Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How do you define "Professionalism?"

Yesterday, I watched “You Think You Can Dance” , a reality programme based in the USA (though I am not a fan of the reality show) aired on one of the Astro Channels. I watched it because I wanted to learn something about professionalism.
There were five juries .Each time after the dancers performed their dance, the juries would make some comments. The reactions they received from the dancers vary. Some could take the comments positively. Those who did not had shown their ugly sides.

Here I listed some of the positive reactions given by the dancers.
Thanked the juries for their comment.
Promised the juries that they would participate next year.
Asked the juries how to improve themselves.
Thanked the juries fo giving them the opportunity to take part in the competition.
Remained calm.

Meanwhile the negative reactions shown by the dancers were:
Refused to listen to the juries’ comment.
Told the juries that they would not take part the following year. They had given up.
Blamed the juries.
Blamed the organiser.
Demonstrated anger.
Gave up and would not take part the following year.

So teachers,now let us judge ourselves. Are we professional enough? Can we accept critics sincerely?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Action Report



86200 JOHOR


This classroom action research was conducted in order to help form 3RK students of SMK Simpang Rengam to improve their summary skills. The research was carried out from 23rd. January to 10th. June 2009. During the second week of January, a test was given to diagnose the students’ weaknesses in answering English paper. The test was called “Gerak Gempur.” A set of PMR 2008 English Papers were used for the assessment. One component which students should be able to score was the summary. Yet the assessment of students’ summary writing revealed that they lack ability to identify main ideas and reorganise the ideas and rewrite the ideas in their own words resulted in getting low mark for summary. The research aimed at helping the students to overcome these problems. A module (SMART ENGLISH PROGRAMME –using 5R) was therefore designed for this purpose. Five strategies were used and the results were analysed. The findings were discussed and some improvements on the module were suggested.

1.0 Teaching and Learning Reflection

Based on the diagnostic test (Gerak Gempur), I found that students of 3RK only managed to get 5/10 marks in summary writing when they should be able to get at least 8 marks. The difference of 3 marks can bring changes to their overall result. I realised their inability to get full mark for summary writing was due to lack of summarising skills. They also had not acquired effective reading skills and thus were not able to identify the main ideas in a text. The failure to write a good summary also resulted from students’ lack of vocabulary and incompetency in grammar.

2.0 Research Focus

The focus of the research was on how to improve students mark by drilling them on writing a summary effectively. During the research, some weaknesses were identified.
They were;
I. failure to identify all the main ideas.
II. inability to reorganise and rephrase the words used in the text.
III. inability to reduce the number of words used in writing a summary
IV. inability to rewrite the summary in their own words.

3.0 Research Objectives

3.1 General objective: To help students to get 8-10 marks in summary writing using 5R-module Smart English Programme. The module has the following features:
 Word classification
 Word substitution
 Reorganisation of phrases / sentences
 Rephrasing sentences phrases / sentences
 Matching phrasal verb with a word
 Reducing number of words in a sentence
 Identify main ideas and leave out the elaboration / examples
3.2 Specific objectives
I. To employ 5R - reading, reorganising, rephrasing, reducing and rewriting in teaching students to comprehend a text and write a summary.
II. To analyse the exercises given as pre-writing process
III. To analyse practice 1- 10 used to drill students to write a summary text.
IV. To raise students’ awareness of the importance of acquiring the 5R. By employing 5R, it is hoped that students will put an effort to master reading skills, to improve their grammar and to increase their vocabulary.

4.0 Target Group

3 students of 3RK

5.0 Implementation of Research

5.1 Analysing the Pre-test (Gerak Gempur 1)

No Student Pre test (Gerak Gempur 1)
1 A 6
2 B 5
3 C 5

5.2 Implementation of activity 1
The students were given words in a box and then classify them according to the list given in a table. Examples
1. Teddy bears, train sets, music box toys (Replace)
2. Orchids, roses, hibiscus flowers (Replace)
The Students were first asked to do on their own without referring to dictionary and discussing with their partner. During discussion with the teacher, the students marked their answers. The teacher did not tell them the correct answers. After the discussion, they were asked to find answers by referring to the dictionary and discuss with each other. As they were finding the answers, teacher monitored and guided them towards getting the correct answers.
i. Observation
The students seemed to find this simple exercise difficult. After discussing with friends and referring to dictionary, they were able to get all the answer correct. Even so, two students spelled “nationalities” as “nasionalities”. This misspelling showed that they were influenced by the Malay spelling.
ii. Reflection
Realising the students’ problem with vocabulary and spelling, the use of dictionary was made compulsory in the next activity. Wrong use of vocabulary and misspelling are serious errors that would affect the students’ marks.

