Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Teacher's Pets

Need creative ways to jazz up your lesson but no time to dabble with complicated application?

Fret not!

I would like to introduce two wonderful educational sites that coincidentally share the same name, Teacher's Pet.

Teacher's Pet
It offers freeware and teaching resources for all teachers. I love the fact this website provides user-friendly teaching tools to create crosswords, bingo cards, jumbles, word search puzzles, flashcards, cloze tests, pair-matching puzzles and much more. Rather than heavily relying on workbooks alone, trying to create our own worksheets might be a better alternative to cater to our own students' needs. Everything is easier, thanks to Teacher's Pet.

Teachers Pet 

Teachers Pet is a resource site that provides free printable PDFs that are very useful in our English Language classroom. It also provides interactive resources created using Flash application, which definitely appeal to the young learners. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is also very appealing. If you are interested, you can follow the blog for latest updates on the teaching resources.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Teaching with Love

I'd like to share an excerpt from one of my favourite books, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. The book itself is divided into various chapters that covered the fundamental aspects of our lives. It's deep and profound, reminding us the power of words in reaching the abyss of emotion.


Then said a teacher, "Speak to us of Teaching."

And he said:

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.

The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.

And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.

For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.

And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Johor Youth Leadership Camp 2010

Date: 19-21st April 2010
Venue: PKG Tasek Utara, Johor Bahru, Johor.
Participants: Top students from Johor premier schools
Organiser: International Relations Unit, Johor State Education Department

I had the chance to be one of the facilitators during the 1st Johor Youth Leadership Camp and the experience is priceless. 110 top students from all around Johor are selected to unleash their potentials as exemplary leaders. The participants had to endure physical trainings such as wall climbing, kayaking, survival skills and many more. Apart from that, they are also exposed to team building activities that test their cooperative skills and abilities to follow instructions and lead their team mates.

I personally felt that the Global Leadership tutorial given by Pn. Rosliza Rosli, Head of the International Relations Unit was very resourceful as it opened up the young leaders' minds in understanding the importance of great leadership. I had the chance to conduct the Public Speaking session with some of the participants and I'm glad to discover that there are many potential orators that could be trained to express their ideas effectively. Oh yeah, they were also exposed to image consultation and proper etiquette by Mr. Azizurahman, the JPNJ Counselor. Not only one has to be mentally agile, one has to look sharp and presentable as well.

I bet majority of the participants were dead beat by the end of the session inclusive of the facilitators as well! We stayed up late for the past two nights and did the night watch (mine was 2-4 a.m.) but we would definitely treasure the moments and experience that we gained from this camp. I had the pleasure to guide 11 bright students and I can foresee these students becoming aspiring leaders. These participants would form Student Leaders Board in their own respective schools and we will later on pick 25 selected students to join the Johor Student Leaders Congress, the pinnacle of awesomeness when it comes to Internationalisation of School Programme. These students will represent Johor and Malaysia to various leadership conferences in Washington D.C. and Geneva. They would go through rigorous training and series of interviews as only the creme de la creme would be chosen. Good luck to all the participants and do keep in touch!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Making of a Leader

This afternoon, I sat together with 7 other teachers to draft the constitutions  of the Student Leaders Board (SLB) and Johor Student Leaders Congress (JSLC), which are part of the Johor Internationalisation Programme.  It is an ambitious project where the Sultan of Johor himself is the patron. This project is spearheaded by Tn. Hj. Supaat Tumin, the Director of the Johor State Education Department and he believes that the time has come to groom a generation of outstanding leaders in Johor who would provide human capital needs for the future of the Iskandar Development Region. Personally, I could foresee how students who be thrilled to be part of this program as it provides the chance for them to show off their leadership qualities. Getting to travel abroad is one of its many perks as well! I was gasping with astonishment when I heard how much was allocated for each student who would be chosen to join the JSLC.  Oh, how I wish there is such program back in my time!
A snapshot with my juniors, Azean & Azrina. Lovely ladies who possess the gift of the gab.We assisted JPNJ in providing the English version of the SLB & JSLC's constitutions.

My group. 
Mr. Ramesh (SMK TUTA) & Pn. Pua (SMK Mutiara Rini)

 The Team with the vivacious Pn. Rosliza Rosli, JPNJ International Relations Officer.

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Peter F. Drucker

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Innovative Teacher Award 2010

 "Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by 
which they exploit change as an opportunity."
~Peter F. Drucker

Alhamdulillah, I  received a fantastic news that I have qualified to the State Level of the Innovative Teacher Award 2010. The action research that I carried out this year, My Lit Project was chosen to represent Johor Bahru in the Secondary School Level category.  The need to assist my students in revising for their literary texts gave impetus to my innovation. The learning blog maximises the Web 2.0. technologies and contains digital notes, audio-visual stimuli and interactive activities that could foster and strengthen the students' understanding on the current literary texts. So far, I've managed to cover Latif Mohidin's In The Midst of Hardship, Vivien Alcock's QWERTYUIOP and Bibsy Soedharjo's He Had Such Quiet Eyes. Hope I could add more contents as time progresses.

