Saturday, March 19, 2011

Teaching English Language Across Age Levels; Teaching Adults

Peace be upon you my readers and hello.

Then again, we meet up! As promised, now, I come up with another entry as the continuation of the previous one. Still discussing about the practical approaches for the teachers to consider in teaching, yet, this time, we together will be looking on deeper of the teaching adults part. This is one of my efforts to open other people's eyes how important to know level of students due to the different approaches applied. Somehow there are group of educators who take this matter for granted. Whereas students are in favor to internalize the target language. Hence, the thumb of rule for a language classroom are;-
  1. Do not do so much abstract generalization as it can be deadly for adults even though they are able to handle abstract rules and concepts.
  2. It is true they have longer attention spans. However, rule of keeping activities short and sweet applies also to adult-age teaching. 
  3. Sensory input at this level is not always be necessary, instead, it just a secret of making class lively.
  4. As teacher/educator, we must not underestimate their emotional factors although their fragility of ego is not as critical as children.
  5. Adults are able to understand a context-reduced segment of language. But, authenticity and meaningfulness are certainly highly important. 
And do remember these too;-

1. Adults cannot express complex thinking in the new language, they are nevertheless intelligent adults with mature cognitive and adult emotions. Show respect for the deeper thoughts and feelings that may be trapped for the moment by a low proficiency level.
2. Give students as many opportunities as possible to make choices (cooperative learning) about what they will do in and out of the classroom. So, they can more effectively make an investment in their own learning process.

and DON'T :-

1. Treat adults like children by
             - calling them kids
             - using caretaker talk (the way parents talk to children)
             - talking down to them
2. Discipline adults in the same way as children. If discipline problems occur, just assume that they are adults who can be reasoned with like adults.

I, once again, with full of hope, that we can gain something precious from this entry. Pedagogy is not just to be learnt, but to be applied too. With great patience and be supportive to the adults, God willing, everything goes smoothly. With that, I end this post. Thank you.

With love,

Learner Variables I: Teaching English Language Across Age Levels

Peace be upon you and hello to my dear readers,

It's been so long I have not updated my blog due to the workload I receive for my courses. Assignments, presentations, quizzes, tests, and course project are all need my full attention and great effort as to accomplish and surely, meet its goal. No wonder my blog seems so boring and dull like a dress no longer be used and placed in the cupboard for quite sometime. Pathetic, isn't it? Hahahaha, well readers, I am back; to prove you guys that this blog still has its contents and messages to deliver to the readers. Yeah! Its writer is still alive! She is just being off to settle her work. That's it. So, what am I going to mumble this time? You guys must be wondering what will be my next educational topic for this entry, mustn't you? Oh, wait, wait, wait! An EDUCATIONAL TOPIC? AGAIN? Hahaha, yeah! Again. *It's better to mumble out about something intellectual rather than talking rubbish. Correct?* :D

So, this entry will be discussing on the Learner Variables I: Teaching Across Age Levels. To be more specific, I will be explaining to you, how to teach an English language to the students according to their age as well as what are the things and factors we really need to consider while teaching. As teachers, we should not simply turn our eyes blind to this matter as our approaches determine whether the students are able to comprehend the lessons or not, so that they can accomplish any tasks given. Therefore, let us look at the very first stage of teaching English language: teaching children. (Another two teaching age levels will be explained in the upcoming entries.)

Here are 5 practical approaches to teaching children;

1. Intellectual Development
According to Piaget (1972), children up till age eleven, they are living in intellectual stage or scientifically known as "concrete operations". Thus, we, as teachers, really need to remember their limitations seeing that they are much centered on 'here' and 'now', on the functional purposes of language. Then, they have little appreciation to the adult notions of 'correctness', and they certainly cannot gasp the metalanguage we use to describe and explain linguistic concepts. Below are the rule of thumb for the classroom:

