This blog was created for students teachers to reflect on their teaching experience at school and share this experience with one another. As each shares and collaborates on best practices, successes as well as mistakes in teaching ESL, it is hoped that student teachers will benefit from such collaborative reflections on this blog platform and continue to appreciate the use of such a platform for further collaborations even after Teaching Practice.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The shining points lighten by mates

My fellow classmates' experiences had inspired me a lot during my teaching practice, I was amazed by their brilliant strategies in teaching and caring moments with their students.  We may not facing the same problems and challenges, but I could understand how it feels. Sharing opinion can always impact different sparkles just like one plus one sometimes are greater than two. 

After I have read all the posts, I could tell that the most attractive method from fellow classmates to me is they put to use ' drawing' activity in teaching ( like pei pei, Alia and Yasmin did) . They asked students to analyze different characters' characteristic  and solve different problems by drawing mind-map. Alia asked students choose one superhero and analyze the characteristic of the superhero by drawing a mind-map on a mahjong paper. Combine with her pre activity I could feel her lesson plan must be very systematic so the flow of her class was very smooth. Yasmin guided students to design a perfume in a chemist position for the characters in story. I must say how interesting the activity is and how creative the outcomes are from  those talented students. Drawing mind-map stimulates the students' interests and during the process, students were encouraged to interact with each other. Group presentation helps to improve students speaking skill and from their presentation teacher could estimates how much they have understand from the text. These creative outcomes make students feel more satisfied about their hard-working, so it for sure increase students' interests on English learning and students will be more focus on class. Another strategy which leave a deep impression on me is outdoor activity( like Nisa and Bunmi did) . They conduct an activity outside the classroom, the place could be on the playground, under the tree or any place which has enough space for students to complete the task. I think most of the students rarely go out of the class to have English lesson. So outdoor activity attracts students attention and it makes them feel more relax to enjoy the class. So I believe the teachers must be good on time management and class management. I didn't choose to use these methods because I found these activities were not really suit for my class based on the different situation and having different students. Knowing what is students need and interests is very necessary, it not only helps teacher to deliver the knowledge easily it also makes students understand that teacher was trying to stand in their position to guide them to learn with pleasure.

When I read the experiences from Sophie ( Zhao Xunyu),actually I didn't feel that surprise because as a classmate and friend of her for almost 4 years, I know her style is ' small size with strong power'. She did not feel hesitating to get to know students' feeling towards her and when students gave feedback to her, she really cares and did put effort to change the negative part. I can clearly feel she got along with her students with sincereness and passion. Sometimes when students made mistakes and did not perform well in discipline, Sophie would just point it out with effective and persuasive words to try to made students understand. Students are all sensitive about their performance in teachers' eyes and they do care how the attitude is from teacher to them. When some emergency happened, her calmness and quick-witted reaction helped her did a good job. Sometimes when we share experience in chatting, I would ask myself if I was facing that situation, will I be able to say something and do something like she did?  Sophie use her passion and sincere heart to break the wall between her and her students. From her experience I learned that ' How do you treat students, the students will do the same to you.' 

I strongly agree games would  be the most popular part for students in English learning. Like 'Tongue twister', ' crossword', ' puzzles' and ' idioms' which some peers have used in teaching are really effective. I made my English name into a 'whisper game' at the beginning of my teaching period to light their interest on my class , at the same time I aimed to remind them focus on pronunciation and tense. I didn't expect I could get a strong response afterwards. Sometimes they call me ' Miss Panda' instead of ' Miss Amanda'. lol  Interesting and meaningful games could always be the trump cards for teacher in teaching. 

Fellow classmates brilliant methods and interesting lessons enlarge my views. Inspiration always comes from learning process. Thank you all. :) 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

An end means a new start

Greeting to all, 

I have to say two months of teaching are just too short for me to teach and learn more, but just because of those two months, I have rethink the meaning of "teacher". Until now, the moments I got along with students still clearly emerge in my mind. 

