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3 Editor’s Note

4 Speak
Focus on English
Madam Low Khah Gek, Curriculum Planning and
Development, Director, MOE, tells Contact what
have been put in place to improve the standard of
English Language (EL) in schools today.

6 Feature Story
Whole School Approach to
English Language

How do we create a conducive school environment
for the continuous improvement of English?
Two schools share their experiences.

10 feature story
Facilitating the use of English
Two Primary schools pioneering the Language
Facilitator Scheme show how they have made it
work for them.

14 PERI 24 Your Say
Active Educators In Relation to Relationships
Two schools show how their Programmes for Active Is it okay for teachers to have relationships with former students?
Learning (PAL) were instituted, and injected with fun. Five teachers share their views.

16 feature story
26 body
Back to School for Teachers
Ache No More
The Academy of Singapore Teachers offers a wide
Body aches that can result from extended periods of
range of new facilities and support programmes.
standing, walking, or sitting in front of a computer can be a
20 feature story literal pain in the neck. Here are some exercises and
Teaching children with treatments for quick relief.
mild special needs
With the right methodology and support, teaching 28 Style Right
students with mild special needs in mainstream The Right Trims
schools can be the most All you need to keep up to date may just be an extra touch
gratifying job. of lace.

30 Chill
Top Five Teacher Movies of All Times
A countdown of the top five teacher movies, and why they
are worth watching all over again this year-end holiday.

31 Eat Right
Vegetarian Farmer’s Pie
Recipe for healthy goodness

Balvinder Sandhu, Chan Seet Fun, Eliza Phua,
Gina Koh, Melody Tan and Amaranthine Photos

2 contact issue 04

Is there a
particular topic
that you would
like us to discuss
in Contact ? Drop
us a note at
Contact is published, for internal
circulation only, by Corporate
Communications Division,
Ministry of Education

anguage is what tethers us to the world. Without it, we spin like atoms.”
This observation by writer Penelope Lively captures why the English Language is
increasingly important in today’s globalised world. It is the critical tool that helps us
On the cover:
navigate among different cultures and peoples as more and more of us travel and work across borders
A student stands cheekily in front
and communities. In the Singaporean context, agility in the English language allows us to communicate of a blackboard and reminds us
effectively in different settings and with different people — be it when we take a taxi or discuss school that proper English should be used,
projects with our professors. How we learn to do this starts, not surprisingly, in school. Our teachers whatever the subject being taught is.

and school programmes have honed the English language ability of students through the years. The
development of teaching techniques and programmes continues too, as seen in the innovative school THE TEACHERS’ DIGEST

examples and interviews we have lined up in this issue.

We take a look at how St. Gabriel’s Primary and Kheng Cheng School are leveraging on the Language
Facilitator Scheme to complement their existing English language curriculum. Xinmin Secondary
and Sengkang Primary share how they got their entire school population excited about learning the
language. In Speak, the Director of Curriculum Planning and Development Division describes the
support that is provided to teachers to learn and teach the subject well.
Want to know more about the plans of the Academy of Singapore Teachers? We speak to two Master
Teachers about their roles in the Academy and what their respective Subject Chapters are doing to
further teachers’ professional development.
We also take a look at how a teacher from Greenridge Primary and an Allied Educator (Learning
and Behaviour Support) from Assumption English School help students who have special needs. They
share candidly the difficulties they face teaching these students and the satisfaction they derive from MORE
each experience. THAN
Finally, as 2010 draws to a close, we hope you have had a fruitful and meaningful year. May your 042


vacation be restful and relaxed. For some ideas on how to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul for the FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

New Year, turn to our lifestyle pages for some pampering tips!
Model: Michaela Kate Lim, CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity
Photo: Amaranthine Photos

august 2010 contact  3


Focus on
room for improvement in production We also want to go beyond the In order to allow students
skills such as speaking, presenting and four major skills of language learning to receive more one-on-
writing. – listening, speaking, reading and one feedback on their Improv
e your
writing – to include two more skill performances, we are • Wou
ld you english
What are some El someth “try an :
sets, “viewing” and “representing”. creating an English Oracy
ing or d” do
programmes being Increasingly, our students will be Portal to be made available do som “try to

carried out currently? exposed to both print and non- to schools in 2012. In
At the Primary level, as we had wanted print media, whether in books or this portal, ICT text-to- (Find the
answer at
to ensure that all EL teachers took the newspapers, or on websites, blogs speech technology will the back
of this issu
same approach in building a strong EL or online forums. We want our provide the means for
foundation in our students, we came students to not just be able to read text to be read aloud to
Contact speaks to Mdm Low Khah Gek, Director, Curriculum up with the Strategies for English
Language Learning and Reading
and understand, but to discern, infer
and critique, too. For example, they
students as a role model
of good pronunciation and
Planning and Development, to find out what has been put in (STELLAR) programme. The focus should learn to look at who the author diction. Students can also read to the
place to improve the standard of English in schools today. includes a deliberate effort to teach of the text is – whether the author computer and receive feedback about these schools to initiate school-based
language skills to children using represents a particular interest group their oral skills. programmes for teachers and students
What is the importance tests – the Progress in International enlarged picture books (“Big Books”) – the target audience, and purpose As a resource for both teachers to improve their English. Some of
of the English Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) for that arouse their curiosity about what of the article. We want our students and students, MOE and NIE have these programmes include school-
Language (EL) to Primary 4 and the OECD Programme they are learning. It also builds their to be able to explore multiple views collaborated to develop a series based workshops and platforms to
today’s students? for International Student Assessment vocabulary and cultivates a love for and perspectives, and form their own of three grammar books, About share common grammatical mistakes
(PISA) for 15-year-olds. We have made reading. We introduced “shared writing” independent views. We want to teach Grammar – Basic, Intermediate, and and mispronounced words.
We’ve been teaching English, and using
good progress in EL proficiency as assignments within the class, so that our students to express their views and Advanced. These books are being
English as the medium of instruction
since the 1960’s. The ability to use our students have even out-performed students would learn how to write ideas in an effective and objective way. developed and will be made available Tell us more about the
English has become so important native English-speaking countries. effectively, and to read through and edit We also hope that they will for all primary and secondary schools plans for the English
because it’s the lingua franca for trade The benchmark tests mostly focus one another’s work. understand the importance of between November this year to 2012. Language Institute of
and business. In this globalised world, on reading literacy, and there are Another focus is to teach using the correct type of language Singapore (ELIS).
no international benchmark grammar explicitly to make in different settings and contexts, Could you elaborate The English Master Teachers will
it also enables us to communicate with
tests for spoken English, or for sure that our students have for example, the tone and type of on how teachers can focus on training EL teachers to build
the rest of the world. At international
presentation skills. So we have the “language to talk about language to use when writing a report be role models for the on their expertise in the teaching
conferences, for example, the ability to
to check our own progress and language”. Our aim, at this versus commenting on a blog. use of good English? of EL. ELIS will also be engaging
communicate in English enables any
decide whether our students are level, is to focus on strong “Viewing” and “representing” are For some students, teachers are their English Specialist Trainers to conduct
Singaporean to immediately connect
up to par. We feel that there is fundamentals in EL. important skills for the 21st century only role models of good English. courses for English-medium teachers
with a huge audience. To us, English
– they have been included in the new A good English environment will on Classroom English to train them
is an asset and we want to continue
2010 EL syllabus. influence the students’ learning in effective communication skills.
to ensure that the English language is
progress. This is why not just EL This is to support our schools in
learnt and taught well in our schools.
What are the teachers, but all English-medium building a conducive and strong
What is the Ministry challenges that teachers must be involved in creating language environment.
of education’s (MOE) teachers face when this strong English culture. All
approach to the teaching EL? English-medium teachers should be What other avenues and
teaching of EL? A common observation is the need more careful and conscious of their support will teachers
We don’t want students to look at for teachers to go beyond general pronunciation and use standard EL be able to have?
feedback for the class by providing even as they teach the other subjects Support from MOE is ongoing,
EL as “just another subject” and
more individualised feedback because such as PE, Mathematics, or Art. and it includes workshops on
“just another examination”, but to
understand that the language is a students learn best with such specific specific areas, such as pedagogies
feedback. Teachers find this a How is MOE supporting and assessments, to be conducted
skill that will be an asset to them for opposite challenge as they have 40 students in teachers and schools regularly and on-demand from
life, enabling them to be effective, page:
Director of a class and two to three classes each. in improving their El schools. In addition, MOE works
productive individuals. We want our
Curriculum As there are six language skills proficiency? with external organisations such as
students to invest in improving their
Planning and that teachers need to emphasise, MOE has EL proficiency criteria for the Speak Good English Movement
EL. So our approach to the language is Development, they need to ensure that there recruiting teachers. There are also to recognise the efforts of English
holistic and encompasses many things, MOE, Madam
is an adequate balance when in-service courses on pedagogy for teachers – the “Inspiring Teacher of
including confident and effective use of Low Khah Gek,
doesn’t want planning their lessons such that all EL teachers; for English-medium English Award” is an example of this
the language for communication and
students to look the different skills are completed teachers, our focus is to help them co-operation. Other partners include
at EL as “just during the course of their lessons, improve their classroom instructional the National Library Board in
another subject”,
What is the standard while making sure grammar and language. reading programmes, and Singapore
but to understand
of EL in schools in that the language vocabulary are also covered. Forty schools have adopted a Press Holdings for The Straits Times’
Singapore today? is a skill that will whole school approach to create a productions such as IN and Little
Currently, our students have been
be an asset to How is MOE helping strong EL culture and environment in Red Dot, which provide “news
consistently performing well in reading
them for life. teachers to overcome the school. MOE provided between as content” for the teaching and
literacy in international benchmarking these challenges? $15,000 to $25,000 of funding for learning of EL.

4 contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  5


One such activity is story-telling. Two

Primary 2 classes performed on stage a
piece entitled Owl Babies, which merged
speech, actions and costumes, and every
student got to speak. The audience
comprised parents, who showed up in
full force to support the programme.
Madam Lim says, “It was
overwhelmingly positive – the
students had undergone such a major
transformation from the shy Primary
1 students that they once were. Their
parents were very amazed that their
children could speak so well.”
Madam Khadijah Mohd, a form
teacher of one of the classes, says,
“Performing Owl Babies allows them to

Whole school
relate to the original book, which they
read. Every child got to participate and
learn how to work with others, to be
independent, and to practise their oral

approach to
skills in a supportive environment.”


