read the Quran and perform intensive prayers and offer thanks to God for all that He has given us.

'Whosoever recites only one 'Ayat' in Holy Ramadan,
he will be awarded as if he had recited the full Qur'an, in other months.' (Holy Prophet)

Action Research Seminar, Kluang District

Tomorrow I will be presenting my action research in a seminar in High School. Frankly I have not looked at it after submitting it in May. Hmm..quite a bit to explain. Six of us (three primary and three from secondary) have been shortlisted for the seminar. The organisers said it isn't a competition (which is a relief-am too old for this!!) but they will select the best to represent the district at the state level. Well, I have 15 minutes to present and five minutes for Q & A. Am taking this very lightly actually because I know I am going to enjoy myself sharing my research with many teachers! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Kiki died...

A week ago Kiki left us. We miss her so much. She contracted diarrohea (is this how you spell it? Gosh..English teacher!) and so we brought her to the vet twice but to no avail. I know what you are going to say hh..(I told you so..) My daughter really cried. Rasyad, my son buried her under our bougainvilla tree, same spot as our previous hamster, Gigirl. Maybe we just don't have the talent to keep pets! I still have her photos but am not so sure if I want to upload now...

Tuesday's ramblings....

Been some time since I blog eh.. lets see what happened today. My classes went well except 4s2. Really blew my top when the students kept on talking when I was explaining the poem 'If". One girl really made me snap! This is a girls school mind you but they just talk and talk incessantly..and to handle 40 students in the class is no laughing matter. Later at 1 I had est with the ten who are sitting for the paper. A good session I think although they were as quiet as a mouse!! I asked them wether I was too fierce or something, the girls just giggled away...hmm don't know what to make of that. Managed to catch up with my marking- there are tonnes on my table right now!!

Am picking up KA tomorrow at her house. We have a meeting in Teluk Kerang, Pontian. Since I didn't attend the first one I'd better go this time round as the Pengarah will be there to see us. The PPMP module is finally ready and I'll hand it over to Shan tomorrow. Item-building for end-of -year papers will be on tomorrow but I can't be there due to the meeting. Cheers!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Ooo..Chong Wei

What a damper!! It was excruciating to watch Lee Chong Wei play against Lin Dan that night. I had such high hopes and so were the rest of Malaysia. What disappointed me was the way in which he played- not much of a fight...when I expected him to give Lin Dan a run for his money. I wouldn't have felt this way if he had at least put up an agressive performance. I guess it was too overwhelming for him, something he needs to work on in future tournaments. Still, congratulations to Chong Wei. He's such a pleasant sportsman!!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Food for thought

English teachers who went to school when grammar was not on the curriculum struggle to teach it, research shows.

A review of international studies on the effective teaching of complex writing says there is a need to improve the teachers' own skills. The work was done by Exeter University for the Department for Children, Schools and Families in England . The department said its professional standards demanded that teachers have a secure knowledge of their subject. The study concludes: "For English teachers, who themselves attended schools when grammar was not part of the English curriculum, there is a significant issue of lack of assurance in grammatical subject knowledge, leading to difficulties in addressing grammar meaningfully in the writing classroom. "In particular, effective teaching requires a secure understanding not simply of grammatical terminology, but of applied linguistics and an awareness of the ways in which grammatical constructions are used in different texts for different communicative purposes."

Discrete skills

Among the studies that were examined, a recent one investigated the difficulties faced by trainee teachers when they taught writing. Being new to teaching, they were trying to understand the processes involved in becoming a writer. But they were also having to focus on different kinds of writing as a way to meet objectives laid down in curriculum documents.
So they tended to see writing as a process of acquiring discrete skills, such as "writing descriptions" or "using complex sentences". They tended to get bogged down in the mechanics and neglected the writers' ideas or engagement with the reader.

Another study described a "significant knowledge gap" in terms of teachers' pedagogical knowledge. One piece of research on the linguistic subject knowledge that teachers and trainee teachers bring to their teaching of writing found "a persistent theme in teachers' attitudes to grammar is hostility to anything that makes formal structure the central object of study".
This claimed few teachers brought any specialist knowledge of grammar to their training from their degree studies but did bring "many anxieties and misconceptions around 'grammar'."

'Lack of confidence'

It added that "it is the height of folly to send them into schools where they will have to teach grammar without making time during their training for them to get to grips with the subject".
A study of the linguistic subject knowledge of trainee teachers in the UK found that two thirds reported a lack of confidence about grammar.

"They felt that their greatest need was in using grammar to support EAL [English as an additional language] and knowing when and how to teach it.
"Trainees reported that they embarked on topics and then stumbled into difficulties. Even simple topics seemed to become complex."

A spokeswoman for the schools department said: "We know that grammar is important and that is why it is a compulsory part of the national curriculum. "In particular, primary teachers focus heavily on sentence construction, grammar and syntax as part of teaching reading and writing, for which there are specific national curriculum targets. "Our professional standards for teachers demand that they must have a secure knowledge of their subjects and curriculum areas to enable them to teach effectively across the age range they trained for. And Ofsted has said that we have the best trained teachers ever."

Effective Ways of Teaching Complex Expression in Writing - a Literature Review of Evidence from the Secondary School Phase by Debra Myhill, Ros Fisher, Susan Jones, Helen Lines and Alun Hicks, University of Exeter


Ideas have no protocols

Be wary of people who claim they are open-minded because they are normally not! Recently I had a bad experience in voicing out my mind (upon being coaxed of course). Thinking the listerner was open-minded, I discussed a few things concerning a programme to be carried out. Hence I suggested a few things which I thought were professional pointers. But I left the meeting with a sense of unhappiness. It made me feel that my ideas were unwanted. I've been trained to accept that anyone can contribute ideas and they may or may not be accepted. Fair enough.

