Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Teacher, I no bring book!

I write this piece after reading the article “Learners need input and interaction” by Dr Tan Kok Eng (The Sunday Star,Nov.18). I strongly agree with Dr Tan that children need proper input in formal schooling. Her article makes me want to share the predicament faced by a friend of mine and he is facing it, still.

In his little town, most of the far-sighted parents enroll their kids in a one prestigious kindy. This kindy is being picked over a few others as its medium of instruction is English. However, sadly to say, the so-called experienced teachers there could hardly speak grammatically sound English, and the kids stuck with them for hours each day. Only God knows how much destruction have been done to the poor kids.

Dr Tan is absolutely right. Input and interaction are vital for young learners in the language learning process. Alas, in my friend’s case, the frequency and quality of comprehensible input are scarce. Thus, when the poor kids move on to formal education in school, almost all of them went to my friend (he’s an English teacher) with heaps of errors in their head. Since the errors were with the kids for a couple of years, they became fossilised.

Attempts to correct those fossilised errors are like trying to move a mountain. It’s tough! My friend did share some of the exchanges and responses that he had with his students.
“Teacher, I no bring book!”
“Do you got a pencil?”
“You no pencil? I borrow you my one.”
“I no take his book. It is my one.”
And, the list is endless.

Again, to reiterate Dr Tan, the kids have never achieve the target language but only reach a deviant form of the target language during the stints at the kindy. As their English teacher in the school, my diligent friend struggled hard to provide them with good models of spoken English. He avoided the use of his students’ mother tongue. He has never and would never resort to his students’ mother tongue to support teaching and learning.

After toiling in that little school for years, he begins to see the fruits of his labour. His students could comprehend him perfectly well. A handful could do it superbly well. They begin to sound more like Justin Bieber instead of Mr Phua, and of course with grammatically correct English!
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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Words that soothe my soul...

I'm easily pleased. No doubt. Just few little words could soothe me immensely.

I was quite upset over my girl's exam result yesterday.

 I was in a turmoil. I thought of it in the waking as well as in the dreaming states. I was mad with the system (education). I was furious with our fate. Why was ours being constantly played down? I kept asking myself the whole of yesterday. What did she do wrong? Why wasn't she be given a chance to prove her best? As a matter of fact, she was one of the best. She has the qualities. She beliefs in her thoughts. She holds strongly to good values.

Instead of letting her scored straight As in her exam, one of the paper was withheld; she obtained a B for that particular paper. To many others, this deems normal. But, to me it's a twist of fate. All these while, she did extremely well in that paper and why was she being adjudged a mediocre in the major exam?

However, early this morning, my wandering soul was appeased. One of my students' mom said these soothing words to me... and the important thing is her sincerity!

Student's mom: Your girl scored 6As! That's very very good! She's excellent! Anyway, what was the B for?
Me: Chinese Paper 2 (Writing).
Student's mom:'s Chinese! Even we Chinese couldn't do well in that paper!

I'm out of the turmoil. As mentioned earlier, my soul is easily soothed....

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Friday, 16 November 2012

My Girl ...

Time flies. It flies real fast. It was like 'yesterday' I enrolled my little girl in the kindy. She was ecstatic to be there. Thank God that she was persistent. She wasn't happy in the first kindy where harsh punishment was inflicted on tiny-tots for a mere baby cry and whine. She was real lucky to have such caring and loving teachers in the new kindy. Thank you very much Madam Lee and Madam Yu!

Six good years have passed. She had gone through tough tasks and challenges. It wasn't easy for a 'dragon' to compete with other fiery dragons. The brainy kids in her class were all the motivation that she needed to excel in her study. 
And to my girl, the only thing that always holds true is the value of life. She leads her way of life with the motto "Not to do evil, to do good, to purity one's mind"!

She was chosen to represent the whole 'dragon tribes' in her school to give a speech at the annual prize giving ceremony. Thank you Madam Ng.! You're the teacher behind her success.

Her 'pride and joy' is the dance that she performed with the girls in her class.

To quote the great Mahatma Gandhi,
"Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny."
And, the values led her to the Most Outstanding Student of the Year Award!

The Most Outstanding Student of the Year 2012, Jerry and Lin.
Yeok Chee teachers, thank you  very much! Your love and care meant a great deal to them.

With her beaming dad.

And...her mom.
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Monday, 12 November 2012

It's been 18 years...still going strong


When I first met you eighteen years ago,
I fell in love so fast, I knew right then,
You were the one and only one for me;
I'd never have to look for love again.

Each anniversary finds us happier;
You are my light, you are my sun.
You show me what real love is all about,
You fill my life with pleasure, joy and fun.

As time goes by, our love grows stronger still.
You're the most amazing man I ever knew.
I prize our anniversaries because
Each year I fall in love again with you.

Happy Anniversary dear hubby...
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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Training vs Lecturing ...Day 1

Hi there. I'm back. There are lots of things to write. There are also loads of things to be shared, but there aren't much opportunities and time to blog about them.

With Tein during the recent school trip to GH.

Last week it was Back to College kind of thing. I was one of the very fortunate ones to be selected to represent teachers in my state at a so-called 'innovations' compact course. In this post, I'd like to share about the tiring journey to the training centre.

The five-day course began a day after a long holiday, the Eid-ul Adha, and it was held in the heart of KL city. Just imagine the exhausting journey that we had gone through. Everyone rushed back to the city for work on the next day and no doubt the traffic jams were massive.

The PLUS Highway which used to boast the smoothest journey for Malaysian travellers couldn't cope with the number of vehicles. Traffic was inching bumper-to-bumper along North-South Expressway. The crawl through the highway from Taiping  stretched all the way to Sg. Buloh.

The trip which normally took about four to five hours stretched to eight hours. Yes! We're on the bus for the whole day. When we finally reached the training centre, it's already past dinner time.

To be continued.
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