English Language
literal. Teachers and the executive the whole school, including teachers
administrative staff join the students Jewel Lim, 8, was one of the performing
from other disciplines such as
Confident in reading books, while canteen Mother Tongue.”
students. “I was very excited,” she says.
Communicators vendors and security guards undergo “I have learnt more English words, and
my English is improving.”
an induction with the Vice-principal,
where they learn several Standard Jewel is also an EL Champion,
If there is a rock star of reading, Uncle
Biblio fits the bill. English phrases to replace the non- targets one of a select group of students and
ON OPPOSITE standard English formerly used. teachers who is tasked with reminding
The mysterious trench-coated figure
PAGE: “It’s very difficult to confine English others to speak Standard English in
is usually mobbed by excited students As part of the Whole School Approach,
To encourage continuous improvement and consistent use when he appears during recess time at
At Sengkang
Primary School, to the classroom,” says school Principal a target of 32,000 books was initially
school. One major challenge the school
faced initially was in getting students
Mrs Rabia Shahul. “Children must be
of standard English, the Whole School Approach to English the Reading Park in Sengkang Primary
School, where books donated by parents
every child gets
to participate and able to speak well in everyday settings,
set for the entire school – including
teachers and non-academic staff – to
from different backgrounds to speak
was initiated in 40 schools. Sengkang Primary and are available for students to borrow and learn how to work
with others, to
both formal and informal. In order to read over the year. But by the mid-year
in English. The initiative was first
started in the classrooms before it was
Xinmin Secondary explain how this has benefited them. read. They clamour for him to reveal
his covered face, but he declines. The
be independent,
do that, they have to constantly listen
to good English, which is only possible
mark, the target had been exceeded and
over 70,000 books had been read. After
expanded to other areas in school.
and to practise Mrs Shahul says, “Gradually, we
silent character merely picks up a book, their oral skills with the Whole School Approach.” consulting with pupils, a new target of
in a supportive “Everyone in school has been made it a policy to speak in English,
encouraging them to follow his lead. 100,000 books was declared.

environment. inducted into the programme, as we even in informal settings such as recess
here English language staff. These range from online clinics The element of mystery – none of Mrs Shahul says, “The students were
want it to be part of our school culture. time. It’s tough to get students to adopt
skills are concerned, to innovative reading programmes and the students know who Uncle Biblio very excited, but it’s not a numbers
top: Students spend a large percentage of this habit, so we have EL Champions as
keeping things solely in the stage performances. is – keeps the children eager and game. We really do see them reading
Madam Lim their time in school, so speaking well role models to spread the message.”
classroom is no longer an option, and At Sengkang Primary School and interested in reading, which is the goal attentively and aggressively through the
Chwee Lian,
everyone – from principal to canteen Xinmin Secondary School, these of Sengkang Primary School’s English should become part and parcel of their platforms we have created, which is very
Head of
vendor – must play their part in efforts have certainly paid off, resulting Language Department. Department, lives when they read and listen to good encouraging.”
building a supportive environment for in a vibrant school-wide learning “As a team, we wanted an iconic English English around them. They should Verbal proficiency is not neglected
good English to flourish. atmosphere, and students who are eager figure to represent reading,” says Language, and know when to code-switch, and why it under the Whole School Approach.
Known as the Whole School to put their enhanced English language Madam Lim Chwee Lian, Head of Principal Rabia is important to have a mastery of Students from Primary 1 to Primary
Shahul (centre) Another method to encourage the use
Approach, this initiative to promote the skills into practice. Department, English Language. “We the language.” 3 receive an OPEL (Oral Proficiency
have appointed of English is to hand the ownership
use of Standard English was instituted More importantly, students have came up with Uncle Biblio in January EL Champions Madam Lim adds, “The environment in English Language ) activity card.
earlier this year in 40 pilot schools with become confident and independent as part of our efforts to inculcate the as role models has to be conducive; we want to have Teachers sign off on the oral activities of the learning over to the students.
the launch of an English Language (EL) learners, armed with a strong language reading habit in our pupils, starting for the children good role models around them. One the students participate in, and students The EXCITE programme (Exciting
Innovation Fund. Activities are funded foundation and ready to engage from Primary 1.” at Sengkang example is our story time. About two or who complete all the activities listed on Integrated Thematic Experience) sees
Primary School. Primary 1 and 2 students co-creating a
in order to create a culture of correct with the outside world – in Standard At Sengkang Primary School, three times per term, our school leaders the card receives mystery prizes from
language use among students and English, of course. the Whole School Approach is and teachers read a story in English to Uncle Biblio. lesson with their teachers, before they

6 contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  7

For more details
conduct that lesson with another class, on the Whole not ghost stories.”
which will in turn conduct their own lesson. School Approach Upper secondary students are
encouraged to subscribe to Broader
Madam Lim explains, “The pupils to English
Language (EL), Perspectives, a magazine featuring topics
have slideshows, presentations and
At first glance, the odds seem to be refer to http:// close to students’ hearts, such
hands-on activities where they teach as Facebook. “Most of the articles are
their peers, and learn to speak well in against Xinmin Secondary School. “It’s wsa.edumall.
definitely a more uphill task for us,” sg, where two discursive and of high quality, so the
front of them. In addition, everyone children can model their essays after
says school principal Madam Liew Wei schools share
who leaves gets a ‘party takeaway’ – Li. “Not only do most of our students their good these articles. As the issues are also
something they have either made or come from Mother Tongue-speaking practices, relevant, we use them to jumpstart
learnt in the class.” backgrounds, so do our teachers. The challenges and discussions,” Madam Lim says.
Mrs Shahul adds, “What’s also temptation is for students and teachers activities each “For the upper secondary students,
important is that this creates a lot of to lapse into Mother Tongue because month. You can we are focusing on their ability to
there is a comfort level present, and also find EL discuss and substantiate a point of view.
collaboration among the teachers, so
teachers view it as a fast way to gain resources and Three years ago, we had students who
their classroom is not confined to the
rapport and understanding.” other useful were afraid of attempting the expository
four walls. Now the teachers are very questions in Paper One. Now, the
open – they watch one another teach
Hence, Madam Liew felt that information by
it was important for conversations clicking on EL reverse has occurred – we see that the
and they learn about one another’s students are more comfortable
about the Whole School Approach Innovation Fund.
ideas, which is a wonderful thing.” to be held among the teachers before dealing with argumentative and
One of the school’s future plans for implementation, in order to find discursive topics.”
the Whole School Approach is Speak out when they feel that Standard Radio documentaries are another
Speaking well
English should be used, and when it or in the canteen, the conversations top: range of language abilities among our programme for Secondary 3 Express
and Snap, a collectible card game where
were good because they gave rise to Radio teachers. For example, pronunciation students. Students involved are at ease
should become
students win cards based on their is permissible to speak non-standard
the awareness that different situations documentaries is a problem for many Singaporeans,
presentation and English speaking English or their Mother Tongue. are part of the discussing topics ranging from sports to

part and parcel

Madam Mae Lim, Head of matter, and if you want your students so what we want is feedback that will examination stress.
skills. The teachers adopted this concept programme for
Department, English Language, to have exposure to good English when Secondary 3 empower the teacher and allow him or “We’re supposed to research on a
from the popular trading card games
explains, “We felt that under the they don’t have it at home, we have to Express students her to move on to the next level. We
of the students' topic and take a stand,” explains Aquila.

lives when they

among the students. The initiative is set Whole School Approach, it is very maximise such exposure in school.” at Xinmin want teachers to be able to learn at their “We record our documentaries and
Over at Xinmin Secondary School. own pace and not be stressed.”
to be launched next year. important to target the teachers who present them to our classmates. It’s a
read and listen
Secondary School,
Madam Mae “We have a lot of activities and would be delivering the programme, Tools to Better The atmosphere of co-learning, which lot of fun – we learn to enunciate our
includes everyone from the principal
to good English
Lim, Head of platforms to engage our students and and not just the English Language words correctly, but we also play
teachers. During Contact Time, we to the students, is another important around by changing our voices to
teachers,” says Mrs Shahul. “Being
around them.
English Language, element to note.
a confident communicator is a 21st tried to get the teachers to think about To help the school’s teachers get more different pitches.”
believes that it is Madam Liew says, “The EL Clinic
very important various scenarios in which they might comfortable with using Standard At the end of the day, the Whole
century skill, and if we want any of has generated a comfortable atmosphere
to target English- be tempted to use Mandarin or non- English all the time, the English School Approach is a holistic project,
these initiatives to work, it has to start where everyone feels free to correct each and newspapers, in addition to their
medium teachers standard English.” Department set up an online EL Clinic. meant to enhance students’ personal
and not just with the school leaders. If they view There, teachers can submit English other politely on pronunciation and supplementary reader. An hour of class
Madam Liew adds, “While there development and life skills, on top of
English Language it as something important, and tie it language-related queries anonymously, grammar. I personally try to make sure time is set aside every week for reading
teachers. wasn’t a unanimous agreement on their English Language ability.
into the school vision and mission, the and these are answered by a staff from people know when I have made an error and discussion of issues.
the appropriate language for informal Madam Liew points out, “If we
teachers will see the relevance, too.” the English Department. in English, so there is mutual learning Madam Lim explains, “The teacher
settings, such as outside of school were just fully focused on the ‘O’
will focus on one article, and there will
Everybody Learns “The questions we get include and they know that it’s OK to be wrong
Levels, we wouldn’t be doing all these.
queries on grammar, the correct use of and corrected.” be many opportunities for discussions,
Ms Yap Bee Leng, a Mathematics debates and presentations in order to We are focused on how our students
words and parts of English that people
teacher who hails from a Hokkien- hone students’ speaking skills. We will succeed in the world out there;
frequently have problems with,” says
speaking household, also acknowledges conducted a survey and received good how they will present themselves in
Madam Lim. “Informally, we have
that the initiatives in the Whole feedback from last year’s Secondary 1 interviews or at the workplace. We have
seen teachers coming to us, for example
School Approach have helped with her students, who said they saw a positive designed our Whole School Approach
during the writing of testimonials,
to ask about word usage in order to language skills. spillover effect from the reading programmes to answer these needs.”
express a concept. Since this process “The EL Clinic is useful for learning programme to their writing.”
was already going on, we decided to correct pronunciation and new words. Aquila Deanna, a Secondary 3
formalise it in the form of the EL Clinic I am also more aware of when to use student, agrees. “Last year, we read
Improve your en
so that everyone could access Standard English now,” she says. “We To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper
• Using the ab
gl ish:
the information.” have to lead by example if we want to Lee, which gave us more exposure to breviation i.e.
text, is this us in
For teachers’ self-improvement, the help students improve their grades.” better writing techniques, as well as to age correct?
"Many school
school is also planning to invest in self- historical events like segregation.” s have adopted
the Whole Scho
learning English language software, From Ground Madam Lim adds, “When I first
to good English
ol Approach
which is currently being evaluated
Level up arrived six years ago, it wasn’t cool to
Secondary Scho
, i.e., Xinmin
by the Curriculum Planning & read. People were embarrassed to be ol and
Sengkang Prim
Development Division. Students, as well, are seeing seen reading, but today, when you go ary School."
Madam Liew explains, “The improvements in their English. The into a Normal Academic class, you’ll (Find the answer at
the back of this issue.)
software has to be customised to the lower secondary students’ reading see students reading in between lessons
teachers’ needs, as there is a wide programme now includes magazines – and reading proper novels,