Don't ask for ideas if you already have all the answers in your head since you are always thinking ahead of others. A friend once cautioned me- 'You can't show you're cleverer to SH'. Hmm...interesting this.. She said SH will have thought about everything before asking other people. This explains the replies which were forever ready!! You must be really tenacious to be able to do that or simply because you don't have much too do beyond the routine. Must be exhausting to think about every single angle of an issue!! I say, let's voice out and have your say. Ideas do not have protocols!!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Happy holidays!

Can't wait for the coming hols. Am going down to Tebrau City to get a new handbag and Hari Raya shopping with the family. You've got to do it early because in Ramadhan, I normally don't have the energy! Kluang is terrible when it comes to shopping. The plaza is a real dissapointment. I sometimes go to BP to do my shopping because you have better choices. I am really looking forward to the hols (more than my students I think!). Let's see what i want to, spring cleaning, gardening, baking, watching movies, reading, balik kampung...hmm should last me the whole holiday...To my students , don't forget your homework girls!!

Saturday, 9 August 2008


Guess what? I bought myself a cat today. Well, my daughter actually did, all the way from Segamat. Her name is Kiki, a Persian cat. Only six weeks old with greyish white fur, a brownish black stubby nose and black feet. Really cute! Will upload the photos soon. Cost me RM400 ++

Friday, 8 August 2008

Thank you!

Thank-you God for everything that you have given me; my family, my health, my job, my friends and foes alike. Alhamdulillah.

Two weeks ago I was lost in my thoughts and 'bored' was my favourite vocabulary. Perhaps I was going through a phase or perhaps it was that 'itch'. A friend once said you get the itch every ten years or so where you start questioning things around you and become restless...could it be this? My hubby had a better theory; that I was burnt out!! A friend I talked to today told me of her aunt who never complained of anything-tiredness, lack of sleep, workload etc etc. She just takes it in her stride and that this probably is a result of her inner strength. Thank you for sharing that. Perhaps I should look at my inner self and ask myself why I was so negative the past two weeks. I've always seen myself as a motivated person (Peminat aka HH will totally agree!) who likes new challenges.

Tonight I want to say thank you to God. I am grateful to You for all that I have today. Thank you God for giving me the strength to carry on and to pick up the pieces and start again. You know it isn't easy. Thank you for giving me the time and space to regain that confidence I once misplaced (You never lose your confidence, you just misplace it). Thank you for protecting me against those who are envious of my achievements. Thank you for listening to my prayers when I offer them to you in haste or peace. Thank you for surrounding me with sincere friends who always remind me of who I am. Thank you for blessing me with a wonderful husband and children. Thank you for showing me the way when all else fails. Above all thank you for always giving me a second chance!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Studying again?

Recently I've been thinking of doing my PHD. Don't really know what got into me..i've never dreamed of a PHD. Maybe it's the fact that many friends have won scholarships to further their studies. It's too late to apply for a scholarship due to the age limit so i mulled over the idea of pursuing it part time... so I thought! Well, when I finally got my foot on the ground, it's just not possible. What with school work and all other responsibilites. It wouldn't be fair to my students because it will definitely affect school work. Besides I don't have the motivation to do it part time. I guess I've got to give it a miss although I find that I always need to be intellectually challenged...Have you ever noticed how school can be really 'boring' sometimes?


(found this interesting piece while surfing-enjoy!)

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education.
He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."
To stress his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?"
Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began...)
"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.
You want to know what I make?" (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.) '
'I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write.
Keyboarding isn't everything. I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life."
(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.) "Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant...
You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE .
What do you make Mr. CEO?" His jaw dropped, he went silent.


Han's journal entry which I read today was a thought-provoking one. The title was 'Teachers'. It was an emotional outpouring of teachers' behaviour in the classroom sometimes puzzles and shocks her. This particular teacher 'threw' a student's exercise book in a fit of anger. Well, when one is angry, unexpected things can happen. She went on to write about how teachers are viewed by students and what they stand for. It made me realise that we teachers sometimes take our anger on students. It's undeniable students of today are world's apart from their seniors and they are a challenging lot to handle sometimes. (That teacher must have been really furious to throw the exercise book away.) I too was angry in 5S2 the other day. You see, teaching has become more complex. Your'e not just disseminating and managing the content but overseeing everything from discipline to performance as well. Having said that, teachers still need to find that patience in them and to show a good example to their students. Do you realise that students, however young, are always evaluating you although they may not show it outwardly? This journal entry made me reflect on my practices and how I may have been 'unfair' to my students too. To Han's: Thanks for your thoughts and I hope you haven't lost confidence in your teachers ok!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Sunday ramblings...

I think it is working!! Hehe. Hopefully more of you will come on board and blog. Talk about anything under the sun (except politics...politics is dirty. Don't you wish to listen to good news on tv? Nowadays that's an impossibilty. Every night it's BAAAAD news!!). Am trying to decide whether I should change the dinner table in the kitchen. It's been ten years.. Tough decision this! You see, the table is big and fine but I'd really like the one with the marble top as it's easy to maintain. No need for table cloths anymore and wiping it will be a breeze. But sometimes I think it's a waste because the present one is still ok. I can be very fickle sometimes! Any advice?

Lost in cyberspace!

Hi all,
Am trying to fix something. My students said they can't leave comments which is surprising...been trying for the last half an hour. Hope this will work. Something I need to learn maybe..

OASIS: Hey it's Monday!!

OASIS: Hey it's Monday!!