After two weeks of teaching, I used to ask the monitors of two classes after class what do they think about my teaching and how do they feel the way when I get along with them. The monitor of 4S1 is a smart funny boy, he told me that he likes the way I teach and he has no problem with my class, but he gave me a little suggestion " Teacher you know you and us are all young people and you only be a few years older than us( omg, he still thinks me as their age group, feel so touching lol) ,  we don't expect the teacher who is too fierce and serious,so don't worry and hope you can be more relax with us, we could be more understandable."  Well, from his suggestion I realized I may look a bit serious and tense just because I was too serious about teaching in order to perform well. It reminds me the words which my senior used to tell me when we communicate " It is not a good plan to be too serious just in order to make them listen to you, students like friendly teacher who wins their hearts."  Standing in their position helps to see wider and clearer. In order to get more voice, I asked some other students do they really can learn something from my class. Their detailed responses like what they have learn from me and which activity they like the most definitely were the biggest positive encourages for me.  

Never forget to open up ourselves before expecting students to open up to us. Flash back to my teaching period, what I have been always keep in mind is what can I give to students. At the same time I felt satisfied and cheerful when I teach them something useful and get their positive response from their enjoyable cooperation. I felt delighted when I saw students were taking notes so carefully while I was doing revision for them. 

I still remember how I deal with those naughty students with " threatening" and punishment; How I made a first step to approach those silent students to make them speak up. How I was "tortured" by their thousands of questions towards me everyday. 

On the last day of teaching as well as their last day of school, I got permission from teacher that I did not need to teach just spend time and say bye with my students. At the last day of teaching, I received the most meaningful gift ever. 

From 4S1, the naughty, smart, funny class.  everyone wrote their appreciation on an mahjong paper  

From 4S4, the talented , united and friendly class, a girl who told other teacher that she may bully me later at the beginning of my teaching period made a bracelet for me. and thankfully that until the last she didn't bully me lol because I made the first step to turn her defensiveness into a favorable impression on me, that is the first mover's advantage, haha. and also everyone wrote a lot on different color paper to tell their true feelings to me. 



Here are some of the students' voice to me: 

" I have always had fun and enjoyed your lessons. You have made our class cheerful and you always have activities and games for us to make the class more interesting. I really hoped that you can teach us for a much longer time. Lastly, I would like to say thank you and good luck to you!" 

" Thank you for teaching us. Hope you had a great time in teaching. We know that you put a lot effort to teach us. Owhhh, I like your accent too! All the best in China. " 

"Thank you for teaching us, your lesson were very interesting and helpful. I have gained a lot of knowledge from you. English lesson was my favorite lesson these two months because of you. Wish you all the best. Miss Amanda." 

" I like your teaching style, hope you could show more smile! " ( not enough? well, will smile more! lol) 

" Thank you for everything! I like your innovative class and you are creative and kind. Hope you could be the principal in the future!" ( haha, let me be the qualified teacher first! ) 

After reading all these words and wishes, I felt two month efforts were not in vain. Uncountable nights with pulling hair to plan the lessons were worth for me. In those two months of teaching, two of the most strongest feeling for me about teacher are: 

As a teacher, if you want to teach "a glass of" knowledge, you must have "a pail of" knowledge or even more knowledge first. Teacher is a profession which carry more responsibility as it is a big influence to others life and future.  

A popular teacher may not a good teacher in professional teaching, but a good teacher must get the acceptance from students first. 

Two months teaching experience helped us stand at the very beginning of teaching road. Profession, devotion and responsibility are the three things we need to keep chasing on the way. I appreciate what I have been through in those two months. We learn from mistakes, we improve from experience. A long way to go, good luck to everyone. Cheer up. :)   

Thursday, 29 November 2012

~ The end of the Battleship with thousands of experienced

Hello everyone, it's already week 9 and we are almost going to the end of teaching practice. So what I can share here is students started their final examinations. Teachers only need to go for invigilation. As for me I need to take the exam paper from a special room which they put all the exam papers inside it. As well as to sign the form to make sure there is no mistake made. I also helped my mentors to mark the students exam papers and key in the marks for the PBS system for form 1.

