Happy 55th Birthday SINGAPORE!

We celebrate Singapore’s 55th birthday amid a global pandemic. Despite these challenging times, Singaporeans from all walks of life find ways to help one another cope and make Singapore safe for all.

We have put together a video to honour this Singapore Spirit for our school National Day Programme this Friday. This is our contribution to our beloved nation, albeit insignificant compared to what others have done thus far. Nevertheless, we feel we must contribute to whatever measure we can.

We hope that you enjoy the video. Feel free to use it for your school’s National Day Programme too. Do forward the video link to your NE Coordinator or CCE HOD. We wish you a restful long weekend ahead.

Recent Graduates Shared Their O Level Experiences (and More!)

We invited our most recent graduates to share with our graduating students their experiences preparing for their Malay Language O Level Examinations experiences. This sharing was part of the motivation segment that we conducted on the last day of our Intensive Mother Tongue Programme and has become a tradition that we have maintained for several years now. Following the sharing was the prize-giving ceremony that we have discussed extensively here to end our programme on a high.

The selected students whom we had invited scored distinctions for their Malay Language O Level Examinations and represented both the Secondary 4 Express and 5 Normal Academic streams. Their sharing was meant to inspire our graduating students to work hard specifically for Malay Language and generally for other subjects in the O Level Examinations, In addition, they had the opportunity to learn first-hand experiences from those who ‘have been there and done that’. This was facilitated by the Q&A session where our students could ask these graduates any questions at all.

From our experiences thus far, the questions our students put forth did not necessarily centre around Malay Language and other subjects alone but touched on a range of other topics like EAE application and interview, life in polytechnic and BGR. It was amazing to see our students being comfortable discussing openly and learn from their seniors (under our close watch of course, where we jumped in when we felt it was important to enlighten any possible misinformation *smile).

We conducted the session via Google Meet this year because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the session was still as engaging as when we did it face to face in the previous years. This year we had Adibah, Asyiqin, Nadhirah and Adam. They had been generous and also volunteered to share in our Pelajar Cemerlang Series sharing on this website. We have seen a lot of benefits from holding this sharing and we encourage you to consider having it during your yearly Intensive Mother Tongue Programme for your graduating students. All the best!

Motivational Gifts for Graduating Students

We continued our yearly tradition of holding a prize-giving ceremony during our intensive mother programme this year. We held this ceremony at the end of the programme and it was meant to lift up our graduating students’ spirits, as the programme was quite an energy-sapping experience. The ceremony was also to reward them for working hard to learn Malay throughout their 4-5 years stay in our school.

We have seen our students grew and mature right before our eyes. We felt honoured that we had the opportunity to teach them not just the content of our subject expertise but also nurture them into individuals with wholesome values and good work ethics from our classroom interactions with them. How we wish that our influence would sustain and be far-reaching, even after our students have left us. With this in mind, we have thought of the right gift for them.

This year we have decided to gift each of our students a Solar System Crystal Ball. This 6 by 6 cm crystal ball can be part of their bedroom decorations whereby upon looking at these gifts remind them fondly of us and the advice we gave them, as well as the memorable experiences they had during our lessons.

Why the Solar System Crystal Ball?
Well, a documentary about the Apollo 8 mission that sent humanity to circle the moon for the first time in 1968 had inspired us. Though it took the following year for Apollo 11 mission to land humans on the celestial body, this mission was still nothing short of spectacular. The Apollo 8 crew were fixated at the moon as the spacecraft circled around it was understandable. The inaugural mission to the moon was a momentous moment for humanity. The whole proceeding was telecasted live that many people around the world could see the moon’s surface up close for the first time to concur if the moon was really as it was described in their local folklore of romance genre.

Something profound happens when astronauts see Earth from space for the first time

Just as all eyes were fixated on the moon, one of the Apollo 8 crew had a Eureka moment to turn the camera around to capture the sight of the Earth. He must have been curious how our planet looked like as arguably no one had seen our blue planet from space up till then. The sight of the Earth the size of a soccer ball was a gasp of surprise. Looking at our mother planet for the first time gave rise to a profound and overwhelming shift in awareness. This sense of awe is now described as the Overview Effect.