8 contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  9

“The LFS complements “But sometimes after reading it, they frequent toilet breaks. Now, they go to beans can be squirreled away in a

our school’s existing

have no idea what happened in the the toilet only when they really need container bearing the pupil’s name for
story – who did what or who said to, and not because they want to escape
approach of engaged
future redemptions.
what to whom. They have developed from the sessions. Mr Staples says, “Bounty Beans was
and active learning coping mechanisms to get through the “When we first started, I felt like I introduced to encourage motivation
in the teaching examinations, but that won’t get them was walking up the ‘down’ escalator,” extrinsically. Now, there’s intrinsic
of English. It through life.” Mr Staples recalls. The key, he feels, motivation, even in the most difficult
complements our
He also finds that some pupils is to be very encouraging in order to ones. It’s been an evolution.”

emphasis on the
“have tiny vocabularies”. For instance, “draw them in”.
until recently, many of them had no “I know that if I’m just the Providing an
teaching of oral idea what a “lake” was. “Very basic authoritarian standing at the front of outlet for
language through words are new to them. Many of them the room, they will rebel. So I create self-expression
story books, songs speak no English at all outside of something fun; I encourage them At St Gabriel’s Primary School,
and language games.” school,” he says.
On top of that, he believes that
and let them know that it’s OK to be
enthusiastic,” he says.
Primary 5 pupils rule the air waves. The
school’s LFS programme is designed
some of them have “temperaments that He also introduced the “Bounty to encourage pupils to write, think on
to speak up and use the language. The would make it difficult for them to Beans” reward scheme in the second their feet, speak their minds and be
school also conducted reading age tests cooperate in group activities”. term. Noting the pupils’ temperaments, heard. To prepare them for the Radio
on these pupils before the LFS was His approach is to teach them to he decided that a typical “star” chart Presentation programme the following
implemented, and again, three months take turns to answer his questions, and would not work with them because year, the school’s Primary 4 pupils
after implementation. The Primary to encourage them to volunteer. He the gratification was too delayed. In undergo a Public Speaking programme,
3 pupils showed an average of a six- rewards them whenever they contribute contrast, “Bounty Beans” offered

Facilitating the
also under the LFS.
month gain while the Primary 2 pupils positively, such as when they help to almost immediate gratification. Mrs Wendy Chee, Head of
recorded a 9.4 month gain. distribute printouts or offer suggestions For each meaningful contribution, Department, English Language (EL),
She adds that the greatest challenge when another pupil does not know like helping a classmate with a tough says “After a year of feeling our way
in implementing the scheme is the answer. question, a pupil can earn a bean. about and trying things out, we are
recruiting good facilitators outside of

use of English
“They learn to help one another Throughout the session, the pupils earn now firming up a two-year oracy
the school. Kheng Cheng does this by nicely, and not to put people down and as many beans as they can and just programme for our Primary 4 and 5
word-of-mouth, through staff, existing make them cry. They also learn that before class is dismissed, they have pupils. We will also be including the
facilitators and the Parents Support helping people when they don’t need the option of exchanging 10 beans for below:
Students who Primary 4 LFS programme, which is
Group. Another challenge was that the help isn’t really helping at all,” he says. one of the coveted, and edible, items
make meaningful conducted during curriculum time,
facilitators were not used to working Mr Staples also believes that the from his ‘treasure chest’. Unused contributions in the EL Scheme of Work to help
with young children. To overcome this, sessions work because the pupils have during Mr Staples’ teachers to plan their lessons. This
“When we first
the school provided them with support been selected and grouped according to class – such
as giving out enables them to see LFS as a part of
and training.
started, I felt like I
their current abilities. He says, “There is
worksheets or the EL curriculum that complements
As the pupils involved in the LFS no way this would work for a mixed
Two primary schools pioneering the Language Facilitator are young children, the school makes ability group.” was walking up the helping classmates their teaching.”

‘down’ escalator,” Mr
who are stumped One of the initial challenges in
Scheme tell Contact how they have made it work for them. it a point to schedule the sessions when questioned
immediately after lunch so that the Resolving Staples recalls. The – get to collect implementing LFS had been convincing
the Problems the EL teachers that the LFS is part of
key, he feels, is to
pupils do not have to stay back too long “bounty beans”.

At the end of the the EL programme. She says, “This was
be very encouraging
he Language Facilitator Scheme “These are not special needs pupils. and would not be too tired by the time Things had not been smooth-sailing lesson, they get
(LFS), which complements They are doing okay, but are struggling. the 90-minute sessions begin. very difficult especially as the Primary 4
from the start. Initially, only two out
in order to “draw
to exchange the
English Language teaching and They need more opportunities to build Mrs Neufeld adds, “Kheng Cheng programme uses curriculum time. Our
of five pupils would turn up for each beans for rewards.
learning, was successfully piloted at their interest in the language. We want adopts the English programme called session. And then there would be them in”. committed teachers take a high degree
five primary schools last year. This year, to give them that foundation in oracy.” ‘Strategies for English Language of proprietary interest with regards to
it is being rolled out to an additional She says that about 50 per cent of Learning And Reading’ (STELLAR). their teaching time in the classroom!”
25 primary schools, and in time, her pupils do not speak English at home The LFS complements our school’s The Primary 4 LFS programme
MOE plans to extend the scheme to and need good role models who can existing approach of engaged and active takes up two periods of the EL
all primary schools. Two of the pilot expose them to the language through learning in the teaching of English. curriculum time. The teachers made
schools tell Contact how they have stories and activities. Kheng Cheng It complements our emphasis on the provisions for this and adjusted
worked the scheme into their currently has 40 Primary 2 pupils and teaching of oral language through story their units of work accordingly. As
school’s programme. six Primary 3 pupils in the LFS. books, songs and language games.” Primary 5 is an important year for
Primary 2 and 3 pupils were And according to Learning Support preparing pupils for the PSLE, the
Helping pupils identified as the best candidates for Coordinator Ms Tan Swee Nai, “The school scheduled the LFS outside
who do not speak
3... 2... 1... We
have lift off! LFS because the school wanted to offer pupils really enjoy the sessions. They curriculum time.
English language English at home them the extra help early on. Primary actually arrive early and wait for the The Primary 5 pupils were also
gets a boost at Kheng Cheng School used the 1 pupils were not included as some of sessions to start.” split into groups of 15, instead of by
Kheng Cheng classes. These smaller groups mean
Language Facilitator Scheme (LFS) to them could barely speak English and
Analysing the
School with the
help a group of Primary 2 and 3 pupils needed the year to pick up the that Language Facilitators can manage
Pupils’ Weakness
help of one of the
school’s Language who were weak in English. These pupils basics first. them without the help of a teacher. For
Facilitators, have had little exposure to the language According to Mrs Neufeld, the “They can read aloud beautifully,” the Primary 4 sessions, EL teachers are
Mr Oliver Staples. outside of school. pupils who have undergone LFS are Mr Oliver Staples, one of the school’s present in the classrooms.
Principal Mrs Lay See Neufeld says, now more confident and more willing Language Facilitators, observes. “They can then reinforce the

10  contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  11

such as when they interview someone
on a ‘live’ show.”

The results that

make it all
Moving forward, the school will look
into developing a rubric to assess their
pupils pre- and post-LFS.
Language Facilitator Mr Lukman
Nurhakim, a former radio deejay who
now owns a firm specialising in media
education, says that while there is
currently “no ruler or measurement”
to quantify how much the boys have
improved, it is clear that many have
come out of their shells. were reduced to tears. One boy told Mr taught how to write scripts and
The father of two boys who are Nurhakim he was scared and refused to how to present them. The two-year
currently St Gabriel’s Primary pupils read out a passage in progression culminates into a “job-
enthuses, “There was one shy boy front of the group. The facilitator seeking period”, when the boys apply
ABOVE, right: who was very hesitant at the beginning. persuaded him to read out just one line. for “positions” as Technical Officers,
Students prepare The boy did it. Mr Nurhakim then Air Time Sales personnel, Presenters
Now he speaks well. He writes
their script for the
radio production well. He’s having fun in class. He initiated a round of applause. The boy and News Readers.
course. is engaged.” read out a second line. More applause. “They send in their applications,
“And different kids develop Soon enough, he got through the whole including their photos, and are
below: differently in the programme. The passage. interviewed by their EL teachers. Of
The radio
ones who were too talkative and overly Besides reading and giving speeches course, in the end, everyone gets a
“The teachers know
production course
Primary 1 and a reading and writing above: have made good progress with the LFS. enthusiastic have learnt to think before in front of an audience, pupils are job,” says Mr Nurhakim.
at St Gabriel’s
that the LFS is not
programme called Creative Authors The radio Our pupils have given feedback that Primary helps they speak and to speak properly, in a “The launch of the ‘radio station’
Talented Students (CATS) for Primary production course at they enjoyed the public presentation
to replace any area “Different kids
students – seen more constructive manner,” he adds. earlier this year was a big thing for
St Gabriel's Primary here with Language
2 when the LFS was piloted. This year, and radio production courses. We have them. They sold air time to the canteen
of their teaching.
Mr Nurhakim conducts both
develop differently
gets a thumbs-up Facilitator Mr
their Primary 3 pupils also received 40 from the students. given our pupils various public speaking the Public Speaking and Radio operators (at $3 for a 30-second slot
It serves, in fact, in the programme.
Lukman Nurhakim
hours of training in storytelling from a opportunities, such as presenting and “interviewing” Production programmes. He says that and $2 for a 15-second slot), wrote
to complement the parent volunteer. Teachers’ Day dedications and Mrs Wendy the idea behind these programmes is The ones who were scripts for the commercials, came
curriculum on oral too talkative and
Principal Miss Antonia Teng says, performing at our Open House Talent Chee, Head of to “improve their English in a holistic up with playlists and handled on-
skills, equipping
“The main objective of our Language Blitz, and it has been evident that
overly enthusiastic
manner, to help build character and air dedications. And I think these
English Language
Facilitator Programme is to support they have become more confident
the pupils with the
things give them an outlet to express
have learnt to think
– to think on give them the confidence to speak
EL teachers in oracy. Therefore, it was and polished.” their minds”. themselves creatively while using the
necessary skills for
their feet.
essential that we identified Language Mrs Chee adds, “They are more In the early stages, some pupils before they speak.” language,” he adds.
oral presentation Facilitators who are good models of ready to speak off-the-cuff. The
that is often spoken English as these Language radio presentation training creates

