Aligning the English Syllabus

In 2013, there was a English syllabus change for the GCE ‘O’ level examinations. There was much discussion in the educational sector about this and many people, including us, have written about the changes. During that time, there was limited information on the syllabus and teachers in national schools were still attending courses to learn about it.

It has been two years, and two papers are now available for reference. I shall analyse both papers so that parents are better informed on the differences between the new and old English syllabuses. After all, it was previously just theory, and now we can see how it is applied in the actual examinations.

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How to improve your child’s vocabulary: Part Two

In the second part of the article, we are going to explain some other knowledge your child needs to be familiar with.

In our previous article on vocabulary, we discussed how many different pieces of knowledge your child needs to know to master a word. We talked about the essentials like how the child needs to know the definition, spelling, pronunciation and part of speech. Then we extend this by explaining how understanding word families and synonyms can also help in building up his vocabulary. Let us now continue on.

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Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s contribution to English

This post is a little special. Instead of talking about the English language or technology in education, I am going to talk about Lee Kuan Yew.

It is not a tribute because I am not going to jump on the bandwagon of the hundreds, if not thousands of blogs, that speak glowingly of his achievements. That is something that most Singaporeans recognise. His immense drive and vision have brought Singapore to where it is now. Let us not trivialise his achievement.

Instead, what I am going to talk about is his contribution to how English has thrived in Singapore. Read More…

What is STELLAR?

This programme is designed specifically for Singapore children by Singapore teachers.

STELLAR stands for Strategies for English Language Learning and Reading. It was rolled out in 2006 and after nine years, all the primary schools use for all levels. STELLAR is an instructional programme and not a syllabus, and therefore it offers materials and strategies rather than an outline of teaching outcomes. As a result, some parents complain that it seems unstructured. Read More…

How to improve your child’s vocabulary: Part One

Have you ever instructed your child to learn a new word and when you test him a few days later, it has mysteriously vanished from his memory?

The reason for this is that many children do not use strategies for vocabulary development. In fact, the meaning of the word is just one of the many pieces of knowledge that an English language learner needs to store in his vocabulary bank. On top of this, there are other components to learn to use English fluently in reading and writing, in different contexts.

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What to do after ‘A’ levels?

‘A’ levels results release day is today.

I am sure all parents will be very excited about this day. While our school does not have any graduating ‘A’ level students this year, we are excited for the current ‘A’ level batch. Some of them were my students whom I taught when I still worked for the Ministry of Education. I was a former ‘A’ level student and an educator who has seen many of my students go to university. I thought I would put in my two cents about the choices after ‘A’ levels.

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The classical way to ace your writing

There are many schools of thought on how to write a great story. Indeed, it is hard to pinpoint what makes some books become classics or best sellers while some books end up out of print and forgotten.

Despite what I just wrote, there are certainly some elements that are critical to what is considered good writing. In this post, I am going to focus on classical Greek theatre and discuss how Greek classics can help modern writers, like our children, improve on their plots and storytelling.

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Are handhelds good for your child?

Nowadays, when you go outside, you will see a lot of children glued to a tablet or smartphone (usually an iPad or iPhone). They are watching it while eating their meals or even while walking. This generation is very different from when we were children. While these handheld devices can hold the focus of our children, let us consider if they can help our children’s learning.

Many people use tablets as educational tools, from national schools such as Crescent Girls Schools to private enrichment centres such as RG Channel Future School (yes, that is us). Many parents also use handhelds devices to entertain and educate their children. They download educational apps or allow their children to watch educational videos. If children ask parents questions they cannot answer, they also use the internet for research or encourage their children to look it up.

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Study Skills – A Summary

Study Skills is something that is important for all students to have knowledge off. It provides guidance, help and makes them more efficient and effective in their journey of learning.

This November and December, we have been conducting a Study Skills Clinic with our long-time partner. We been in over 10 different centres island-wide delivering our take on study skills and how students can make use of these skills to improve their studies.

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Selecting A Secondary School

Unlike my time, students nowadays have two clear advantages – they know their PSLE grades and secondary schools also publish their historical cut-off mark. At least students know if they have a chance of getting accepted.

I remember when I had to choose my secondary school more than 20 years ago. I did not know the cut-off point of the schools I selected before I submitted the form. In fact, I believe I did not even know my score. In addition, my school teachers were also not very helpful in guiding me. All I remember was that since I studied in a primary school that was affiliated with a secondary school, I put it as the first choice. I had absolutely no idea if I was able to get in. I breathed a sigh of relief when I was successful.

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