Saturday, 24 April 2010

Magic Grammar Workshop

Date: 17th April 2010 (Saturday)
Venue: Damai Resort, Desaru, Kota Tinggi

I wasn't supposed to be here but dear hubby wasn't too well, so I had to be his driver for the day! Organised by Kejora, we were introduced to a new but rather peculiar way of looking at grammar by En Jamaludin who works in Yayasan Pelajaran Johor. I have to be careful not to mention too much of his methods as he has given the rights to publish his ideas to a publisher. Basically, he has used Mathematics (that's right) as a basis for his methods-never thought of this! Just the sight of figures scare me away!! Anyway, I think there are some methods that are useful and practical especially 1-5 but am very skeptical about the others. There are many instances where the theory does not fit in. You can't be inventing formulas for every single case! However, it threw some light into whether the rules of grammar we have now are intact or otherwise. A brave attempt at dealing with grammar I thought!

4S2 Students Journals

Visit to St Bede's School, Durham, UK (March 2010)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Literature Component 2010 Resources

Some teachers emailed me to say that their states/districts had not carried out the new literature component for 2010. Here are some literature resources that you may find useful (courtesy Curriculum Development Division). The only snag is uploading takes a lifetime!

Form 1
1. The River
2. Mr Nobody
3. Black Beauty
4. Module- Poetry Form 1
5. Module- Flipping Fantastic

Form 4
1. He had such quiet eyes (Bibsy Soenhardjo)
2. Drama
3. Intro to Drama

Vocabulary Lesson: Zodiac

Here's a lesson on vocabulary that I've used in class.
Topic: Zodiac
Target group: form 5
Objectives: 1. Vocabulary
                  2. Speaking

Try  it and let me know if you find it useful.

i) Zodiac lesson plan
ii) Alternative zodiac descriptions ( easier descriptions of the zodiacs)

You can also find the links in the left sidebar under 'VOCABULARY'. Happy teaching :)

Friday, 16 April 2010

LDP 1: 12 April 2010

Book Reviews by Wan and Sarojini. Thumbs up to both of them for an excellent sharing session.

Welcome to Madam Yeoh, our new principal

Our first assembly with Madam Yeoh Ai Lian, the new principal who reported for duty on 12 April 2010. Welcome to SMCC!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Public-speaking Audition

Date: 9 April 2010
Time: 12.30 p.m.
Fiveteen students turned up for public-speaking this afternoon. Brave souls they were. And the chosen ones were Shema and Thamarah from From2. Teachers who evaluated agreed to select a Form 2 student this year. I personally enjoyed Shema's speech on 'Family' especially the part when she earnestly said "Alhough my family doesn't understand me..." ! Good luck in the competition!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Happy Gardening!

At last the much needed gardening (after the climb in Gunung Lambak) ! Those weeds needed pulling, the grass needed mowing, the dead mango leaves needed raking...and dear hubby mowed the tall grass after much persuasion :) My poor plants were given fertiliser and a pep talk too (I talk to my plants). Meanwhile, I counted forty mangoes on the tree outside-such pleasant news after years!! I think the recent hot spell encouraged the fruiting (a friend once told me mangoes do well in the hot season). Looking forward to some young mangoes with soy sauce and sugar...

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Teaching Sonnet 18

Have you ever tried getting your students to translate Sonnet 18 (Form 4 Literature) into Bahasa Melayu? You should because the students will be thrilled to try their hands at translating. They really have to show an understanding of the poem to keep to its original meaning. Besides, translation into the mother tongue is hardly used now. From my experience, students enjoy doing something different and they feel that they can absorb better when they are the ones doing the learning. This activity can be carried out as an extension or beyond the text activity. Here's an example from my ex-student (Hazwani Shamsudin, 4set 3, SM Sains Johor, Kluang -with adaptations)

