Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 JPNJ Quality Award

Salam Maal Hijrah and Happy New Year to everyone.
2009 has been such a blissful year to me. I've been given so many opportunities to learn and share my knowledge and it is good to know that everything is turning out so well. This morning, an officer from the Johor Education Department had just informed me that I'm the recipient of the JPNJ Quality Award! I won an award in the 'Anugerah Khas Kualiti' category for my Action Research project (L.I.T. Module) and my contributions at the international level as well. I'm so elated, alhamdulillah. The prize giving ceremony is going to be held at SMT Johor Bahru on the 28th December.

Oh oh. That's not good since I have to attend an important meeting affliated with the assessment body. Called the person in charge, explained my situation and the verdict? I can't attend the prize giving ceremony. Honestly, I'm crushed as I really want to attend it and accept the award myself. I know I've worked so hard and to be there would be the pinnacle of my career. Alas, I am aware that I've signed on the dotted line of the pink document so I shall have to abide by the rules and regulations required. Prioritise mon amie, prioritise.

Next year, I'll be the new head of the English Language Panel for my school. Although I've been the Head of the EST Panel all these while, I know I will face tougher challenges as it's the core subject in the curriculum. Phew, hope I can emulate Jey's enthusiasm and dynamics in navigating the team efficiently. On a personal note, I really hope that I can continue to improve myself and constantly learn more in becoming a better teacher. I hope to inspire more students and be more active in English Language conferences and seminars.

May you have a wonderful year ahead :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New novels for Lit Component 2010

Happy holidays to all fellow teachers and students. I was on a blogging hiatus for a while but now, I'm back with some juicy info on the new English Literature Component. I blogged about this in my previous post and it is now confirmed that graphic novels will be taught as well.

-Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
-Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
-The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

So far, they have yet decided on the novels for Form 3 and Form 5 so we'll just have to wait and see. Based on the circular from the Ministry of Education, the Form 1 & Form 4 would study these texts next year, followed by the Form 2 & Form 5 in the 2011 and the Form 3 in 2012. The assessment of the new lit component would be carried out in 2011(PMR) & 2012 (SPM). I've also been informed that the State JUs will conduct literature workshops for all the teachers in January 2010 so hopefully, we'll be able to absorb as much input as we can on this matter. I'll update more on this soon. Toodle pip!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 ICELT Snapshots

Presenting my paper
Explaining the versatility of educational freeware & games to the audience

Chris Allen rocks! I love his nonchalant approach towards ELT.

Annie Hughes enthralled us with her story telling techniques.

Rodney's melodrama workshop kept everyone in stitches.

Carolyn Graham, the inventor of Jazz Chants.

A candid shot of Carolyn & I.

Haslina a.k.a. Jack, Carolyn & I. Jack earned her 15 mins of fame when Carolyn chanted her name during her session ;)

"Mummy" & "Jack"

The uber-cool Sofia & I. Keep in touch aye ;)

Reunited with Mdm. Ho, whose daughters were my ex-students.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I'll be heading off to Melaka tomorrow for ICELT 2009, held at The Equitorial Hotel. According to the schedule, I'll be presenting my paper at 2.30 p.m in Seri Nyonya's room. Although I've revised and rehearsed for a couple of times, I'm still having butterflies in my stomach. Well, I guess the thought of talking in front of professional English Language practitioners is a bit overwhelming but I'll try my best to deliver my presentation. Thanks to Kak Milah for your tips in giving an effective presentation. Hopefully, everything will turn out well tomorrow, Insya Allah. Besides that, I'm hoping to see familiar faces and make new friends as well. I was delighted when I knew Jack is coming to the conference. She was my ex-housemate 10 years back, a bonafide egghead ;)

I've noticed that majority of this blog's visitors are seeking for information on the new English Literature Component. I've set up another blog, Leen's Language Lab as my e-learning hub for all my interactive learning materials. Do check it out as I've designed 4 modules based on the F1-F3 poems and short stories. More materials will be added soon :)

Wish me luck in my presentation as I really need it :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A simple survey

Attention to all teachers,
I'm conducting a simple survey on the use of educational freeware and games in ELT. If you are interested, please click the link below and answer the questions that follow. Your response and cooperation are highly appreciated.

