Thursday, March 14, 2013

A new home

The most wonderful gift ever.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cat got your tongue?

I have received several e-mails from students who asked me ways they can improve their verbal proficiency. Honestly, I believe the secret is practice, practice and you know it, practice. As much as I encourage students to read books with utmost fervour, I think when it comes to speaking eloquently, you just need to open your mouth and start yakking away, people!

Believe it or not, I used to stutter when I was a kid. It wasn't that obvious but I tend to struggle with conversation whenever I'm plagued with stress and insecurity. Some kids made fun of my speech can be nasty sometimes and the impact may mar a child's self-esteem. It used to make me feel alienated and sad. However, I count myself lucky as my mom motivated me to speak up and listen to a lot of English songs. I discovered that miraculously, I did not stutter when I was singing. I guess fun has its way to chase away the misery. Alhamdulillah, I am thankful that by practising and conversing in English frequently, it kinda help me to be a fairly good orator :) I guess that's why I have soft spot for using songs for English Language teaching..I feel it's the greatest medium to encourage students to explore various skills and enrich their vocabulary.

I'd like to share some ways we can encourage our students to speak up  and engage in conversation confidently. I honestly believe we can improve the standard of English Language among students if we revamp the current assessment method for ULBS and PLBS. Instead of asking them to have prepared speech, I believe doing impromptu speech is the better way of preparing our students for the real world. 

If you ask my students, they will tell you I conduct 2-3 minutes impromptu speech as weekly speaking practices in classes. The topic may vary according to their verbal proficiency. If they are in elementary stage, you can start by asking them to string 3-5 sentences together on a topic of interest. The topic can be anything under the sun, but I reckon the best way is to scaffold more challenging topics as they advance to the next proficiency level. If your student is a wee bit reluctant to speak, using realia or prompting would help. Honestly, we need to train our students to think critically and to express their views and not merely regurgitating chunks of info from textbooks.
Do check it out!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fun in the English Classroom

Event: Fun in the English Classroom
Date: 26th January 2013 
Venue: Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club, Miri, Sarawak.

 I was invited by Tun Datu Tuanku Haji Bujang College & Miri Education Office to conduct a series of presentations & workshop last month. Frankly, the invitation came as a surprise for me as I'm currently on study leave and I was actually sitting for my IT Project Management final exam when I received the e-mail pertaining to this workshop. Then, I thought, why not? It would be great to network with other teachers and share new ideas and experience with them. My main focus was using technology as the catalyst to encourage fun and interactive learning.
I divided my workshop into 3 sessions. The first session focussed on Flipped Classroom where I introduced the concept, history, tools and ways we can incorporate virtual teaching & learning. Next is Creativity & Active Learning where I emphasized on the incorporation of HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) in teaching. The teachers also tried some activities that involves a lot of bodily kinesthetic intelligence (singing/dancing/acting). Last but not least, my last session talked on gamifying learning process. Here, teachers are exposed to ways we can inculcate competitiveness and element of fun in classroom teaching. They tried QR Code Amazing Race and they had so much fun! I introduced some freewares and online games that they can use with their students too. Teaching should not only be fun for students but for teachers themselves too! Thanks to my ex-schoolmate, Azlan, the Head Steward of MAS whom I met coincidentally in the plane, the participants were given prizes, courtesy of MAS. Isn't that serendipitous? Although 6 hours talking can be taxing but I honestly enjoyed sharing ideas and experience with everyone!

My deepest thanks and gratitude to Madam Sawaran Jit Kaur and Miri Education Office for inviting me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my ideas & knowledge with the rest. Madam Sawaran Jit Kaur is an edutech enthusiast herself and she possessed utmost fervour when it comes to technology incorporation in classroom teaching. I've met Zamimah, a young English teacher who had achieved wonderful feat and I wish more teachers could network so we can encourage more teachers to see the potential of IT in facilitating teaching & learning process. Nonetheless, I reminded the participants that technology can never EVER replace a good teacher. However, a good teacher would be willing to unlearn, learn and relearn in order to be the best in his/her profession.