required in other
Facilitators augment the work of our EL opportunities for them to form their
teachers in developing oral skills.” thoughts into words instantaneously,
The Challenges
pointers during class presentations. In That Surfaced
Tips for teache
addition, when pupils prepare their Besides looking for facilitators who fit rs and principa
scripts for a speech or radio show, EL the bill, the school also had to grapple
• Break away from
teachers are on hand to vet the scripts with scheduling challenges. Last year, textbook and classroo
Think of creative wa m settings.
and work with the pupils to improve one of their facilitators had to “cancel ys to engage the pupil
re-design traditional s and
the sentence structure, grammar and lessons at short notice due to urgent lessons.
vocabulary,” says Mrs Chee. matters at work”. • Consider tapping
She adds, “The teachers know that Mrs Chee says, “The schedule of on the expertise of ind
practitioners like ustry
the LFS is not to replace any area of our facilitators and the unforeseen professionals who are
theatre, music and involved in
their teaching. It serves, in fact, to circumstances that present themselves broadcasting.
complement the curriculum on oral in their work outside the school are • Encourage pupils
skills, equipping the pupils with the beyond our control. But the disruptions to venture out of the
Begin with small ir comfort zones.
necessary skills for oral presentation affected the progress of the lessons.” steps.
that is often required in other subjects.” The school hired a different • Start the ball rollin
St Gabriel’s has a ‘reading first’ facilitator this year and has not g with extrinsic motiv
pupils’ level of enga ation if the
approach for EL that focuses on a experienced the same problem since. In gement is low. Experim
reward systems tha ent with
successful reading programme called fact, things have been going very well. t are suited to the tem
the pupils in the gro perament of
Be Excited About Reading (BEAR) for Miss Teng says, “I believe we up.

12  contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  13

PERI Primary Education – The Way Forward

Active Educators One example was a recent

collaboration between the school, the
Educators (AEDs) were deployed into
five teams to oversee the planning and
Wildlife Reserves of Singapore and the operations, led by the PAL coordinator.
Raffles Museum for Biodiversity and Naturally, there were some
Two schools show how of others’ needs. More information Research at the National University challenging moments. Madam
their Programmes for
can be found at the PERI Intranet of Singapore. Rostinah says, “As Outdoor Education
resource page: The collaboration resulted in is a new module for the school, we had
Active Learning (PAL) were a customised Outdoor Education to learn the basic principles, how to
instituted, and injected
Two primary schools, programme for the Primary 1 and 2 manage expectations and also how to
Macpherson Primary School and pupils at Macpherson, which included
with fun, while developing
monitor the programme. Our teachers
New Town Primary School tell trips to the Singapore Zoo, Jurong were supported by the adjunct teachers
students' character from
Contact about their experiences with Bird Park, and nature spots around and AEDs, in assisting the facilitators
PAL, and offer tips on the best ways the school’s neighbourhood as well
young and equipping them
to deliver the activities and monitor
to implement the programmes. as hiking trips and picnics. Through the programme. Our teachers also
with important life skills.
these activities, the pupils learnt about
had to facilitate the FTGP, which
animals and basic outdoor skills like helped them to learn much more
Primary School knot-tying and outdoor cooking, as well
as the importance of teamwork.
about facilitating PAL. To support
According to Mr Fong Yan Kin, them, MOE provided training as well
Mr Fong explains, “Nature takes as excellent resources for the learning
Macpherson Primary School’s
the role of the teacher in this module. activities.”
With the goal of reaching a better- PAL coordinator, the school was
Over the course of eight lessons, sensitivity to music while learning to be pupils and their teachers were able to
balanced curriculum, the PERI only expected to prototype PAL
What to Anticipate
which includes a learning journey and creative with their bodies at the same time. interact beyond the academic aspect
Committee recommended to the for its Primary 1 and 2 students.
a summary camp, students participate In this module, pupils are exposed to basic of school life. For instance, during
Ministry of Education (MOE) in mid- However, it went the extra mile and Mr Fong says, “Schools trying PAL
in different activities ranging from skills such as proper breathing methods, a PAL Outdoor Adventure outing,
2009 that more emphasis should be involved all the other levels, except out for the first time should anticipate
field excursions, nature rambles to and how to project their voices and set a Primary 2 pupil who had just
placed on non-academic programmes for the Primary 6 students who are having to learn how to communicate
treasure hunts. These lessons are their pitches through choreographed learnt fractions spotted the logo on
in the Primary curriculum. On preparing for their PSLE. with stakeholders on PAL, making
carefully planned to help students stories. In keeping with the elements a Mercedes Benz and pointed out to
MOE’s acceptance of the proposal, At Macpherson, the PAL changes to the timetable and managing
build an awareness and appreciation of performing, pupils also learn theatre the teacher that it showed ‘one-third’.
the Programme for Active Learning programmes were delivered as fun teachers’ workload. They may have to
of nature, pick up basic outdoor ethics, discipline and teamwork.” Pupils were also thrilled when they
(PAL) was instituted, with the aim and enjoyable modules from the cater for manpower arrangements, such
as well as Social and Emotional New Town Primary School also has a learnt how to cook outdoors for one
of developing students’ character four different PAL domains, namely as employing AEDs for PAL.”
Learning (SEL) skills.” Visual Arts module for PAL, which centres another, and offered their teachers
from young and equipping them with Sports and Outdoor Education, “Finally, they should set high
School principal Madam Rostinah on the art of puppetry. The module teaches the ‘food of their labour’.”
important life skills. Performing and Visual Arts. Mr Fong expectations. But don’t expect
Said adds, “We try not to make PAL a Primary 1 and 2 students about colours She adds, “Some of the
Students at the Primary 1 and 2 says, “Besides linking up the lessons everything to turn out as planned –
stand-alone programme. The pedagogy and drawing. This way, their aesthetic challenges we faced during
levels in 12 prototype schools were with what is taught in Form Teacher expect hiccups, adjust your plans along
used in PAL, i.e. experiential learning, senses are developed as they create and implementation included the
given early exposure to a range of Guidance Period (FTGP), these the way and treat setbacks as a learning
sits well with our school’s approach design their puppets, and they also learn shortage of trained teachers to carry
modular activities in sports and outdoor custom-designed lessons are also tied experience. Start with the big picture
in making learning authentic. It is the basics of puppetry performance. out the programmes. However,
education, as well as the performing up with projects, field-trips, learning in mind, but also start small and be
also well supported by Strategies for Through the module, pupils acquire with the engagement of skilled
and visual arts. As a result, they have journeys, CIPs, and even camps flexible at the start.”
Effective Engagement and Development SEL skills including self-confidence and personnel in providing the necessary
exhibited leadership abilities, become beyond those scheduled within
New Town
(SEED) and Strategies for English working in groups. instructions and the running of
more vocal in class and grown mindful the timetable.” concurrent modules, some of these
Primary School
Language Learning and Reading
(STELLAR) activities, so the pupils Designing the Package challenges were resolved. The support
are not unaccustomed to exploring, New Town Primary School According to Ms Lee, planning the from MOE and external sources also
experimenting, discussing, reflecting implemented PAL programmes for its PAL programmes required an contributed greatly to the successful
and presenting their ideas.” Primary 1 and 2 students earlier this understanding of PAL characteristics realisation of PAL at New Town
left: and desired outcomes. Primary School.”
At Macpherson year. Subject Head, Aesthetics, Ms Lee
Primary School, Yew Fang says, “PAL complements the “This was especially important
nature takes the Spearheading the school’s strength in the performing arts at the beginning, when we were
role of the teacher Programme as well as its emphasis on experiential crafting age-appropriate modules
in the Primary 1 and creative learning. Overall, our in the performing arts and physical
and 2 students' Madam Rostinah explains that PAL
was introduced at Macpherson after pupils have enjoyed the PAL modules. domains for lower primary pupils.
Outdoor Education
programme. PAL’s rationale and benefits were They have served as platforms to Setting aside two hours for PAL
enhance the Social- Emotional activities required some creativity Improve your en
above, right:
explained to the entire school. The
in terms of time-tabling and the • Should a go
gl ish:
PAL Management Team was formed Competencies that are explicitly od referee
At New Town highlighted during the FTGP. Our management of available physical be ‘disintereste
Primary School, and tasked to work with the service d’ or
providers in designing the PAL learning pupils have become more confident and space! In addition, time had to ‘uninterested’?
one of the themes
of its Music and packages, activities, and monitoring are able to work cooperatively.” be set aside for the provision of
Movement module processes . Two hours of PAL and 30 “We have co-designed a module on regular communication platforms (Find the answer at
the back of this issue.)
is "Love our forest, minutes of FTGP a week are integrated music for Primary 2 pupils. The Music to stakeholders.”
love our nature." and Movement module, fondly referred While the process was
into the curriculum. After the initial
groundwork, teachers and Allied to as “M&M”, allows pupils to develop challenging, the school felt that