Teachers' perceptions on the use of freeware & games in ELT.

Friday, October 30, 2009

English Literature books

I've got hold of these books yesterday and I'm still in the midst of reading the F4 & F5 poems, short stories and drama. I've only read through the poems as I was swarmed with tons of works, pending and waiting to be executed. (operational work plan, students' essays, ICELT, 2010's allocation of classes...the list goes on) I'm so glad that CDC is producing a handbook on this for all the teachers. That would greatly assists us teachers who might have myopic views on the latest English Literature Component. I was also informed by Kak Rahmah that there are novels for the F3 & F5 next year but the titles are yet to be announced. How I pray that they would choose something exciting and appealing to the learners. I think anything by Anita Desai would be apt, I like her styles of writing. Hemmingway's The Old Man and The Sea is also a great read, it's very straightforward (plus point especially when you're teaching the weaker students) but again, that's just my own personal opinion. We just have to wait patiently for the announcement by the MOE.

Apart from that, I'm planning to develop a learning module that could assist the students in understanding these literary texts better. My current LIT Module would be redundant by next year..too bad, after all the hard work. Ah well, life goes on and there's no use to mull over the past. After all, the experience would definitely assist me in developing the new one yeah. Think positive!

Developing our own materials require a great deal of patience and perseverance. It's a painstaking process, believe me... so, I'm taking it a step at a time. I'll collaborate with my colleagues so we could finish it faster and after all, two heads (or more) are better than one. Need to scout more information online or perhaps, hop into the bookstores nearby. Hopefully, I can do it during the school holidays, Insya Allah.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time to strategise!

It's that time of the year for the English Panel strategic planning 2010. Yes siree, the same old thing I would say except for surprise, surprise, a new format that was implemented by JPNJ. Next year, Jey is no longer our Head of Panel (bummer!) as she'll be teaching the Sixth Formers. Only time would tell who would be appointed as the new Head Of Panel. During the LET meeting just now, we put our heads together and brainstormed strategic work plan to optimise the students' performance.

As one of the ICT co-coordinators in my school, I was assigned to design the templates for Pelan Strategik, Pelan Tindakan & Pelan Operasi that are standardised for every department. One more thing, it seems that the new format requires one to jot down the Pelan Induk Pembangunan Pendidikan (PIPP) codes for every operational planning. Imagine, having to leaf through the thick PIPP manual, it would take ages to get through all the cores, focus and strategies! Thus, I've compiled all the PIPP codes in one document so that it becomes an easy reference to every panel.

If you are interested, you can download it too. Sharing is caring!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Photo Essay: Action Research Seminar 2009

The introduction.

L.I.T. Module in practice.

Explaining my L.I.T. Module to the audience.

Picking up my momentum.

Azrina (SMKTU2) presented her AR on the effects of YouTube on students' behaviour.

Pn. Ho (SMK Sri Rahmat) demonstrated the use of
graphic organiser in Literature lessons.

Magic Cube, a creative method to teach vocabulary.

Pn. Khaliza ( SETA) showed us the effective way to teach possessive pronouns.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

District Level Action Research Seminar

This coming Saturday, I'll be presenting my action research findings at the District Level Action Research Seminar. This year, the venue is at SK Taman Universiti 1. My paper is entitled "OPTIMIZING 3 SAIDINA ABU BAKAR STUDENTS’ INTEREST AND UNDERSTANDING TOWARDS THE POEMS IN THE PMR LITERATURE COMPONENT VIA L.I.T. MODULE [L-LEARN, I-INTERACT, T-TEST]." Yeah, I know, it's a mouthful. I hope that by sharing my action research with my colleagues, I could improve my teaching techniques and at the same time, discover new perspectives on ELT. Since I have no inkling on the correct way to present a paper during a seminar, I'll just follow my instinct by preparing things which are normally required during a presentation. Presentation slides, check. Handouts, check. If you have any experience presenting at the said seminar, I would really appreciate if you could share your thoughts, advice or experience.

