The right steps towards language learning

  • Education
  • Sunday, 28 Jan 2018

Parveen (standing) guiding her pupils on an activity from the first Step Up issue for the year.

Education pullout breaks down lessons into fun, bite-sized portions.

RULES are meant to be consistent, but there are many exceptions when it comes to the rules of English grammar. With many irregularities (pronunciation, spelling, verbs) in the lingua franca, it is no wonder that some say English is one of the most difficult languages to learn.

English panel head Parveen Kaur of SK Bandar Tun Hussein Onn 2, Cheras, Selangor, understands the challenges of teaching English, especially to primary school pupils who are non-native speakers. This is why she has enlisted education pullout Step Up as her teaching tool.

Published by The Star, Step Up comes with a copy of the news­paper.

It is a workbook-cum-activity pullout that caters to pupils in Years Four, Five and Six.

Step Up is geared towards helping pupils improve their vocabulary, grammar, writing and conversational skills while preparing for the UPSR.

The colourful 24-page syllabus-based pullout is endorsed by the Education Ministry.

Parveen discovered Step Up early last year when she attended a Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshop at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. She found that the pullout suited her pupils, and had proceeded to try it out. “I find the grammar activities very good. The pullout also offers something that is different from the norm - it catches pupils’ attentions. I get that kind of reaction from pupils and, ultimately, they pay attention to the lesson.”

“I also like the Literature Page as the activities are very interesting and creative. I usually use this portion during the language arts sessions,” she added.

This year, Parveen introduced Step Up to her class, Year Four Utarid.

Conducting an activity from the first issue of Step Up 2018, the pupils were revved up and excited as they eagerly raised their hands to chip in their answers.

The activity at hand focused on a simple building block of English - plural nouns. While it may sound simple, not all nouns are turned into their plural forms by just adding an ‘s’. The exercise segmented different nouns, whose plural forms depended on its spelling, into boxes. The boxes also provided examples, which made it easier for pupils for understand.

Pupil Muhammad Hariz Hazieq Seeni Rajibudeen said that he had seen his older brother doing exercises in Step Up, and had been curious. “I was looking forward to using the pullout as it was only for Year Four to Six pupils. I think it’s more fun to do exercises from the newspaper instead of a book,” he said.

Neesa Imana Mohd Fahimi liked that the pullout is colourful. “I can understand this pullout and it will help me improve my English. I can also do some of the activities with my friends and I find it enjoyable.”

Agreeing, Muhammad Rayyan Danial Syahril said that he finds it easy to understand the lesson when he works with his friends.

“The meaning of difficult words are also given in the Mini Dictionary, so I don’t have to look them up elsewhere,” he added.

Parveen said that she enjoyed utilising the newspaper for class activities. “Pupils enjoy doing newspaper activities. The English Society recently did some newspaper activities using copies of The Star from the previous year. We had them searching for words and then forming compound words. Activities like these are suitable for big groups.”

“One thing for sure is that pupils’ vocabulary command have expanded. Pupils pick up a lot of new words from the newspaper,” she said.

She also noted that it is convenient to use Step Up. “Teachers do not need to prepare handouts as the pullout provides ready-made exercises.”

SK Bandar Tun Hussein Onn 2 currently has a subscription total of 350 copies.

For more information, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1-300-88-7827 from Monday to Friday (9am-5pm). Subscription is through schools only.

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Education , Step Up; roll out


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