Fun Project: The English Language Study Planner & Journal 2017

Assalamualaikum and good day. Today, I would like to share about a small project I am doing with my students. This year, we are doing The English Language Study Planner & Journal 2017. Now, those who are familiar with me know that I am an avid collector of notebooks, stationery, planner and journals. I plan my days and journal my experiences. Planning and journalling have encouraged me to become a more organised person. Read my rationale below or CLICK HERE to skip to the download links.

Why planning and journalling?

I am not pushing my interests blindly onto my darling students, nope. According to Walker (2006), journalling provides the clinical advantages of enhancing students’ ability to reflect, facilitating their critical thoughts, helping them to better express their feelings and guiding them to write more focused arguments. In short, students who dawdle in journalling are more likely to produce substantial essays. For this project, I have combined both planning (pre-lesson) and journalling (post-lesson) to maximise the expected benefits. Planning ahead, for instance, can help reduce one’s level of stress and help them to become more decisive when it comes to making decisions (Stack, 2000). I intend to let students jot down their feelings before and after each lesson as an emotional outlet for them – a small space for them to vent. Keeping feelings to oneself is detrimental (Blake’s Poison Tree, anyone?)

Who are the target students?

Students with intermediate proficiency level and little opportunity to practise their English. *There are separate project templates for lower and higher proficiency but that will be discussed later. I created this project with secondary school students in mind, so adjustments needed to be done if you intend to use the same template at primary or tertiary level.

What it the ultimate goal of this project?

My ultimate goal is to get my students to be familiar with writing brief statements with correct sentence structures. Sometimes when they journal, they will repeat familiar structures before they find the courage to venture into more complex structures. Rather than hoping they can write flowery essays overnight, I’d rather they write in simple sentences that are correct. Complex and long sentences do not automatically make them appear “more intelligent”, especially if they are laden with errors. (Did you know that writing sentences that are simple in structure but are grammatically correct will award a mark of higher than 28/50 in the actual SPM examination compared to long, winded writing with complex structures laden with errors?)

 

What do you need to edit the document?

  1. Avenir font (download) and Brusher font  (download) installed on your computer. Without this fonts, the documents may not look as fine.
  2. A PDF viewer if you’re downloading the PDF version -AND-
  3. Microsoft Word for Windows or Mac. The files are originally edited on Microsoft Word for Mac in the Publishing Layout View (third view option from the left).

Core Pages Download Links

  1. Cover page:  Study Planner - Cover Page (297) - 152.11 kB
  2. Study Pledge:  Study Planner - Study Pledge (292) - 137.79 kB
  3. Monthly Plan & To-Do’s:  2017 Monthly Student Planner (305) - 253.03 kB
  4. Daily Planner & Journal Page:  Study Planner - The pages (308) - 209.97 kB

Extra Pages (Coming Soon)

  1. Weekly Journal Prompts
  2. Monthly Reflection
  3. Holiday Planner & Journal Tasks
  4. Progress Tracker

Binding

I suggest using the sweet and simple Management Files. It’s cost effective and durable. I use Campap and A-Star brands with my students. This is a picture of how it looks in my student’s file:

Have fun teaching and thank you for checking it out! Leave a comment if you’d like to ask me anything. Here’s a flipthrough.

KSSM English Form 1 Teaching Organiser 2017

Hello everyone. I am not teaching Form 1 this year, but as a meticulous planner, Bujoer and English KSSM JU for PPD Pasir Mas, I feel compelled to create and share my version of the Teaching Organiser. Please check back for new uploads and updates. As I was involved with SPM marking that concluded on 22 December and then university matters the following week, I am a bit slow in picking up the pace. Better late than never, tho, right? This blog entry will house my KSSM Teaching Organiser files and other related uploads. Feel free to bookmark this page 🙂 Click on the file name OR the button to download.

 1. Teaching Organiser Week 1-3 (With Page Cover and Usage Notes) (4430) - 339.1 kB  Download

2. Teaching Organiser Week 4 - 6 (3465) - 185.07 kB  Download

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Introduction to the Reading Process

Expressly written in today’s lecture. Lecturer: Marineke Goodwin. I had loads of fun in this lecture. She came prepared with lots of materials!