The icing on the cake is when I discovered that my husband was also selected as a presenter :D He'll be presenting his paper on Teori F.A.H.M.I. which is named after our 2nd son, Muhd Fahmi. It's a mnemonic technique that assists students in writing essay efficiently. Hopefully, everything will turn out smoothly for both of us.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Songs on Peace




Thursday, September 24, 2009

Of Raya and Guru Cemerlang

Selamat Hari Raya.

Today marks the 6th day of Eid and all I can say, I trully cherish the moment spent with my family and the loved ones. My sons embraced the Raya fervour by donning matching turqoise Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga (it's the theme this year) and munchkin-sized songkok. We decided to take family portrait at a studio for the first time and thank god, Abang and Adik were well-behaved despite the scorching heat. Kudos kiddos :)

Yesterday, I finally got the chance to visit my former but never forgotten teacher, Hjh. Halidah Baba in Sungai Dulang, Rengit. She's still as jovial as she was 16 years ago. She has retired from teaching yet to me, she is the epitome of a dedicated teacher. She's not the type who would just spoonfeed you with informations, facts and details as she would challenge students to think out of the box. I'm indebted to her for molding me to become an orator and without her guidance, I wouldn't be able to represent Johor in Pidato Piala Di Raja and other public speaking contests at district and state levels. Who would have guess that she was my mom's senior back in high school and my mother-in-law's schoolmate back in primary school? Small world indeed.

Alhamdulillah, I'm shortlisted as Guru Cemerlang Bahasa Inggeris this year. I'm not sure of my chances but I'm hoping for the best. Definitely need to fine-tune some of my learning modules. Based from the buletin in the PPD's website, there are altogether 5 candidates for the position of English Language Master Teachers. The observation would be done after Raya so, definitely need to be prepared for that. Wish me luck :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

2010 English Literature Component

Next year, there would be a major reshuffling of the literary texts for the secondary school students. Frankly, I'm relieved that MOE decided to decrease the number of poems and short stories this time. It's about time as teachers have been struggling to teach the current literary texts within short time span. I have to admit that I have never heard of most of the writers (except for Latif Mohidin & Zurinah Hassan who are famous Malay poets) but I'm sure that they are chosen for good reasons. Personally, it would interesting if they decide to put any of Roger McGough's eccentric poems or one of Roahl Dahl's quirky short stories but hey, that's just MY point of view. I'm delighted that they are going to introduce plays as it's one of the literary genres that could spark engagement, exploration and excitement in language classroom. How I wish they could use plays written by Malaysian playwrights like Malaysian Laureate Nordin Hassan, Kee Thuan Chye, Syed Alwi, Ann Lee, Huzir Sulaiman, to name a few. Isn't it about time we acknowledge our own talented Malaysians? That's just my 2 cents.

Below is the complete list of the literary texts:

Form 1:
1. The River -Valerie Bloom
2. Mr Nobody - author unknown
Short Stories
1. Flipping Fantastic -Jane Langford

Form 2:
1. I wonder - Jeannie Kirby
2. Heir Conditioning - M. Shanmughalingam
Short Stories
1. One is One and All Alone - Nicholas Fisk
1. Rumpelstiltskin -Angela Lanyon

Form 3:
1. A Fighter's Line- Marzuki Ali
2. Leisure - Willian Henry Davies

Form 4:
1. In the Midst of Hardship -Latiff Mohidin
2. He Had such Quiet Eyes -Bibsy Soenharjo
Short Stories
1. QWERTYUIOP -Vivian Alcock
2. The Fruitcake Special -Frank Brennan
1. Gulp and Gasp- John Townsend

Form 5:
1. Nature -H.D. Carberry
2. Are you Still Playing Your Flute -Zurinah Hassan

It's interesting to note that there's no novel this time. I was wishing there would be at least a novel for the Fifth Formers. Perhaps I'm too used to the notion that literature component is incomplete sans novel? Let's be optimistic and hope that the students will be enthusiastic in exploring the joy of literature.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

ICELT 2009

When opportunity comes knocking, seize it and make the best out of it.

