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!