Friday, September 30, 2011

ICELT 2011: A Photo Essay

A 7-hour drive to Lumut was worth it. I carpooled with Kak Rahmah, Kak Fuzi & Kak Suzi, all GCs from Johor. Alhamdulillah, we managed to reach the venue albeit mild difficulties in finding the location. There were altogether 365 presentations and it was so hard to choose which session to attend as there were so many interesting papers presented during the parallel sessions. Some of the sessions ended at 7.30 p.m. ! I guess a conference of such magnitude would attract so many presenters and participants. The title itself forecasts the excitement that awaits in the teaching of English Language.
I presented a 30-minute paper presentation on the first day. I shared the findings of my classroom-based Action Research entitled '3-2-1 Action!: Digital Storytelling in ESL Classroom.' I carried out Digital Storytelling Project, a project-based learning where students produce the final products with facilitation from the teacher . I've prepared the Student Module to assist my 4 SN1 students in producing their videos as well as conducting Digital Storytelling Workshop with them. Well, it's about time we give the teacher the break and let the students do all the hard work :) My main objective in carrying out this AR is to promote engaging and meaningful student-centred learning via web-based tools. All the students' work are virtually accessable via the DSP's blog and DSP's Youtube Channel. I am so glad and flattered that a lot of participants expressed their interests in the project and would like to try Digital Storytelling with their students and their teacher trainees. To me, whether you like it or not, E-Learning will be the main approach in English Language Learning as more students are tech-savvy and demand a more interactive and personalised learning. 
To me, the perk of attending international conferences is to learn new technique, approach and oratory skills from world-reknown International speakers. I was mesmerised by Jan Blake's expertise in storytelling where she captured the attention of every single participant in the room. Prof Alan Maley imparted a very important asset that we, teachers tend to overlook, our voice. He introduced fun and engaging way to help teachers maximise the flexibility of our voice without having to shout or strain our vocal chords too much. My personal favourite is Paul Cookson. He is so oh talented and gifted! I shared his poems with my sons and they simply enjoyed them :) I had the chance to meet and talk to Adisa, a famous British poet that fuses rythms and beats in poetry. These two men really transform the conventional notion of poetry recitation. Who says poetry is passe? ;) Oh yes, who could forget the 2 Steves. They are hyperactive narrative maestros that demonstrated their love for lively and dramatic stories. Honestly, the conference managed to revive my passion towards injecting performing arts in my classroom teaching. Kudos Dr. Jaya and the committee members!
I've met a lot of passionate educators who I've networked and shared my views, rants and ideas on teaching. Phewww, I was reunited with Sim, my former coursemate after 10 years leaving the college. How time flies! She looks lovely and jovial as ever :) I had the chance to meet Darshini, a bubbly blogger from Kuantan who I've been corresponding with via my blog. Although we both are working with CDD on some projects, we never had the chance to meet one another. After chitchatting, we discovered that we have mutual friends, how cool is that :)  I met a group of Sabahan teachers that became my good friends during the conference. All of them forked out their own money and flew here just to attend the conference. Isn't that amazing? That's what I've been doing for the past 3 years, attending conferences sans financial support from others. Personally, some might call it crazy but to me, I enjoy learning new things and presenting helps me to sharpen my oratory skills too. I may not possess the vast experience like other presenters but I always believe that practice makes perfect.
Meeting Kak Rahmah, Kak Fuzi & Kak Suzi was a cherished moment as we shared our experiences and issues in school. Apparently, we faced similar predicament as it is challenging being a GC as some people in school might not understand why you have to go out most of the time.  This is one of the main issues that I am facing at the moment. As GC, we need to carry out official duties from the District Education Office, State Education Department and Ministry of Education too. I've been working closely with the aforementioned parties this year and that unfortunately means I have to be away from school frequently. Some assume it's like taking a holiday from school but the reality is we work and run here and there like headless chicken trying to accomplished official duties apart from the core business of teaching in school. Despite the challenges, I believe that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. I am thankful as my principal is understanding of my situation and she advises me to juggle my responsibilities wisely. Alhamdulillah, my husband has been so understanding and supportive of my situation and I count my blessing as I have good friends who have always been there for me when I need them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

ICELT 2011

I'm off to Lumut, Perak this weekend to attend the International Conference on English Language Teaching (ICELT) 2011. I'm representing JPNJ and the title of my paper is '3-2-1 Action! : Digital Storytelling in ESL Classroom' which is based on my Action Research with 4SN1 recently. It took me about 2 months to conduct it as it involves hands-on activity (workshop on Digital Storytelling, writing storyboard and editting videos) to my target group (my students) and the project-based learning coordination as well. Nonetheless, I am glad that my students really cherished the knowledge and experience gained during the project.

