After poring through the examination papers, I noticed the following:
1. Many students have memorised certain key vocabulary words and phrases, and try to force-fit these words and phrases into both their essay writing and oral practices – and sometimes, it comes off very awkwardly. (e.g. John was over the moon to be punctual for school).
2. The way the students write their conclusions can also be improved with a more natural or meaningful conclusion (e.g. “…and receiving the bicycle it was one of my best birthday present!” vs “…I learned the importance of cycling safely and considerately”).
3. During oral-picture practices, while the students would give short and direct responses, they were unable to elaborate or think wider than the teacher’s initial question or prompts.
The following aspects are key:
Prior to essay writing, going through key vocabulary words and phrases that the students think they will use or is important. In a class setting, this helps everyone to learn new vocabulary and how to use them effectively.
We have broken down essay conclusions in class, and tried to pen a few down as a class.
For oral-picture practices, I’ve set aside a certain structure they must answer for every question. E.g. Direct answer (Yes / No / I’ve visited this before / I’m interested in this / etc) + Reason + Example + Lesson learnt or other thoughts (if any). Baby steps, but the students are learning to adapt to this slowly.
The new PSLE syllabus has a stringent rubric. By applying the essential skills and techniques, students can break that 35-mark barrier and have an added advantage to clinch that A*.
Mr Chong Jin
Specialist Teacher: Creative Campus Learning with Latitude
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