Sunday, 28 June 2009

I just discovered this wonderful site to share with all of you. If you are looking for a dictionary with a difference, then this is the place to go. You can upload a video on your favourite word and share it with others. This will appeal to visual learners. Go to

Open Day, 27 June 2009

The school's Open Day was held last Saturday. Judging by the turnout, it was a huge success. I was at the school gate with a few prefects to welcome the parents. Someone was surprised to find me located there (the only teacher with the prefects). Well, I thought she was the one who put me in AJK Sambutan. Funny this! Anyway, nervous giggles from the girls could be heard as they whizzed their parents to the classes to have an audience with their form teachers- a day of reckoning you bet! I met En Zainal, who is now a headmaster in a school in Kluang. I didn't realise that I was teaching his daughter in 4S1. Anyway, he wasn't too happy with his daughter's performance. Back in the common room, a Form 3 girl cried dark tears when her sister came to see a teacher!! We later realised she had her mascara on!!! And her sister came to the common room only to find out her younger sister hadn't been attending the Hikmah classes! Well, better to know now than never.

MGCJ Module Building Meeting, PKG Kluang, 25 June 09

Today, I chaired the state level meeting of PMR and SPM module-building session for Majlis Guru Cemerlang Johor 2009 roadshow in PKG Kluang. As a matter of fact I was in charge of the SPM English group but Suresh, the MGCJ secretary had asked me to brief the PMR module builders too. The meeting went well except for some frantic calls from teachers who did not receive the calling letter in time :) The SPM group agreed to deal with two areas namely, writing and listening/speaking where we intend to share best practices in the classroom. I personally think listening and speaking have been neglected in the English classroom for a long time. We had a great discussion on what should be included in the 6-hour course. For writing, we will look at controlled, semi-controlled (guided) and free-writing and for listening/speaking, we have decided to focus on practical pair work, group work and large class approaches. We will present our parts during the 2nd meeting on the 2nd July 2009 for team feedback and editing. My team consists of nine English excellent teachers: Adeline (Batu Pahat), Ramesh (Johor Bharu), Norziha (Pontian), Sheikh Fauzi (Mersing), Mrs Jacob (Segamat), Manymaran (Kulai), Hafiz (Kluang) and Renuka (Muar).

Michael Jackson dies...

The King of pop passed away. You can read the BBC news about him by clicking here

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Reading Club 1

In the first Reading Club, I would like to share a book that I read some time ago. This is one of the best books I have read. I am amazed at the the way the writer describes Amir's childhood in Kabul, Aghanistan and the twist and turns that one discovers later in the story. The story centers on Amir and Hassan, two friends who grow up like brothers. Amir is the son of a wealthy businessman and a Pashtun while Hassan is a Sh'ia Muslim. His father is a servant to Amir's father. The two boys spend their childhoods roaming the streets of Kabul. But Amir was always taunting Hassan with his superior position. They undergo many tests in their friendship. When the Taliban come, Amir and his family leave for the US and build a new life there. However, Amir returns to Kabul one day looking for Hassan to atone for his sins. The strength of this book lies in the power of the descriptive language that Khaled uses. I can actually visualise the house Amir and Hassan live in, the streets of Kabul and the destruction that later befalls Kabul during the Taliban rule. This is definitely a good read.

Visual Thesarus

Have you ever come across the Visual Thesaurus? This is an amazing approach for learning and exploring words. For example the word 'mind' on the left could be connected to so many other words related to it. Visit the website to learn more.

Vocabulary Learning

How about brushing up on your prefixes and suffixes? After all they are very important in expanding your vocabulary. If you need a chart on prefixes, you can find it here prefixes and suffixes chart

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

4RC- Singing sensations!

Today we had what was supposed to be a serious lesson on tenses. I decided to forfeit those students who got the answers wrong by singing an English song. Well, Poonjoley got away with ABC (you know the kindergarten song), Pae Chen and Syafiqah setteld for Twinkle-twinkle little star. Then we had Sahira singing 'Bleeding Love' by Miley Cyrus just before the class ended. These girls really surprised me when they joined in the chorus!! Their voices were suddenly loud and they reverberated with the gust of wind blowing through the windows. For a moment, I wondered wether this was really my class! Anyway, I am planning a song activity this Friday- to add some variety in my teaching. So this was a sort of preamble if you like! Remember, variety is the spice of life.

I often reflect what I have been doing in the classroom - whether I have been able to reach my students. Or am I just going through the motions of teaching like a routine. It reminds of this quotation I read somewhere -Many can teach but only a few can reach. This is really the true challenge in teaching. Our students are our best judge. They know when we are prepared or otherwise. They know it when we are not trying our best.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Cooperative Day, 21 June 2009

Top pict: Madam Tan watering the plants
2nd pict: Mr Low putting in soil
3rd pict: Mr Cheng @chengma transfering the new plants
Bottom: Madam Tan aka the Principal and Mr Puran watering the plants

This morning we celebrated the Cooperative Day at the school level. Speeches were given and awards were presented to the cooperative committee members. Madam Tan, my principal then put to test her gardening skills by transfering (not planting ok :)) some healthy plants into beautiful pots donated by the school cooperative as a symbolic celebration of the day. Mr Cheng (Senior Assistant Co curricular), Mr Low (Maths and Sci Head of Department) and Mr Puran (Head of Languages) also had a hand in putting new soil and watering the plants. The new plants were placed in front of the office and they are a pleasure to look at. More greens to greet you in the mornings most definitely! We really should have more flowers in the school compound. Since our school is small, it shouldn't cost too much. I always dream of the school having beautiful gardens and corners. It is rather bare at present. But nobody seems to be interested in beautifying the school...You know what, a great compound and good exam results would definitely complement one another!