What is the Overview Effect?
While the Overview Effect is understood and discussed broadly by commentators (as evident in the Vimeo video below), we narrow its applicability to looking at one’s challenges in life from a wider perspective.

How do we mean by this?
Well, life offers us unexpected challenges as we moved along its different stations. These challenges often knock us off our feet as we are caught by surprise and left unprepared for them. During those moments when we are down and out, we are likely to fall into depression and to recover out of our predicament will prove difficult and long if ever possible. Chances are for the weak hearted, they may even call it quits and choose to end their life.

However, if we look at our challenges in a wider perspective, we are bound to ask: Does all our present challenges so great that they add up to the size of Singapore? Definitely no, right? I can only think of the Prime Minister of Singapore who has a challenge that fits the size of Singapore because he burdens the nation’s problems.

Still, even if our present challenges do fill up the size of Singapore and possibly the whole world, the world as we can see from the Solar System Crystal Ball is no bigger than a saga seed. Moreover, even if our challenges add up to the size of the whole solar system, they are still no bigger than a speck of dust in the context of the whole universe!

A knock of reality
Remember, there are 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarf stars within the Milky Way Galaxy. The nearest such planet may be 12 light-years away. This is with only within our Milky Way Galaxy while there are an estimated 100 billion galaxies in the universe or so. And this number is likely to increase to about 200 billion as telescope technology in space improves.

How is that for a perspective? In short, no matter how huge our challenges we perceive to be, in reality they are just a speck of dust.

So what does Overview Effect teach us?
Overview Effect teaches us all life challenges put together are no more than a speck of dust and we should not be afraid of them. We should expect challenges and challenges are meant to help us grow qualitatively to be better in what we do so as to prepare us for more difficult times in the future. For example, a good entrepreneur can only be at the cutting edge of his business if he takes every challenge as an opportunity for him to reflect on his practices to seek ways how he can improve how he carries out his business. Only in this way he can succeed.

Likewise, this is the spirit that we expect from our graduating students. We are hopeful that by looking at the Solar System Crystal Balls we gave them will help activate this Overview Effect every time they are faced with challenges as they move along the different stations of life. And in doing so, they remember our advice in this regards so that they remain excited about living and take what life throws at them as an opportunity to learn to better at what they do.

Playdohing to Keep Pre-Oral Jitters at Bay

Last year we shared a post on How to Beat the Pre-Oral Jitters? There we advised students who need an additional hands-on approach apart from reciting the oral doa to beat their pre-oral jitters. For these students, we suggested playdohing their way to keep the pre-oral jitters at bay while waiting for their turn to be oral assessed.

However, the 50 cents playdoh is a small container was so popular that it soon went out of stock soon after our post came out 😊. This year we could only manage to get these ones (see image). I got my daughter to buy them from her primary school bookshop for $2 each.

How does playdohing works?

Playdohing works when students do not look at the oral examiners while waiting for their turn to be called up by the oral assistant or time-keeper. They should focus instead on working on playdohing to create 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 fed their minds with.

Playdohing to keep the pre-oral jitters at bay is not for everyone. We have identified only 5 students from our 3 Secondary 4 Express / Normal Academic (Out of Stream) classes this year. You can identify these students easily from your oral practices in classes. These students breakdown easily before and during oral practices (the extreme case) to those who manage anxiety from physical demonstrations like finger-tapping on the desk (minor case) during oral practices.

The O Level Malay Language Oral Examinations will commence next week. It is our wish that all O level candidates do well for their oral examinations. Good luck! Ameen

Describing COVID-19 in Malay Language

As the circuit breaker eases in phases, we would like to continue impress upon our students the need to stay vigilant and maintain high personal hygiene as well as adhering closely to the safe distancing measures. This we do by getting our students to reflect on their practices and lessons they have learnt thus far during the circuit breaker. To facilitate this, we designed and included COVID-19 themed questions in the paper 1 preliminary examination for our graduating students. Click on the images below to view the questions.