Sonnet 18

Haruskah aku bandingkan dikau dengan musim panas?
Kau lebih menawan dan tidak keterlaluan.
Angin kencang menggoncangkan kuntuman Mei,
Dan musim panas hanya beberapa ketika:
Kadangkala mentari terlalu panas,
Kadangkala sinarnya redup,
Sesuatu yang cantik itu kadangkala tidak kekal,
Lalu musnah mengikut perubahan semulajadi
Tetapi kecantikanmu abadi, takkan hilang
Tidak mungkin ditelan masa atau hilang di mana-mana:
Malah maut juga tidak mampu merampas kecantikan mu.
Kecantikanmu jua kekal abadi.
      Selagi mana manusia boleh bernafas atau bisa melihat,
      Selagi itulah kecantikan mu kekal abadi.

Well, I'm sure your students can do better. Try it and let me know. Knowledge will remain stagnant unless there is sharing. Have a productive day ahead!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Excellence Programme in MRSM Batu Pahat

Date: 10 April 2010
Venue: MRSM Batu Pahat

You go girls!
May success be yours!
All the best!
Good luck boys!

Siti Aisyah (English Teacher) and I after the talk
Good luck girls!
Do your best!

The talk went well and I hope I was able to share some tips with the students in MRSM Batu Pahat. Aisyah 'booked' me since February this year and this was my second time here. It was rather early to do an exam techniques workshop but it was a smart decision to get the students on track as early as you can. The students were attentive and responsive.  Thanks to Aisyah and her teachers for kindly inviting me although I turned them down last year. Here's wishing them all the very best in the SPM!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Reading Club 7

Another book I managed to read ( I read many books at the same time) is Farish Noor's "What Your Teachers Didn't Tell You, vol. 1". This is heavy reading but written so eloquently. I really admire his eloquence!!  Although the subject matter is academic (dealing with the origins of the 'keris' , Hang Tuah, The Red Green Alliance etc.), it is good to once in a while read a book that gives you an alternative view of looking at things so as to prevent being 'stuck' in one perpective. There are also hidden stories which will throw new light on how we perceive things such as the history of the keris and how it is perceived in the the Malaysian context today. A fascinating look at Malaysian culture and history!

Reading Club 6

Here's a book I just completed-took me months to complete this one! Penned by famed business writer and motivational speaker John C. Maxwell, he shares insights on what it takes to be a leader. the book is a character study of outstanding men and women throughout history, focusing on the qualities that are consistent in the lives of these great leaders. Some great leaders cited in this book include US Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Nelson Mandela, Eric Liddle, Hariet Tubman and many more. Let me share some pointers which are useful :

 pg 7, the kind of leader others want to follow:
  • let go of your ego
  • become a good follower first
  • build positive relationships
  • work with excellence
  • rely on discipline, not emotion
  • make adding value your goal
  • give your power away

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Professional Discourse 1

Last night I chatted with a young English teacher from Bagan Datoh, Perak. She claimed to be green in the teaching profession and that my postings helped her. On reflection, I thought it is worth discussing the issues we chatted about.  First, we talked about whether "Life's Brief'Candle' is about life or death (tell me what you think people). I am inclined to think that it's about how short and temporary life is and how much we have to make use of it to the fullest. No point regretting like Macbeth or Lady Macbeth (if you consider the full play) after all the bad deeds they had done...We are all 'players' in this temporary life and we bear the consequences of our actions.

The other thing we talked about was the idea of teaching English for proficiency...not to pass exams. Okay! I can hear you screaming already with this idea of not teaching for exams!!! Hold your horses...Just think for a second...stop and think. If every English teacher teaches with improving proficieny as the aim, then he has nothing to worry about. He (and she of course- no gender bias intended) will not teach to the test and shove down students' throats copious exam-based materials (cloze tests, mcq, context questions etc.) to make sure they make the grades. Instead, the teacher will think of teaching strategies and materials to help students improve their proficiency. If your students are proficient, they can handle any tests. Do you agree? Obviously this has implications for the kind of materials we bring into the classroom. I think we need to reassess the materials we bring to the classroom seriously...we have not taught if the exam-based photocopies are doing the teaching for us!!  Where is the part that we really teach? 