My workshop highlighted by Borneo Post. This definitely put a smile on my face. I hope I would be given the opportunity to give back to community by sharing ideas and experience with others. We gain by giving and in the context of teaching, selflessness has always been a pivotal focal point of a teacher's life. Apart from that, I am grateful and delightful with my Sem 1 final exam result. Alhamdulillah, I managed to get CGPA 4.0 and I hope I will be given the motivation to strive harder and do my best for the rest of the semester. Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ushering new possibilities

Hello, I am still alive and kicking albeit my blog inertia :) Alhamdulillah, I finished my final examination early this month and boy, how I emphatize with my students more after cracking my brain trying to revise for those examinations. Yay, I survived Semester 1 of my IT Management course. I used to doubt whether I could pull it off as I have no academic background in IT, just banking on my meagre IT experience, learning DIY style. So far, I'm enjoying the opportunities to expand my learning horizon and network with respected lecturers and awesome classmates. I certainly hope that 2013 will usher new posibilities for all of us, perhaps a chance for us to improve ourselves as learners and educators. The possibilities are endless.

The best learning curve was learning more on how to manage effectively. I am grateful as my lecturers have been so accomodating and  helpful. I was given the chance to spearhead the excursion to The Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) for my IT Planning & Management class. Thanks to Dr. Razak for trusting me. Alhamdulillah, it turned out well and I'm indebted to those classmates who helped out and make it a success. I love ITPM and yay, I got A+ for final exam, the top 3 scorers for this subject, alhamdulillah.

Best team ever!

The best learning experience ever was IT Project Management class...the best class ever! Thanks to Dr. Zaidi for inspiring us. I've learned ways to do proper project management and network with my team members to handle IT Training classes and raise profit for our business. It was a great experience, lots of bittersweet memories but the best lesson I've learned from managing business is to have faith in your team, rectify issues and find solutions. We aspire to keep on our IT Training and we plan to conduct Endnote trainings, SPSS, CMS Web Development etc.

This year, I've decided to make a very bold move in my life management. I've decided to focus on my studies and aim on publishing papers for high-impact journals. I had to turned down some book publication offers because I don't think I can manage to do everything at once. Perhaps, once I've finished my Masters, I'll resume writing English reference books again. This year, I've submitted paper for IGCESH 2013 and I've submitted another paper for ICALT 2013, an IEEE conference in Beijing, China this upcoming July. I am also conducting freelance proofreading services and at the moment, I am proofreading JISRI journal for UTM. Although I'm still an amateur, I feel it's good to give it a shot and hopefully, that can hone my skills in exploring new expertise. Hopefully everything will turn out well.

This Saturday, I'll be flying off to Miri, Sarawak to deliver a series of talk for Cluster School Programme. Thank you to Pn. Sawaran Jit Kaur and PPD Miri for inviting humbled by your invitation. I'll be focussing on fun ways to teach English by optimizing online resources and gamifying classroom learning. Apart from that, the knowledge sharing session will help teachers to network with others on best teaching practices and ways we can motivate students to learn better and effectively. Can't wait to meet all of them :)

May 2013 bring wonderful surprises and perpetual happiness to all of you! :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

6th IMETC 2012

Date: 29-31st September 2012
Venue: Concorde Inn, KLIA

Alhamdulillah, I have been invited to be a keynote speaker at the 6th International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention 2012. It was a humbling and gratifying experience indeed to be given the opportunity to speak in front of the movers and shakers of the edutech realm. Thank you Prof. Rozhan Idrus for inviting me. The other three keynote speakers are Associate Professor Alla Saddik from Oman,Professor Junichi Yamanichi from Japan and Dr. Soon, Deputy Director of Bahagian Teknologi Pendidikan (BTP).

