If anyone ever reads a report on a school bully who was struck by a haunting only days before his examinations, with his bag with all his notes and textbooks set on fire without any explanation, please know that I am utterly sorry for what I did. The only defence I have is that nobody […]
‘Learning how to respond to making mistakes is an essential part of becoming successful.’ What is your opinion? (2020 O-level English Paper 1, Syllabus 1128)
Pre-reading vocabulary list: Essential: Absolutely necessary; extremely important. Truism: A statement that is obviously true and says nothing new or interesting. Relentless: Harsh or inflexible. Burnout: Physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. Utterance: The action of saying or expressing something aloud. ‘Learning how to respond to making mistakes is an essential part […]
How do I start with preparing for the unseen poetry section?
Very occasionally I respond to posts on Reddit, and a few days ago someone asked for notes on unseen poetry. My response: I’ve found Edward Hirsch’s writing helpful in helping my students think about poetry more deeply – https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/69955/how-to-read-a-poem For unseen poetry, the band descriptors say that the best answers show a “Sensitive and informed […]
Covid-19, inequality, and student stress
We can’t deal with stressed out students at the national level by merely tinkering with the education system. We have to lower the penalties for those of us who do not do well in school. Covid-19 and its impact on the economy has highlighted for us the inequalities baked into our society. Regardless of the […]
An educator’s perspective on “fake news”
I intend to send this in to the Select Committee that has been formed to tackle fake news in a few days. Comments and suggestions are welcome, but I also encourage my readers to send in their views. I am a private tutor who teaches General Paper (GP), and new students sometimes say: “I thought […]
I’m sick and tired (and why I write more effectively than you)
I mean it literally: I’m sick, I’m tired. As I sit typing this, I feel like I’m coughing my throat to shreds, and the lethargy has left my eyes half closed. I just turned my head to look to the right for awhile, and I was surprised by a sharp throb in my head. Ugh. […]
My Twitter is back up!
Sometimes students look at the articles I’ve saved on my own reading list app (I use pocket), and they wish that they had a nicely curated series of articles (like mine) to read. So I’ve revived my Twitter account! I’ll be posting tweets with links to articles that I think people should read. If you’re […]
On ignorance and politics in Singapore
A fellow tutor-blogger recently wrote one of the loveliest and funniest sentences I have seen recently, a sentence that possesses such an impact because it is simple and true: If you are a Singaporean GP student and you don’t know what GRC stands for, you are ignorant about your own country, you’re in a hole […]
Creepy lullabies and close reading
Last night, I tried to illustrate what close reading should feel like to my student, and I used the example of our childhood lullabies. Do you remember the lullabies from your childhood? I give you my personal favourite: Rock-a-bye baby on the treetop, When the wind blows, the cradle will rock, When the bough breaks, […]
Malaysia’s command of the English language is stronger than Singapore’s?! What can we do about it?
Singapore has lost to Malaysia, in an academic contest! It is time for outrage and panic, remorse and shame! Why? Because Malaysia has attained a whopping rank of #12 — the highest in Asia — according to the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI). Singapore, meanwhile, has come in at #13. I like The Rambler’s take on this: […]