This reminds me of a stint last year where a group of teachers and I had to handle a workshop for slow learners (there are no excellent or poor learners, there are fast and slow learners- I believe this firmly). There was a mismatch in terms of what the school wanted (carry out an exam techniques workshop) and the students' language. They obviously didn't have the language (proficiency) and there we were trying to give them tips on how to answer the SPM English paper!!  As a result, teachers had to use 80%  of Bahasa Melayu and translated almost every sentence in the reading passage (materials)! I was glad when it was all over because I had felt uneasy from the start- it wasn't the right medicine for the problem they had. Was this the right approach? Are exam techniques useful for slow learners? 
Do you teach to make your students pass exams?
Do you teach to improve their proficiency?
Tell me what you think.

Friday, 2 April 2010

MELTA membership fees change

If you are interested to become a life member of MELTA, make sure you do so before 1 May to enjoy the old fees!! They are increasing the fees from RM300 to RM500.

8th MICELT (Malaysian International Conference on English Language Teaching)

MICELT will be held from 11-13th May 2010 in Equatorial Hotel, Melaka. This is a chance for English teachers to learn, unlearn and relearn their beliefs, assumptions and practices in English teaching. I will be presenting a paper in this conference and hope to see and make many  friends there.

A Bouguet of Roses...

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Thursday, 1 April 2010

Training of Trainer Course- MBMMBI Programme, KPM

Date: 29 March - 1 April 2010
Venue: Selesa Hotel, Johor Bharu
Trainers: Dr Rafia, Madam Nagama, Mr Vijayan ((IPGM IPTHO)

Today was the last day of our training session. The course participants were from Kluang and Batu Pahat (about 30 participants). Although Dr Rafia teased me a few times throughout the course, I didn't mind at all knowing her style! I was there with an open mind to fine-tune my skills as a trainer. As a matter of fact, I was hoping to just keep a low profile but it turned out that was not an easy thing to do. Sometimes I wish I can just enjoy a course without too much attention... It's so difficult when people know you are a GC and that announcement (by the trainer) that I was entitled to a single room since I was dg54 didn't help either :( This was the only thing I was unhappy about. Overall, I enjoyed the sessions and learn I did!

A word on the module- it was comprehensive, cohesive and compact compared to the previous MTDP (Malaysian Trainer Development Course) which was rather lengthy. In those days we had to train in four phases each lasting 3 days!  However I think five days would have been better so that the trainers did not have to rush too much. Some sessions were a little rushed. Overall, I enjoyed myself learning new things and hope to put to good use the input received. Made many new friends in the course such as Azimah, Karthika, Amirah, Rajakumar, Vasu, Ng (Jing Wen's mom), Rita, etc. They were a fun lot, willing to learn and improve themselves. I wish them all 'Happy Training'!! Thanks to Dr Rafia and her team. They did a splendid job!

Dr Rafia and I
Vasu, me, Huda, Rita and Fuziana
One of the activities- "My Career Path'

More picts...

Professional Development for Master Teachers, MGc Kluang

Date: 25 March 2010 (Thursday)
Venue: Dewan Bakti, SMSJ
Participants: 90 master teachers from Kluang district

We had our professional development and AGM in this meeting. The guest-of-honour was Tn Hj Jalil Satari fro PPD Kluang. I shared a paper with the teachers entitled "Amalan Profesional GC: Portfolio Pengajaran- Satu Cadangan" which you can download here. I hope you find the idea useful.

Excellent teachers
Ismail, the chair for MGC Kluang, Pn Gayah (secretary) and Marhaini (Vice-chair)

Zana in action

Tn Hj Jalil Satari, Assitant PPD Officer closing the event

The paper I shared with teachers

the basket of fruits I received..thanks to the oragnisers

Zana and I

MGC Kluang committee members