Saturday, 30 June 2012

Cambridge Placement Test

All English teachers will have to sit for the Cambridge Placement Test to evaluate teacher's competency in teaching the subject. For information on CPT, you can click the link below. Let's hope all of us will pass with flying colours :)

Cambridge Placement Test
Taklimat CPT

The Thinking Teacher

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Revitalising English in the classroom

 (credit: NST, 24 June 2012)

REFRESHER COURSE: English language educators come away with innovative ideas and renewed enthusiasm for the teaching profession from a recent conference

MOHD Khairin Ismail, like any teacher fresh from teacher training college, is still adjusting to his new role as an educator. The Sabahan admits that the language barrier is making it difficult for him to connect with his pupils eight months after joining a Chinese vernacular primary school in Skudai, Johor.  “I only have a smattering of Mandarin and the youngsters speak little English or Bahasa Malaysia. That I’m inexperienced in teaching makes the gap between my pupils and I seem wider than it is,” says Mohd Khairin, who teaches English, Art and Physical Education. The 27-year-old teacher signed up for the recent 4th Johor English Language Conference 2012 in Johor Baru hoping to find useful pointers on improving his teaching skills and relationship with his pupils.  He was one of more than 350 English language practitioners, in- and pre-service teachers as well as parents who attended the three-day meeting themed Revitalising the Teaching-Learning Link.

Jointly organised by the Johor Baru English Language Teaching (Jelta) and the Johor State Education Department, the conference exposed participants to “creative strategies, tools and resources to make English language learning more exciting and meaningful inside and outside of the classroom”.  Its main co-sponsor was M Suites Hotel, which provided the venue, meals for participants and accommodation for speakers (see H3).  Other co-sponsors included Oxford Fajar and Permas Publications. The New Straits Times was the official media partner.

Conference organising chairman Vincent D’Silva is pleased with the enthusiastic response from participants — who came from Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Penang — throughout the duration of the symposium.  “They were serious about getting the most out of the event. I think they came away with salient points as we had covered an extensive range of relevant issues affecting English language teaching,” says D’Silva. The theme chosen this year was kept general so as to allow teachers to “pick papers or workshops that will interest them,” he adds.  Indeed, participants had a tough time deciding on which paper presentations, seminars and demonstrations to attend as many were delivered simultaneously during parallel sessions held over the three days.  Workshops and demonstrations proved to be a hit with the attendees, especially school teachers.

The one by freelance teacher trainer Lucille Dass entitled ACT — To Awake The “Sleeping Giant” Within, which promotes the use of fun activities to enhance language learning, was conducted to a full house.
Those who were late to get the pink slip for her session had to be turned away. Requests for a repeat of her workshop were also turned down due to time constraints.  Judging by the popularity of topics such as using music in the classroom, choral speaking, incorporating web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies into lessons and getting students to participate in class, it is evident that teachers are eager to pick up practical tips for the language classroom.

 Jalinawaty Abdul Jalil, who teaches English at SMK Taman Daya 2, JB can vouch for this.
 “Such events inspire me to experiment with new methods. For example, I first introduced journal writing in 1998 because it was recommended by (English master teacher of 25 years) Rahmah Sayuti (who also presented a plenary paper on Digital Writing —Integrating Web 2.0 in Pedagogy to Improve Writing and Critical Thinking at the Jelta conference). Jalinawaty swears by this approach as a way of improving written proficiency in English. She even encouraged a new acquaintance she met during a lunch break to give it a try.  “It has not only instilled the love of writing into my students but also brought us closer as whatever they write in the journal is between them and me,” she says.  

Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan lecturer Parahsakthi Chidambaram finds it heartening to see that English language classrooms in Malaysia have become “much more alive and creative” since she last became a teacher 14 years ago.  “I’m glad it has improved tremendously with the use of visual aids and technology,” says Parahsakthi, who taught in schools for 20 years before she began lecturing in Pasir Gudang.  She deems the ideas shared by presenters suitable for learners of all levels.