The students are also exposed to the integration of Web 2.0. media tools (YouTube, Picnik, Facebook, Blog) in conducting this project. They really work hard to come up with their digital stories. They even surprised themselves (me too!) when they come up with such creative and wonderful videos. I dare say some of them are way better than me and you know, that's practically fine with me :) It's all about tapping into the students' creativity and utilising their multiple intelligence in learning English Language more efficiently. I do hope that sharing the experience of teaching Digital Storytelling with the conference participants would help others to see the potential of Digital Storytelling in enhancing verbal proficiency, creativity, active learning and high-order thinking skills. I am looking forward to learning more from other presenters and networking with other participants from all over the world.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Terengganu's SPM Trial Examination Papers 2011

Hi there,
If you are looking for more SPM Trial Examination papers, I've enclosed the links to the papers set by the Terengganu Education Department, courtesy of this site. Click at the links below to download the exam papers. Sharing is caring!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The M Project: Being Malaysians

In conjunction with the Merdeka month celebration in my school, I've came up with the M Project where the main themes of the lessons revolved around patriotism & Independence Day. In this context, the main educational emphases are on Thinking Skills, ICT, Knowledge Acquisition and  Multiple Intelligences. There are so many ways the teachers can inculcate patriotism and raise awareness on ethnic harmony, national unity and tolerance. Rather than forcing them to embrace the 'I must be patriotic because I am a Malaysian or else, get out from this country' doctrine, I believe we should lead the students to form their own perspectives and reflections on their country via positive and constructive manners. Oh yeah, what best way than using multimedia and visual aids right? Here are some teaching aids that I've used to enhance the students' interest and patriotic fervour towards our beloved country, Malaysia.

a) Petronas' Merdeka Advertisements
Using television advertisement is a very effectual method of generating students' interests towards the topic. I always love the series of Petronas' Merdeka Advertisements as they act as catalysts during brainstorming session.  You could use various questioning techniques (open-ended, probing and leading) to evoke responses. It works well, especially with weak students as the visual aids  help them to come up with possible answers.

b) Project-based Learning

I always find project-based learning as the best way of boosting the students' interest and understanding towards a lesson as it generates active participation, collaboration skills, high thinking skills and indeed, a more meaningful lesson.  For the M Project, the students work in group and produce a pamphlet on the topic 'Being Malaysians'. The students did this within 2 days and they really put strong effort in producing these pamphlets. Way to go! For more information on project-based learning, do check out Intel Teach programme.

Students' works.

The students' works were assessed and awarded.
 c) Vlogging
 This is the latest fad among the teens and I believe it can be fully utilised to teach English as well. Afterall, what best way to connect with the students then using the latest Web 2.0. technologies? Vlog is coined from video + blog = vlog and it's uberly popular nowadays. I've came across a lot of vloggers such as Mat Lutfi, Maria Elena, Anwar Hadi, to name a few. What I like about vlogging is that it fuses the elements of role playing and digital storytelling which make the viewing more engaging and entertaining. This is in parallel with my latest Action Research where I focussed on Digital Storytelling. Maybe we should encourage more students to try this out in class. That would definitely excite the students yet help them to utilise technologies in improving their language proficiency.

 I've shown the vlogs below to my students and they helped the students to understand the concept of patriotism in a fun and meaningful way. Vlogging is a great learning alternative to enhance their confidence, vocabulary prowess and language competence.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2011's Johor SPM Trial Examination Paper 1

I hope it is not too late to wish the best of luck to all of the SPM candidates who are sitting for their trial examination. To those who are in Johor, I do hope you have given your best shot in answering the 1119 English Language papers just now. I was amazed at the number of visitors who were looking for examination tips and samples of examination items. Fret not, enclosed is the Paper 1 just to help you out. If time permits, I'll upload Paper 2 pretty soon. I do hope it will help any teacher or student in preparing for the upcoming SPM. Do check out this blog from time to time for more trial examination papers from other states. Check it out!

Johor SPM Trial Exam P1