  • avoid abstract terms and grammar rules (e.g : Present progressive/ relative clause)
  • demonstrate certain patterns and give examples to the students
  • repetition is needed in different ways in order to get ear and brain cooperate, thus, they will not get bored.
2. Attention span
Basically, children do not have the short attention span. I bet you readers will strongly disagree with me. But before we deal into great debate, let us think about this; children will stay riveted for television  watching duration. :-D Still wanna come into dispute? However, children DO have short attention span WHEN the materials given is BORING, USELESS AND TOO DIFFICULT. Here, it is teacher's job to make them interestingly, lively and fun. How can we do that?
  • conduct variety of activities which can capture their immediate interest
  • teachers need to be enthusiastic, animated, lively as the energy will be transmitted to the children
  • insert or inject sense of humor but remember, we have to put ourselves in their shoes. Or else, they will not understand the jokes.
  • Surely, teachers need to tap into the curiosity of the children whenever possible.
3. Sensory Input
We, as teachers are supposed to concern that children need to have all five senses stimulated through:
  • pepper the lesson with physical activity
  • project and other hands-on activities
  • sensory aid to internalize the language
  • teacher's nonverbal language as they attend the lesson sensitively.
4.Affective Factors
Children are innovative in language forms but still have a great many inhibitions. Means that they are extremely sensitive, especially to peers; What do others think of me? What will so-and-so think when I speak in English? Children are in many ways much more fragile than adults. Perhaps we as adults do not realize it but children's fragility of ego are still being shaped, and therefore the slightest nuances of communication can be negatively interpreted. Perhaps these thumb of rule for the classroom may work:
  • elicit as much as possible oral participation from students.
  • help the students to laugh with each other's mistake.
  • be firm in your(teacher) expectation of students.
  • be patient and supportive to build self-esteem.
5. Authentic, meaningful language
Like I said above, children are focused on what the new language can actually be used for here and now. They are, in fact, less willing to put up with language that doesn't hold immediate rewards for them.
  • Language needs to be firmly context embedded.
  • A whole language approach is essential because when it is broken into bits and pieces, the children will not see the relationship to the whole.
  • Stress the interrelation among the various skills.
All in all, it takes a very special person to be able to teach children effectively. Not all of us are born with the ability of teaching. Some may have high patience, some may not. Along with all these guidelines, I, personally, hope that  it works for those teachers who seek for help. Who knows, these thumb of rules are effective? God willing. Anyway, I end up my post here, till we meet again in next post. Have a nice day everyone. Bye.

With love,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Procrastination Avoidance

Peace be upon you and hello my dear readers.

Time management is one of the most important skills a student can learn. With a good time management system you can easily find the time to do the things that are important to you, whether in your professional or personal life.
Successful time management can be challenging, especially to those who are not capable of controlling themselves well. When you have a teacher telling you what to do and when to do it by, it’s much easier to prioritize and figure out what needs to be done and when. But when you’re not only dealing with lots of homework or activities instead of having examinations, time management gets a whole lot trickier.

Below are twelve tips to help you better manage your time and find the time to participate in the things that are important to you. Wish it works for you.

Get organized

Separate work space from everything-else space

Take advantage of time management tools

Set goals

Plan ahead


Learn to say no

Learn when you work best

Do not waste time

Avoid multitasking

Take frequent breaks


Wish all of us can use our time wisely on days ahead. 

With love,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Moving Ahead with New Vision

Peace be upon you and hello my dear readers,

There have been improvements done in our educational system after our ministries had been through such great discussions with interference of locals regarding new syllabus for primary students starting January, 2011. Consequently, Education Ministry had recently come up with the MBMMBI (Memartabatkan Bahasa Malaysia dan Memperkukuhkan Penguasaan Bahasa Inggeris), a policy which aims to uphold Bahasa Malaysia and strengthen English language. 

"An evaluation was carried out following which improvements were made to the KBSR (Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah), which in turn resulted in the development of KSSR (Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah) or QQ."
(Star Education, January 16, 2011)

According to our Education director-general, Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom, the KSSR will be likely represent a "transformation in education" as it will see some subjects combined, and new ones created with themes on nationhood and patriotism. Alimuddin also that said teachers were being prepared for the KSSR;

“The teaching and learning approach will be more interactive and interesting, especially for the teaching of the two languages in line with the Education Ministry’s policy to strengthen both languages as the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English comes to an end."

Mathematics and Science text books for Standard 1 students.