14  contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  15


Back to School
perspective in viewing issues, whether On Ground Level
it is human or physical geography, or “In the future, we look forward to
other aspects of the subject. You need working with schools on school-based
to handle objective data like map work research in areas such as assessment for

for Teachers
and physical processes, and manage learning, concept-based instruction and
and understand human issues that fieldwork. We hope to engage teachers
are complex and always dynamic in schools by first having professional
and fluid.” dialogues with them on curricular
areas that they find challenging, and
Motivating then from the discussion, look at ways
Students in which Master Teachers can support
“Motivating students is another and co-partner the schools. More
challenge teachers often face in importantly, after the completion of
The Academy of Singapore Teachers aims to enhance teaching geography –it is important prototypes, we will study how best to
the professionalism and effectiveness of teachers by to make learning relevant to highly transfer the learning to other schools,
urbanised students, who sometimes by involving Senior and Lead Teachers
fostering a teacher-led culture of professional excellence, may see no pragmatic sense in learning in the facilitation of sharing at the zonal
characterised by strong pedagogical leadership and about river management and natural and cluster levels. Through this process,
vegetation. Another challenge is to get
teacher ownership of professional development, students to read beyond the text, so
we hope to build and develop the
capacities of our teacher leaders.”
collaborative professionalism and system-wide mentoring. as to be updated of and see relevance
in learning Geography through world Subject chapter
events and happenings.” highlights:

or teachers, the learning never well-being programmes for teachers, According to Madam Nadarajah, Mathematics
stops, even outside the classroom. Executive and Administrative Service when it comes to facing these Master Teacher for Mathematics,
To keep up with the fast-paced (EAS) members and Allied Educators. challenges, Master Teachers can help Madam Foo Kum Fong, knows that
global economy, increasingly, teachers by supporting teachers and offering traditional pedagogical methods may
must deliver customised education Networked options to deal with curricular issues. not always work in imparting an
that will meet students’ needs. While Learning “As Master Teachers, it is important understanding of the subject.
our teachers’ core mission remains Communities that we continually work with our Fieldwork versus collaborated with the Curriculum “Effective teaching in Mathematics
unchanged, what and how they teach To promote a teacher-led culture of teachers and collaborate with educators Field Trips Planning and Development Division is a dynamic combination of many
will have to evolve with the times. professional excellence, the Academy to keep teachers at the forefront of At the Academy, Master Teachers like (CPDD) at MOE to work with teachers factors ranging from expertise in a
In September this year, the Ministry will provide support in establishing the changes. Madam Nadarajah conduct research in schools to co-design some field study vast array of instructional strategies,
of Education (MOE) launched the Networked Learning Communities in “Because of our vast experience, into the methods of making learning resources for the National Humanities to good knowledge of students, such
Academy of Singapore Teachers at the the teaching fraternity. These networks Master Teachers may be better able to more effective in Geography. Camp for lower Secondary students. as their learning style and needs.
Teachers’ Conference. The Academy will provide a platform for teachers relate to and understand teachers – so “An important area of support for “During the design of the field We need to use a variety of teaching
will strive to engender a teacher-led to co-construct knowledge and effect when it comes to classroom instruction, Geography teachers is on conducting study packages, we went on recce with strategies to match the learning needs
environment of professional excellence, change to improve instructional we can clarify, offer possibilities and effective fieldwork for learning. At a teachers and curriculum officers to of the students and even leverage
centred on the holistic development practice. Examples of such networks connect teachers to what can be focus sharing session with Lead and places such as Labrador Park and Dairy on technology to facilitate the
of students. The Academy will have a include Professional Focus Groups and done based on research and teaching Senior Teachers, many schools were Farm Nature Park. During the camp, understanding of certain mathematical
strong practitioner focus, with teachers Lead and Senior Teachers Network, experience. Sometimes it is as simple found to be doing ad-hoc field studies we also helped to facilitate the sessions concepts. The learning cycle is not
teaching teachers and learning from amongst others. as giving them a clear perspective that were more of field trips in nature, at the respective sites. It was a tripartite complete until students acquire
teachers too. With continuous learning Another example of Networked on curricular matters such as what rather than fieldwork. Also, generally, partnership between the Academy mastery of the learning content,
and improvement of classroom practice, Learning Communities is the Subject ‘Assessment for Learning’ means teachers have the notion that fieldwork Master Teachers, CPDD and teachers and make connections to other
the Academy will promote high quality Chapters. Led by Principal Master and looks like, in order for it to be takes up a lot of time and due to in schools. We hope to see more of mathematical ideas or applications
teaching and learning in schools. Teachers and Master Teachers, Subject effectively carried out in schools. resource constraints, it is best just done such partnerships where the transfer in real life situations.
Chapters aim to enhance professional “We aim to get students to realise once or sometimes, not at all. Master of learning through such programmes “While I was away in the US
Programmes and collaboration and the development that the study of humanities is a ‘life Teachers are planning to work with gets to be cascaded down and be more on a Fulbright award, I conducted
Facilities of pedagogical content knowledge skill’ today. With rapid globalisation National Institute of Education (NIE) readily accepted by teachers, as there is an interview with a child who was
The Academy will offer several in the respective subject disciplines. and the use of increasing technology lecturers to bring about purposeful greater teacher ownership. extremely competent in mathematical
programmes which serve to engender Currently there are 3 Subject Chapters which has made the world so and planned fieldwork programmes in computation, but had not acquired
a system-wide culture of collaborative – Mathematics, Science and Geography. interconnected, you need to know schools – and offer support training for a certain level of proficiency in
professionalism and mentoring to Subject Chapters for other subjects will the geography, history and social teachers to design local packages number sense. After that episode and
promote continuous learning and be established in phases. issues of countries to survive as a top: that focus on important further discussions with my mentor,
improvement of classroom practice. global citizen. Madam Viyaya fieldwork skills.” Professor Paul Cobb, I was fully
Subject Chapter e yo u r
Improvned, or just wel
Teachers’ well-being will also “To do so, we can share resources Rani Nadarajah is
In addition, Master Teachers l- convinced of the need to teach deep
a Master Teacher
w t?
• Reno correc
continue to be a significant priority. with the teachers, or show them the are developing some Geography conceptual understanding. ‘Drill
Geography Is this
for Geography who
o w n ?
The MOE Well-Being Centre will direction to more resources, including conducts research learning resources for sharing kn ed."
and practice’
"X is r
house various facilities and networks, Madam Viyaya Rani Nadarajah is a those of other organisations beyond in the methods of with the fraternity. is one efficient strategy that is
including the MOE Sports and Master Teacher for Geography. On the MOE such as the Singapore Tourism making learning Madam Nadarajah describes the this issue. commonly adopted by most
in Geography er at the back of
Recreation Club (MESRC) and the subject discipline’s challenges, she says, Board, the Science Centre, the Earth process, “To promote a teacher- answ Mathematics teachers to
more effective. (Find the
Staff Well-Being (SWB) Unit, which “Geography is both a science and an Observatory of Singapore and the other led culture of professionalism, achieve mastery of procedural
provides social, physical and emotional art – you really have to have a holistic institutes of Geographical interest.” the Geography Master Teachers knowledge, but the underlying

16  contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  17

Centre Singapore Malay Umar Pulavar Physical Singapore
Centre for Language Tamil Education Teachers’ Academy
Chinese Centre of Language and Sports for
Language Singapore Centre Teacher the aRts
(SCCL) (MLCS) (UPTLC) Academy (STAR)
Purpose/ To become a regional To facilitate the A national resource To build a strong To be a distinctive academy
goal centre of excellence teaching and learning centre for the Tamil cadre of Physical that ignites passion and
for the teaching and of the Malay language language, UPTLC Education (PE) and inspires professional excellence
learning of the Chinese in a more challenging will serve as a Tamil sports teachers. in arts education, and builds
language in a bilingual and dynamic language language teaching a community of excellent arts
environment. environment. centre for students educators.
from this year
Pedagogies The centre advocates the Training courses, Teachers, as PESTA will conduct At STAR, teachers will
teaching and learning of workshops, seminars well as local and Assessment Courses acquire knowledge and
Chinese language in a and professional sharing overseas trainers, in collaboration with understanding of various art
bilingual environment, sessions are conducted conduct seminars the PE department forms and discourse within
Above left: conceptual understanding may with 80 courses taught for a comprehensive for the teachers’ at CPDD on holistic arts discipline. They will
Madam Foo be lacking.”
Kum Fong is a by local and international series of programmes, upgrading, on top assessment training also be given knowledge of
collaborative research programme by “In addition, the Singapore lecturers. There are also including those on of 40 courses and for prototype schools, pedagogic practices in the arts
The multiplier
Master Teacher
for Mathematics, Project Zero. Basically, it synthesises Mathematical Society (SMS) of the professional seminars on Malay grammar, workshops per year. modes and tools of in line with the syllabus and
and she believes effect theories of pedagogy with analyses of National University of Singapore teaching and cultural culture, strategies, UPTLC also aims to assessment in PE, and local context, and assessment
that Maths According to Madam Foo, Master effective classroom practices. To help (NUS) is another organisation that has forums that are open to assessment techniques, provide mentorship assessment in various skills to enhance teaching-
teachers need to
raise more open-
Teachers can aid schools in enhancing students acquire a deep understanding forged close ties with the Mathematics the public. ICT application. programmes and content areas. learning processes.
ended questions to Mathematics classroom instruction by of data handling and representation, Master Teachers in the Academy to action research project
stimulate students’ offering suggestions based on research I collaborated with Madam Goo to promote professional learning through consultancies.
thinking. and their own pedagogical expertise. design that package, using the TfU Mathematics activities in Singapore,
“Master Teachers with their rich framework and the learning content on inspiring the development of the love Pre- A Nanyang Information on All Tamil language PESTA caters to PE There are no prerequisites.
Above teaching experience need to work statistics. of, and appreciation for, the beauty requisites Technological University application teachers will attend at and sports teachers Instead, STAR will offer
right: (NTU) subsidiary, least one professional who wish to be differentiated programmes to
Madam Foo shares closely with senior teachers in schools “Together, by using resources in of Mathematics.
with teachers to generate the multiplier effect. Master real-life context, such as newspaper “This tightly-knit partnership SCCL is geared development event involved in raising the cater to the differing needs of
the framework Teachers can also influence teachers by articles and cartoons by Martin is crucial as it facilitates generative towards in-service CL annually. content, pedagogical arts educators.
for assessing 21st
sharing the broader perspectives – the Gardener on Mathematics, we set the dialogue between the Master Teachers teacher training and and leadership
Century Skills. development. competencies of
breadth and depth for learning and students to actively think about the and knowledgeable others in the
teaching of Mathematics, as well as application and interpretation of data in international Mathematics community, the PE and sports
the rationale. the real world.” on issues and challenges related to fraternity.
“I fully subscribe to the perspective Mathematics education. Specialities Customised courses Mentoring programmes Following its Courses offered by STAR will build the
that teachers need to be more cognizant Kudos to Teamwork “As a Master Teacher, I have hosted for school clusters and for potential Master expansion, the centre PESTA are relevant community of arts educators,
of the questioning techniques that are Madam Foo views such collaborative sharing sessions on Geometry and individual schools, based Teachers and Senior now offers structured to ‘real-life’ education in the form of master classes,
used in daily instructional practice. It opportunities offered by the Academy conversations with Professor Roger on trainees’ needs. Over Teachers to develop training programmes and meaningful as it consultancies, demonstrations,
would certainly beLearns
more productive for as a plus point for the subject discipline Howe from Yale University. This 400 teachers have been their ability in in curriculum, is based on the input sharing, conferences or
the Maths teacher to raise open-ended of Mathematics. In support, she cites constant collective inquiry into effective trained. providing guidance to teaching methods, of teachers and school summer programmes at
questions, stimulate thinking, research that concludes that learning practice helps to fuel teachers’ passion other teachers. assessment and use of leaders. overseas partner institutions,
or challenge students to extend teams engaged cooperatively in job- to make continuous improvement, ICT. or attachment stints in
their thinking.” embedded professional development thereby contributing to a vibrant overseas institutions.
At the Academy, Madam Foo enjoy significant benefits. culture of sharing and collaborative Future SCCL is collaborating The two upcoming It will be redeveloped PESTA will identify STAR will offer continuous
worked with a colleague, Madam “The Mathematics Master Teachers professionalism among the fraternity of Plans with MDA to integrate annual events to look into a purpose-built a core group of PE year-round programmes and
Goo Lay Hoon from Tanjong at the Academy have partnered various Mathematics teachers.” ICT into the learning out for are the Arif centre, with facilities practitioners to specialised facilities, learning
Katong Secondary School, to design divisions in MOE: the and teaching of the Budiman Lecture including a master be the pioneering laboratories, recording and
an instructional workshop package Schools Division (SD), Chinese language. Series and the Malay class studio, learning members of PESTA music studios, an auditorium,
named “Integrating the Teaching for Curriculum Planning and Language Seminar experimentation Club. Its activities seminar rooms, performance
Understanding (TfU) Framework with Development Division
Improve your en on issues and topics rooms, an auditorium will stimulate greater theatres and exhibition rooms,
Data Handling”. The package has since (CPDD) and Educational
• Is this right?
glish: pertinent to Malay and a computer interest in professional all under one roof.
been shared with senior teachers on Programmes Division “My neighbour language and culture. laboratory. More development in PE,
played his stere
two local platforms, as well as at an (EPD) to organise o professional and foster camaraderie
continually fr
international conference in Kentucky in learning symposiums, om development among the PE
6:00 PM to 3:30
the United States, entitled 21st Century focus group discussions AM.” opportunities will fraternity.
Transformers: Teachers and Leaders and online network be made available to
(Find the answer at
Improving Instructional Practice. communities to facilitate the back of this issue.) Tamil teachers.
“The Teaching for Understanding sharing of ideas and
(TfU) Framework was derived from a best practices.