 “My students do role-play all the time. I’d like to get them to perform skits that require the audience to take part such as the method demonstrated by plenary speakers G. Mallika Vasugi and Dzeelfa Zainal,” she adds.
 Both educators agree that they feel renewed enthusiasm for their profession after attending the conference.
 As for Mohd Khairin, attending the symposium was time well spent.  He received lots of useful advice from fellow participants after he shared his dilemma as a new teacher at a vernacular school.  “They need to know that you are making an effort to understand them by picking up Mandarin,” suggested a teacher.  “Take this as an opportunity to learn a new language,” said a parent.  Mohd Khairin takes his “trials and tribulations” as a new teacher in his stride.  “I’m looking at this positively. I came to this conference to learn from experienced teachers and to pick up tips on capturing the imagination of my students. I definitely benefited from it,” he says.

The Thinking Teacher

Thursday, 7 June 2012

CONFERENCES: Onus on educators

(credit: NST, June 3rd 2012)


EXPERTS believe that mastering English language in the age of globalisation requires students to learn from doing and lessons that take account of their  traditions.   If  so, it puts the onus of young Malaysian’s language learning firmly on educators.  Local teachers who are looking for fresh ideas for effective English reading and learning methods may find useful pointers at the upcoming 4th Johor State English Language Conference 2012 from June 12-14 in Johor Baru.   The three-day event is organised jointly by the Johor Baru English Language Teaching (JELTA), a non-governmental organisation, and the Johor State Education Department.   It is also co-sponsored by the M Suites Hotel, which provides the venue, Oxford Fajar and Permas Publications.

Themed Revitalising the Teaching-Learning Link, it is an opportunity for teachers to gain insights into innovative classroom practices that can be applied to English periods at primary and secondary schools nationwide. Organising chairman Vincent D’Silva says: “English has become a boring subject because (it is not taught) in a meaningful context. Teachers will find many suggestions for making English more exciting at the conference.”   Participants can look forward to seven plenary and several parallel sessions.

The speakers include Associate Professor Khairi Izuan Abdullah of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai; Rahmah Sayuti; Lucille Dass, who is formerly  from  Universiti  Sains  Malaysia; Dzeelfa  Zainal  Abidin  from  Universiti  Putra  Malaysia;  and  Dr Shanti Sandaran  from  Universiti  Teknologi  Malaysia.   Khairi  Izuan’s paper titled Flowers  Don’t  Grow  in  Deserts: Enriching  the  Second-Language  Learning  Environment  for  Low  English  Proficiency, offers techniques for creating “an input-rich environment” for learners. English master teacher Rahmah, who has over 25 years’ teaching experience, will demonstrate how teachers can integrate Web 2.0 technologies into lessons to enhance students’ writing and critical thinking skills. Shanti Sandaran will focus on the importance of creativity in language learning and teaching. Meanwhile, Lucille Dass will conduct a workshop on Using Drama in the Language Classroom.

The New Straits Times (NST) is the official media partner. NST group editor Datuk Syed Nadzri Syed Harun will deliver the keynote address while NST’s editorial consultant Balan Moses will deliberate on the use of newsletters in teaching English.

Registration fee, which includes lunches, coffee breaks, conference bag, materials, certificate of attendance and door gifts, is RM100.   Call Adib Esa (07-235-8534), Annette (016-752-8767) or fax  07-2244737 for details.

The Thinking Teacher

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


The letter is out finally. All ten candidates who went through a thorough evaluation process by the Federal Inspectorates and a grueling interview session in December 2011 made the cut! A phone call from the unit confirmed that I was successful in my Gred Khas C (JUSA) application. A feeling of great relief and gratitude overwhelmed me. I did it!! I'm one lucky teacher. Alhamdulillah... There are so many people to thank:

