Monthly Archives: January 2016

Improvement? There’s always room!

improvement ahead

I believe there is always room for improvement as I would like to share as below suggestions to teachers as well as suggestions to candidates based on the analysis of quality of answers in the UPSR exams particularly for English papers.

SUGGESTIONS TO CANDIDATES

1. Learn to write neatly, clearly and legibly.

2. Do lots of exercises on the different aspects of grammar in order to have a better understanding of the different functions of grammar rules.

3. Use more English in everyday activities both in written and spoken form to improve language proficiency and confidence.

4. Read materials in English intensively and extensively in order to have more exposures in a variety of English forms and structures.

5. Always make a practice to ask when in doubt and use the dictionary to widen your vocabulary.

6. Study and understand the words given before you construct simple and compound sentences.

7. Study all the information and details given in the text carefully before transferring them. Practice as many exercises as possible to familiarise with the task.

8. Mind map or brain storm before answering Section C. Use WH (What, Who, Where, When, Why, How) questions to help you elaborate your ideas. Add in as many new words according to the picture and notes given.

9. Pay attention in class.

10. Revise your lessons regularly and complete the homework given by the teacher.

11. Watch English programs on television, example documentaries, news and children‟s educational series.

12. Always jot down the new words that you come across when you are reading or when you hear people talking.

SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS

1. Teach all the skills listed in the syllabus.

2. List all the grammatical items that should be taught and make sure students master them.

3. Motivate students to use the language in their everyday activities.

4. Teach simple sentences and ensure they master them before proceeding to compound.

5. Equip students with suggested vocabulary listed in the syllabus.

6. Create meaningful English environment inside and outside the classroom.

7. Give the students more practices in spelling and dictation.

8. Bear in mind that creative and critical thinking skills are to be emphasized in exercises and practices given to students.

9. Be a good role model and have a close rapport with your students.

10. Cultivate a love for the language by adopting and adapting a variety of teaching methods and strategies. This will avoid students from the notion that English is a boring and difficult subject.

11. Teach English as a language and not as a tool to answer examination questions.

12. Avoid drilling stereotyped sentence patterns. Students should not be made to memorise words, phrases and sentences. Let them flourish in the language by themselves even by using simple English.

13. Upgrade own proficiency by using the language yourself.

14. Have model writings for the average and slow learners as a guide.

15. Avoid drilling stereotyped sentence patterns.

16. Provide more samples of UPSR format questions and drill the students.

17. Stress and train students to read and follow rubrics and instructions carefully.

18. Teach or encourage students to use adjectives, adverbs, idiomatic expressions, proverbs and similes in a variety of sentence structures.

19. Help pupils gain confidence in the learning of English through games, quizzes, spelling competitions, role-plays, songs and jazz chants and thus making learning English fun.

20. Enjoy teaching the subject.

Persons of Depth

wise men

“If the Magi had come in search of an earthly King, they would have been disconcerted at finding that they had taken the trouble to come such a long way for nothing.  Consequently, they would have neither adored nor offered gifts. But since they sought a heavenly King, though they found in Him no signs of royal pre-eminence, yet, content with the testimony of the star alone, they adored: for they saw a man, and they acknowledged a God.” 

~ St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

The Magi or wise men remind us that we should be persons of depth. We are superficial when we limit our concerns to what we should wear, eat, or drink. We acquire depth when we involve God in our lives, striving to know God’s will through a process we call discernment.

You are wise if you involve Jesus in your day-to-day decisions, when you ask his opinion over big and small matters. You want to follow his star, and like the wise men, you become confused and bothered once his star disappears. You cannot live without the light of God; you strive always to see reality under his guidance.

Many of us live empty lives because we do not give God any space in our existence. We remember God only in times of need and want. We pray when we are suffering from severe problems or incurable illnesses, but God remains far from us because we do not involve him in our decision-making. We are so sure of ourselves; we run to God only when we become desperate.

When you decided to get married, for instance, did you bother asking whether God was calling you to the married life? This is discernment. We open our hearts and minds to the mysterious voice of our Creator who gets involved in our lives if we allow him to.

As parents, do you ask God for guidance as to where you will send your children for high school? Do young people ever wonder whether God agrees with their career choice or professional route? When we develop the habit of asking God for the decisions we make, especially the big ones, then we become like the Magi, person of depth.

When we involve God in our decisions, we will see our lives as completing our God-given mission. We acquire a purpose, a reason for living. We are on our way to happiness. A life without purpose is empty and sad. When we wake up each morning knowing that we will spend the day doing God’s will for us, the warmth of God’s light enters our hearts. We become contented and happy. Our day become a life celebration.

If you are superficial in your way of life, you will never be a witness to Jesus. Only men and women of depth can fulfill this purpose.

(This reflection is taken from 366 days with the Lord)