History of Language Learning in New Zealand

  • purpose of literacy before the age of decoding
  • literacy brought from England

Four discernible ages of reading theories = identified, and we´re entering the fifth. They´re the ages of reading (Turbill, 2002):

  1. ~ as decoding
  2. ~ of meaning making
  3. ~ of reading-writing connections
  4. ~ of reading for social purposes
  5. ~ of multiliteracies

Decoding

  1. fom late 19th century – 1940´s
  2. syllabus, reading material, workbooks, etc – highly prescriptive and structured
  3. focus on skills n drills: ABCs, sound/letter, rel, decoding word recog.
  4. theories =>reading process emp. the graphophonic cueing system
  5. techers beieved – decoding preceded comprehension – once know alphabet n how to syllabify you could read a sentence n then para. and then text
  6. reading, writing, sp. n handwriting taught separately – as separate subjects
  7. debates exist – history always full of change. New method appear in NZ – ´Look & Say´ method.
  8. Decoding type text example: Kit the cat, sat, kit sat in a bag of rags…. // B -> Br -> Bri -> Brick, etc <= Phonic type.(note to self: look it up. look at the rhyme). Is it still relevant to the way we do things now?
  9. if you look at the word long enough and say it long enough, you will remember the whole word. Method: introduce high freq, text
  10. the problem is – the new method overthrow all previous methods – many disagree while others agree = debates

Meaning Making

  1. from the 1960´s in NZ
  2. NZers keen to develop a national identity – reflected in the first real series of books for n about NZ children, places n exp.
  3. increased immi. = classes often very diverse n many children arrived at school with langs. other than English
  4. language acq. models – used to inform reading n writing processes
  5. teachers believed reading n writing should be child centered, lit. based n meaningful
  6. reading seen not only as grapho. but also syntactic n semntic = MAKE SENSE . always in the process to make meaning
  7. learning to read viewed as lifelong proces n reading to learn = goal
  8. debates focused on phonics vs ´whole language´ approach this theory became known as
  9. teachers prob. instructed to forget abt some decoding aspects – decoding = hinder ´whole meaning´ process.
  10. whole lang. era – very lit. based era

Word of the day

Proliferate

–verb (used without object), verb (used with object), -at⋅ed, -at⋅ing.

1. to grow or produce by multiplication of parts, as in budding or cell division, or by procreation.
2. to increase in number or spread rapidly and often excessively.
History of Language Learning in New Zealand

multiliteracy – text on the computer

Integrating the sources of info. in reading n writing

Knowledge n exp, lang. structure, shapes n sound, meaning – related

A reader has to…

  • use knowledge of lang. n know how it works
  • translate letters into sounds (children use alphabet books, soundcards, spelling patterns (e.g:´or´ sounds like for, port, four, pour, aw, etc.
  • recog. patterns in words
  • have some knowledge of the topic – imp. for older readers esp. ESOL learners
  • link/relate the text to own bg knowledge (schema)
  • predict what the text will be about using word and world knowledge

So, um, yeah… Sorghum Stenches translates to circumstances. Sweet as. Grain murder= grandmother. Ladle Rat Rotten Hut – Little Red Riding Hood. ROFL.

Looking forward to next week. Yes, I’m actually looking forward to lectures 😛

Of English, Math and Science: A Student’s Perspective

Blooms

- Winter in Full Bloom a.k.a Spring is Coming -

The picture has nothing to do with the post; it’s just my habit of posting pictures I took. So… Disregarding the fact that I’m a teacher trainee, I was a student taking SPM five years ago and I am still a student today. I’m simply sick and tired of random speculations and whatnot regarding the Malaysian government’s decision of reverting back to using Bahasa Malaysia in the teaching of Mathematics and Science. As a student, I don’t favour this change mainly because of the implementation.

Even if this change is inevitable, I think it is a lot better to take it slow. If it’s 2012, then make it so only Year 1 students of primary schools (or whatever year they start learning Science in full force) learn Mathematics and Science (MT) in English. Let them be the pioneers of the change. Why bother confusing the students who have studied MS in English for six years in primary schools so soon as they enter secondary schools? Let them study MS in English as they had for the past six years all the way to the university. I talked about this with my Mom (a retired English teacher) on the phone and she said, ‘Nah, they won’t feel the heat much. You know how in our place they don’t even teach Science, Maths and even English language in full English.

