Education

My take on the different aspects within education which relates to ongoing societal concerns.

Identifying the Gap between P4 and P5 English

Filling the apple of knowledge

Filling the apple of knowledge

English is a subject that I’m more comfortable teaching the kids.  Being an  English teacher , teaching this subject comes rather naturally to me as I’ve been doing so for more then 10 years.

Staying in a predominantly English environment the kids have ample chance to practice speaking English with our friends and family.  This makes it very easy for them to practice their spoken English on a daily basis.

The problem that Monkey boy faces  at the moment  is  him slipping into Singlish or broken English  at times when they talk. This is certainly a no-no in my book as it hampers both their spoken and written ability in this language.

 

English Examination Format

English Examination Format

 

Weightage for the different components of the English examination format has remained relatively similar for  Primary 5 as compared to Primary 4. The  main difference is the allocation of marks for the various sections.

In Primary 4 the total marks is 100 marks while in Primary 5 this has been doubled to  a 200 marks total.

New item for Oral– Stimulus Based Conversation.

This component has been newly  introduced this year to the P4 and P5 students .

The  student is assessed based on the following

– Ability to speak fluently and with grammatical accuracy, using a range of appropriate vocabulary and structure.

– The ability to express their personal opinions, ideas and experiences clearly and effectively in conversing with the examiner.

– Ability to maintain good eye contact with the examiner.

This can be quite challenging for a child if he is not able think on his feet and draw out suitable words to use based on  scenarios that he has been exposed to prior.

Focus tip : Expose your child to a variety of scenario. This could be through personal experiences or role play . This would build up his ability in story telling.

 

English Composition Format

English Composition Format

Since 2015 there has been a change in the way a student has to write his composition.  They are no longer focusing on the old 3 pictures and a question mark type of composition questions and one  to a  system where it is more open ended.

I’ve covered the changes to PSLE composition format in my series on – English Composition  and therefore will not be repeating it here.  If you are just looking at how continuous writing looks like now you can read this post here. 

The main focus here would be for Monkey boy to improve on his command of English and expand his  vocabulary word bank.

He would also need to write a longer essay as the minimum  word count has increased from 120 words to 150 words.

He would also need to make sure that he speeds up his speed of writing as he has to do both  Situational  Writing and Continuous writing within the given time frame of  1hr 10 min

Changes in the Paper 2

Changes in the Paper 2

One of the main difference in Paper 2 is the introduction of Visual Text Comprehension and a more comprehensive  Open Ended Comprehension section.

What is  Visual Text comprehension?

It is an assessment which tests a students ability in grasping the main ideas, key details, punctuation, textual elements and how the relate visuals to text.

The range of skills assessed include in the child while getting them to answer questions are

– skimming the passage for gist/ main ideas.

– Scanning for details

– Making inference based on the visual/contextual clues given

– Making simple generalisation based on the information given.

Even though the other components of Paper 2 are not new to Monkey boy he will need to pay special attention to answering questions in the Comprehension OE section.

Based on my teaching experience this is the section which most students struggle as they are unable to score due to their inability in giving complete answers to the questions posed.

What is assessed in Comprehension OE?

In the section the student has to be able to do the following.

– Distinguish between cause and effect.

– Compare and Contrast

– Categorise and classify given details.

– Identify fact and opinions

– Draw conclusions based on evidence given.

– Interpret and integrate information

– Identify problems- solution in a text.

More higher order thinking questions are given and been able to analyse and rationalise are key factors  to ace this section.

In the follow up post  I will be sharing the methods and resources that I use to  help Monkey boy improve in his English.

 

 Bridging the GAP

1) Bridging the Gap- An Introduction

2) Bridging the Gap-  Identifying the Gap in Chinese Language ( P4 to P5 )

3) Bridging the Gap- Reinforcing the Learning of Chinese

4)Bridging the Gap- Identifying the Gap between P4 and P5 English.

5)Bridging the Gap- Learning of English in Upper Primary

6) Bridging the Gap- Identifying the Gap between P4 and P5 Maths

7) Bridging the Gap –  Modelling and Methods  in Maths (Part 1) 

8) Bridging the Gap- Modelling and Methods in Maths ( Part 2)

9) Bridging the Gap- Upper and Lower Primary Science

10) Bridging the Gap-  Moving from Lower to Upper Primary

11) Bridging the Gap- Moving from Lower to Upper Primary ( Part 2)

Bridging the GAP: Reinforcing the learning of Chinese

 

 

Assessment books which we use

Assessment books which we use

Chinese Language is not an easy subject for me to teach. Being an English teacher I’m more versed in teaching English and other subjects which use English as the mode of instruction.

