My Reflections (Term 1)
Step 1: Collect Stories (Jot down stories as they occur)
Failure in Higher Mother Tongue
Step 2: What Happened? (Choose a story. Write it out as succinct a fashion as possible.)
Was surprised when the class suddenly had an outburst of emotions during a discussion about their CA1 results. When I checked with the class how they had fared in their Higher Mother Tongue, about half of the class raised their hands. I was shocked. I therefore quickly held a conversation with the class and asked them the possible reasons for their failure and whether they knew the consequence of their results. Some of them mentioned that they were shocked by the bad results and did not expect such a “difficult” paper. Noticed that a few were visibly disappointed with their results too. Would it affect their confidence level and what actions could the pupils take up? These were questions in my mind.
Step 3: Why Did It Happen? (Fill in enough of the context to give the story a sense of meaning.)
Why did the pupils share such strong emotions during my period and not otherwise. I think they wanted someone to empathise with them. Perhaps their parents could not and might also be the culprit. One of the pupils said that her mother was the cause of her stress and therefore did not do well.
I suspect that many of the pupils had never had failures in their lives and as such, the impact on them was very negative when they were suddenly confronted with a failure in a subject they thought they could pass. For a few of them, it was their choice to pick up the HMT. One of them said that deep in his heart , he had wanted not to take up HMT when asked by his parent but when he replied, it came out positive ie. he agreed to take up the additional subject. He could not explain this. Neither could I.
Step 4: What Might It Mean? (Explore all possible meanings rather than a presentation of what the meaning must be.)
Because of the connections built up over the course of one term, I am glad that many of the pupils were able to share their feelings with me as I often reiterate to them that they have to share their thoughts whenever they have a problem so that the teacher can help them if they can’t help themselves.
Step 5: What Are the Implications for Practice? (How my practice might change given any new understandings that have emerged from the earlier steps.)
One must continue to engage our pupils in their studies as well as their thoughts if we want to develop in pupils a strong character that is resilient in the face of adversity or problems. I have shared with pupils to do their best and also to be wise in managing their timetable. I have advised them to monitor their results after SA1 and to speak to their parents and teachers if they need to drop the HMT subject. Found out from some parents that their children did feel demoralized after the HMT dismal results. Should the HMT teacher be advised to manage the feelings of such pupils so as to motivate them to do better in future?
Attended "From Good to Great" seminar held at NIE/NTU. A wonderful 2 days of insight into the virtual world and how to build bridges to foster learning. Learnt a lot of new application tools , especially those in Web 2.0 . Technology is advancing at a rapid pace but time is needed to sieve out the necessary tools to be used for teaching and learning.
P5 Camping at Jalan Bahtera Campsite. Adventures fill up the days , even right from the start of the journey to the campsite from school. On the way,my pupil,Jonathan,reported to me that his luggage could not be opened as he had changed his combination lock after his combination was leaked out by one of his good friends to others. He was worried that he could not remember his combination but he was clumsy in not noting his new combination when he changed it out of impulse and in a hurry. I tried to help by trying out the various number combinations but it was in vain. I had to be cool. "How could this pupil in a good class do such a thing like this?" was my initial thought. However, I realised that I should take the opportunity to ask the pupils after the camp and make them reflect on the episode and the learning point. It was a task that I felt would benefit them greatly as there were many "nuggets" to be gleamed from their camping trip.
English Lesson: Conducted lesson on vocabulary using the classroom performance system. Found that pupils were very excited to use the system and were motivated to learn the new words in vocabulary as well. As a teacher, I was able to find out the unfamiliar words that weaker pupils do not know based on the chart displayed at the end of each question. Overall, it was a good way of finding out the weaknesses of my class quite instantly using the system. I will track the pupils' progress using the grade book system at a later date.
- Taught pupils about the need for graciousness in SEL lesson. It so happened that the Principal had brought up the issue mentioned in the newspaper by Minister Mentor Mr Lee earlier in the morning assembly. It was a coincidence and a great opportunity for me to reiterate the topic. The pupils were rather responsive when it came to the examples of people who are not gracious in Singapore.
However, there was silence when I asked for examples of gracious behaviour from the pupils. I was rather perplexed by their non response.I had to bring up some of the examples I have noticed based on my experience and exposure while living in Australia and Hong Kong as well. I first shared with them the meaning of the word "gracious'. Then I reinforced to them the need for us to be gracious and the consequences for the class, the school and the nation as a whole .
I wondered if all the pupils have assimilated the message at the end of the lesson. My fears were allayed when something happened later in the day.
One of the girls in the class spilled a lot of water all over her desk and on the floor. One of the boys, Nicholas, sitting behind her quickly rushed to the toilet to get some toilet paper after seeking my permission and came back to dry the desk and floor for his classmate. I was very happy to see this and took the opportunity to praise him for his helpfulness and gracious behaviour. I was not prepared for what was to happen next. The class started clapping and cheering for Nicholas. Deep down inside me, I reckon that the class had understood what it meant to be gracious. As I reflect on the day's happening, I realised that it is very important to seize every opportunity available to us as teachers to teach our subject matter and not limit it to the "books." I have been inspired to continue to expand my pupils' horizon which is very near-sighted at this juncture.