I took the initiative to develop this blog because I used to have more than 40 students in one class (yes, it's true!) and it is a painstaking process to gauge their understanding. Besides, majority of my students have Internet access at home and they are IT-savvy as well. Since it  is geared towards autonomous learning, students take control of the learning process. Based from my students' feeback, they really enjoy watching the YouTube videos as they trigger their interests in engaging themselves with the literary texts. They can set their own learning pace and retake the interactive exercises as often as they like. Nonetheless, I still believe there's always room for improvement and I'm trying to oversee and tweak some of the finer details of the aforementioned innovation. The winner of the Innovative Teacher Award is yet to be announced but I'll just hope for the best.

For those who are finding information on how to conduct an action research, I would suggest you check out the Johor State Education Department's Action Research Portal. It is very resourceful as it provides guidelines  in conducting your action research. You can download the user-friendly template as well. You can also download some samples of award-winning action researches such as the WordWise Techniques by Pn. Rahmah Sayuti. Yes, I know action research may sound a bit tedious especially when we are hampered with a lot of clerical works.  Honestly speaking, I used to have such perception as well but when I saw how the students immensely benefited from the action researches I've conducted, it propelled my optimism in finding ways to make learning more enjoyable yet fulfilling for my students. It's all part of the process of learning, teaching and loving what you do.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Intel Teach: A gratifying learning experience

 Last week, I attended the Intel® Teach Course that was organised by the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC), Kuala Lumpur. Basically, its main objective is to mould effective educators that integrate IT in their lessons efficiently, elevating the gratification of the learning and teaching process. We were introduced to the concept of 21st century learning which I personally think should be embraced positively by all educators. Although I'm familiar with blogging and PowerPoint applications, I believe that one can always learn and refine oneself by learning constantly. Just like the well-renowned story of the Empty Cup, I believe there's always room for improvement and I am glad that The Intel® Teach Program broadened my perspectives on ways to integrate Web 2.0. technologies in promoting collaborative efforts and project-based learning.

  Group 4 : The 'certified' counsellors
[ l-r: Pn Ng (SMK TUTA), me, Pn. Jamiah (SMK TUTA) & Pn. Salbiah (STF)

The jovial Pn. Ng & I. For someone her age, she is quite IT-savvy. I salute you madam!

The course participants goofing away after 5 days of memory overload.
[l-r: Kak Sal, Ben, Kak Jem, me, Sui Liang & Pn.Ng)

Kak Sal & I presented our group's project in front of the course participants. Despite the gory 'mat rempit' images, I think the presentation went quite smoothly. We became students once more, burning the midnight oil, preparing  the unit plan, brochure, ppt and blog. What an experience!

The blog that we developed for our project-based learning. As our topic was concerning teen issues, we set up a counselling centre to help troubled teens. I'm in charge of developing the blog. I'm thinking of putting up all the group presentations & teaching materials online so everyone can benefit and use it in their lessons. What do you think?

A group photo with Madam Jayanti, our awesome course facilitator. I love her optimism in using IT to teach weaker students. I couldn't agree more, Madam. Based from my experience, weaker students learn better via audio-visual stimuli.

Apart from frantically preparing Unit Plan for our group presentation, I managed to meet my sis and my best friends, Zee & Pakcik. We've been best friends for a very long time and they have even become family friends. I got the chance to meet up with my former student, Suhaimi who is currently doing his final year at IPBA. He just got back from Plymouth and will be an English Language teacher, just like me! We had a  great discussion on the teaching profession and also his preparation for his upcoming teaching practical. Good luck Suhaimi ! For your information, I keep in touch with most of my ex students because I genuinely care about them even after they leave school. Thank god, I can rely on Facebook to keep in touch with all of them. They are the main reason why I signed up in the first place. I  was supposed to meet Afiqah, my ex-student as well but my schedule clashed with hers. No worries Afiqah, hope we can see each other in June yeah :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Intel Course

I am attempting to stay sane despite the heavy workload. I would definitely love to take one day at a time but it seems that a few days are attacking me at the same time! I've managed to establish my school's Johor Student Council (a novel concept but  I honestly think we need more time to screen the candidates) and at the moment, I'm supervising my students in setting up and maintaining the English version of the school website. This is part of the Johor Education State Department programmes  to boost the international relations of premier schools. Thank god that both of the webmasters, Syed Jaafar & Syed Zuqni are very keen in learning and that just lift the burden off my shoulder a wee bit.

Next week, I'll be attending the Intel course organised by the English Language Teaching Center (ELTC) for 5 consecutive days. This Sunday, I'll be car-pooling with Kak Jem, Kak Salbiah and Benjamin from JB to Kuala Lumpur. Thanks Kak Jem for the wonderful offer! I'm looking forward to learn more on the impact of information technology on the teaching of the English Language. Oh yeah, I plan to network with other teachers and hopefully, we could gain better insight on the best way to utilise technology in boosting our students' motivation in learning. Take care and have a great weekend!