Saturday, 30 May 2009

Hmm..a weighty problem

Ever felt tired often and your legs can't seem to be holding you weight? That's exactly what I have been feeling lately. But trying to lose weight is soooo hard!!! Don't eat rice they say, don't drink 3 in 1, don't eat fast food, don't take ice drink, eat green apples (something a friend has done for 4 months and has actually lost kilos I almost didn't recognise him!)- so many don'ts am not sure I can cope. Been going to Gunung Lambak once in a while to make sure I sweat and get rid of the toxins...Going to Bodypower (the gymnasium near the old market) is not my favourite choice at the moment although am a member. Been feeling sluggish and sleepy at times. Need to lose weight badly..........

Professional Development in SMK Tun Hussein Onn, 30 May, 2009

It was a wet morning and the sun was about to show its head as I reached the roundabout towards school. My first session was with 5 Science 2 in 5RCA where 33 out of 40 students came for the extra class. We dealt with the common errors in SVA and articles in their writing. This was also in response to their class journal where some requested me to teach them more grammar. At 10.45 a.m, I had a session with 67 teachers from SMK Tun Hussein Onn from 10.45 a.m-12.45 p.m. Pn Normah, the principal invited me to share my action research. During the workshop session, I was in time for a presentation from the Science group and went through a report already completed by a Maths teacher and a proposal by an Economics teacher. It was interesting that during our discussion, the Maths teacher realised her area and scope of research was too wide hence making the interventions complicated and unclear. She wanted to deal with three things at the same time. However, it was a commendable effort on her part. The teachers seemed very enthusiastic to carry out their research and I was glad help.

Wedding Bells..30 May 2009

Right after the talk in SMK Tun Hussein Onn, a dash with hubby to two weddings. The first, a staff from SMK Bandar T6 (Cik Daliyanie)and then to Pn Maimon's and En Haris's son's (Brian) wedding in Taman Sri Kluang. Selamat Pengantin Baru. Semuga Bahagia Selalu!

MGC Johor Meeting, SM Sains Johor, Kluang, 28 May 09

I had to rush to this meeting after receiving an sms. No letter was issued to me and the president apologised about this. With us was En Shamsudin hin Harun from JPNJ who patiently followed our discussions and 2009 programmes. Amongst others, we intend to organise an Effective Teaching Course where we will share best practices in teaching the selected subjects such as BM, English, History, Mathematics and others. Kluang has been given the task to host English for UPSR, PMR and SPM English. Discussions also included finances and we were pleased to note that we are quite RICH!! :) How about that Sarawak trip that is long overdue?

Friday, 29 May 2009

Teacher's Day, Kluang District, 28th May, 2009

Today, I received the first prize for the District Innovative Teacher Award (Secondary Category-individual) Teacher's Day Celebrations in Tunku Ibrahim Ismail Hall, Kluang. This is my third award at the district level. Someone joked that I must now go national. Well, that's the next challenge eh? Easier said than done. Congratulations to fellow recipients.

Current Project: English Scrapbooks

These are some of the project work completed by students from all forms. The titles range from language items like idioms and useful phrases to literature. Prizes will be given to the five best projects from each form. Thanks to all teachers and students who made this a successful English Panel support programme!

Monday, 25 May 2009

When an x-student comes knocking...

It was great to see Faiz (x-smsj) after all these years! But he is as skinny as ever. Put on more weight la..So you still remember your old teacher eh? That was very thoughtful of you. Good to know Faiz is now working with PriceWaterhouse and Coopers (hope I got this right !) It's a great firm and a reputable one. Thanks for the gift. I will frame it because it's really nice. Hope to meet Faiz again when am in Melaka. One question though- dah ada girlfriend ke? hehehe...

Sunday, 24 May 2009

State Level Innovative Teacher Award 2009, Pasir Gudang Stadium, Johor Bharu

I finally did it- getting this award! The state level event was held in Pasir Gudang Stadium and the guest of honour was Datuk Dr Puad Zakarshi, Deputy Minister of Education. Thanks to my principal Madam Tan, for always encouraging me to take part and friends for their motivation. Not forgetting my hubby Aziz, and children (Adibah and Ahmad Rasyad) for they are my best critics :)

A Course on Pedagogy, Johor Bahru District, 23 May 2009

Praise be to Allah, the most merciful. A great day to remember. The course in Sdary, JB went really well. Sallina (the principal) and her organising commitee did a wonderful job and made me feel very welcome. I had a three and a half hour session with the teachers and Dr Zubaidah from UTM handled the next one hour and a half. The 67 participants were mainly non-optionists. I hope I was able to share some of the best practices in teaching literature and summary writing. I must thank Aisyah (English GC in SDARY) for her excellent coordination and her patience in meeting my requests.., Maimunah and many others. Had lunch with Sal, Anidah and hubby Ashari (retired Lieutenant Colonel) after the course before we had to rush to the Pasir Gudang stadium for the state level Teacher's Day celebrations. Thanks for the choc cake Anidah and the goodies Sal.