It has been an ongoing challenge  for me as I try to recall what I was taught during Chinese lessons in school when I was still a student.  Chinese has never been a strong subject of mine. I had Chinese tuition as a child as my parents do not speak Mandarin. Both of them learned Malay in school and were not able to guide me in the language therefore the need for additional help from a tutor.

Monkey boy and his siblings have it easier as compared to me. Both his dad and me are able to speak and write Mandarin so we are able to guide him along the way if needed. R’s parents are also retired  Chinese  school teachers so they too are able to teach him.

Nowadays there are  many more resources both online and in print which can aid a child in learning Chinese. I have been using both online and print material in coaching Monkey boy with his Chinese.

In the previous post on -Identifying the GAP in Chinese I mentioned that  I need to beef up his vocabulary bank together with his  written ability to express himself.

The only way that Monkey boy will be able to improve in his grades is through  constant practice in  both oral and written Chinese.

Speaking and listening to Mandarin during Chinese lessons in school is insufficient exposure to the language.   One needs constant practice to be able to both speak and write fluently in the language.

Being a mainly English speaking household, I  try to give the kids more opportunity to speak and listen to  Chinese where possible. I  borrow Chinese storybooks from the library which I read with them regularly  and try speaking to them in Mandarin as often as possible.

Besides interacting with them in Mandarin I do set up a schedule for Monkey boy so that he is able to get adequate practice in the areas which he is weak in.  I don’t believe in cramming before a test or an examination.

I feel that it is much better if the child gets constant and regular practice in a subject so that he will be able to cope with any test or exam as he does ongoing revision.

The child will not be as stressed as he is confident that he has covered all the material that would be tested has been revised.

I find that less stressful for the parent as there is no need to take note of all the dates for the various tests/ mock tests which are administered.  I personally only take note of the dates for  SA1 and SA2 as Monkey boy’s school doesn’t have CA exams.

Monkey boy's revision schedule

Monkey boy’s revision schedule

This is the revision schedule for Chinese which Monkey boy and I have set . We agreed on what we will be working on on a weekly, bi-monthly and monthly basis besides the regular homework that is given by his school teacher.

Difference in the length of the composition written from P4 to P5

Difference in the length of the composition written from P4 to P5

As Monkey boy is doing  HCL he has to be able to write a composition of 200 words or more fluently.  To  build up his ability in composition writing I have used the composition writing assessment book shown in the picture at the top of this posts.

 

Composition Exercise in the assessment book

Composition Exercise in the assessment book

As you can see from the photo of a picture composition above,  in each exercise,  focus is given on individual pictures. There is a lot of helping words given and even a sample writing paragraph given below on how to describe the picture shown above.

I feel that it is a good way of teaching Monkey boy through the examples shown the possible vocabulary that can be used to describe the different picture.

The 5 W and 1 H ( Who, What , Where, When, Why and How) are clearly shown together with how the picture should be analysed. It makes the child think of what can be said or describe upon seeing the picture It  makes sure that every angle of the story is covered in detail.

There are also suggested introduction and conclusion for the given  picture composition so that the child gets a clear picture of what is expected of him when faced with that particular topic.

In order to score for Chinese composition the essay that is written has to be very descriptive and also fluent in expression.   Knowing to use the right words in the right context would certainly help Monkey boy score well in this area.

Vocabulary list within the book

Vocabulary list within the book

This particular book has a sample composition and a vocabulary list at the end of exercise for reference.  These come in handy when Monkey boy is looking for inspiration on what to write in his own essay based on the given pictures.

I will be giving  practice papers and sample exam papers to complete  before his  coming SA exams. This would give him a clearer understanding of which areas he is weak in and also sufficient practice before the school exams.

How do you reinforce the learning of

Chinese with your kids?

 

1) Bridging the Gap- An Introduction

2) Bridging the Gap-  Identifying the Gap in Chinese Language ( P4 to P5 )

3) Bridging the Gap- Reinforcing the Learning of Chinese

4)Bridging the Gap- Identifying the Gap between P4 and P5 English.

5)Bridging the Gap- Learning of English in Upper Primary

6) Bridging the Gap- Identifying the Gap between P4 and P5 Maths

7) Bridging the Gap –  Modelling and Methods  in Maths (Part 1) 

8) Bridging the Gap- Modelling and Methods in Maths ( Part 2)

9) Bridging the Gap- Upper and Lower Primary Science

10) Bridging the Gap-  Moving from Lower to Upper Primary

11) Bridging the Gap- Moving from Lower to Upper Primary ( Part 2)