  • my late father, Hj Sayuti Hj Akhsan (who wanted me to become a teacher) and mum (God bless her soul)
  • husband Hj Abdul Aziz (for tolerating my moods and whims)
  • children Adibah and Rasyad ( for always criticising my work and not crediting any :)) 
  • supportive friends and confidantes (too many to list out...but I must mention Sallina Hussain (principal SETA, JB), Fuziana, Jenny Tan, Suziana, Kay Ahmad, Normala, Haliza, Shima, Adibah Alias, Huda, Murniyati, Ina, Chew Lee Kian, Ashidah Asnan, KK Tang (CEO ICT Learning), Radika, Jenny Ho, Rohaida Ngah, Jugdeep, Hayati Ahmad, Haniza, Meng Huat, Shamsath, Hafizah Aini, Hamid (Principal), Saodah Ajil)
  • blogger friends and visitors
  • my former teachers who impacted me: Mr Govan (may you rest in peace)- that spat in Form 5E , when you threw a piece of chalk to my rowdy friends at the back during the Agricultural Science lesson and your remark to them, "Melayu! Tak sedar diri!" made me realise I must have a good education to succeed. My race was not going to be my saviour. Education would. It was back in 1979 but it's hard not to remember. It jolted my senses and made me struggle to pass the MCE with a first grade and won a scholarship to do A Level in England. Pn Fatimah (Geog. teacher who saw early on that I was an "all-rounder"), Mrs Pratheepa Dhas (my hockey teacher who taught me leadership), Mr Henry (Southend College, Essex, UK, for introducing me to literature and the plays), Dr Susan Hunston (Univ. of Birmingham, UK, who taught me clarity of instruction/explanation is important in teaching)
  • principals I've worked under: Madam Tan Tong Yar and Madam Yeoh Ai Lian (SMK Canossian Convent...thanks muaaahh!!), from SM Sains Johor, Kluang-Tn Hj Abu Naim Siran (who used my Record Book as a benchmark for new teachers in SM Sains Johor, Kluang),  Tn Hj Mohd Ropi Jahis, Tn Hj Rohani Mangi, En Jalani Rusni (the best principal I've worked with), Tn Hj Kamarudin Abu (who had every confidence in me), Tn Hj Abdullah Idrus, Tn Hj Umar Kamari (who was a father to us teachers) and Tn Hj Nojummudin Abdul Samad. They gave me wings to fly...
  • my students past and present (they keep me going) 
  • Mr Senevahsan Naidu (first English GC in Johor who encouraged me to apply for GC and with whom I learned to train in the Malaysian Trainer Development Programme, BPG)
  • teachers whom I've rubbed shoulders with
  • En Mohd Yusof (former inspectorate who evaluated me the first time)
  • Federal Inspectorates, Putrajaya
  • MOE officers I've enjoyed working with- Ms Mokolus Rowther (formerly CDC), Mr Rohimmi (formerly CDC), Ms Ruhani (formerly BPG), Ms Azian and Ms Bayani (Textbook Division), Mr Ali Abdul Ghani (formerly CDC, for my first taste of writing), Ms Shafinaz, Ms Alawiyah Hussain, Ms Afiza Akhsan (LPM) and many more
  • JPN English officers- Mr Rozlan Mohamed, Mr Shanmuganathan A/L Suppiah, Mr Kamarulzaman Mubin (for the many opportunities given)
  • PPD English officers: Mr Mahyudin Salim (PPD Kluang), Hood (Pontian), Wee (Mersing), Rozi (Batu Pahat)
  • former PPD officer Tn Hj Shaharudin Sharif (for his words of encouragement)
  • Mr Md Hasidin Hj Zaini, Assistant Director, JPN Johor (for casually joking with me in a state PPMP meeting in Pontian some time back, that one day I will be a Gred Khas C)
  • Majlis Guru Cemerlang Johor and Majlis Guru Cemerlang Kluang
  • all those who have helped me in my journey as a teacher

I can tell you that most of the time it was a solitary journey full of challenges and surprises. Only perseverance, commitment and God's will will get you there. With this comes higher expectations and more responsibilities but hey! Let me savour the moment first. This much I deserve...Alhamdulillah.

