Taking language lessons a step further


  • Education
  • Sunday, 01 Mar 2020

K Bandar Sri Damansara 3 pupils take one for the album with their headmistress Rozaini (green tudung) and English teacher Kassturi (blue t-shirt).

CLASS Year Six Mutiara of SK Bandar Sri Damansara 3, Kuala Lumpur, bustled with activity. The pupils were to come up with ideas for a hypothetical Family Day carnival. Colouring contests, karaoke, musical chairs were some of the activities the pupils came up with to tackle the question from The Star’s education pullout Step Up.

Step Up is a workbook-cum-activity pullout for pupils in Years Four, Five and Six aimed at helping them improve their vocabulary, grammar, writing and conversational skills. The syllabus-based education pullout that comes with a copy of The Star, helps pupils prepare for the UPSR examination.

School headmistress Rozaini Md Zain said that Step Up is one the best teaching tools for the English language as it is not too rigid and not restricted to the classroom.

“It makes learning fun. Using the newspaper in the classroom keeps pupils in touch with reality and issues that are happening in the here and now. The newspaper is also written using practical vocabulary, words that students will use over and over again throughout their lives.

“Best of all, the themes in the pullout also tally with their syllabus and they have enrichment exercises and fun activities, ” she said.

Rozaini noted that the newspaper improves pupils’ reading achievement, retention and comprehension.

“Pupils’ reading skills improve. It influences their attitudes towards reading and improves their competencies in reading newspapers.

“Because Step Up has colours and game-type activities, it is attractive to pupils. The pullout can also be done individually or by group. They can also use this material to do presentations in the class, ” she added.

Year Six pupil Ammar Harries Jaafar said that Step Up helps him learn English better because it is fun.

“It has many group work activities and I like working with my friends. Step Up improves my English and it is good practice. When I do my exams, I know how to answer as the questions are similar in format.”

Classmate Muhd Azim Aznir Abdul Rahman said: “Step Up improves my spelling and grammar, and my marks in English.”

“I’m really happy to have Step Up as it helps a lot. It’s also fun. When I do group work with my friends, they would also help me with my English, ” he said.

Aspiring to be an English language professor, Muhd Azim said that English is an important language to learn.

“When it comes to English lessons, I like writing and spelling. The Mini Dictionary feature helps me with spelling apart from knowing the meaning of the words, ” he said.

Agreeing, Nur Alisha Ahmad Mohzani said that the pullout helps her with her spelling, too.

“I’m not good at spelling actually. When I use Step Up, there’s the Mini Dictionary I can look up.

“I find Step Up fun to use and it encourages me to use English with my friends and family. It makes me feel that it’s actually fun to use English. Sometimes, I am lazy to look in the dictionary for the meaning of some words. The Mini Dictionary comes in very handy, ” she said.

Their English teacher Kassturi Arumugam, 30, feels that Step Up is good enrichment to her students’ English language learning.

“I feel that the materials are very good as it makes pupils think out of the box. It not only features activities in the curriculum but out of it as well.

“I think pupils need this kind of ideas and exposure.

“Year Five pupils have started using Step Up and we are going to introduce it to the Year Four pupils as well. So, I really hope the whole of the upper primary level can use this, ” she said.

She said that her colleagues have nothing but praise for the teaching resource.

“They like that the translation of difficult words are provided. Pupils can understand words in the reading comprehension exercise better, and they don’t have to bring their heavy dictionaries along.

“The assessment exercises given are also based on the exam format for comprehension and writing. They feature questions that tap into pupils’ higher order thinking skills. Pupils are encouraged to brainstorm and come up with their own ideas, ” she said.

Previously published under two versions – with BM and Chinese translations each – Step Up has now been combined into one super bumper issue of 32 colourful pages.

Pupils subscribing to the pullout can now familiarise themselves with terms in BM and Chinese under one pullout. This trilingual approach will help pupils build vocabulary in all three languages – an important component in multicultural Malaysia.

The pullout is endorsed by the Education Ministry and is available through school subscription only.

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

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