18  contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  19

Helping students other students. even intellectual impairment. As an challenging cases. They have become

with mild special

We ask Mrs Julia Lee, a Teacher AED, I am responsible for the provision my main lifeline. Improve your en
Trained in Special Needs (TSN) of withdrawal support, specialised • Diagnosis or
gl ish:
Prognosis? Is
at Greenridge Primary School, and remediation and implementation What are some common challenges (A) “Until rece it

needs — the journey

Madam Sellam Rajandran, an of Individual Education Plans. I for teachers handling students ntly, diagnosis
of autism was
Allied Educator (Learning and also provide in-class structured and with mild special needs? L: The first often delayed
until mid-child
hood.” Or,

of two educators
Behaviour Support), AED(LBS), at systematic support to the students problem is awareness – how does a (B) “Until rece
Assumption English School, to share who require it, in order to enable them teacher know that the child is not ntly, prognosis
of autism was
their experiences of working with to cope with the academic, social, just misbehaving? A few teachers may often delayed
until mid-child
these students. physical and emotional demands of wonder why they have to make special hood.”
school life. Among my other duties, accommodations for the child, and (Find the answer at
Can you describe your role as an the back of this issue.)
I provide feedback and consult why the latter can't behave
educator of students with mild
teachers and parents to facilitate better appropriately. In recent years though,
special needs? Mrs Lee (L): As a
understanding of the students’ needs there is increased awareness among
TSN, I am a member of the case
and how to support them. I also set up teachers about specific issues facing
management team that oversees the the experts who do the diagnoses and
and maintain special needs-friendly children with special needs, and the
needs of pupils with special needs in my suggest strategies to engage the child.
classroom or school environments, fact that sometimes they cannot help
school. I provide support programmes They also provide consultations to the
and offer provision of skills training behaving the way they do. Some
and resources for these pupils, and school on case management processes.
(such as anger management) and peer teachers may be fearful, but I believe
teach classes with a high concentration MOE has already taken the lead in
training and support, which may that with additional research on our
of pupils with special needs. I also training 10 per cent of all Primary
involve creating a circle of friends for own, we will be able to understand each
conduct oral examinations for pupils school and 20 per cent of all Secondary
the students. student’s condition better, and hence,
with dyslexia and pupils with language school teachers for this challenging job,
If a student is able to cope in class be more confident of our ability to
difficulties. I work with the Educational which has led to an improvement in
with a teacher's support, I will just handle any situation.
Psychologists (EPs) and AEDs (LBS) teachers' awareness and empowerment
monitor him every semester. On a day- R: Teachers these days do know and
in catering to the needs of selected over the years.
to-day basis, I meet one or two students are more empathetic about mild special
pupils, and share teaching and learning R: MOE has supported us in many
individually or in a group, which adds needs either because of the 12-hour
strategies with teachers and parents of ways – to develop us professionally,
up to about 15 students a week. I also module on special needs during their
these pupils. we were sent for attachment to schools
collaborate with external professionals pre-service training, the media or their
Currently I am supporting four with experienced AEDs (LBS), which
or agencies to offer support to students, schools’ initiatives. However, teachers
groups totalling over 40 students. gave us strong foundation knowledge
or work with the full-time school may not know what it really means to
As a TSN, I am equipped with tools of how students with disabilities can
counsellor (FTSC) on programmes have a child with special needs in the
and strategies to handle students with adapt in mainstream schools. We have
such as games for students with classroom. How will it impact their
mild special needs. For example, a also undergone a one-year diploma in
communication difficulties, or activities teaching and the students' learning?
few of my students who are under the special education as well as additional
for students with special needs who That's where some difficulties may
Learning Support Mathematics (LSM) in-service training in order to gain a
need to develop confidence. still be encountered. Teachers may
programme have reading difficulties deeper understanding of particular
On the whole, I feel it's been a very be overly kind to such students, as
and may be borderline dyslexic cases. So disorders like autism, dyslexia and
fruitful experience, as I am part of overcompensation to their disabilities.
I always use the multi-sensory teaching attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
a strong and cohesive network that These students need some boundaries
method in order to simultaneously For example, I went to the Dyslexia
Teaching students with mild special needs in engage both their senses of sight and
offers support to each student with
special needs. Besides FTSCs and
and structure to help them manage
their impulsiveness or hyperactivity.
Association of Singapore and obtained
mainstream schools may be an uphill journey, but with hearing. For instance, when solving
problem sums, I make these students
PAGE: teachers, I also belong to an amazing
skills and knowledge on supporting
students with dyslexia. We also
the right methodology and support, it can be the most read them aloud, highlight key
Madam Sellam
cohort of AEDs (LBS) who share
good suggestions and ideas via email,
How has the Ministry of Education
(MOE) helped to provide support for
have mass continuing professional
gratifying job experience. information and repeat what they have
understood from the question. I also
is an and lend their shoulders to support mild special needs students? L: The
development sessions every quarter,
where all the AEDs (LBS) from the six
Allied Educator one another when we come across EPs are very helpful because they are
use manipulatives (items that students cohorts – Phase 1 to Phase 6 – meet

(Learning and
oday, students with mild special use to support hands-on learning) such up. The sessions are organised by the
needs who have the cognitive as a toy pizza with ‘cut’ pieces to teach Psychological Services Branch to enable
ability to access mainstream the students fractions, and drawings AEDs (LBS) to integrate theory and
curriculum have the benefit of more to help them visually represent the practice in their areas of work and to
at Assumption
information in the questions. The provide them with the opportunities to
h: support in education, compared to the
our englis
English School
Improve y rrect?
past. They are increasingly integrated students have fun with their friends, share experiences and offer support to
• Which is
into mainstream classrooms, where they and I enjoy knowing that they have one another.
ose? OR
W hat is it's purp can learn alongside their peers, acquire acquired essential Mathematical
(A) ? Mrs Julia Lee
its purp se
(B) What is
essential social skills and grow to the skills that will allow them to progress is a Teacher Have you encountered any rewarding
fullest of their potential. upwards. Trained in mild special needs cases? L: There was
of this issue.)
er at the back Teaching a child with special needs Madam Rajandran (R): While my a mother who wanted special provisions
(Find the answ Special Needs
in a mainstream environment is school has a higher number of students (TSN) at for her son because he had ADHD, but
challenging. Teachers may be unsure of with dyslexia, we also have students Greenridge I couldn’t accede to her request. The
how to deal with the particular learning with other disorders like Attention Primary School way a child behaves in the classroom
disability of such a student, as they have Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may not be the same way he behaves
to cope with the demands of close to 40 (ADHD), Asperger's Syndrome and with his family, so strategies that work

