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! :)