However, many parties spoke out their opinion to express their disapproval of switching Mathematics and Science subject particularly from English language to Bahasa Malaysia which can cause some drawbacks to students. This including group of parents, educators and even from students of higher institutions as they realize the importance of mastering English as Second Language instead of Bahasa Malaysia

Due to the qualifications set by private sectors particularly, they demand staffs who are capable to speak in English fluently in running their companies. Furthermore, English is used widely in our daily lives regardless of time, people, and places. Though English lessons are extended up to 6 periods during schooling time, yet, it seems ineffective and unapproachable. And ironically, Bahasa Malaysia lessons are extended up to 10 periods in class. So, logically, how can they master English if their time are mostly occupied with Bahasa Malaysia as spoken language? Will this policy meet its vision? 

I am here not to be by anybody's side. But, I am here to invite my readers to think the rationale, the pros and cons of implementing KSSR or QQ as it determines our generations' future. We'd better think wisely because we do not want they are being victimized by our mistakes. I believe, our ministries want to provide best for our students. Just tell me, who do not want glory? Who refuse prosperity? None, of course! Before I end up this post, I am really hoping that the execution of this policy goes well. As a future teacher, I do concern on such issue. With that, thank you.

With love,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

No Time to Turn, Heartbeat gets fast.

Peace be upon you and hello my dear readers.

"I am sweating now...
moving slow,
no time to think,
my time to go...:

I bet you guys have heard the lyrics. Yeah! It is Rihanna's song, Russian Roullette. But, please do not get me wrong. I do not put the lyrics to symbolize I am going to kill myself by pulling trigger to my head.  I am just interested with the lyrics as coincidentally, these four lines of lyrics can also describing a person who gets nervous when they have to talk in front of others. Regardless of their status, whether they are working or studying, it is common to have nervous. Otherwise, you may deliver such a horrible presentation due to your over-confidence. On top of that, the lyrics really get me to the moment of my debate competition two years ago.

We do know that debate competition is not as easy as an ABC. It really needs hard work and patient. It is undeniably true when we get mentally exhausted as we have to think much to clarify and find evidence for each topic. This including statistics, citations, facts and etc. Then, when we are in the middle of the battlefield, we have no turning back. We really have to fight, no surrender! I know how does it feel. Everything seems to mix up. And somehow we may lose focus till we do not know what  we are supposed to say. That is the time we look pathetic. However, it is common thing that always happen to those beginners or even experienced debater. Extrinsic factors including audience, judges, the opposition and even ourselves are the greatest fear surround us when we are on the stage. Only practice and well-prepared will help debaters to stay calm and speak fluently.

I do interested to be Malay debater for one more time. It is not for fun or leisure, but it is for satisfaction. Satisfaction that will not be comprehended by non-debaters. 

This is how debate competition goes.

Oh My! This is so not debate competition. It is kinda arguing one to another.

I wish to be one of them. Will be.


One thing for sure,

For those who would like to be debaters.

Anyhow, best of luck! 

With love,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Feel Sorry for Kinesthetic Learners

Peace be upon you and hello my dear readers.

Take a look at the picture above. 
What do you think about the child whom is arranging blocks following its order? 

Initially, it may look interesting as the child is sort of playing alone by arranging the blocks according to its color or  its broad base. But, let us think again. What is he actually trying to do? Does he learn something? How does he manage to arrange those blocks? These questions demand explanation!  

My dear readers, this is what people around do not really know about learning styles they possess in which it is very essential for students especially, thus, they will be able to figure out what kind of techniques suit their learning styles. People are different in most part of lives. And surely, we are different in learning too! That is why there are good and weak students in schools and higher institutions. 

Basically, the picture shown above represents one of the learning styles known as "Kinesthetic style", whilst another two styles are; 1)visual style & 2)auditory style. Since I was born as kinesthetic learner, allow me to elaborate more on the technique. Most probably people seem not too pay their attention to a group of people like me as though we are not having any problems. Yet, I would say that being a kinesthetic learner is likely a sufferer whom her predicament meets no end. 