Some reflections on the course by the participants:

1. I was a fun session! It is very useful to me!
2. Your talk was very infomative and useful to me.
3. Your techniques on how to teach literature is sure to be useful in my class. Thank you for exposing me to to some of the useful , more meaningful and funfilled ways to teach literature, rather than using the orthodox way of teaching. And the video clip from the Dead Poet Society was awesome. Infact truthfully speaking it was the movie that inspired me to be intereted in literature and the profession of teaching.
4. Very good. I personally learnt many things and out of the box on how to teach. Yes, it's true I was skeptical about exam result but I think I should move ahead and change the way I have put for ward my teaching method.
5. I learnt a lot from this course. The way the course was conducted is interesting. The only thing is in future, the exercise on the slide can be printed out for our use. We don't mind paying :)
6. Excellent inputs. Resourceful- especially the blogs, the videos. Should be made into a full day course. More time should be allocated to gro through the module (summary writing)
7. Very useful for me as a new teacher. I wish I could be a creative teacher all the time but sometimes the time will not allow me to do so. However, I really love yout talk.
8. Dear Pn Rahmah, Your knowledge and the way you shared your skills are FANTASTIC! My friends and I are indeed enlightened. Personally I needed these boosts to be the best teacher for my students (Prem, SMK Taman Puteri)
9.Dear Pn Hjh Rahmah, I love your presentation. I have learnt a lot. I hope there will be more seminar/courses for teachers teaching below 3 years.
10. Full of informations. Many new ideas that I never thought of doing before. Very generous.
11. That was quite a 'refreshment' for me on teaching literature. That was also the first time listening to David Gilmor- Sonnet 18. Thank you very much.
12. Interesting session. I learnt a lot of tips on how to teach Literature since I am a non-optionist teacher.
13. Very engaging and helpful. Really enjoyed it.
14. Very interesting and full of informations which are very useful and applicable. Not boring at all. Your students are so lucky 2 get you as a teacher (wish to be like you someday in the future... :)
15. It's interesting- the methods you suggested can be implemented in my T&L. Thanks.
16. Good materials provided, clear explanations, benefits for teachers as well as students.
17. The materials were very useful Thank you very much.
18. Too many exercises to be presented (summary writing)
19. It was a fun-filled activity, especially the poem by Mc Beth. I'm sure I can provide something new to my ss.
20. I would prefer more time to be allocated for discussing some activities on the session.
21. Objectives achieved. thanks so much!
22. Puan, your talk was very informative and useful to me.
23. Puan, you are a great teacher. Ia have learnt a lot today. Thank you.
24. I am looking forward to practice the summary-writing techniwues in my classes. I am sure it will work for my students! Thank you very much!
25. Should go along with a module
26. Awesone! Good! Excellence!!
27. The introduction of the lecturer's blog was interesting. The ice-breaking was creative. The theories of teaching literature were useful, brushed up my past knowledge. The video clip on 'Dead Poet Society' was an eye opener, Mr Keating was passionate, I'm not. I learnt that teaching literature must be 'FUN'; yet not teaching without context. In short I enjoyed the sessions and hope to use it in my lessons.
28. It will be good if we can have some of the soft copies of the activities (as displayed on screen during the lecture) for FOC! :)
29. No doubt , it's the most difficult task when it comes to summary writing. I was impressed by the lecturer's input presented but they will not be useful if I don't work hard on students' problem of low proficiency in English. Such uphill task will not be accomplished if the ground work (basic foundation of grammar knowledge). Soft copy for FOC pls. New teacher needs SOS!
30. The course and activities were good and I've learned a lot. I just wish that our school stop giving us LDP but they should have this kind of courses for teachers. It's more realistic. THANK YOU PN RAHMAH :)
31. Lesson carried out too fast (sum writing)
32. It is a very interesting session. I love to have the materials use for Lit. However my school don't have the facilities for ICT.
33.Good materials provided, clear explanation, benefits for teachers as well as students (sum writing)
34. Very interesting slot. Gave us ideas how to conduct lesson and the activities.
35. Very interesting. Do more courses for pedagogy (sum writing)
36. Very clear guidelines on how to answer sutdents' interest in learning/grasping the literary component.
37. A clear/vivid guideline is given on teaching summary writing. A JOB WELL DONE!
38. The session was very good. I gain more knowledge on teaching literature.
39. Session 2 a bit fast. Where here I having problem. Anyway, the handouts will help me in teaching summary writing.
40. Congrats! I gain a lot of new ideas today. Tq for your superb presentation & high spirit motivation! Keep it up!