5.3 Implementation of activity 2
The Students were given list of phrases in a table and then were asked to replace them with suitable words in the box provided. The students were allowed to refer to the dictionary.
1. little girls and little boys children (Replace)
2. office blocks, condominiums and shops building (Replace)
i. Observation
The students could find the suitable words to replace the phrases using dictionary but they took a longer time than was set by the teacher. Even when they had found the words, they kept on referring to the teacher, displaying they lack of confident in their own answers.
ii. Reflection
I realised that the students need to be exposed more to this kind of activity to build up their confident. Ability to find the suitable words proved that they had acquired some vocabulary but they had not done enough practice. So, they must do more exercises.

5.4 Implementation of activity 3
Students were given list of sentences.Then they had to reduce the number of sentences into a phrase. This exercise trained students to use their knowledge of English Language (grammar and vocabulary) which, they had learned in the past. This particular exercise required a high linguistic ability.
1. The house is made of wood wooden house (rephrase)
2. The parking there is free free parking (rephrase)
i. Observation
To do this exercise, I gave them a few examples. However students find this exercise very challenging. Out of the three students, only one student managed to get 7 correct answers out of 14 questions.
ii. Reflection
The students had shown their inability to rephrase a sentence in an attempt to reduce the number of words in a summary text and to gain mark for ability to rephrase. So in the next activity students were exposed to do more practice aiming at cutting down the number of words in a summary text.

5.5 Implementation of activity 4
Students were asked to match the phrasal verbs with suitable single words (verbs) in attempt to teach them how to reduce the number of words in a summary text.
1. put forward suggest (replace)
2. cut into divide (replace)
i. Observation
I noted that students had failed to match the phrasal verbs with suitable words (verbs) even by referring to the dictionary.
ii. Reflection
This made me aware of students’ lack of vocabulary, particularly verbs.

5.6 Implementation of activity 5
Students were asked to write sentences as shorter sentences. They were given 10 sentences and had to do it individually. The teacher demonstrated how to shorten the sentences before students did the exercises on their own.
1. Farah burst into tears and wailed loudly.
Farah cried loudly. (Reduce /replace)
2. The beggar was eating very fast without chewing his food properly.
The beggar was eating greedily. (Reduce /replace)
i. Observation
One student could not even shorten one sentence. The other two tried but with lots of errors.
ii. Reflection
Ability to rewrite a sentence as a shorter sentence is crucial in determining a better mark. The students were not confident to write their own answers. They were afraid to make mistakes.
5.7 Implementation of activity 6
This exercise focused on training the students to leave out elaboration. They had to read the sentences and identify the main ideas and leave out the elaboration. They were only required to rewrite the main ideas.
1. He is Jack of all trades. He can repair cars; he can build houses and make furniture.
He is Jack of all trades. (Reduce)
2. There are many ways to improve your English. Reading English book is one of them. It helps you to increase your vocabulary.
There are many ways to improve your English. (Reduce)
i. Observation
Two of the students could get 3/5 correct answers but one could not even complete the task.
ii. Reflection
I discovered from my observation that students’ lack of reading had actually halted them from obtaining better marks in summary writing.
5.8 Implementation of activity 7
After exposing the students to the 5 strategies - 5R, 10 summary practices were assigned to the students. The texts were chosen based on PMR syllabus.
The marks obtained revealed students’ achievement and ability to apply the 5R- reading, reorganising, rephrasing, reducing and rewriting
In completing the task for practice 1-10, students were asked to
1. Read the question on summary first.
2. Read the text.
3. Read the text again and identify the main ideas. Underline them.
4. Reorganise the ideas.
5. Rephrase the sentences which contain the main ideas.
6. Replace words that can be replaced.
7. Reduce the number of words by cutting down the elaboration, adjectives and adverbs.
8. Rewrite the final draft. Count the number of words. Check linkage and grammar.

