Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Lesson Study

Under the NKRA initiative, the Teacher Division of MOE is introducing lesson study in a big way to help teachers all over Malaysia. In line with MBMMBI policy, plans are in place to create a professional learning community to help teachers enhance their teaching practice and students' performance. Here are some notes and sites I found to be very useful:  

Lesson study* is a professional development process that Japanese teachers engage in to systematically examine their practice, with the goal of becoming more effective. This examination centers on teachers working collaboratively on a small number of "study lessons". Working on these study lessons involves planning, teaching, observing, and critiquing the lessons. To provide focus and direction to this work, the teachers select an overarching goal and related research question that they want to explore. This research question then serves to guide their work on all the study lessons. 

Lesson Study in action in Singapore
While working on a study lesson, teachers jointly draw up a detailed plan for the lesson, which one of the teachers uses to teach the lesson in a real classroom (as other group members observe the lesson). The group then comes together to discuss their observations of the lesson. Often, the group revises the lesson, and another teacher implements it in a second classroom, while group members again look on. The group will come together again to discuss the observed instruction. Finally, the teachers produce a report of what their study lessons have taught them, particularly with respect to their research question. 

*"Derived from the Japanese word jugyokenkyuu, the term 'lesson study' was coined by Makoto can also be translated in reverse as 'research lesson' [coined by Catherine Lewis], which indicates the level of scrutiny applied to individual lessons." --RBS Currents, Spring/ Summer 2002


 The video below is a neat and interesting way to explain the concept behind Lesson Study:


Lesson Plan Format Secondary Schools

At the recent District English Panel meeting, a request for a standardised lesson plan for the teacher's record book was made. Rather than giving you a specific template, I'd like to share that the following elements are usually expected in your lesson plan:

  • Theme
  • Topic
  • Objectives
  • Activity
  • Reflection
  • Resource
However if the KSSR (Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah) lesson plan is to be used as the latest reference point then the following elements are expected:
 We will have to wait and see how the lesson plan will be for Form 1.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Félicitations, おめでとう, Поздравляю, felicidades, Congratulations!

On Saturday, I managed to get the full SPM 2010 results from Mona (bless her). We did  it guys again! Congrats to the class of 2010. You made us proud!

SMK Canossian Convent Kluang won several awards at the state level:

1. Anugerah Sekolah Cemerlang Kategori Sekolah Harian (Pertama)
2. Anugerah Sekolah Cemerlang Kategori Yand Mencapai ETR
3. Anugerah Sekolah Cemerlang Kategori Cemerlang Yang Mencapai 100%
4. Anugerah Calon Cemerlang (Foo Wee Nee and Lim Chiu Ling)

Here are the results by subject:

Pend Islam
Lit in Eng
Add Maths
Ekon Asas
T Islam
B. Cina
B. Tamil

Congratulations to all teachers and students for all your hard work. Am extremely happy that the GPS for English has dipped below 3.0 this time around. Well-done to one and all!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Why is it so hard to say 'thank you'?

So, the much awaited SPM results were out. Congrats to the those who did well. To those who didn't do so well, it's not the end of the road. As a matter of fact, the road is still long :) I've been wanting to blog about this for some time now but I've always postponed it, not wanting to hurt anybody. Well, no more!  This cometh direct from a teacher's heart...

Madam Tan, Foo Wee Nee (Top Student 2010) and I

 In 2008, when the SPM results were announced I was shocked (that's the word) to see a group of top scorers coming to school to receive their honours but ignoring their teachers in the main hall.  They coolly sat through the whole affair till it was tea time and still, none of them came to us to say anything, never mind a 'thank you'. This after having taught them for two years. Initially, I thought I was being too sensitive and also a colleague had remarked earlier, 'this is how students of today behave'. Silly me thought how outdated I was, you know, not keeping up with the so-called current trends! And the fact that this was only my second year in the school made me think I had  probably not understood the culture well enough and needed to be reeducated. And so I  let the matter rest. However, a few weeks later, a Maths teacher commented on the same thing- that the students never said 'thank you' to her and behaved as if  she was  a stranger! And then more and more comments came. And  I thought I was alone...
Came 2010 SPM results and history repeated itself. Students and teachers were total strangers again. Admittedly, one or two would awkwardly try to strike a conversation as they couldn't avoid brushing  shoulders with their teachers  in the hall. But the T word was still elusive..

Why is it so hard to say 'thank you'? (even if the teacher was not your favourite, or you didn't quite get along with the teacher, or that your tuition teachers were your gods  etc. etc. etc. surely you must have learned a thing or two from him or her) Two years is long. A lot of things had happened in and outside the classroom in the two years. Besides there's absolutely nothing wrong with the old-fashion culture where a student shows appreciation to her teachers- more so at such a young and impressionable age. It's all part and parcel of being a student.

Whatever happened to good manners? Come on!  It doesn't cost you anything to say 'thank-you'. It only reflects what a wholesome character you are and most importantly that your teachers have NOT failed to teach you good manners in school!!  I refuse to believe that students today do not  know how to show appreciation to their teachers.  If indeed this is true, it's a worrying state of affairs.  It is such a shame that in the pursuit of A's, we lose our more important values. Surely teaching and learning is also about character-building. And the best place to start is in school.

By all means go for your A's. Go where your dreams take you but please mind your manners too. This is just so you will become successful future doctors, engineers, scientists, artists, chemists with  GOOD CHARACTER. This is what is rewarding about teaching. It's not just about A's but about character. Good character will go a long way and you will be able to impact others in the future. At the end of the day, it's not your thank you that matters but that you acknowledge your teachers' existence!