51 out of 67 participants submitted their reflections. Space doesn't permit me to type them all. Thanks guys hope to see you again some time :) Your feedback on the use of the materials in your classrooms would be most appreciated.

Effective Teaching & Learning Course, Batu Pahat (21 May 2009)

 On this day I had a date with 52 non-optionists English teachers in Batu Pahat (SK Pintas Puding, Parit Raja). I handled two slots on Literature and Summary Writing for about three and half hours. Despite a slight hitch with the video, everything else was okay. The partcipants were responsive and positive. They enjoyed the video session on Mr Keating and his literature class. I hope they have gathered some useful teaching tips from the session. Rozi (the language officer from PPD Batu Pahat) informed me that the participants' reflections on the two slots were very positive and encouraging. I had a great time with the teachers!

Teacher's Day

Teacher's Day was celebrated on the 18th of May. The students put up wonderful performances from zapin to the Indian dance. I thought the teacher's drama was excellent and the Fm 5 sketch was hilarious (although the English used was very colloquial...) Poh Yee acted really well. Congrats! Didn't know she had such a talent. Happy Teacher's Day to all teachers!

5000 visits today!

Salam and hi to all! Today my blog registered 5000 visits. Thanks to those who visited. If only you could leave some comments...that will be great motivation :) Anyway, this will spur me on to share teaching ideas and materials with you. Thanks for your support!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Professional Development 3, 16 May 2009

Top pict: Diamond 9 group dynamics
2nd from top: Punniah rendering a 'syair' in her presentation
3rd from top: The tai pan
4th from top: Sham, our sweet MC and my ever efficient AJK Potluck!
5th from top: Ustazah Anita lost for words during the ice-breaking session :)
6th from top: Yours truly
Bottom: Madam Ng and group immersed in discussion

Professional development on Teacher's Day? You read right. Don't worry, no poor vision on your part. This was my first in 22 years!! school is always full of surprises. I really admire my colleagues- so patient and obedient. The rebel in me will be screaming first before the job is done! :) But we had a good session although you couldn't deny the restlessness in the air especially the after lunch session amidst the calm facade. However, Teacher's Day celebration has been postponed to Monday and LDP had to be done before July so that explains... I wondered what the teachers were thinking though? Well, this was what I was thinking...I was happy to share whatever knowledge I had with the many young teachers in the school. I started off with a short ice-breaking session (Paper Ball) as that wasn't done before the first session. This was followed by some input on Critical and Creative Thinking and the demands of the 21st century. A worskhop session ensued with groups having to discuss a focus question and nine statements related to the question. (Thanks to Faz, the counselor, who helped me mix the teachers from the morning and afternoon sessions, young and old, as I was still in Terengganu!). Each group had a rep to present their consensus and rationalise them. In retrospect, i think they enjoyed the Diamond 9 session very much- some even came to tell me how much they enjoyed the group dynamics! This is reward in itself- in more ways than one. Just for the record, we had three sessions altogether: Infusing Critical and Creative Thinking in Teaching (Rahmah Hj Sayuti), 'Penambahbaikkan Sekolah melalui Pembangunan Sahsiah Pelajar' (Northip Prakjun) and 'Penyeliaan P and P' (Pn Hjh Mahizan). Despite the double-layered plastic chairs and the heat, the sessions were informative and enjoyable. I certainly consolidated my understanding of clinical supervision in Hjh Mahizan's session. Tx for sharing and bravo to the organising committee and all teachers!!

Excellence in English Course for Teachers, 12-13 May 2009

On this fateful (stressful?) day, I went to 4RCA and taught as usual for the first two periods. I had to leave at 9.30 for BTPN as I had two slots to deliver in the course. The fax only arrived at 8.30! 52 teachers from bottom 50 schools all over Johor were waiting for me as I was told I had a session at 10.30! To cut a long story short, I managed to deliver 'Summary Writing' and 'Continuous Writing' to the teachers. Phew! Don't ask me how but I just managed, well maybe more than managed. I was pleased with the response from the group of teachers. It was a good mix this group. Showed them my blog and hope they will find something useful. Unfortunately, in all that madness, no pictures were taken at all. After all, a blog should consists of more words than pictures (read this somewhere) but it would be nice to have some pictures yaa..

