June 2019 Holiday Workshops for students, by trained former MOE school teachers
Max 5 students for our workshops
Get proper attention and care from us!
1) PSLE Math 2-day workshop with Mr Lim
- Topical review of critical concepts (Day 1)
- Reviewing list of “must know” solving strategies for PSLE with worked examples (Day 1 and 2)
- Applying Mr Lim’s step-by-step solving strategies for word problems (Day 1 and 2)
- Evaluating common misconceptions (Day 2)
2 hours each session, 0930-1130 over 2 days
1st run: 10th and 12th June
2nd run: 17th and 19th June
2) English Creative Writing with Ms Tan
Develop characters in your stories and make them come alive.
P1-P3 Storytelling with Visuals
Learn about plot development through story sharing with Ms Tan and create visuals to retell the story in your unique way.
2 hours each session
1st run: 11 June
2nd run: 25 June
Feel free to contact us about the workshop fees and any other details!
If you have friends who are keen on these workshops together, but are not able to attend on these days, please contact us to arrange something mutually convenient!
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One of my favourite learning activities is using our Story Book Units. A Story Book Unit works a bit like the Stellar programmes in schools, with Ms Tan's special twists in the learning activities! I also curate books for these Story Book Units based on themes, rather than the students' ages. So a preschool book could very well be used even in a secondary school unit, as long as there is something worth exploring!
This is a post-listening comic strip activity based on the first chapter of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. The student presented the sequence of events and traced the key things that happened to Oliver.
Say bye-bye to boring reading!
Back in the days when I was a young teacher, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, I stepped into all three types of classes – Express, Normal Academic, Normal Technical. In all honesty, the students were just regular human beings to me. They were all teenagers who were on the road to self discovery, trying to make sense of life and most importantly, hoping for some positive affirmation of their worth. In a scenario that was really less than coincidental, I was also a young adult searching, sometimes desperately, for answers regarding my calling in life. My insecurities were pretty much the same as my students’.
After the initial weeks of the school year, the arbitrary lines began to blur and even totally disappeared. My lesson plans were not for “express” classes. I was thinking about that class which responded well to music and entertainment topics. So my next lesson would include a song as a cloze passage. Neither did I specifically plan for “normal” classes. I would be drafting my worksheet with a list of helping words and explanations because the students in that class needed more help understanding the history of Germany and the rise of Hitler. I managed to use some material interchangeably between classes. In every class, the lesson would work for some students and there would be one or two whom I definitely lost along the way. But I still tried ways and means to find things that would work.
I did not think that my students felt poorly about themselves. The vibes were right. My Choir students were all in the same performance costumes. It didn’t really matter which classes they were from. When I was part of a team which brought students on overseas learning trips, my team teachers made sure we chose students with overall consideration of their learning attitude, project quality, and the contributions each student could make to the overall experience overseas. They were all, simply, the students who convinced us to include them in the group to represent the school in our international exchange.
When I eventually left my beloved job in Singapore for a new education adventure in Japan, I did not think of my students as “the express class” or “the normal class”. I still remember and have kept in touch with them as my students. I touch my heart and answer to my conscience, that I have never let the arbitrary labels affect my dedication to my work.
So, while the public euphoria regarding the latest MOE announcement on abolition of streaming is understandable, as an educator, I am calm. It is a good step towards change for our national education system. But as I have been trying to explain to parents and students, abolition of streaming has been talked to death for many years. The announcement we hear now is also probably a decision that has been mulled over for a considerable amount of time – in fact, even exactly when it should be announced would have been considered carefully.
The key change is Subject Based Banding SBB. In this system, students can study different subjects at different levels – General 1, 2, 3. For those not in the know, SBB has been implemented in many schools for a good number of years. Some schools have done it to help students in certain subjects. Pull-out classes in primary schools are also pretty common. The students still have their home / form classes, but many have had the experience of being in a different subject class. It requires a lot of coordination and is at times a logistics nightmare, but SBB is not new.
What is new, however, is the fact that by 2024, SBB will be implemented 100%. Why 2024? Some might ask for more immediate changes. For things to move on a continuum and to avoid confusing too many batches of students, this has been timed with the implementation of the new PSLE scoring system. In addition, as a former teacher, I fully understand that my wonderful friends in MOE would be racking their brains on how to offer as many different subjects as possible on all 3 levels. The curriculum has to be carefully drafted for all 3 levels – it wouldn’t be as direct as drawing lines dot to dot from the 3 old streams. For example, some subjects are only offered at Express and Normal Academic. There is no Technical English Literature. Schools with small campuses might face the enormous task of making space for more classes. To make SBB 100%, literally the entire teaching force would have to make a concerted effort to sort things out.
All educators (yes, I also think private educators are included) will also have to face the barrage of feedback and requests from well-meaning parents and anxious students. Why can’t I take this subject at a higher level? Why is the school unable to offer this subject? Can you please prepare my child for this level? Aren’t you still depriving my child the freedom to study whatever he wants?
Any national education system comes under fire no matter what kind of policies are made, and ours in Singapore is no exception. There is no perfect system. A national education system can never be without flaws because at the end of the day, it serves the nation’s needs. These needs are perceived based on our governance principles, and the government of the day, in a well-functioning democracy, is decided by the nation’s citizens.
As we continue to lobby for positive changes in our national education system, as a mother of two, I strongly believe that our parenting will also have to move along. There are many options and maybe too many acronyms – SBB, DSA, Poly foundation, Sports School, SOTA, etc. As a private educator and life coach to my kids and my students, I can’t stress enough that parents and children must sit down and consider the options carefully. Understanding our children well and managing expectations are key to a healthy education journey. There is a limit to all systems but there is no limit to our minds. Every child in every generation will have to walk a unique journey.