20  contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  21

Learning Disabilities
at home may not work in school. There discipline will respond after some time (LBS) becomes important, as the latter Disabilities Symptoms to Spot When & Whom Things to Note Available Help
was a bit of tension with the mother, as to any corrective behaviour, boundary- can help strategise solutions that make
she thought I was being uncooperative, setting or punishment you mete out. it easier for the teacher to manage. • Attention These children Diagnoses are Teachers should Society for the
but I engaged the boy using my But for children with mild special I also would advise teachers to be Deficit display disruptive usually made at ignore unwanted Promotion of
strategies and at the end of the year needs, it will take a much longer time patient and flexible. Even if two
Hyperactivity traits of Primary school behaviour, but ADHD Knowledge
and the normal strategies won't work students have similar difficulties, what
when his mother came to collect his
on them. I don't believe in forcing Disorder hyperactivity levels. The ratio praise correct and Research
report book, she said, "This is the first works for one may not work for the
students to conform, and you'll face other. As educators, we may try many (ADHD) such as excessive of diagnosed boys behaviour and (SPARK)
time my son has passed!" It was a very
satisfying moment, as it showed that my a lot of resistance. I feel that it's more strategies and put in a lot of effort, talking and poor to girls is three delay praise over
strategies had been effective. important to look at each child, get to but at the end of the day, the student impulse control to one. Girls time to extend the 1008, Toa Payoh
know his or her strengths, weaknesses
R: This year, we had a student with just may not be able to fulfil the over at least six display more covert duration of the North, #03-08,
and responses, as well as what he or expectation. At this point, it is essential
Asperger's Syndrome. She would
she likes to do, before trying to work months. They would ADHD symptoms, latter. Breaking up Singapore 318996
scream, cry or run out of the classroom not to take the failure personally, and
something out. instead, look at the situation objectively, underperform due such as verbal long instructions Tel: 6467 2329
whenever she felt uncomfortable. This
BELOW: was not conducive for learning for in order to work out a solution. You to an inability to aggression instead into shorter
Madam Sellam the rest of the class. Soon, we realised if we are can't beat yourself up over every block out irrelevant of disruptive sentences one at a
Rajandran does there was a pattern to her behaviour role models, strategy that doesn't work – expertise stimuli, lack of behaviour. time will also help
it will create
requires time to build.
not believe in – in certain classes, when she couldn't organisational students to focus.
a supportive
making special cope with the tasks, she would cry and
provisions for ability and
environment in
scream because she knew when she did
students with that, the teachers would leave her alone. forgetfulness.
mild special With the cooperation of her mother, the classroom. • Autism These students Early diagnosis They thrive with Autism Resource
a structured Centre (Singapore)
we sat down with the student and all
Spectrum possess difficulties usually occurs
her teachers who shared their concerns. Also, the little things count. When
Right, from That's when she realised that everyone a child feels accepted and has his Disorder in comprehending before a child turns schedule, and
was serious and united in dealing with achievements celebrated, it goes a long (ASD) social cues and find three. Asperger's require extra 5 Ang Mo Kio,
Mrs Julia
her. It took her some time, but she way. Whether it's a sticker or a praise, it difficult to relate Syndrome (a milder engagement to Avenue 10
Lee uses
accepted the ‘behaviour contract’ we the small things delight them and to others. They often form of ASD) gain social skills Singapore 569739
display poor eye cases may only and friends. They Tel: 6323 3258
offered her and she even volunteered to make them come back for more. It
such as a toy
show teachers emotion cards when she doesn't take a lot of effort and children
pizza with ‘cut’
always emulate what the teacher does. contact, repetitive be diagnosed at may also need help
feels uncomfortable. And if she really
pieces to teach
can't manage herself, she has to come So if we are role models, it will create behaviour, and Primary school, with organisational
the students
down to my room, instead of sitting a supportive environment in the sometimes, impaired where difficulties skills and learning
and to help
outside the classroom like she used to. classroom. cognitive and with social to focus. Inform
R: Teachers with a class of 38 or
them visually We have seen a clear improvement in language abilities. interaction and parents of their
her behaviour since then. 40 students have a limited amount
represent the
of time. With a student with mild Those diagnosed as discomfort in child's progress to
information in
Do you have any helpful advice for special needs, they may think they high-functioning classroom settings reinforce positive
the questions
teachers who have a mild special need to do extra work, or differentiate possess normal to result in disruptive behaviour acquired
needs student in their classrooms? a worksheet for the student, which
high intelligence. behaviour. More at school.
may seem very challenging and time-
L: It's a very fine line between those boys are usually
who need discipline, and those who consuming. That's where collaboration
genuinely need help. Those who need between the teachers and the AED affected.
• Dyslexia They have difficulty Diagnoses are Classroom The Dyslexia
in one or more of usually made in instructions should Association of
these areas: reading, Primary school be direct and Singapore (DAS)
writing and spelling. when such students clear to overcome
This often occurs encounter more difficulties in 1 Jurong West
with other disorders problems with processing oral Central 2

such as ADHD or literacy and and written #05-01, Jurong
Improve your englis only dyspraxia, hence basic Mathematics instructions. Point

• The following are afflicting a child's than others. Like Encourage Singapore 648886
Which ver sio n is
ability to coordinate other learning students to repeat Tel: 6444 5700
(A) Asperger's Syndro
me movements and disabilities, some instructions
er S yn dro me carry out a plan. sources estimate verbally, and to
(B) Asperg
erg ers Sy nd rom e
(C) Asp Sequencing, that it occurs two use manipulatives
k of this issue.) language and to three times more or physical
(Find the answer at the bac
memory ability may frequently in boys activities to learn
also be problematic. than in girls. more effectively.

22  contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  23


In relation to
“I “If
have heard of, and read about teachers the relationship involves students
and former pupils who pursue intimate that a teacher is currently
relationships. I feel that this is somewhat an
abuse of the power and authority that the teacher has teaching or coaching, then it is
over the former pupil, especially if the former pupil is in a strict ‘no-no’. However, if the relationship
his or her teenage years. is with a former student, my personal view
Like parents, teachers have an obligation, as is why not? I feel that it is ok if both parties
authoritative figures to pupils, to give them advice
and guide them towards their goals and achievements. are well-informed about the circumstances
It’s true that once they leave school, this relationship they are in, and if there are no ill intentions.
changes, but for me, that sense of responsibility that I The bottom line is that both parties should be
feel towards them does not change when they come back
Is it okay for teachers to have romantic relationships to me asking for advice either pertaining to school work,
happy with one another. There may or may not
with former pupils? Five teachers reveal their views. or to relationships. be a wide age gap; it does not matter to me.
So having an intimate relationship is definitely an After all, it happens in other professions, too.
area a teacher must not cross into at all, as the interests Teachers are human after all. They have the

believe that, as teachers, we should be always professional in our relationships with others, especially with of the child are at stake. The teacher, being the one with
right to fall in love with whoever they wish to
pupils and former pupils. It is inevitable, sometimes, that very strong bonds with pupils are formed, and we feel authority and maturity, must be the one who draws clear
emotionally attached to them. However, ultimately, it is up to us to draw the line between being a teacher, and boundaries with the former pupil.” fall in love with.”
being more than a friend to them. Personally, I feel that teachers should avoid having romantic relationships with former
pupils so as to uphold the dignity and decorum of professional educators. But, of course, it is just a matter of how each Madam Ng Li Yi, Head of Department, Mr Maizatul Anwar, Head of Department,
individual sees it.” Mathematics, Montfort Junior School, CCA and PE, Chai Chee Secondary School,
35, married 37, married
Miss Nadiah binte Khamis, Teacher, Junyuan Secondary School, 27, single

“As “As
long as the the interactions between a teacher
and an ex-pupil increase, a
relationship is relationship where there is mutual
between two care, respect and communication develops. The same
mature and sensible individuals, is true for other forms of relationships whether they
are between parent-child, siblings, doctor-patient,
and is one which is built on mutual or others.
trust and respect, a teacher-former In any relationship, the position of the caregiver
student relationship is fine by me. who looks after the welfare of a vulnerable,
trusting minor is highly regarded and respected
However, as age does play a part by society at large. While the contents and modes
in how mature or sensible one is, it of communication can change over time, the core
may not be wise or appropriate for a principles of the relationship do not change as the
child grows up.
teacher to have a relationship with I feel that in view of their role as caregivers,
a former student who is too young. teachers should not have intimate relationships
For example, a 25-year old teacher with their former pupils, and should refrain from
meeting these former pupils alone, and sharing their
dating a 14-year old former student personal, private lives with them.”
may not be appropriate.”
Mr Kirupanantha Kumar s/o Palaiyan,
Photo: Corbis

Mr Yeoh Ying Khong, Teacher, East Spring Head of Department, Pupil Development,
photo Corbis

Primary School, 47, married Anchor Green Primary School, 38, married

24  contact issue 04 november 2010 contact  25


Ache No More
Body aches that can result from extended periods of
standing, walking, or sitting in front of a computer can
be a literal pain in the neck. Here are some exercises and
treatments for quick relief.

he common complaints among
teachers include aching legs –
especially for those who wear
heels – as well as neck, shoulder and
back aches. Here are some tips for
managing them.

Aching Legs
Stretch for instant relief
Stand up and move your left foot
forward, with your knee bent. Move
your right food backward, keeping your
knee straight at all times and your heel

Photo courtesy of Wen Luxe Spa

on the ground. Stay in this position for
10 to 20 seconds.
Switch sides and repeat. Do this a
few times on each side to give your leg
muscles a good stretch. This is good for
relieving aches on the calves.
Repeat this stretching exercise a few
times a day.

How to ease the aches

Wear comfortable shoes if you know
you’re going to be on your feet all day.
Flat shoes are best; high-heels are not
recommended. If you have to wear
heels, try wedged heels instead of Back ache
stilettos, as they provide better support. Stretch for instant relief
Also, put your feet up whenever you For lower back relief, stand with your
can. Standing all day isn’t good for your feet apart and place your palms on
veins and blood circulation; elevate your lower back. Then, gently bend
your legs when you get home, so your backwards, while letting your back arch
blood circulation can be restored to to a comfortable stretch. Pause for three
normal motion. seconds, then repeat the action two or
Photo courtesy of : Knead

You can also try applying muscle rub three times.

to your legs before you go to bed at night.
How to ease such aches
Spa treatments Wearing comfortable shoes and
A foot massage is always good for adopting a good posture are important.
Photo: Corbis

overall relaxation and to relieve stress. Do not slouch whether you are sitting
Try foot reflexology treatments for a or standing. You may also want to take
pampering session at the end of the up yoga, which is very effective for
work week. alleviating back pain.

22  contact issue 03
Spa treatments
Try something new such as treatments
at themed spas that have surfaced
recently, for a rejuvenating weekend.
A de-stress back massage will release
muscle tension in your back and leave
you relaxed and recharged.
Lower back pain can also be relieved
through Tui Na massages.