This week is the last week for my Form 2 and Form 4 students. They thanked me for being there with their lovely hugs. I am happy to know them and glad that they really enjoyed being with me. I hope that they will achieve something in their life so that I can proudly say that they were mt students.

At the same time, I felt sad because time flies and we all have to leave the schools and our beloved students. But teaching practice will be one of the most memorable time ever. I hope you all enjoyed your teaching practice even some of us including me faced a lot of problems with the students.

~ Loveable Kids Ever... ~

I am really sorry because I was not able to post about my teaching practical from week 6... So now I'm sharing my stories to all of my course mates...

Students creating their slogans.
This group almost done with their poster on the topic.

Still writing and drawing.

I am proud to say that my kids are really awesome and wonderful especially my form2 students. After week 6 they really obey all mu rules and did all their homework. Even, they are really enthusiastic in participating in group work. As what I can say here, they did a good job in delivering all their ideas as well as sharing their points regarding the subject. Before this I had mentioned that I used a technique to make them listen to me. Which is 5 languages that I knew. And it really works! My students cooperated with me very well which I felt so glad to teach them. I would like to share a few pictures here when I did a group work regarding the topic "Open Burning". I asked them to be in group of 6 and design a poster on how to create awareness among the public to stop open burning using 5 to 6 sentences. I also discussed with them about the slogan that they designed and give marks according to their creativity and how they present it. Here are a few examples.

Students raising their hands to answer my question.

These are the examples of slogans designed by the students.

I'm giving explanation and corrects the mistake they made.

Unfortunately, I was not able to capture pictures for my Form4 class. But what I can say here is that, they really cooperated with me even some of the students are really stubborn and like to talk in class while I'm teaching. When, Dr. Adele came to observe me for the first time, i was nervous but I can say that i am confident to handle the class even I had made a few mistakes. But the worst part is for my second observation, I really felt disappointed because I did not delivered a good teaching aids and also my instruction was not so clear. But I really tried my best and my mentor really encouraged and supported me a lot. I had the chance to know my students because I had two different classes. So I tend to learn more about the backgrounds of my students and based on that I will be bale to handle the classes in future.

I did not get good comments for my form 4 class which makes me feel so stressed. But I am lucky because my another mentor for my form 2 class praised me a lot. This is because before their exam started, i did a debate. I am shocked because my first impression is that, my form2 kids will not be able to deliver their points. But I was wrong. They did a very good job. They were so excited to participate in the debate.. My mentor was there to observe me. After the debate, my mentor called me and said that, " You did a very good job". You should do it again next time." The words that she said makes me feel appreciated for the effort that I have been putting all this while. I recorded the debate activity, but unfortunately I accidentally deleted it which I only realized few days back.

I hope I can go through this teaching practice until week 10 with the blessing of the lovely people around me..

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

"Puzzle pieces" in teaching

Hello everyone,

Before I didn't know that there were a lot of paper work for teachers until I have been involved in this environment I got to know that as a teacher, they need to plan everything in advance. Preparing uncountable forms, documents and teaching materials make teachers can not take a pause.
During Form 4 exams, except doing invigilation . I also assisted to mark the exam paper except  summary writing part for both of my classes 4S1 and 4S4. Marking exam paper reminds me about the courses" Language testing and assessment" and "Assessment in literature education" I have taken in last two semesters. It took time to combine the knowledge masterly with the practical process. Sometimes the differences between the knowledge and practical process made me feel quite confused. When I was not sure about students' answers whether is right or wrong, I would just ask the teachers for opinions. " As an examiner, you should be fair with every student's answer. Never paraphrase their answers even you really want to give marks to them. Helping them to improve but not helping them to be just satisfied with their marks" the teacher's suggestion made me understand one more important responsibility of a teacher.
One episode happened during exam week. As my mentor has already did revision for 4S1 students earlier , so I just chose to do the revision for students about sentence connectors as they would use in writing part. On the day of English exam, it was my period of invigilation. When I just went to the class started to divide the exam paper, some boys came to me and ask me " Miss Amanda, what is the format of report?" I was shocked " Seriously? You suppose to know it! Didn't you learn it before? " " We learnt before, but our teacher didn't teach that much about that." Then I feel a little bit guilty, I should have done the revision about writing format for them. After the exam, I went to meet the mentor with my doubt. " Why they told me they didn't know the format of report? Some of them really looked worried about that." " Don't be bothered, they were just trying to get extra information to gain more marks from you. I have told them thousands of time unless they were sleeping when I teach them."  Oh, well, I was still too simple to deal with those "smart" heads. lol  Later on when I started to mark exam paper, thankfully most of the students managed to write the correct format in writing part.

