Posts

Explained: The Low SPM Passing Grade Table

Image
I bet you've seen this screen-captured table. I'm in a lot of education social media groups & every year around SPM season, this SPM baseline table will be reposted without fail in exactly the same way: some dude expressing shock at the low grades required for passing certain SPM subjects while lamenting the horrible state of our national education system. I enjoy intellectual discussions, but, if some random table is the basis for one's thesis, I roll my eyes & scroll away. However, I keep seeing this post repeating itself again & again & worse still I get tagged in some of them again & again until my eyes just can't roll any further. It's time to explain what a baseline is to those who are not teachers. What Is Baseline Data? Every school does this kind of data analysis, which is why those who cry wolf are usually not teachers. Why? A baseline is used to estimate the possible grades of our exam-taking cohort based on past SPM results. How? Base

Motivation: KFC Treat For Hardworking SPM2020 Students

Image
Over the past few weeks, I noticed that my SPM 2020 Form 5 students were becoming increasingly focused on their studies. Some started asking deeply relevant questions reflecting their diligence in revising for the SPM English test. A few of the weakest ones were finally able to apply the exam techniques I taught them, reflecting plenty of effort on their part. This is in stark contrast to a year ago when many of them were still very happy-go-lucky. The extreme few would refuse to do any work & answer back rudely, while a handful would sleep in my class after all night gaming sessions. Also, remember all the crickets during my MCO online lessons? After the last extra class session with them, each student received 2 pieces of KFC fried chicken during lunch: 1 original recipe + 1 hot & spicy. All of my students are boarders, so they were allowed to stay at school until the end of the SPM examinations. KFC may not mean much to most children from middle-class backgrounds, but for my

Stop Mocking Malaysian English Accents

Image
This morning someone shared with me a viral tweet mocking Rina Harun, Women & Family Minister in Malaysia, for her heavily accented English. Although I have no affinity for Rina, I really found the post & the subsequent jeering comments very offensive. If Rina was one of my students, I would tear into each one of those mocking turds. You should be ashamed of yourselves! English teachers have learned a long time ago not to laugh at accents. It will not only discourage the person being laughed at, but also those who sound like that person. For a fleeting moment, you get to feel so atas & so great that you sound like a penjajah, while being ignorant of the damage you are doing to the progress of English language use in Malaysia. Unbeknownst to you, you're discouraging generations of fellow Malaysians from using English! We should be celebrating such open use of English by a politician despite her struggles with the language. That's the kind of grit we want to see in al

Why Students Don't Attend PDPR 2.0

Image
Out of the 62 Form 5 students under my care, only 9 attended the first live Form 5 #PDPR2 .0 online lesson conducted earlier today. Additionally, 5 others who couldn’t attend the live session just did the assignments. For the rest, I have shared the lesson recording + notes in our respective class Telegram groups. While all my students have access to a mobile device, there are many legitimate reasons for them to miss my online lessons: (1) there is no mobile coverage in their area; (2) their connection is slow; (3) they have started working out of necessity to help support their families; & (4) they must help at home during the hours PDPR 2.0 is conducted. There are also students who don’t attend online lessons because (1) they aren’t interested in the subject, (2) they don't like the teacher, & (3) they play games until the wee hours of the morning so they can't get up for their education. Previously, there was flexibility for the teacher to negotiate lesson duration &

Help With An RM20 Gift Of Learning For My Students - PDPR2.0

Image
I guess you've heard about PDPR2.0 where students have to stay online daily from 7am-1pm & attend classes similar to that of their regular school timetable. This presents a significant barrier for my current students as they are mostly from rural low-income backgrounds. For English alone, they need enough data for 2.5 hours of online video meetings + another 2.5 hours of self-access. It's sad that what stands between my students & their teachers is $$$. I'm hoping to collect enough RM20 contributions so that I can support those who are committed to attending online classes with enough data for their English lessons. I'm promising the students who attend every online meeting for the month of February with RM20 at the beginning of March. Sorry, if I have to bother you again in March for help. As usual, a recording & notes will be made available for those who are not able to attend. I know teachers who are utilizing funds out of their own pockets. Unfortunatel