State Subject Consultancy Meeting, JPNJ, 18 June 2009

The State Consultancy meeting was held in SMK Taman Kluang Barat for UPSR, PMR and SPM committees. It was chaired by En Mohd Noh(Head of Academic Sector). We now have 54 members in PPMP. Mr Shanmuganathan (English KPP) emphasised on the importance of speaking as a skill that is much neglected in the classrooms. I totally agree with this. Listening and speaking skills must be brought back into the classrooms. Too much emphasis is given to the other skills and much of the fault lies in us teachers too. I hope the SPM PPMP will produce something exciting to enhance speaking skills in the classroom. I was reappointed the chairperson for the SPM English State PPMP and Pn Eva Abdullah, Principal of SMK Dato Menteri, the chairperson for PMR English State PPMP.

Professional Development 4, 20 June 2009

This was the fourth professional development programme we had for the school. The invited speaker was Tn Hj Mahili from KUITTHO. He spoke on 'Reach Approach: A conceptual Framework in Promoting B4L'. I thought the talk was interesting although rather heavy. The other speakers were Miss Geetha (Etika Guru), Madam Junaidah (Pembinaan Item) and Mr Puran Singh (Stress management).

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Dr Basil Wijasuriya Award, MELTA 2009

sallina and I
my session in progress...
Dr Basil, me and Dr Ganakumaran

Carol- story-teller extroadinaire

The 18th MELTA (Malaysian English Language Teaching Association) International conference came to a close yesterday in Puteri Pan , Johor Bahru. We had a plenary by Carol Read and I enjoyed her session very much. This time around I managed to follow the conference till the end and it's kind of sad that it had to end. As is usually the case with conferences, you must pick your sessions carefully because sometimes you may end up disappointed. I had two such sessions! I didn't really want to go to Dr Malachi's session but the Mutiara room was located on the second floor so I decided to stay put- what this meant was I had to listen to Dr Malachi's unsymphathetic comments about teachers not doing what they were supposed to be doing in the classroom! Mind you , I have attended a few of his sessions and the slant and tone were always the same-that we teachers are not really doing our jobs!! Well, that's food for thought for you out there. We've got to ask ourselves whether this is really the case. However, I think it's so easy for someone who has a PHD to make such comments because you are not there on the ground to go through the motions of teaching in schools. Perhaps he had a stint in school (and left for greener pastures...) but it's not the same as being there through and through.

There are two things I want to share. First, I won the Basil Wijasuriya Award as the best teacher presenter in the conference! This was something totally unexpected as I came with the intention of only sharing my action research with the participants. In the midst of my presentation, I suddenly coughed and a gentleman sitting in the front row handed me some lozenges (the original fisherman's lozenges mind you. What could have been better for my itchy throat!). It was only when I returned the pack that I saw his name tag and knew that he was Dr Basil! He had come to evaluate the session obviously. Well, I took home RM500 and a certificate from MELTA. A special thanks to Fiza @Pizza (a good friend who's pursuing her PHD now) for taping my session and to all friends who came to my session. Second, a teacher from Johor Bahru (she won first place in the teacher's showcase competition) approached me to tell me that I had inspired her to take part in the competition. By chance she stumbled upon my blog and was inspired by it. That's really great isn't it? That's what teachers should do- be inspired to do something they have never done before and to go to unchartered territories. I feel deeply humbled if I had inspired her through what I do and write in my blog and I hope to inspire many more. On top of this, I also met old friends, Dr Zahariah Pilus and Dr Nuraihan Mat Daud from UIA after 20 years! This MELTA is definitely something I will remember for a long time :)Thank you God!

SPM Talk in MRSM Batu Pahat, 8th June 2009

Date: 8th June 2009
Venue: MRSM Batu Pahat

On this occassion I was invited to give a talk to 150 SPM candidates. Chau Meng Huat the Head of Department, invited me for the second time and I had a three hour session with the students covering Papers 1 and 2. Thanks very much to Meng Huat, Hasliza and Fairus for the hospitality, not forgetting the lovely bouquet!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Sorry this blog is under reconstruction! Am making major changes to upload more materials.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Melta Conference 2009

Salam and hi,
Next week Melta Conference will be held in Puteri Pan, Johor Bharu from the 11-13th June. I will be presenting a paper entitled WORDWISE: Using Pictures and Explicit Vocabulary Teaching Strategies to Improve 5S1 Descriptive Compositions. Thanks to the Johor State Education Department for sponsoring me. This is my first presentation in MELTA although I presented a paper in MICELT last year. My paper and four others are being considered for the Basil Wijasuriya Award in the conference. This is certainly great news!

If you are a first timer to MELTA, don't worry! You should enjoy the experience because you always learn new ideas and feel rejuvenated (isn't this what we need as language teachers?) after attending it. There's always something to learn if you keep your mind open. Those who attend conferences frequently may think otherwise but I always learn something from conferences and try them in my classrooms. Besides there are great book exhibitions where you can purchase those hard-to-find books. The only downside is you have to be willing to part with RM350.00 (minus lodging) to attend MELTA which is a small amount to pay considering the benefits.

My proposal for AsiaTEFL has also been accepted and God-willing I will be presenting in Bangkok from 7-9 August. Am feeling a bit apprehensive with the H1N1 influenza scare. However I think opportunity knocks but once so I will most likely be in Bangkok then. Hope to meet many old and new friends in both conferences :) for the tentative programme, click on the title.