And if you were to count Allah's favours, you would not be able to quantify them; most surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [SÅ«rah al-Nahl: 18]

The Thinking Teacher

MICELT 2012: 8-10 Oct 2012, Kinta, Perak

(credit: MICELT website)

The Malaysian International Conference on English Language Teaching is a well established ELT conference in the Asia Pacific Region and has consistently attracted at least 400 participants and presenters at every occasion. Held every two years at various locations in Malaysia, it is now in its ninth edition and will this year be held at the Kinta Riverfront Hotel in Ipoh, Perak. The aim of the theme of the 2012 MICELT Conference, “Aligning ELT Classroom Practice with Real World Needs”, is to explore ways to ensure that English Language Teaching remains dynamic and relevant to meet the demands of today’s world. These real world needs are not limited to the work place alone but in today’s global village, applies also to personal needs that can stretch across national boundaries through social networking. This theme was selected as the conference intends to garner opinion from educators and researchers at all levels of education – primary, secondary and tertiary – as well as those involved in industrial training, in order to obtain answers to a host of questions that English language educators ask daily throughout the world. Some of the questions that this conference wishes to address are: How can we motivate and sustain the motivation of students in learning English? The sub themes for the 9th MICELT includes but are not limited to the following:
  • Teaching English Language in Challenging Environments;
  • Effective Utilisation of Technology in Language Teaching;
  • Tried and Tested Ways in Teaching English Language Skills;
  • Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults, Children, and Young Adults;
  • Curriculum, Programmes and Projects in Teaching English as a Second Language;
  • English Language Needs after Formal Education;
  • Motivation and Affective Variables in Learning English;
  • Understanding the English Language Learner; and
  • Assessment and Measurement of English Language Learning

I've always loved MICELT besides MELTA. Here's more opportunities for your professional development teachers! In the recent MELTA, I bumped into enthusiastic teachers from Sabah who paid their way to the conference, all for the sake of developing themselves. I used to wait for sponsorship (which is nice) but you can't rely on something uncertain. You've got to dig into your own pockets so you appreciate the knowledge and experience you will receive. As a teacher, I need to keep up with the times and find ways to continuously grow (the reason for sharing CPD matters this blog in the first place). If someone who has done 26 years still needs to learn, what about those who just began their teaching careers?

The Thinking Teacher

Friday, 1 June 2012

4th JELTA CONFERENCE, 12-14th June 2012

JELTA (Johor English Language Teaching Association) is organising its fourth conference in M-Suites Hotel, Johor Bahru from 12-14th June 2012. Among the speakers at the plenary session will be:

  • Prof. Dr Jayakaran Mukundan (Universiti Putra Malaysia)
  • Ms Lucille Dass (formerly Universiti Sains Malaysia)
  • Ms Chandrika Nair (Institut Perguruan Perempuan Melayu)
  • Mr Irfan Rahman (Brighton Education Johor)
  • Ms Rahmah Hj Sayuti (SM Sains Sembrong, Kluang)
  • Dr Shanti Chandran (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia)

Go to jpnjohor website for further details or contact Tuan Haji Adib bin Esa, Managing Director JELTA 07-2358534/012-7848537.

The Thinking Teacher

Reading Club (14) : Being Creative, The Challenge of Change in the Classroom, Chaz Pugliese, Delta Teacher Dev. Series

RM59..a small price to pay for knowledge

The book I bought in MELTA International Conference. I've been wanting to add spice to my lessons and hope to pick some great activities from this book!

The Thinking Teacher

Journal of Research in Teacher Education & National Convention in Teacher Education Proceedings, Teacher Education Division, MOE

KKPG Proceedings

Selected papers..

I just received both the proceedings and the journal from Teacher Division, MOE for Konvensyen Kebangsaan Pendidikan Guru 2011. Thanks to BPG. It feels great to have a paper published in a respectable journal. The paper that was published is an action research entitled "A Piece of Cake: Using Multiple Contexts to teach Idioms". Getting an article or research published is the ultimate thing for an excellent teacher in my view as we must also engage in scholarly activities. Surely something to celebrate! Alhamdulillah...

The Thinking Teacher