The 6th IMETC was officiated by Prof. Dato' Dr. Ansary Ahmed President/CEO Asia e University. This is my 1st time attending IMETC and I am glad I am given the chance to revive my knowledge on education technology from all the experts. During the latest Malaysian Educational Technology Association (META) annual meeting, I was being appointed as one of its Exco members, nominated by Prof. Yusof, the father of Education Technology in Malaysia. It is an honour and I'll do my best to contribute to the association, Insya Allah.
Wonderful and inspirational individuals I've met and networked with at IMETC. I've noticed that all of the professors/AP/academicians I've met at IMETC are so humble albeit their amazing accolades and credentials. Definitely a humbling experience. Who would have thought I would meet Dr. Bushro, the one who interviewed me for my HLP Scholarship interview at IMETC? She has been a great guide and mentor. I got the chance to meet Dr. Chiam from Sabah and Bee Ling from SK Bintang Utara who have been prolifically using IT in their schools. The best part is to meet my fellow HLP recipients, Aznita and Shikin. They are now studying in UKM and it's great to catch up and share ideas on our upcoming dissertation (read: stress alert..hehe)
My keynote address. My presentation focusses more on the educator's role in equipping ourselves to face the current trends and paradigm shift in E-Learning. Prior to this, I have interviewed and talked to several teachers, Mr. Adnan (SMS Sembrong), Jarrod (SMK Katibas), Azlimin (Maahad Al-Ahyar) to name a few. From their e-mails, tweets, FB messages and all, I was able to share the teachers' plights, issues and hope in the implementation of ICT in Malaysian secondary schools. I would like to thank my UTM lecturers especially my supervisor, Dr. Halina for guiding me. I would like to also thank Associate Professor Dr. Kamarul Kabilan who patiently guides me whenever I seek advice on my studies and presentations. You're awesome! In the context of e-learning, I strongly feel that the emphasis shouldn't be on the tools but on facilitating teachers in the use of these tools in the learning process. It is not fair to wiggle our fingers and finding faults when teachers are doing their best, teaching and multi-managing the various key-in systems. Perhaps they should create just ONE system hub where all the essential data can be managed better? Apart from teacher's resistance, infrastructure and professional development need to be revised and restructured so all of the stakeholders will not perceive E-Learning as a daunting task and instead,optimize it effectively to help students to learn better.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tips for 1119 SPM 2012 : ENGLISH LITERATURE

Here's an interesting acronym that was shared by an experienced teacher, Mr. Adnan. I've came up with a graphic depiction of the acronym to make it easier to remember. In the context of the novel, make sure that you are well-versed on finding the evidences pertaining to all of the literary elements.

The main characters in Lee Su Ann's The Curse.I've taught my students the AMA acroynm (Azreen/Madhuri/Asraf) to make it easier for them to remember the main characters in the novel. The images in the infographic above are the actual thespians who starred in the well-executed Curse Musical Theater in 2011, directed by my friend, Hafeezah.

Analysis of past years questions. The safest way is to familiarise with the main characters and how they reacted to the events in the novel. Focus on the family bond, how the relationship evolves amidst all the chaos and unexpected truth. 

Do check out My Lit Project to explore the digital notes and try out the interactive activities. You can also check out my Slideshare for other novels and online resources. All the best!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tips for 1119 SPM 2012 : WRITING

I'd like to share some tips with all of the SPM candidates out there. I am sure everyone by now is armed to the teeth, perhaps even experiencing what I call as 'information overload'! Too much info to absorb yet so little time. I don't believe in memorising essays but again, it may be applicable for weaker student at the elementary stage.  Fret not on anticipating spot questions for 1119 or any paper. I believe it's the right format and techniques in answering questions which is more vital in preparing oneself for an important examination.

For directed writing, using the correct format is essential. Don't waste your time doing wordcount for directed writing. One and a half page would suffice. As long each point is well elaborated and justified, you'll do just fine.

