I don't teach Paper 2
I get this a lot:
"How do you teach Paper 2?""Can you tell me how to teach Section A / B / C?"
I believe no English teacher wants to 'teach Paper 2' or 'Section B'. Or Section A, or C or any section for that matter. We all just want to teach the language. But...yeah. I know how it feels. I'm a Malaysian teacher, I teach in a government school, and I teach Year 6. You know what I mean?
But the clock is tick...tick...ticking
"The point is not that teachers teach to the test, but to develop tests worth teaching to."~Emeritus Professor Dylan Williams, University of London's Institute of Education
I know, I know. I purposefully put the quote there just for us to think about it for a second, but I'm not going to write about that in this post. :-) Sorry. If you like, leave me a message and we'll continue the discussion at the coffee shop.
Since there isn't much we can do about it (the clock is ticking, and UPSR is just around the corner, and the headteacher and every one in the office is panicking, you try to panic too but the students who are going to sit for the exam don't seem even one tiny bit concerned and now you're not sure whether to join the children in their lackadaisical attitude or the adults in their panicking frenzy), it wouldn't help us much to talk about policy or what Malaysia is doing for her children so let's just go direct to the point and talk about 'how to teach Section B.' Shall we?
Okay. So here goes...
I remember the moment when I looked at Section B for the first time. I was a new teacher, just graduated, just posted. I told myself: "Hah! This is easy. It's quite predictable. I can write out a list of reasons and ask the students to memorise." So that was what I did. I came up with a module which became quite popular for quite a while, you can have a look at it here: ACE Writing Module
So I tried to get the students to memorise. They couldn't. Ha ha! I should have known, I wouldn't be able to memorise all those lengthy ridiculous sentences myself. But apparently, many teachers find the module to be quite useful - a teacher from Kota Belud told me that his school gets 100% passes every year since he started using my module. Wow. I guess his students must have superb memories.
My students don't have superb memories. I don't blame them. As far as poor memory is concerned, I think I'm the worst. I miss my doctor's appointments quite often. I can forget my own birthday. I misplace my keys at least three times a month. The memorising technique doesn't quite work for us.
I think it's time for me to change my tactic.