Dear God, forgive me if I have failed in my job...

p.s I must mention though that the top student in 2008 and 2010 took all the trouble to thank me. As a matter of fact, one of them took the trouble to call me when I was in JB last week. The gesture really touched my heart. You have shown that you are not only smart but you have character and sound upbringing.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

ICELT 2011 International Conference on ELT

I'm still looking for teachers from the south to car pool to this conference. This is an opportunity to learn  many new teaching ideas. This is one of the ways I have developed professionally as an English teacher. It's a  small investment to pay for your professional development. Hope to hear from you! Contact me at

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Lesson Plans on the Japanese Tsunami

Condolences to the Japanese people for the crisis they are facing in the aftermath of the tsunami. This is a good opportunity to expose our students to the tsunami, its nature, the causes and effects, the loss of life, damages and more importantly to instill the sense of sympathy,  respect for the dead and to learn how people pull together to help the victims. Here are some great lessons plans and a wonderful video I found: lesson plans on the tsunami in Japan


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Assessment for SPM Literature Component 2011

The following circular explains the latest information on assessment of the literature component. The only components tested beginning 2011 will be the novel and the poems (Fms 4 & 5)

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Majlis Guru Cemerlang Negeri Johor (MGCJ) 1st State Level Action Research Competition 2011

Date: 3 March 2011 (Thursday)
Time: 8.30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Venue: SM Sains Johor, Kluang

En Norazrin Amirhamzah, JNJK MOE
Finally, the planned Action Research seminar took place today. Majlis Guru Cemerlang Kluang played host to this maiden action research seminar for the state. The objectives of the seminar were to :
  • promote research as a culture amongst GCs
  • encourage academic writing
  • identify problems in ss learning and ways to overcome the problems
  • share knowledge and expertise
The seminar was attended by En Khair (JPN Johor), En Norazrin Amirhamzah (JNJK, Ministry of Education, Johor GC Coordinator) and about 80 GCs fom Kluang. Ten districts sent their representatives for the primary and secondary categories. The evaluators were:

Secondary Category
  • En Yap Poh Lai (Muar)
  • En Norazrin Amirhamzah (JNJK, KPM)
  • En Khoo Khai Boon (Johor Bahru)
Primary Category
  • En Mohd Yusof Mohamed (JPNJ)
  • Tn Hj Abdul Kahar Ismail (Pontian)
  • Tn Hj Solehi Mansor (Kota Tinggi)

Winners list:
Secondary Category
  •  1st: Segamat (Pn Sia Peng Yee, SMJK Seg Hwa)
  • 2nd: Kluang (Pn Che Hasnah Nuh, SMK Spg Renggam)
  • 3rd: Batu Pahat (Pn Hajah Hairani Razali, SMK Seri Gading)
Primary Category
  • 1st: Pontian (Pn Noorjannah Mohamad, SK Belokok)
  • 2nd: Kluang (Pn Maimunah Juraimi, SK Seri Intan)
  • 3rd:  (need to confirm)
Hj Jalil Satari (PPD Kluang), representing  the Director
The seminar was officially closed by Tn Hj Jalil Satari, PPD Kluang, official representative of Johore State Education Director. Hj Jalil stressed on the importance of action research as a culture rather than a task amongst GCs and the fact that the SKPM emphasises innovation and creativity in order to get a score of band 6 in teacher's evaluation. He urged all GCs to think of variety in research (there were too many using acronyms) and to play an active role in the transformation process taking place in education.

My take on the seminar:
  • Research issue- One particular action research caught my attention in that it did not deal with a significant issue/problem that warrants a research. If you intend to teach your ss how to convert years to century vice versa, you just have to show them some examples! There is no need for a research. One of the criteria for action research is the issue must be a significant one and for a subject such as History, there are many more significant issues such as why ss find it hard to memorise facts, why ss are not able to elaborate their answers, the use of graphic organisers to break down facts, note-taking in History etc. etc.
  • The use of acronyms- Many used was as if an action research must have acronyms or probably only a strategy to make it attractive. One research used an acronym that was negative despite all the researcher's good intentions!
  • Presentation skills- 85% of the presenters need to polish their presentation skills. The slides were cluttered with too many words and please, don't read your slides... You might as well ask the audience to read them themselves. Have a maximum of 6 lines to your slide with bigger fonts. Stand when you are presenting. One presenter coolly sat down throughout her presentation! Make sure the flow of your presentation is clear. Some were very complicated. Use about 10-12 slides for a 15 minute presentation.
  • Commitment- much needed commitment from all Kluang GCs particularly the appointed committee members. I arrived at 8.00 a.m. to find the hall empty except for Ismail Yon (MGC Kluang Chair), Roshizan and one or two others. We couldn't start the briefing of judges and presenters on time because they were either late or not instructed to proceed to the briefing room. I was fumbling with my mobile to get in touch with the relevant committees. Roshizan managed to get her friends to be timekeepers in the nick of time. The lack of coordination resulted in a briefing room that was almost furnitureless and only two reports handed in by some presenters despite the four required. Hjh Roshizan and I played the welcoming committee as well because the welcoming committee was nowhere to be seen!!! We practically chauffered the VIP to the dining hall for breakfast and they tagged us to the briefing room too. The VIPs waited in the briefing room and listened to the briefing too! Am tired of  playing dear GC friends...please...forget your DG for a while. Get your hands dirty and get to work!
  • Documentation- there was a suggestion from the evaluators that the softcopy and hardcopy of the reports be distributed. 
It is one thing to claim credit  for a job well-done, it's another to do a job to impress...By all means, take all the credit you want but please do a good job first. I was made the advisor of MGC Kluang and I'm doing just that- ADVISING :)

p.s Thanks to Roshizan for helping me. We had a great time despite the madness :)