Many students were caught off guard by the COVID-19 themed questions and a few of them did not manage to use the correct COVID-19 related terms in Malay Language in their emails and essays. As such, we took the opportinity to share the correct translation of these terms after the preliminary examinations. In this way, our students are more prepared to use COVID-19 scenarios in their emails and essays in the coming Malay Language Paper 1 O Level Examinations should the opportunitiy arises. We share the translation of these terms with you below. The slides can be found here.

More Students Earning Collectibles

We are glad to report that more students are now earning their Kami Pelajar A1 collectibles. This is a good sign as these collectibles are visual evidences to indicate that these students have attained good momentum and are on an upward trajectory leading up to their coming O Level Malay Language Examinations in June. Students appreciate it when their efforts are affirmed through these visual evidences and draw much psychological comfort to learn that they on the right track. These earned collectibles will spur them to continue working hard to earn the remaining collectibles and in the process prepare well for all the 12 examinable items in their O Level Malay Language Examinations.

Among them most notebly is Rabia who has earned 5 of the possible 12 collectibles. Rabia telah tawan Lautan Peribahasa, Taufan Kefahaman Subjektif, Belantara E-mel Tidak Rasmi, Cakerawala E-mel Rasmi dan Kehangatan Lisan. We humbly and sincerely pray that God blesses our effort and translate these collectibles into more students scoring distinctions in the coming O Level Malay Language Examinations, Allahumma ameen

Building Cross Cultural Understanding Towards Hari Raya Celebrations

It has now been a week into the month of Syawal. It is about this time in the past Hari Raya celebrations that I would start receiving requests from my former students wanting to visit me. This year the same cannot be said. It has been a quiet Hari Raya no doubt due to the virus outbreak. And in my moment of reminiscences of those wonderful times spent with my former students, I came across this Hari Raya video.

This Hari Raya video was created with the help of an extraordinry batch of former students a few years ago. It was meant to build cultural understanding towards Hari Raya celebrations and the etiquttes to follow when visiting Muslim homes during Hari Raya. We showed this video during assembly and it received good reviews. The video continues to be a useful resource for the purpose it was created. But for me now, it provides some comfort towards my longing heart wanting to see my former students again.

I hope that you enjoy the video. Selamat Hari Raya! Minal ‘Aidin wal Faizin.

Our Recipe to Keeping Students’ Motivation High During Full HBL

At the start of the year, we did not anticipate there would a worldwide virus outbreak and we never heard the term circuit breaker being used before to name the strategy to stop the virus from spreading in Singapore.

In short, full home-based learning was remotely far from our mind. But now that we are in the midst of it, we are grateful that our collectibles have helped us keep our graduating students’ motivation high during the full home-based learning.

We document our journey employing our collectibles in teaching nd learning in the section and subsections of Kami Pelajar A1. Do check it out. Who knows you may like and consider our approach for your graduating class next year.

Let’s Fight It Together

The outbreak of COVID-19 virus has brought forth the best of humanity among Singaporeans. This selfless spirit we can see among our front-line essential services workers who quietly go about doing their jobs to make Singapore safe. At the same time, we have also seen a minority among us who flout the COVID-19 circuit breaker rules without any regard towards the safety of fellow Singaporeans. This unfortunate development has encouraged us to prepare another COVID-19 lesson package to inculcate in our students to love and care for Singapore and fellow Singaporeans. You can learn more this lesson package here.

Turning A Challenge Into An Opportunity

The outbreak of COVID-19 has disrupted lives. In Singapore, the circuit breaker has been extended to another month and likewise school closure would be extended for the same duration. However, the outbreak presents a valuable opportunity for us to educate in our students important lessons that they can learn from.

With this in mind, we have prepared COVID-19 lesson package for our graduating students where we organise oral activities around the theme Health is Wealth. These oral activities are designed to help our graduating students to build their oral competency to better prepare for the O Level Oral Examinations. You can learn more these activities here.