Teacher's Debate, National Level, Terengganu,13-15 May 2009

I judged the semi-finals between Penang and Melaka in the national level Teacher's Debate in Terengganu. This was the first time that I was selected to judge at the national level and how can you refuse that. Given the new format ( the motion is made known only one hour before), I found that the quality of arguments (substance)rather lacking- definitely something the committee need to look into next year. Really nice to meet an old friend, Sakhiyah and daughter Anis who happens to lecture in IPGM Dato Ahmad Razali, the venue for the debate. So much to catch up with :)

Johor State Subject Consultancy Meeting, 11 may 2009

This was the first meeting of the PPMP for the state. I thought it had died a natural death! The meeting was chaired by the State Education Director himself, Tn Hj Sufaat bin Tumin. As in the previous meetings, each chairperson had to report on the programme for the year. There was a suggestion by the director himself that the membership be reviewed as some chairpersons are principals who already have tight schedules. I totally agree with this suggestion. If you study the concept paper again, the consultancy should consist of 'experts' who are well-versed in their subjects. Hence, I think excellent teachers should be playing the lead role here. In the meantime I've got to get the English PPMP moving again with the help of dear MR Shan our English KPP! Wish me luck :)

MGCM Subject Consultancy Meeting, Federal Hotel, KL, 6-8 May 2009

Top: The consultancy
2nd from top: Input session
3rd from top: Input from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka
Bottom: The English team

This meeting saw 50 selected Excellent teachers from 10 subjects to become committee members of this national level consultancy. Chaired by Pn Hjh Siti Zainun, KPP Federal Inspectorates, the objective was to share teaching and learning materials and best practices via a subject blog which can be accessed by the public. At hand to train us was En Rizam from IPGM Perlis. I was slightly disappointed as the committee had chosen wordpress instead of blogger, something I am more familiar with. The ten subjects chosen were BM, English, Religious Education, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, Mathematics and Science. The English team consists of Vasantha (GKC), Hema (GKC), Hj Abdullah (GKC), Hjh Normala and myself. A second meeting is in the pipeline to finetune the blog as the launching will be held in July.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Top pict: Me at Stratford public library
2nd from top: Shakespeare's uncle's house
3rd from top: Say Lee, Azlin(can't remember her name but she's from Spore)and me in front of Shakespeare's birthplace
Bottom: Stratford-upon-Avon railway station (M.A coursemates in Birmingham)

Salam and hi,
Some serious stuff this time round- Approaches to teaching literature. Below are some notes I used as part of a presentation in the Southern Regional Seminar on English language Teaching organised by UTM way back in 2002. It should give you some idea as to which approach is the most appropriate in a second language situation. There is always this great debate about whether you are teaching literature or language when dealing with literary texts. I say one cannot exclude the other. Here goes..

1. Information-based approaches

 teach knowledge about literature/lit as content or source of facts e.g.s dates, authors, literary terms
 knowledge for its own sake, does not encourage responsive reading &
fuller interpretation of text
 generally teacher-centred ss well-armed with knowledge of history
 aim towards literary competence

2. Personal response-based approaches

 literature for personal growth
 thematic approach
 more ss-centred
 focus on individual response, personal experience
 draw on ss knowledge of self & the world

3. Language-based approaches

 literature as a resource for language teaching
 aim towards integration of language & literature: linguistic forms & literary meaning
 more concerned with the processes of reading
 aim towards linguistic competence; awareness of how language works in specific texts
 how language is used; subtle & creative uses of language
 learner-centred; teacher becomes ‘enabler’
 activity-based to open up literary texts & release its meaning
 standard ELT procedures used e.g. cloze, creative writing, re-writing, role-play etc.

 the study of literature

 the use of literature as a resource for language-teaching
 literature with a big “L”
 as an academic subject e.g. LEP
 involves a baggage if critical concepts, literary conventions
 aims for literary competence
 involves analysis of text, methods of reading e.g.s feminist
 ss need to be linguistically competent
 ss already understand literary conventions
 promotes the use of lit. for language learning
 to mainly develop linguistic ability
 texts are “dissected” to serve purpose
 ss eventually become familiar with texts
 literature with a small “l” e.g. CRP

Which approach is most suited for the language situation we have? Well, we can use them all but for different target groups. For instance,the Literature elective in the SPM takes after the info-based and personal response based approaches but the literature component in the mainstream syllabus is more towards the language-based approaches. It is important to know why you are teaching Literature to get the maximum benefits for the students.