Marks obtained in Practices 1-10
Practice A B C
1 6 6 5
2 7 7 6
3 7 7 6
4 7 6 6
5 7 7 6
6 7 7 7
7 7 6 7
8 8 7 7
9 8 7 7
10 7 6 6
Average mark 7.1 6.6 6.3

i. Observation
Initially 2 students obtained 6 marks and one obtained 5 marks only. On average they managed to maintain between 6 and 7 marks in summary writing. The students found that some of the texts used in practice 1-10 were too difficult.

ii. Reflection
I realised after more practices the students could get better marks. These implied students must be given more practices and more exposure to 5R.They should be exposed to text containing simple vocabulary to a more difficult vocabulary. However, the data above shows that in practice 10, students obtained less mark than the previous text. This finding reflects that students’ ability to sum up certain texts were not consistent. Probably, the particular text contained too many difficult words or they were not familiar with the subject mentioned in the text. None of the students obtained 9 or 10 marks.

5.9 Reflection on The Research

I began the research with the aim of helping students to get 8-10 marks in summary writing. However, the marks students obtained in practice 1 to practice 10 shows that students still could not get 8-10 marks. The approach I adopted to help them in writing a summary must therefore be examined and improvised. I realise my students need more drilling in identifying main ideas, reorganising ideas, rephrasing, reducing number of words, replacing phrasal verbs with a verb and rewriting the whole summary text as their own.
Though I had not succeeded to help them to get 8-10 marks, I had at least able to increase the marks they obtained from 5 marks to 7 marks. I believe they need to do more drilling on 5R. As a teacher I had to come up with an innovative approach that will attract and sustain their interest in summarising a text. I believe once the students able to sum up the text given and rewrite in their own words, they would love summarising text and would not fear reading a long text they might have to read in the future. I must raise their awareness on the importance of summarising. This skill is indeed very helpful for students to search for important points in a long text or a book. In reading for details, the students must be able to look only for the main points and summarising is the best way to train themselves.

5.10 Suggestions For Future Research

The findings from the research had shown that some improvements must be made to the Smart English Programme. Changes and additions to the module would be essential to achieve the aim of the research which was to improve students’ marks in summary writing and consequently PMR result. The suggestions are:

1. In choosing summary texts for the future module, the following aspects should be taken into consideration:
i. the theme/subject
ii. the topic
iii. the length of the text
iv. the level of vocabulary

2. The next research should be focusing on how to further develop a teaching technique that can assist students to leave out elaboration in a text so that only the main ideas are rewritten as a summary. Ability to summarise will not only help them in PMR but this skill is crucial when they further their study in the colleges and universities.

6.0 Bibliography of Research
1. Van Els, Bongaerts, Extra, van Os and Janssen-van Dieten, Edward Arnold Publisher Limited, 1987, “Applied Linguistics and the Learning and Teaching of Foreign Languages”.
2. R. Quirk and S.Greenbaum, Longman, 1987,” A University Grammar of English”.
3. Kent, R. (2001) Data construction and data analysis for survey research. Basingstoke: Palgrave. (Review)
4. Y.M.Lai, Preston, 2004,”Progressive English Grammar”.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Creating Conducive Atmosphere in the Classroom

Dear teachers,

Class management is very important to ensure that the teaching and learning take place effectively. We must train the students to be responsible in keeping their clasroom clean and conducive for teaching and learning. One of the ways to create a conducive classroom, is to have a set of rules for your class.

The Rules of The Class

1.Keep the class clean all the time.

2.Do your duty before the class begins.

3.Sweep the floor and clean the blackboard.

4.Throw rubbish in the bin provided.

5.Do not eat and drink in the classroom.

6.Make sure the chairs and desks are arranged in straight line.

7.Wipe the windows every day.

8.Keep the reading corner neat and tidy. Arrange the books, magazines and any reading materials neatly.

9.Switch off the lights and fans every time you leave the classroom. Switch them on only when you are in the classroom.

10.Put up articles on the board and change them every two weeks.

11.Put up some proverbs or wise saying around the classroom.

12.Place a vase of flowers or a pot of small plant on teacher’s table.

13.Make sure that the classroom has enough ventilation so that it is not too warm.

14.Line up two by two, in a straight line and keep silent when you need to move to another classroom or going to the laboratory.

15.Leave the classroom during recess.

16.Get a “pass card” each time you want to go to the toilet or any places within the school compound.