During SPM and PMR exam, I was assigned to assist English department to prepare the teaching module and materials for Form 4 and Form 5 in 2013. I need to work on the grammar part. Categorizing  the grammatical items from every unit first then select the teaching materials from books and internet based on each item. After few days  I finally managed to collect over 300 materials into more than 30 item folders. How I wonder I could teach that time! Sometimes I also helped teachers to do the teaching aids and type students name lists. Uncountable paper work killed time.

Since exam has ended, there was nothing to restrict the students. Some of them even have no interest to come to school, so everyday there was 30%-40% absence in class. I had to came up more interesting activities to attract  their attention. By the way, it reminds me of using different teaching aids in class. From my point of view, pictures and drawing activity already can not satisfied Form 4 students. It forces me to look further to choose more different teaching aids in class. Starting from the first day, everyday before class starts, I will show one English quotes on color paper to students. It  related to different aspects of life. "Tip of the day" brings positive energy to students, it also catches their attention before class starts. As I managed to get the permission from chief teacher  at the beginning before I teach, I just need to go to science lab to borrow projector whenever I want to use in class. Videos never fails to catch their eyes as they rarely watch videos in their previous classes. Short video clips, music videos, commercial, animation, speech, news report, talk show,documentary and whatever I can use to match with the topics of different lessons. Sometimes I also bring posters, magazines like "reader digest" "Time" " Discovery " and " National Geography " magazine into writing and speaking class. The picture and commercial pages could used in presentation. The articles in magazine could be the samples to guide them in writing. Color paper, box , envelope and candies which I think a little bit childish also works on class. As long as students could be interested and focused in English learning, all kinds of teaching aids which are interesting, useful and relevant can be recommend to use.

Teaching is an exploring process, to find out what are students' needs, which way is more easier and interesting for teacher to deliver the knowledge to students. 


Friday, 23 November 2012

Details determine success or failure

Greeting to all!

I apologize for my super late post. It seems I got " jet lag"...

Form 4 students had started their final exam since week 4 and which has last for almost 4 weeks. So I would like to share more details in first 3 weeks teaching in Katholic High school first.  

As  my teaching time were 'ruthlessly' shorten by Form 4 final exam, PMR and SPM. I got very little time to teach. I must  teach them more knowledge in a limited time. Everyday I was thinking how to deliver knowledge to students in an interesting and effective way. Due to they had already done with all lessons on syllabus, I was told by my mentor that I 'm free to teach with any relevant and useful lesson plans.  My mentor's permission made my teaching plan became more flexible. 

In last reflection I mentioned that I used learning style test which I got from a workshop named blended learning to test my students what are their learning style. What surprised me that most of them are kinesthetic which means they are interested in activity and prefer to do it personally to understand what they have learnt. And I finally understand why most of them seemed not that active when they need to come in front of the class to conduct an activity individually. They are just too shy to do it alone in front of the people. As they are just not used to this kind of learning style. So sometimes I made group work instead of individual work. 3-4 students in a group to do an presentation, they could easily express their opinion one by one and do the brainstorm to inspire themselves. In personality adjectives activity, I asked several groups which include two students for each to come in front and write down their classification of positive personality and negative personality. Other than that, scrabble game according to description in pre-reading made students enjoyed to came up the right answer with group discussion. I could feel that they  prefer to fight in front of the class for different ideas rather than do the activity alone. They became more and more confident when they complete the task in front of the class. 