Let me clarify what is actually being meant by kinesthetic learner. You, my lovely readers may take a look at notes below;

Kinesthetic learners typically learn best by doing. They are naturally good at physical activities like sports and dance. They enjoy learning through hands-on methods. They typically like how-to guides and action-adventure stories. They might pace while on the phone or take breaks from studying to get up and move around. Some kinesthetic learners seem fidgety, having a hard time sitting still in class.
(Melissa Kelly,2011)

Accordingly, a kinesthetic learner learns best by doing, for instance, manipulating items, stimulation and role plays methods that physically involve them in the learning process. Just like the child in the photo; he is figuring out himself how to arrange the blocks, so he can make a tall building whose stable enough. The child is applying all the theories which associate with stability of the blocks through practicality. Consequently, he will be more understand on how the theories work rather than paying attention to lectures in classes, yet, he gains nothing, by which, his presence is likely meaningless. Whenever this type of learners are not capable of comprehending what have been thought, they may fall asleep easily or start to shift their attention to other work.


Getting bored...

This is what Melissa Kelly meant by stating that kinesthetic learners having a hard time sitting still in class. It is not because they do not focus, but it is actually they have difficulties to understand something through lectures. They need to move, do some work, hands-on and etc. 

Seeing that our educational system is based on exam-oriented, which students have to listen to lectures and keep memorizing notes given, group of educators suppose to find the gateway of this quandary. Otherwise, kinesthetic learners do not have the opportunity to score better in their assignments, tests or examinations. It is kind of racist if such thing happens. Don't you think so? I have found out some to help them and they are;-
  1. Provide students as many opportunities as your curriculum warrants to complete hands-on work.
  2. Allow students to role play to gain further understanding of key concepts.
  3. Provide students with the opportunity to work in a small discussion group as they study materials.
  4. If possible, plan a field trip than can help reinforce key concepts.
  5. Allow students to stretch partially through the class if they seem to become restless.

As a person who has experienced it much, I really feel sorry for them and myself too. But, there are still ways to cope. What can I say, do not ever give up as chances are everywhere. We are the only one who have to seek it, thus, we could reach the succeed. I do hope that educators will help kinesthetic learners fairly. They are humans, have feelings and thoughts. It just people who do not be aware of their dilemmas. They may look "blur", but when they have understood particular facts, they will be okay. I believe, it is hard to be explained, but, please do not ignore them. Plus, 

"When there is a will, there is a way."

In short, there must be solutions for it. =))

P/s: I may describe kinesthetic learners are likely disable learners, but actually, I really want
my readers understand by putting themselves in those kinesthetic learners' shoes. What will they feel and etc. They are suffering outside there if they are neglected. Think dear

With love,

January Begins.

When 2010 said goodbye, 2011 begins its way.

everyone starts to make wishes, prepares their mental and physical fitness,
just to live their lives.

One more year to have nice and sweet date. =)

We are now in January, a month as a symbol of new year, consisting of 31 days and 744 hours.

So, my dear friends, what are you waiting for? Be quick! Start to plan your 2011 resolution though we are in 13th January already. I guess it is still not too late. At least, you guys still have plans to be implemented, goals to be pursued and dreams to be achieved. Come on! Get back on your track, start the car, and let's race! Life is like a game. You are just on your own. and one thing for sure...

1st come, 1st serve!

Since I listed down some of my 2011 resolution as followed, hence, I would like to share with you guys mine. You may take a look at those:-

1)be more focus and committed with studying
2)put much effort to achieve better result
3)never say never to study and stay late at night

1)families first
2)prioritize friends
3)live my life-pressure is good, yet capable to handle it
4)do not forget sports to keep healthy

1)Strive for my expertise in debate field

Those are some of my new year's resolution. Simple yet hard to be carried out without discipline and perseverance. Personally, I wish this new year will bring lots of happiness in my life and enlighten my days onward. Since I got just ordinary result for my 1st semester in Bachelor of Education, I really need to work hard. or else failure will be mine. That is what those resolution  are for. Undeniable that I do feel upset, but that does not mean I will simply give up. I believe, my endeavor will be paid someday. God willing.

So, guys, before I end up this post, I really want to seek your forgiveness for all my wrongdoings or I might hurt you before. We'd better forgive and forget the past as well as start all over again. Oh ya! Thousand of thanks to you guys for everything you did for me. I won't forget that. Pray for our success, and we will be meeting soon after graduates. 

With that, thank you.

These purposely drop by here just to say:
<3 <3 <3

With love,