Guess what I think about this MS in English thingie? It’s somewhat of a non-issue in various places in the country, mostly the less developed parts where you often get remarks like ‘Berlagak la kau!’ or ‘Macam bagus je cakap orang putih. Tui’. Ironically, strong protests usually come from the same area. Before you go throwing bricks and attempt to kill me for calling it a non-issue, I’ll just share with you the outcome of my observations. I’ve been to a few schools (in Malaysia, including the short school-based experience in my first year), stopping by to observe how classes are taught. My observations were of course done discreetly.

Outcome of Observation: Most of the classes I’ve observed were bilingual in nature, meaning that the teachers and students used both English and BM.

It’s rare to see MS classes being taught in full English. Heck, even the standalone English subject isn’t taught fully in English. If you’ve been trained as a teacher, surely you remember the teaching approaches? I’m not exactly an A student, but I can refresh your memory if you’ve forgotten. So what are the principles of second language learning?

  1. Grammar-Translation Approach
  2. Direct Approach
  3. Reading Approach
  4. Audiolingual Method
  5. Community Language Learning
  6. The Silent Way
  7. Communicative Approach–Functional-Notional
  8. Total Physical Response

Look at the first approach on the list. When I learned about this, I immediately thought, ‘that kind of sums up the teaching of English in whatever subject I’ve learnt’. Maybe it produces minimal and slow effects, but it’s still the best way to deal with students who lack the commands (and vocabularies) of English.

In a way, teaching English in Malaysia couldn’t be worse than teaching English to second language learners (ESOL students) in native English countries. Take New Zealand for example. The English teacher in the classroom does not share the same mother tongue as his/her students who might be native speakers of Thai, Japanese, Chinese or Korean. Grammar-Translation is absolutely out in this case, so he/she must find other approaches to teach English effectively to ESOL students. Taxing, no?

People keep saying ‘few teachers are competent in English to teach the subject in that language’, but I call that opinion a total bullcrap. Teachers are not perfect, and so they seek to get better and better most of the time. With time and practice, teachers improve for the better.

I’m talking about teachers whose souls are into teaching the minds of the young here. I’m not talking about people who chose teaching as a profession because they couldn’t get anything better, or because it guarantees them a job. In plain Malay, ‘Habis dah tak ada pilihan, nak buat macam mana lagi?‘ or ‘Aku jadi cikgu ni sampai habis kontrak je. Lepas tu aku blah la‘ or even ‘Jadi cikgu la best. Banyak cuti‘ and so on so forth. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but if you’re offended, I’m not sorry. It’s just that to find a truly dedicated teacher is a bit of a task. The word ‘dedicated’ is not simply an English adjective for ‘berdedikasi’. Oh wait, wasn’t ‘dedikasi’ derived from English as well? What happened to the glorious term ‘berhemah’? In use in frozen documents, mostly.

Now back to the point I was making. It says something about our educators if teachers aren’t competent in English. They are in no way not competent. That’s like saying they don’t know how to use English in basic conversation. Some of them only lack the command of English. LACK is the proper word to use here. I wonder though… I always thought you learn those critical subjects mostly in English in universities (now where are my brother’s old notes, hm?). Defensive, am I not? It’s my thoughts and it’s my profession in about less than two years, so suck it up 😛

To those who protest or rejoice, or whatever, I hope you have at least attempted to read the curriculum specifications and the syllabi of English, Mathematics and Science before actually stating your claims. A little bit more research on how the subjects are actually taught and learnt would help your debate points. Trust me.

This post may or may not have a second part. Chances are… there will be a second part as I’m still inspired.

p.s/ Bahasa Inggeris tak boleh, tapi bahasa pinjaman yang makin berlambak (dan agak merepek, juga tak sedap mulut menyebut) tu boleh lah pula ya? Ironi, ironi.
p.p.s/ Oh my, what a long entry. I refuse to put it under ‘read more’ tag, though XD