Dear English teachers,
It is tough for us to get students to read and do research on their own but I have found out that it is possible. I have for many years assigned my students to do research on certain topics. I let them to find information from any sources available.I give them the freedom because in the real world they will have to source out for information via diversities of mediums. They may produce their end product in the form of srapbook,collage,pamphlet and poster.
Students are also encouraged to use the information they have gathered to give oral presentation in English.So,before they present in front of the class,they will have to learn how to pronounce certain difficult words.(Here,I have to make myself available for them to seek help).Surprisingly they are always able to put up excellent presentations.All they need is encouragement and continuous guide from us.
If you have any ideas on how to help them ,do share with me by sending comments.

SPM English: Students' masterpiece

SPM English: Students' masterpiece

SPM English: The Pearl. Practice 2

SPM English: The Pearl. Practice 2

SPM English: Novel:The Pearl

SPM English: Novel:The Pearl

SPM English: Is it better to be born rich or intelligent?

SPM English: Is it better to be born rich or intelligent?

SPM English: A Guide to Answer Directed Writing During Examination

SPM English: A Guide to Answer Directed Writing During Examination

SPM English: An Informal Letter ;A letter to pen-pal

SPM English: An Informal Letter ;A letter to pen-pal

SPM English: An Informal Letter ;A letter to pen-pal

SPM English: An Informal Letter ;A letter to pen-pal

SPM English: The Worst Day in My Life

SPM English: The Worst Day in My Life

SPM English: The Worst Day in My Life

SPM English: The Worst Day in My Life

SPM English: Malaysian Culture: A letter to pen-pal

SPM English: Malaysian Culture: A letter to pen-pal

SPM English: Report of Activities Carried Out by Societies / Clubs

SPM English: Report of Activities Carried Out by Societies / Clubs

Tuesday, October 6, 2009



"Majlis Restu Ilmu" is an occassion where students ask for their teachers' blessing.They hope their teacher will forgive them for their wrongdoings. Perhaps they have offended them or hurt their feelings.

Memoir :A Raya Visit

Hari Raya is a joyous occassion. Thanks to all my students who gave me Raya cards and visited me. Love you all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Words of Wisdom

I am only one, but still I am one; I cannot do everything,but still I can do something : and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Edward E.Hale

Words of Wisdom

An Act of Kindness

You must give time to your fellow men - even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.
Albert Schweitzer

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My New Found Hobby

I have found a hobby which is very satisfying.Let me give you a clue.It is a common hobby shared by pensioners.(but I have 14 years before I leave my profession)It is none other than gardening.
Since I own small patches of lands in front and on the left side of my house,I began to indulge in this hobby.At first I thought gardening would not burn a hole in my pocket.But after a few visits to nurseries nearby, I was stunned by the fact that most of the plants and flowers were highly priced.An orchid was priced at RM18 while a hibiscus was priced at R28. A bonsai could go up to RM20 000 or even higher depending on its age.Wow!As I love bonsai so much,I just closed one eye and followed what my heart desired. I purchased a small one at RM200.I would love to see it growing to the size I envisage.
Early March this year,a National Landscape Exhibition was held at Hutan Bandar Johor Bahru.I didn't miss the golden opportunity and bought a dozen of young orchids.Now,just a couple of days before Hari Raya ,one of the orchids has produced its first bloom. It is so beautiful that I cannot take my eyes off it. All my care and undivided devotion has proven to be fruitful.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Book Review "Does My Head Look Big In This?"by Randa Abdel-Fatah

I bought this book at Popular Bookshop in Pacific Mall Batu Pahat.I bought it for my daughter.So I passed the book to her when I managed to "check" on her at her hostel.However,she quietly mumbled,for fear that I would go berserk,

"I have read this book..."

Well,it's okay with me.I don't mind buying a good book though it is priced at RM42.90.I have no regret buying it.On many occassions, I have regretted buying a sofa set which bites, a chair for my study table that makes me hunch and pairs of shoes that slice my heel.

Randa Abdel-Fateh is a lawyer cum writer.She has successfully written the book from the point of view of a teenage girl.She is an Aussie-Palestinian-Egyptian who loves her country Australia as much as the White Australians. I shared some of her experiences when I was in UK ages ago..somewhere from 1985 to 1991.

Reading her book makes me feel connected.It is a book which relates a spiritual journey of a young intelligent girl.Often a girl who wears veil or hijab or tudung is seen by many as backward,ignorant and does not know how to have fun.Thanks Randa for enlightening others that Muslim girls are just like any other girls from different religious backgrounds.We have dreams to achieve.We love peace.We love knowledge.Most important of all,we are independent being who have as much right as the men.