Thanks to JPNJ for sponsoring me to attend the 2009 International Conference on English Language Teaching (ICELT).This year, it will be held at Equatorial Hotel, Malacca for two consecutive days (10-11 Nov 2009). Just like MELTA Conference, this event will be attended by local and international English Language practitioners and I'll be presenting a paper in front of these people. This is my first time so you could imagine how jittery I am. Frankly speaking, I'm still contemplating on the topic of my presentation and Monday is the dateline for the proposal, yikes!

Well, since the ICELT's theme is Profiting from Learner and Teacher Investment in ELT, I thought Education Technology would be an apt topic, after all, being IT-savvy would enable teachers to create an engaging lesson with the help of multimedia applications. Now, some people might mention that multimedia-based software in the market is rather expensive. Fret not, there are cheaper yet effective alternatives available online : freeware and games online. Voila! That's it! I shall present a paper on "Utilizing educational freeware and games in promoting self-access learning in ELT. "

I've always been a staunch supporter for Internet and multimedia-based learning. I practically use it on daily basis and I know most of my students are online and IT-savvy too. My students and I interact via Facebook and we blog as well albeit different areas of interest. I won't be surprised if some of them are more advanced than me, they quickly adapt and embrace the technology as naturally as breathing. That what inspires me to delve deeper into the wonderful realm of multimedia software and application as they offer delectable arrays of possibilities for effective language learning. I know some English Language practitioners have qualms in developing their own materials via freeware. Indeed, it's rather time consuming and a wee bit daunting but once you got the hang of it, it would be a great investment for both teachers and students.

I have practically one month to prepare for this. It's make or break so wish me luck!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Of fasting and examinations

This month is certainly the month of tests and endurance. My students just sat for their PMR trial exam and anxiously await for the outcomes. I'm sure most of my colleagues are in the midst of marking frenzy and optimistically hoping for improvement in their students' performance. After marking the English paper, I noticed that most of my students fared better in Paper 2 than in Paper 1. Now that's a first! After analyzing the items, I assumed that students were baffled in choosing the answers as the options given were quite similar to one another. Their vocabulary prowess was under scrutiny and this exam revealed how much the students need to buck up in order to improve themselves for the upcoming PMR exam. Definitely need to analyze my students' strength and weaknesses so I could develop the right exam module to cater to their specific needs. Oh well, we'll see how it goes!

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of Ramadhan Al-Mubarak, the holy month that tests our physical and mental endurance. This is the month of self-reflection and self-evaluation as we acquire patience and strong will in performing our daily deeds. Personally, I hope to change for the better, physically and mentally. Happy fasting and enjoy your holidays!

Monday, August 17, 2009

One word

I knew about this website through my former lecturer, Sharon Bakar when she raved about it in her famous blog. Everyday, they will feature one word and you'll have to write something that revolves around that word within 60 seconds. I tried it once and I can say that I'm totally hooked on this. Frankly, I think that it's a good way to enhance your writing skills and it tests your creativity as well. I've adapted the idea of this site into my module and so far, it has benefited the weaker students as it is content-based and they felt that this exercise triggers their interests in writing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


One of the programmes that I've carried out with my students is The E-Classroom programme. Basically, it is a series of lessons carried out using the Internet and multimedia application at the computer lab. I honestly think that the teaching of English Language would be best enhanced with the accompaniment of the wonderful world wide web. Apart from using existing English Language websites, I've developed some e-learning modules to boost my students' interests in English Language. One of the modules is called L.I.T. Module, a student-centered learning programme that focussed on enhancing my students' understanding of the English Literature Component. Here are some snapshots taken during the lessons.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Beautiful Imperfections

Much have been said about the beautiful works of the late Yasmin Ahmad. I have always been in awe of her talent in exploring the significant angles on banal things in life. Her expertise has always been in capturing the true essence of family bonding.

