Taking Initiative

Quite touched when she showed me her news articles work. I did not give her any homework on this and she took the initiative to do. It shows me one thing. When a child is motivated, that child will take ownership of his/her learning, thus the pleasant outcome. And she is not the kind to do her own revision. Thus, this step is an achievement to her and of course, to me. 

Learning Via News

I love using news articles to teach English. They are just so versatile to use and play around with. Need to use different methods to get my teaching message across though. As he’s dyslexic, I’m pretty impressed he is able to read most of the texts. Understanding the contents can come later. Achievement unlocked! He enjoys it!

By Leaps & Bounds 

One of my P6 boys asked me to guess his compo marks and he looked very serious when he asked me. He’s usually the joker in class and when he said he was serious, it must be. So I made a guess. Each guess took me to guess higher till I got it. Well, I was very proud of him and he admitted that he learned to be serious when he was always being scolded by me. (Correction: I believe the appropriate words to use are ‘firm’ and ‘no nonsense’.) Haha. On a serious note, I believe children need some form of structure to perform and under me for 5 months, the seeds are sown. 

Keep it up!!!!

Post Exam Activities 

Did English writing using news articles and made the lesson less mundane after  exams. I love using news to teach writing but need to encourage my charges to be involved. They do not have the habit of reading newspapers. My p6 boy had fun, although he complained about the messy black ink from the print. 

Cells & Microscope

My p5 girl having fun with the scope. It was supposed to be an English lesson, but she ‘begged’ me to teach her some Science. In fact, I only have English class with her, as I’m full at the moment to carve out another lesson with her. Accommodated her request and did a 30 min quick recap on her topics. Not that my English lesson is boring, but she had a rough day in school and she wanted to do something else. That’s the beauty of individualized learning, lesson is paced according to the child’s learning curve. Glad I was there to help her manage her emotions and she was back to her bubbly self. Worth it! 

Better than me

This lovely boy did what I could not do, ie fix gadgets. I am obviously not a ‘read manual’ kind of person. I loathe reading instruction manual, so I’m very glad I passed the buck to my student. He’s p5, a little dyslexic (don’t really like to label children) and he’s very keen to help me fix it up. His talent is clearly in this area as he’s able to understand the manual effortlessly. Better than me, the teacher! His 5 min break was up and he could fix half, an effort well lauded for. He promised to fix the other half after the break, which he did. Full picture with the skeleton to be continued next week…

4 BIG Challenges Children Face Taking PSLE English

Article 2: 4 BIG Challenges Children Face Taking PSLE English

It is the time of the year that the primary six students have been waiting for, or so we thought. There is definitely some form of pressure to perform well, as their parents have invested time and money, in the hope that they excel in the major examinations. Conquering English is the top most concern for parents, as the grade of this language determines their “fate” in the choice of secondary school. Thus, there are four BIG challenges children face taking their English Paper.


Lacking in the area of writing creatively

Paper One, which consists of composition writing and situational writing, takes up about 27% weightage. Not a lot, but it adds up to the overall percentage from the other components. Composition writing has always been a bane to a majority of children, who are unable to ignite the creativity spark in them. The average score for most students are in the range or 15-25/40 for the composition writing part.

Lacking in the area of doing well in the vocabulary section

Reading since young plays a very vital role in building up a child’s literacy capacity. Unfortunately, many students are not reading widely, and thus, their vocabulary skills are not sturdy enough to understand and answer complex questions that test their vocabulary skills.

Lacking in the area of acing in the Comprehension Open Ended section

Comprehension means understanding, and if a child does not understand, it means he/she does not have a good grasp of the Comprehension passage, the last but heaviest weightage for Paper Two. Most children are also not patient enough to read the passage a few times before attempting the questions, resulting in many careless mistakes. Many children are also stumped by the vocabulary words in the passage, and if they do not understand the meaning, their marks are compromised.

Lacking in the area of time management

That is the common problem across all subjects, be it English, Mathematics, Science and Mother Tongue. A sizeable number of children are not equipped adequately on managing their time well. Many of them spend too much time tackling the questions in front, and when the time is almost up, they realise there are questions not done, resulting in blank submissions for some components.


In a nutshell, a child is able to overcome the above challenges if he/she is well prepared enough to pre-empt the scenarios mentioned above. Time and effort are also important for the child to work upon his/her strengths/weaknesses to do adequately well for the PSLE English paper.

(penned for PSLE Hub)