This book must therefore be read by all Muslims and non-Muslims.Get out of the "DARK AGES"!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Merdeka Day. What does it mean to you?

Merdeka means independent physically,spiritually and mentally from an opressor.You are at your free will to do anything.
To me,however,independent means being able to lead this life at the fullest but with certain ethics and values as guidance.Our Creator has subjected us to follow His Will because He knows us better than ourselves. We are asked to fast in Ramadhan and as good Muslims,we abide by His will.It is a must.We are also expected to respect our parents,the wise ulama,teachers,neighbours,the young ,the elderly and even the animals.We do so without questioning.We accept that submitting to Allah's will, does not make us less independent.Instead,we become a more respectable and hounourable being.
Imagine if there are no rules and regulation in school? School will be in chaos. Teachers and students may turn up at school as they like. Students may even bully their own teachers and peers.
Similarly,a nation without laws will gradually crumble to pieces.I don't think I would like to live in a country where neighbours can take whatever they want from you and strangers can pluck your rambutans or mangoes that you plant on your own land as they like without asking for permission.
"Independent"is thus a blessing if a person can still express his thought and feelings with the aim of making the world a better place to live in.It is a blessing if our actions bring more benefits than harms to majority of people we come across in our daily ordeals. It is a blessing if we are able to live in harmony with the plants and animals that surround us.
I pray to the Almighty that Malaysia will forever MERDEKA (independent).I hope my children and the future generation will be able to walk on Malaysia Land with their chest high up and their faces gleam with happiness and satisfaction. Most importantly,they will be able to practise the Quran and the Prophet's teachings.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fasting Month

Fasting Month is here!Every year, Muslims from all over the world fast for a month during Ramadhan.In Malaysia, Ramadhan is much awaited even by my 6 years old.He is learning to fast.He told me on the first day that he would be fasting on alternate days.So far he has fasted for one day only.Not bad at all!Better than me!
As kid I was too skinny like Olive,Popeye's girlfriend that my grandma felt sorry to see me went without food for the whole day.So when she baked the cookies,she asked me to taste them.Actually she was feeding me.When we broke our fast later in the evening,she fed me more.I love Ramadhan.I hope all of you too.
My dear students,please write to me about the first time you fast.Ramadhan Mubarak.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's your problem,dear?

My students come from a background where English is very little used at home. One or two of their family members may be able to speak and write in English but they rarely use the language at home.
I also discover even though my students watch English movies and listen to English songs, they find it difficult to grasp the language.I believe this is because they have never put their knowledge into practice.They are ashamed to speak in English in case some people may laugh at them for trying to speak the language of the English man.Some confess that they fear of making mistakes.

When they ask me for tips on how to improve their English. I simply tell them "You must speak in English every day.The purpose of learning a language is to communicate and one of them is to speak in the language.Another effective way is to read a lot of books written in English.Reading however is not their favourite pastimes.Computer games and playstation are their favourites.
It seems that I have a very difficult task in shaping their mind.To improve my students' achievement in English, I need to eliminate all the negative thinkings.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I have been intending to post these pictures here after the Sports Day.Yet,I could not find the time.When I was at secondary school,I thought that Sports was not important.I hate running event!I asked my dad "What's the purpose of competing with each other when at the end you are gasping for breath?" dear students,is sports important?Do you like sports?Why?

Teachers Who Dare to Think Different Are Here

SMKSR English teachers

PMR workshop

This morning,the English Panel of SMKSR organised a workshop for the PMR candidates from 3KAA1,3KAA2,3KAA3,3RK,3A and 3B.Alhamdulillah about 90% of the students attended the workshop.Congratulation to them for coming and congratulation too to their parents for sending their children to school.Thanks to all English teachers,Puan Nik Hasni,Pn Hajah Noraziah,Puan Latifah,Puan Faridah,Puan Ambika Devi,Cik Norazira,Tn Hj Azmi,En Sharizam,Encik Amrizal and our latest addition, En Zahari Affandi for their contributions.Only Allah will repay your kind deeds.Lastly,thanks to Pn Hajah Rohani Bakar,our Principal and Tn Hj Mohamad bin Yusuf,our Senior Administrative Assistant.
The workshop began at 8.00a.m. and ended at 12.30p.m.Students arrived earlier at 7.30a.m.for a short assembly and had their morning break from 10.00a.m. to 10.30a.m.after the first session completed.Hope they had benefited from the workshop.