Neck and
Shoulder Aches
Stretch for instant relief
There are some short stretching
exercises you can do as a quick fix.
Try neck rotations: sit or stand
straight, and turn your head from side
to side without moving your shoulders
or upper back. Hold for three to five
seconds, then repeat five times on
each side.
You can also try shoulder rolls, in
which you move your shoulders up and
backwards in a circle; repeat this action
five to 10 times, then rest.
These are simple stretches you can
try at any time of the day, to keep your
muscles relaxed.
Improve your en
Photo courtesy of : Ikeda Spa

• When you go
gl ish: How to ease such aches:
to a spa, do yo
(A) bring a bo u Posture is important here, so sit up
ttle of
water with yo straight when you are working at the
u, or
(B) take a bo computer and don’t bend your neck. Do
ttle of water
with you? not leave your neck in the same position
(Find the answer at for too long, so move or tilt your head
the back of this issue.)
from side to side every few minutes. Also,
stand and stretch your arms over your
head from time to time.
Neck and Another helpful movement is to
bring your shoulders up to your ears and
from top hold briefly. Don’t sit at your desk for too

massages gently
left: long – take frequent rest breaks. Muscle
A foot massage rubs, as well as ice or heat packs, can help
ease the neck, promotes overall
relaxation and
alleviate such aches, too.

shoulder and relieves stress; Spa treatments

upper back
Head and neck Neck and shoulder massages gently
massages also ease the neck, shoulder and upper back
aches, and also
Photo courtesy of : Ikeda Spa

encourage deep aches, and also encourage deep sleep.

sleep; A back Both of these benefits will serve to
encourage deep massage helps energise and refresh you.

sleep. Both of
release muscle Another option is a stress relief
tension in your massage, which relaxes your head, neck
these benefits will back; Themed
spas offer special
and shoulder muscles. Look out for
the Deep Tissue technique, which is
serve to energise massages for very invigorating. There are 30-minute

and refresh you.

specific aches. sessions available at spas if you are
strapped for time.

AUGUST 2010 contact  23


The Right
Trims All you need to keep up to trend
may just be an extra touch of
trims or a specific silhuoette.

Lace dress, BYSI, Shaw Centre

Safari vest, BYSI, Shaw Centre
Belt, BYSI, Shaw Centre
Tote bag, Mitju, ION Orchard
Ballerina flats, Pazzion, Wisma Atrium

You can either go all-out with lace,

or just keep it to the trims to
embrace this trend.

Sleeveless top, Spellbound, Far East Plaza

Flair skirt, Spellbound, Far East Plaza
Handbag, Rick’s, Far East Plaza
Ballerina flats, Pazzion, Wisma Atrium

Nothing evokes the refined lady

image better than the trendy
’50s style skirt matched with
ballerina flats.

28  contact issue 04
Pullover with checked shirt, G2000, 313@somerset Shirt with contrasting trims, Fabrick, Far East Plaza
Pants, G2000, 313@somerset Khaki chinos, G2000, 313@somerset
Document bag, Rick’s, Far East Plaza Belt, G2000, 313@somerset
Lace-up leather shoes, Aldo, Centrepoint Leather shoes, Aldo, Centrepoint

Pullovers are back for a preppy gentleman look. Less is more. A fashion statement can be
This pullover even comes attached with a shirt made on just that subtle contrast of the trims
collar so you don’t have to wear two layers – on the shirt.
perfect for our weather.

October 2010 contact  29

Top 5

e yo u r
Improv collect movie p to your
Teacher Movies
of all time
• Do y e relate of
m e rc handis ter ? Which
or c k bu s
ite blo rect
favour the cor
fo l lo wing is co llect?
the hat you alia,
g fo r w aphern
spellin a lia, (B) Par
(A) Par arnelia
) Paraph
or (C Here’s a countdown of the top five movies polled from
of this issu
the back
(Find the
an swer at
various educationalists and teachers, who tell why these
are worth watching again this year-end holiday.

5 4 3 2 1
Les Choristes Dangerous The Class Dead Poets To Sir,
Year: 2004 Minds Year: 2008 Society With Love
Cast: Gerard Jugnot, Year: 1995 Cast: Francois Year: 1989 Year: 1967
Francois Berleand, Marie Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Begaudeau, Agame Cast: Robin Williams, Robert Cast: Sidney Poitier,
Bunel and George Dzundza, Malembo-Emene, Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke Judy Geeson,
Jean-Paul Bonnaire Courtney B. Vance and Angelica Sancio and and Josh Charles Christian Roberts, and
Director: Robin Bartlett Arthur Fogel Director: Peter Weir Patricia Routledge
Christophe Barratier Director: John N. Smith Director: Laurent Cantet John Keating is an English Director: James Clavell
A new teacher becomes Louanne Johnson is A teacher in a rowdy teacher at a conservative An engineer takes on a
the supervisor at a a former Marine who school in Paris, with prep school who inspires teaching job in a tough
boarding school and becomes a first-time kids from various racial his students through neighbourhood filled
aims to start a choir. This high-school teacher in backgrounds, tries to poetry, telling them to with troubled teens. He
proves to be hard, as the a tough, urban school. interact with them and seize the day – carpe is unprepared and just
kids are unruly, but he Her students refuse to teach them effectively. diem. The students form biding his time until he
realises that there’s more listen to her nor respect Not all his methods work, a secret poetry society, finds a better job, but
to them than that. her, so she tries several but he keeps trying. which leads to some ends up taming them,
Why it deserves unconventional methods Why it deserves to unfortunate consequences. and teaching them self-
to be re-watched: to get through to them. be re-watched: It is Why it deserves to be respect and discipline.
Clement Mathieu, the Why it deserves to honest and simple, yet re-watched: It proves Why it deserves to be
new teacher, does not be re-watched: It is very effective. Plus, that a movie doesn’t have re-watched: Poitier’s
believe in administering based on a true story, Francois Begaudeau, to be true to be inspiring excellent performance
severe punishment for bad and it is unconventional. who plays the teacher, and touching. Williams is makes a strong impact.
behaviour, but instead, The heartfelt attempts is also the writer of the inspiring and the young And it’s always nice
matches the discipline to of the teacher will semi-autobiographical actors are convincing, too to rediscover an old
the ‘crime’. The strength inspire time and again. novel that the movie is – recall the scene when classic and be inspired
of this movie lies in the And this is possibly the based on. the students salute their all over again – have
simplicity of its tale and the best performance of teacher by standing on your box of tissues
casting of Jean-Baptiste Pfeiffer’s career. their desks and calling out, ready as you watch
Maunier as the boy “Oh Captain, my Captain”. the kids turn from
soprano is magical. boisterous to

30  contact issue 04

Vegetarian Farmer’s Pie

Serves four to six
Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

3 large potatoes, boiled and peeled 1 Mash the potato finely.

2 tbsp milk* 2 Add milk, half of the cheese, margarine, a
pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Mix well.
4 slices Cheddar cheese*
3 Lay half of the potato mixture in a wide
1 tsp margarine* glass dish.
A pinch of salt, for each vegetable 4 Stir-fry the peas with oil for 2 minutes.
A pinch of pepper, for each vegetable Add salt and pepper. Layer the peas over
the potato mixture in the glass dish.
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
5 Stir-fry all the other vegetables with oil, salt
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped and pepper separately. Layer them over the
1 cup cauliflower, chopped peas and the potato mixture.
1 cup cabbage, shredded thinly 6 Spread and smoothen the rest of the potato
mixture evenly over the vegetables.
½ tsp oil*, for each vegetable
7 Top with the remaining cheese.
8 Bake until the cheese turns light brown.
*Choose products with the Healthier
Choice Symbol. 9 Serve.

fast fact

in is part
think that sk
You may not this crucial
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as a fron
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against bacter in ne ed s vitamin
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ng and health
A to stay stro s, such
recipes Courtesy of Mother & Baby magazine Tableware robinsons

ic h fo od
up on beta ca er ts th is
ur body conv
as carrots. Yo A.
nutrient into

did you know?

Milk, cheese and other dairy products are an important part of your diet, since they supply calcium and vitamin D to help
build strong bones and teeth. If you are sick of drinking milk, get creative by adding your daily dose of dairy in your
dishes, such as by whipping up a wholesome savoury pie.

October 2010 contact  31

Page 5:
The expression “try and” followed by a verb is non-standard. Use “try to” instead.
Correct: Try to do it again. Incorrect: Try and do it again.

Page 9:
correct usage: “Many schools have adopted the Whole School Approach to good English, i.e.,
even subject teachers from other departments and administrative staff have to communicate with
students in standard English.” I.e., an abbreviated form of the Latin phrase id est, is used to
indicate a clearer explanation or phrasing following an original
statement. However, it is often used wrongly to indicate an example.

Page 15:
The answer is “disinterested”. “Disinterested” means “impartial” or “not taking sides”. In other words,
not having a personal interest at stake. Correct usage: “A good referee should be disinterested.”
(He does not take sides.) “Uninterested” means “not interested”. In other words, not showing any
interest. Correct usage: “He was uninterested in Jill’s hobby.” (He shows no interest.)

Page 17:
Correct usage: “X is renowned for her expertise in creative pedagogy.”
Wrong usage: “X is renowned.”
Renowned is often thought to mean well-known or famous. However, it also carries an
additional meaning of being notable for or celebrated for something. Hence, there must be a
reason provided as to why someone is renowned.


Continuous refers to actions which are uninterrupted, for example, “My neighbour played his
stereo continuously from 6PM to 3.30AM.” Continual actions, however, need not be
uninterrupted, only repeated, for example, “My father continually urges me to get a job.”

Page 20:
(B) What is its purpose?
Do not confuse “its” and “it's”. “Its” is the possessive form of it,
whereas “it's” is a contraction for “it is”.

Page 21:
“Until recently, diagnosis of autism was often delayed until mid-childhood.”
“Diagnosis” is an analysis or answer of the cause or nature of a problem or situation, while
“prognosis” is a forecasting or prediction of the probable course and outcome, especially of the
chances of recovery. Note: “Diagnoses” is the plural form of diagnosis.

Page 22:
While (B) Asperger Syndrome is acceptable, the correct form is ( A) Asperger's Syndrome with the
possessive apostrophe, as this form of autism spectrum disorder ( ASD) was named after Dr Hans
Asperger, an Austrian paediatrician who was the first to describe ASD symptoms in children in
1944. Note that (C) “Aspergers Syndrome” is wrong.

Page 27:
Correct usage: When you go to a spa, you take (not bring) a bottle of water with you.
The basic verbs corresponding to “take” and “bring” are “come” and “go”, respectively.
That is, “bring” is the causative transitive form of “come”,
and “take” is the causative transitive form of “go”.

Page 29:
Correct: The band played badly last night. (Badly describes the verb played.)
Incorrect: The band played bad last night.
“Bad” is an adjective. It describes nouns or pronouns. It is often used with descriptive
linking verbs like “look”, “feel”, or “sound”, for example, “She felt bad about missing the date.”
Here, “bad” describes the pronoun “she”. “Badly” is an adverb, just like “well”.
It describes verbs and should be used with all verbs other than linking verbs.
As many adverbs do, it usually answers the question “How?”

Page 30: correct spelling: (A) Paraphernalia

Page 31: The sharp, projecting point or prong of a fork is called a “tine”.