In first few weeks, 4S4 class needs to conduct an oral test which will count in their final marks. I got the chance to observe their presentation, but I noticed that some of them are not well-prepared and their expression about the points were not that clear. Later on I aimed to provided more speaking activity for them. Even though some of their expressions are not that logical, their English proficiency are quite high, so it is not hard to make them talk. Except the speech according to different character and presentation on different topic ( which I mentioned in last reflection) students have tired, I also ask students to do the debate in class. Before I guide them to the topic, I would always share my own stories and experiences or relevant information to catch their attention, then I asked them to share their own opinion. ( E.g. I would share my travelling story and what I have seen in Korea in my last holiday before I give them the topic ' Should plastic surgery encouraged or not?' ) I divided the class into two big groups. Each round during debate need one students to come in front to present. Students were enjoying the debate on interesting topic, as long as their points are conceivable, I would always give praise and encouragement. Most of the students are Chinese, so sometimes when they are too excited to express their opinion, mandarin will blurt out of their mouth. During the activity, most of my comment is " Excuse me, English! " lol  

There was another detail I found that every Wednesday is the day of club activity. Most of the students will join some different clubs like Kungfu, sports and scout etc. So every Wednesday they are extremely exhausted. My classes were in the last few periods, then every Wednesday I have to face their tired look and lower cooperation. I have been used different things to cheer them up. Playing video clip to catch their attention, using group or individual activity to keep them away from motionless in case of falling asleep. Students' reactions on class  are easily affect teachers' emotion and spirit. In fact that cheer them up is to cheer up myself.  Sometimes in class 4S1, the boys are too energetic and noisy, then I will provide some interesting reading comprehension like stories, social issues to make them be quite for a while. Most of the time, they could really focus on reading. 

Final exam was coming at that time, so all of them were under pressure, even they have finish all the lessons, they still have a lot of homework and exercise to do. I found sometimes some students doing other subjects on my class. At the beginning I just approach them and remind them silently because I don't want to make them embarrassing and I thought it works. But they think I 'm not strict and serious by using 'soft warning'. When I found this problem became worse I was angry, one day before class finished, I gave a warning in front of the class." If anyone doing other things on English class again,  you only can get your stuff after the exam. I am serious, so don't test me." This time, it works.  In writing class, I usually ask them to finish writing task on class and pass them up after the class. Some students seemed not that serious and they feel lazy to do it. So I told them, if anyone doesn't pass up the writing piece, his/her pebel mark will deducted.Then everyone passed up on time. I understood that sometimes  'threatening' is very necessary. 

I have been always told that I need to raise my voice as my voice was so soft and low. Especially my supervisor emphasized this problem when she gave me the feedback. I tired my best to raise my voice in the class later on. I even consider to practice shouting to make my voice louder. Sometimes I was moving around or stand in the middle of the classroom to make sure everyone can hear my voice. After observation, I was told that my lesson plan was quite systematic, but I still need to work on the class management like voice intonation, call the name directly instead of approach them and call unintentionally, ask students be ready for the class by giving clear and strict requirement. Details, details, it is all about details which we can not neglect in teaching. I listed down  all the main points that I need to work on. When I prepared the lesson plan, I would also have a look at the tips, so I was able to remind myself do not do the same mistakes again. All I need to do is learn from mistake, improve from experience. 

Many a little makes a mickle,  many details make big changes. 

PS. Start from Week 4, my major work is doing invigilation. To be honest, as a students for more than 15 years, you must do invigilation for even once in lifetime. I really enjoyed doing invigilation, feel so good. I do not feel bored at all.  lol 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Check out Bunmi's Experience

Thanks Bunmi aka Bumstar for sharing your photo collection from school through THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO RECORDING. You look good in a traditional Malay costume! :-)