english matters

This page is to address some of the repeated questions parents ask, like how my English and Science lessons are conducted. Nothing wrong with asking, as I myself, as a parent, will like to know how my children learn and benefit from the lessons and teachers. More importantly, whether I like the methods taught and if the teachers are a right fit for my children.

ENGLISH

For English, I teach right from K2 up to P6. There is no one size fits all kind (one style method) to teach. Each child is born differently, and we should celebrate the diversity for every individual. Thus, my teaching methods vary accordingly to every child’s needs. There is a main structure of course, but along the way, I must be flexible to tweak my lessons accordingly. My focus for English is to touch on Creative Writing skills, Oral skills and Comprehension Open-ended skills. These 3 are the “achilles heel” for many students, especially my Upper Primary students. Thus, from K2 onwards, I emphasize to parents the need to brush up their writing skills as a foundation so they will be more equipped to handle writing easily when they are in Upper Level.

Here is a quick break breakdown:

1)K2-P2:

  • Focus on Creative Writing via coloured and picture cards to stimulate their visual and spatial skills. Build up on their vocabulary as they describe what they see, and translate them into writing.

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  • I will also guide them on how to be confident speakers.
  • Using hands on experiential learning (usually holiday programmes, something different to break the routine). Children do a craft/food activity, which is then used to write a sequential writing based on the activity done, lastly, to write a simple composition out.

 

  • I believe the other aspects taught in school, like grammar/vocab etc, will come in later, as that can be picked up along the way. Learning must come across fun and meaningful first, before introducing heavier teaching methods to this age group.

2) P3-P4:

  • Emphasis will also be on writing, but a more step up version. In this age group, I will use different scenarios – characters/settings/descriptions cards to make the lesson more lively. Students pick and choose within the different scenarios, give some reason why they chose the pictures and form a simple story web using the W+H question template. Creativity must be harnessed, as students may not have the space to think creatively and boldly, given the time frame in most schools. I give them space to think and encourage them there is no right and no wrong, just go ahead to think away! Of course, I will make sure their ideas are within reasonable range.
  • Aside this, yes, I will need to teach them on grammar/vocab skills usage, as they are older, they are able to absorb, learn more and apply accordingly.

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3) P5-P6:

  • A golden period in this age group, most parents get flustered and get in a frenzy of piling their children with many forms of work, to prepare their children for THE EXAM. I caution against this, as this may not be effective. Yes, consistent revision and practices are needed to ensure some forms of learning effectiveness being measured, but, there are other ways to test for that. I still firmly believe that studying need not be boring and routine.
  • For this age group, I came up with a book that helps my students to better cope with their work. In my book, which you can browse the weblinks under English, on how I use my DART and TASER strategies to teach creative writing and comprehension open-ended skills swiftly.

This pretty much sums up what I do for my English lessons. Feedback has been encouraging, thus, I know I am on the right track. However, there are a few parents who do not agree with what I do. There is nothing wrong too, just a matter of different perspective and different fit. Thankfully, there is a majority of parents that trust me to work on their children, and I try the best I can!