Sunday, March 5

Running Dictation Activity | Presented at Celebration of Teaching

I shared the "Running Dictation" activity during Celebration of Teaching at Teachers College of Columbia University.
Last year, I presented a Reading Activity at Celebration of Teaching, a conference which highlights the practical side of teaching, instead of theory. Presenters are invited to share an activity which was useful to them in their classrooms. This year, I decided to share the Running Dictation activity that I first learned about back in 2007 during my undergraduate days at Victoria University of Wellington, because it is the most comprehensive activity I know and I'm very surprised that only 1 out of 5 people I've asked at Teachers College knew what it was.

Running Dictation:

Features: Fun, competitive, communicative, collaborative, task-based, employs multiple intelligences (interpersonal, verbal-linguistic, & bodily-kinesthetic) & all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, & writing).

Desired Outcomes: Students negotiate meaning, perform error correction, as well as notice the gap between what they know & are able to produce with what they have yet to learn in the example text.

Materials: Prepared text either written on poster paper or printed on A4 paper. Provide students with poster paper & markers so everyone can see their work.

Thursday, March 2

Honoring The Iban Language At Teachers College of Columbia University

I had the pleasure of sharing a meaningful & wonderfully crafted Iban poem
during the Mother Language Day celebration at Teachers College of Columbia University.

During last year's "(Un)Spoken: A Celebration of Mother Language Day", I dressed up in a red Baju Melayu while my wife rocked a Kebaya &, together, we taught the audience some phrases in the Malay language & shared several Lat comics I found in the Columbia University library. It was my duty as a citizen of my country to show the world where Malaysia was & to expose them to our national language; both of which many in attendance have never heard of prior to the event.

When I was invited to present again during this year's (Un)Spoken, I was torn between my ethnic language, Fu Zhou 福州话, & Jaku Iban, a Sarawakian language I consider as part of my identity, because it was the final semester of my MA program &, probably, my last opportunity to honor a language at an ivy league institution.

I thought of my students back at SMK Katibas, where I taught for more than 6 years prior to my enrollment at Teachers College. At my beloved jungle school, all of the students spoke the Iban language &, over the years, I acquired the language in order to assimilate with the local community, but, if I was being honest, I really loved how effective it was to tell my students off in Jaku Iban. I remembered the countless efforts that we, the teachers at the school, put into our academic year in order to bridge the gap in educational outcomes for our students.

I soon realized that my last opportunity to present should be dedicated to encouraging the young people I worked with & complementing the work of my colleagues. Above all, I wanted to see a child from the rural Iban community I worked with take the stage & share their unique language & beautiful culture with the world. God knows, one of the biggest challenges I faced was finding role models for my students. The buck has to stop here. We need young people in our rural communities to step up & lead.

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