The mother called us a couple of weeks ago to ask about our English classes for P3-5 (i.e. students who are taking the new 2015 English syllabus.) She asked some very sharp and legitimate questions.
1. How do you know about the new syllabus when you are not a full-time teacher?
I have friends who are teaching and the information is easily available online.
2. Where do you get the teaching materials? Even school teachers are struggling to understand the new syllabus, so how are you going to teach the students?
I prepare my own materials weekly. I do refer to school exam papers and assessment books to make sure my teaching materials are up to date.
For English paper 1 and 2, the composition and comprehension components have changed. I come up with questions targeted at the changes. For instance, for comprehension, I may come up with questions that stress on sequencing and true/false, which are the main differences for the 2015 exams. I also let them work on old-style comprehension papers because some of the other questions will still be in the exams.
More importantly, regardless how the exams have changed, the way to learn English remains the same- we have to speak more, write more and listen more to English.
For the composition segment, whether it is a one-picture or a three-picture essay, we still want a grammatically correct, interesting and simple-to-read story. That has not changed.
We still want students to understand what they are reading for comprehension and be able to have such a vast word bank they can interchange the phrases easily for cloze passage.
Also, regardless whether it’s the new format or old syllabus, I still want the kids to have a fun time learning English.
My ultimate goal is not to train the students to just ace the exams. That’s only a short-term aim. They must also be able to use English confidently in everyday life and benefit from it as a life skill.
As you can see, the teaching of English hasn’t changed.