How To Beat That Pre-Oral Jitters?

Cikgu, when I’m nervous I forget everything.

All too often we hear this remark from a handful of students who suffer from pre-oral jitters while waiting in the examination hall for their turn to face the oral examiners. The sight of the two oral examiners whom they have not seen before and anticipating their turn in fear not knowing how will they do in front of these strangers is understandable. So how do teachers advice students suffering from pre-oral jitters?

Pre-oral jitter is like stage fright and it hits even a seasoned entertainer. Some students suffer from pre-oral jitters even though they have prepared well for their oral examinations.

Traditionally, we encourage students to get into the habit of reciting the doa Moses was taught when he met Pharaoh every time during oral practices and more so during oral examinations.

My Lord, expand for me my breast (with assurance). And ease for me my task. And untie the knot from my tongue. That they may understand my speech.

Wahai Tuhanku, lapangkanlah bagiku, dadaku. Dan mudahkanlah bagiku, tugasku. Dan lepaskanlah simpulan dari lidahku, supaya mereka faham perkataanku.

This oral doa has a tremendous therapeutic effect to calm students’ nerves and improves their self-confidence during oral examinations. In the past we have seen its impact on students who worked hard but stutter since young. However, they performed well during the national oral exams bagging distinctions.

Nevertheless, there are students who need an additional hands-on approach apart from the oral doa to beat their pre-oral jitters. For these students we provide them each a small container of playdoh (see above). The container is no bigger than a lens of a spectacle that students can easily carry in their pockets. The playdoh is in a set of 12 multicolored short strings.

We advise these students not to look at the examiners while waiting for their turn to be called up by the oral assistant or time-keeper. They should focus instead on working on their playdohs creating objects of their choices. This exercise has two effects on these students; firstly, it distracts them from worry incessantly, and secondly, it triggers them to be creative as their finger their way turning their playdohs into interesting artifacts. This pre-oral exercise will beat any pre-oral jitters and sets students’ minds into problem-solving mode with all the creative juice they have feed their minds with.

I have got my daughter who is a primary school going pupil to buy the playdohs for me from her school bookstore. It costs me only 50 cents each. The playdohs are meant for 1-2 specific students who need the extra help to beat their pre-oral jitters.

Would this work for your students too? Why not send the link to this post to your students’ Whatsapp group chat?

THANK YOU!

We would like to thank everyone who had visited out booth during the recent 2-day ExcelFest. We are grateful and humbled by your encouraging words and support.

Click to view the poster in pdf

Our exhibition posters at the Excel Fest. Click to view the poster in pdf.

We hope that our sharing continues to generate ideas among us to bring about innovative and effective teaching strategies and resources into our classrooms for the benefit of our students. We are amazed by the extended marketing lifespan of our Saya Boleh Membaca! app and we thank God for this. It is only through His grace that we were able to promote our app on prestigious platforms such as the International Conference Teaching and Leaning with Technology 2018, Innergy (Schools) Award 2018 with a Bronze Medal and ExcelFest 2019. Through these platforms, we were able to share with fellow educators the benefits of our app and encouraged them to use it with their students. Let us ensure that NO students whom we have the pleasure to teach leave us without knowing how to read.

Our promotional video that we played during the Excel Fest.

Note-taking Versus Note-making

We get our students to write their own notes.

We do this because primarily we want our students to make sense of what they learn in our lessons. In the past we provided our students with notes that we wrote on the whiteboard, present them on powerpoint slides or print them on handouts. However, we soon learn that this approach only makes learning passive and transfer of knowledge difficult.

Secondly, we insist our students to write their own notes so that they have ownership. Their notes are unique as what they take away as key points from our lessons differ because of their prior understanding and knowledge vary.

However, Rick Smith has taught us that self note-taking even if ended up with good notes is not necessarily enough for effective learning. We learn that self note-taking can be a passive learning endeavour too. Rick offered us the idea of note-making and showed us that note-making is more active and focused activity where students assimilate all information they have written and take understanding to a (meta) higher level. He shared with us a number of note-making activities and we use them after we have taught a body of knowledge to help our students consolidate what they have learn from their notes.

Below are several note-making activities that we have used in our lessons apart from the one shown in the video above:

Summary

We carried out this note-making activity as a whole-class approach. We started the summary by writing the first two sentences on the whiteboard. Students were invited to contribute two sentence to the summary but writing their second sentence only after their peers had added their first sentences. Students had to ensure that their sentences provided a good flow to the structure of the summary for easy understanding. At the end of this activity, students were invited to review the summary to critique and query each other contributions.

Slogan

Student has to derive the essence of a body of knowledge taught and turn it into one short phrase or a slogan. A good slogan is memorable and durable. When a good slogan occupies prime real estate in a student’s subconscious, it aids the student to recall the body of knowledge he or she had learnt.

Questions!

We used this note-making activity as an exit pass for students to leave the class at the end of our lesson. We started by asking students to select only three facts out of the many things that they had learnt from our lesson and come up with a corresponding question for each fact. Students were then invited to stand up and approach other students (one at a time) to trade a question that they had come up with earlier. At the end of the activity, we asked if there was any question that the students were not able to answer correctly at their first attempt. This allows us to surface student’s misconceptions and address them immediately.

Translation

This note-making activity is useful as a starter activity when we have a body of knowledge to teach. We used this activity when we had to teach students a list of peribahasa or proverbs. We divided the class into groups and assigned each group to translate the meanings of selected set of peribahasa into English. To our amazement, the students were deeply engaged that we saw them taking turn to teach the peribahasa and correcting each other translation. This activity allows students to develop their baseline understanding of the peribahasa before we start teaching them to students

Acronym

We employ this note-making activity when we require students to bring into memory procedural knowledge. Students has to first derive key ideas of a body of knowledge taught before they could encapsulate them into an acronym. As with slogan, a good acronym is memorable and durable, and it is a effective tool to help students recall key ideas of what they had learnt.

We encourage you to try these note-making activities with your students. Good luck!

Pelajar Cemerlang Series

This is the first in the series of videos where students who scored distinctions in the June ML O level exams volunteered to share their success recipe. The videos serve as good motivation resources for future graduating students working towards ML distinctions.

UPCOMING PRESENTATION IN 2018

Good news!

Our proposal has been accepted by the International Conference on Teaching and Learning with Technology 2018 organizing committee. We are excited to share how we made use of an app we have created called Saya Boleh Membaca (I Can Read) to promote Normal Technical student’s reading competency. If you plan to attend the conference please drop by to hear us.

Look forward to see you at the iCTLT 2018.