Please spare some time to proof read your essay. Many students forsaken this part as they are too engrossed with writing lengthy essay. Quality is more important than quantity! Use Sentence Connectors and Linking phrases to ensure a cohesive flow of ideas. Please ensure you are using the correct tenses too.

Capitalize on all the senses to guide you in writing more descriptively. I'd like to share Kleiser's 15000 Useful Phrases. I think it's a must-have list for all English enthusiast, educator or a learner. A loooong list but worth reading :) 

Use appropriate idioms, proverbs and saying to enhance your writing flair. Remember to use it sparingly. A good website you can find a great pool of idioms is 

Embedding quotes, maxim and inspirational thoughts of great leaders, the movers and the shakers of the world would definitely garner extra marks and merit from the examiners. I suggest memorizing some quotes that you find inspirational and can be generally applicable in any essay. Some of the famous quotes I like  : "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." - Confucius, "You must be the change that you want to see in the world." - Ghandi and "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." - Steve Jobs.

Good luck to all the SPM & STPM candidates, may you sail through the examination without any hitch or glitch. All the best!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vocab Vitamins

A common problem for most students is insufficient vocabulary when writing essays. The tendency to use 'safe words' such as nice/good/bad/cool results to the lack of oomph in their writing. When I started teaching in 2001, I've encountered such issue with students as they tend to struggle with using the correct expressions in their composition. So, I've come up with 'VOCAB VITAMIN' programme where the main objective is to enrich the students' vocabulary via posters, songs and other computer-mediated learning tools. Personally, the secret of acquiring good vocabulary is non other than reading. Be it newspaper, magazines, comics, journals, online forums or E-books, teachers should fully utilise reading materials (linear/non-linear) to facilitate vocabulary enrichment. I'd like to share this poster which illustrates various words to describe various situations. The secret behind well-written essays is using vivid descriptive words that would encapsulate the right description that one desires. Click the photo for clearer resolution. Do check it out!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

6th IMETC 2012

In an hour's time, I will be driving off to KL to attend the 6th International Malaysian Educational Technology Convention (IMETC) 2012. Alhamdulillah, I have been chosen as a keynote speaker for this spectacular event and to be honest, it has been so unexpected.

When Prof. Rozhan Idrus, the Chair of IMETC offered me to be a keynote speaker, I was tad shocked. From what I know, most of the past keyspeakers have been professors,reknowned academicians and the movers and shakers in edu tech domain. I am just a humble teacher/post graduate student. I feel jitters all right! Gradually, I perceive it as an opportunity, a platform to voice out the reality, enigma and possibilities of e-learning in Malaysian schools. I am flattered and humbled that a Malaysian teacher's view is deemed worthy to represent the Malaysian edutech academias.

Honestly, this is a milestone in my career and I see it as a golden opportunity for me to share my views and experience as a teacher with other professionals. The topic of my keynote speech is 'Reframing Education System: Current Trends & Paradigm Shift'. I hope by sharing my projects, my colleagues' views and students' expectations, we can come up with more pragmatic ways to optimize e-learning in Malaysian school. I would like to thank my lecturers at UTM for giving me the green light to be away for the convention. Wish me luck in my presentation!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

SPM Trial Exam 2012 Paper 2 - Answer Keys

Hi everyone, Here's the answer keys for Paper 2 that I've shared a few days ago. I am in the midst of developing another set of SPM 1119 exam set and I'll share with everyone soon. Usually the issue with developing your own assessment is to find relevant authentic materials and generate questions that fulfill the equilbrium of JSI requirements. Although I've been developing items for Utusan Malaysia on weekly basis and in the midst of publishing a workbook with Oxford Fajar, I do think generating good items on current topics can be quite a challenge! Oh well, I'll try my best and hope I could help those preparing for the exam :) Trial Spm 2012 Paper 2- Answer Scheme