I used this YouTube video during my E-Classroom session with my students as the topic was Family. Majority of the girls cried at the end of the video clip and some even expressed how much they love their families after watching it. The boys looked unperturbed but I could see their eyes glistening with sadness, holding back their emotion.

When asked the impact of this video viewing to the pre-conception of family, the students stated that they know they love their families but sometimes, they took them for granted. Sibling rivalry, family squabbles and petty arguments are considered norms to some of them and personally, I'm sadden by this. However, I believe that by conducting brainstorming activities like this actually help the students to open up their minds and express their thoughts openly to their peers. Then, they realized that they are not the only ones who carry the burden as many of their classmates feel the weight as well.

From this experience, I believe that as a teacher, we must look beyond classroom boundaries in order to motivate our students to speak proficiently. The impact of advertisements is very strong to these young minds and could actually mold their life-long thoughts and perceptions.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The 18th MELTA International Conference

When MELTA decided to host this year International Conference in Johor Bahru, I grabbed the golden opportunity to attend it. I think majority of the participants were funded by the State Education Dept. or their respective schools and universities but this scenario didn't apply to me. I forked out my own money and I considered it an investment for my profession.Well, RM300 might sound a bit steep to some people but for a 3-day conference, I think it's worth it. Alhamdulillah, my husband kindly sponsored the entrance fee when he saw how determined I was in participating in this event. Thanks dear for supporting me in whatever I do!

Frankly speaking, this is the first time I've ever attended an event as flamboyant as this one. This year, The Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah gracefully accepted the task of The Royal Patron of MELTA. Hence, it's no wonder the event was elegantly done. I bumped into my former colleage, Kak Miza and we certainly did a lot of catching up with the latest updates on each other lives.

One of the special highlights of this year conference is the Creative Teacher Showcase. I only knew about this event ONE day after its due date. Honestly, I was hoping that I could actually take part as I would like to showcase the L.I.T. Module that I've done recently with my 3 KAA1 students. I did have hesitation at first.

Am I good enough to take part in such grand-scale event?

Gritting my teeth, I told myself, you can do this. So I decided to e-mail the Secretariat and asked to be considered for the showcase. Alhamdulillah, they decided to accept my entry.

There are altogether 5 participants and we were allocated booths to showcase our innovation. We were given 20 minutes to present our teaching materials in front of the judges and audience. There was also a Q-A session later on. Alhamdulillah, I managed to get Bronze Commendation in this event. Along with the certificate, I also received RM100. To top that, the blogger that inspired me won the Basil Wijayasuriya Award. I actually went to her and personally thanked her for inspiring me. It was nice meeting you, Pn. Rahmah!

As brilliantly penned down by Pn. Rahmah, a teacher needs to brave uncharted waters by learning and sharing their innovations and ideas with their colleagues. I'm aware that I am still a novice in this field. Nonetheless I believe that sharing something beneficial with our peers is essential in enriching our teaching experience. One thing I've learnt from this experience, never underestimate yourself and you must believe in yourself before others could plant their trusts in you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Magic Hat

Most students love English but not many of them enjoy speaking in English. Based from my observation, their resistance is greatly affected by low self-esteem and lack of vocabulary competence. When I did the 1st ULBS assessment with my students, I noticed that almost all of the students resorted to READING rather than TALKING to me. You know what they did? They stood in front of me and clutched their notes as if they are their lifelines. They would read the notes without lifting their eyes from the clammy papers. No eye contact whatsoever. Even a gentle reminder on eye contact earlier on did nothing. Ziltch. Squinting your eyes or giving funny unsatisfied gestures to these poor creatures did not leave any lasting impact. I guess all they really wanted was to finish it off as soon as possible and stop the butterflies or other pests fluttering in their stomachs.

