Come this September, I will be going back to university… Hip hip hurray!!Finally, I get to do my Masters and that means I’m one step closer to realizing my dream of being a housewife with a PhD. I will talk about that in another post; but for now, let me share with you what I have in mind for the next 2 years…
For your information, I’m taking study leave so that I can study full-time. In other words, I don’t have to go to school!! I won’t have to mark essays, key in marks, update SMM, set exam papers, call parents, and whatnot. Ooo… I’m so excited! So, I’m assuming that I’ll have some free time on my hand to work on projects.
Looking back to the past 3 years, I realize that my forte is getting students to do projects that go beyond the four walls of the classroom. The objective is to give students the opportunities to use the language to engage in meaningful communication in real-world situations. I was very fortunate to be involved in a British Council project when I was teaching in SMK Methodist, Sibu. I had the opportunity to go to Taiwan for an educational expo and there I met teachers from the UK and other East Asian countries such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
We exchanged contact details and for the past two years, we have been working on projects (or rather, getting our students to work on projects). For example, last year, my Form 2 and Form 3 students made videos of them preparing local delicacies such as curry, nasi lemak and so on. They enjoyed the process. One student excitedly reported to me that it was his first time cooking and he loved it! Anyway, I sent the videos to my counterpart in Taiwan and she did likewise. I also posted the videos on YouTube.
Besides, my students also created PowerPoint slides to promote Malaysia and to share with their peers what a typical day in the life of a Malaysian student is like. And instead of merely teaching my students to write ‘letters’ in their exercise books to be marked by me, I gave them the opportunity to write “real” letters which I then posted to Taiwan. The students were thrilled when they received a reply. They even exchanged gifts. The Taiwanese students even sent us couplets which the students proudly displayed in the classroom.
My students went head over heels when we had a web-conferencing session with students from the UK. They were so excited to be interacting with native speakers.
I really had fun working on these projects with my students. It gave me much satisfaction to see them working together on various tasks and improve in their command of the language. When I’m on study leave, I plan to explore this method of teaching and hopefully, I’d be able to develop a curriculum that incorporates all these elements. So far, I have one group of students who are keen to take part in my “classes” which will commence in September. Students will be using all the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) to communicate, do research and present their projects. I will also teach them basic computer skills and expose them to the Internet. In addition, I will also include Grammar (my pet subject) and Phonology as I am deeply in love with them.
Well, that’s the plan for now…. =)