As much as I find it amusing, I was a bit concerned on this trend. Sigh. I didn't think they get the idea of an oral presentation. I thought asking them to do prepared speech would ease them in talking in public. Now that sure didn't work, missy. What shall I do?

I remembered doing a speaking activity with my former Form 6 students last year and it was a raving success. The students totally loved the activity. Well, the activity is pretty simple. I prepared some papers with a one-word topic written on them and put them in a box. Then, the students take turn to pick a paper and then, have to speak about the topic in front of their classmates for about 3 minutes. Nothing fancy schamancy. Just regular topics such as 'family', 'football' or 'movies'.

I decided to apply the same activity with my Form 3 students. This time, I've change the medium. Instead of using a box, I used my rattan-woven hat. Hence, the name of this activity is The Magic Hat! Well, you know me, I just HAD to give it a fancy name. However, instead of 3 minutes duration, I asked them to make 5 sentences that revolve around the topic since there are 36 students in the class. Wouldn't have enough time to finish it off within two periods.

When the students saw me bringing the hat to their class just now, it automatically piqued their interests. My students are hyperactive in class. They love drama but when it comes to speaking in front of the class, they become as timid as a mouse.

Why do you bring a hat, teacher? Are we having drama session today?

I explained to them what I've in store for them. The usual choral reply would be "Alaaaaaaaaa, so hard, teacher. I cannot speak in front of my friends." Typical reply of my classes. My next strategy was to console them and told them nicely that I would prompt them with questions if they are stumbled for words. I asked Yogeswary to be the first candidate. She shook the hat and scrambled the papers inside and chose a piece of paper. She wasn't sure at first. Then, I praised her when she succeed in stating her first sentence. Then, her confidence soared. She was talking spontaneously. I beamed happily since I succeed in helping my students talk spontaneously. I guess I wasn't prepared for the overall outcome of this activity.

The students LOVED it. Even those weak students were eager to know how the Magic Hat works. They practically hovered around my table to hear what their friends had to say. When I couldn't get a student to talk in front of the class, I was happily surprised when some students volunteered to be next. Some even made a beeline to be next. I never seen anyone so eager to speak and express their feelings in front of public. You rock, 3PM2! My students definitely made my day.

One remarkable thing that I've noticed from this activity is that every student is able to speak in English. I do not believe when any teacher complains my students are so weak, they wouldn't possibly converse in English, you know. All you need is to tap into their interests and know how to motivate them to speak. Giving them mundane and rigid topics would never trigger their primary interests in speaking. For Syafiq, the weakest students in that class, I gave him the topic that he's comfortable the most; Football. Since he is a state football player, I am sure he could say something about his passion. For a student who never speak English all his life, I was proud that he tried to make sentences even if he fumbled through the process.

I know I may not yet be a Guru Cemerlang but deep down inside, I know I tried my very best to teach my students. I want to impart knowledge that is relevant to their real lives. I hope to introduce lessons that would encourage the weak students to use English in their daily lives rather than sit meekly behind their desks because they are too afraid of expressing their feelings in English.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A humble beginning

I never thought I would blog again.

A few years back, during my salad days, I used to be an avid blogger. I wrote a crazy amount of poems and proses online. I ranted, I poured my heart on the virtual realm, practically sharing a part of me in cyberspace.

Somehow, along the way, I got married, got busy with kids and poof! I got tired of writing online.

Tonight, I felt that starting to blog again wouldn't be a bad idea. Perhaps, it would be an avenue for me to share my ideas on teaching and learning, a subject that is dear to me. When I came across this blog a few months back, something jolted inside me. The desire to become a better teacher, the one who leave a lasting impact on her students, grew stronger. I do not want to linger in the comfort zone too long, definitely do not want to turn into a dull, complacent individual after years of teaching.

So here I am, hoping that I wouldn't write something gibberish, but something worth reading.