Bringing English language to life
16 Apr 2018
For Primary 2 students at Bedok Green Primary School, the opportunity to visit Jurong Bird Park to observe and learn about nocturnal birds may sound like a science field trip, but the activity is actually part of an English lesson.
After completing the book “Owl Babies” (selected from the STELLAR resources) in their English classes, students would embark on an excursion to Jurong Bird Park. The activity would complement the reading material and enable them to see how language concepts are applicable in the real world.
Such activities are part of the school’s efforts to help students to discover joy in reading and hone their language skills.
Besides heading out of the classroom to learn, various programmes and activities are also available within the school, such as book review contests and literature appreciation.
In their English classes, students are encouraged to articulate their opinions and interact with their peers through group work. For instance, Primary 3 to 5 students would be tasked to share their thoughts on articles they read together with their peers, as part of a classroom activity.
“Students can move from being passive readers to active ones. They would be able to present and express their thoughts and feelings more effectively,” explains Ms Sangeetha Yadav, the head of department for English language at Bedok Green Primary School.
Parents learn too
Besides having programmes and activities for students, parents would be roped in to help in their learning too.
The school’s English Language department would hold sharing sessions for parents of kindergarten-going children to help them prepare for their transition into primary school.
“We share reading tips and strategies that could be adopted at home. Most of the strategies focus on developing students’ reading habits - for instance, we encourage parents to set up a reading corner at home and expose their children to viewing picture books for a start,” says Ms Sangeetha. “The school believes that partnership with parents is critical in establishing a strong reading culture among students.”
More than just loving the language
While much of the activities focus on instilling a love of reading in students, they stand to gain much more from it.
“The programmes aim to build confident and competent communicators, and to instil values through age-appropriate stories,” says Ms Sangeetha. “For example, students learn important values on friendship when they read the book ‘Charlotte’s Web’ - their Primary 4 literature programme text.”
The school activities also act as a platform for students to practice the appropriate skills and strategies in speaking and listening as they interact with the people around them. “In time, they will have the relevant soft skills to carry themselves well and improve their communication skills, to be well-prepared for the future workplace,” adds Ms Sangeetha.
For Primary 5 student Jasper Yeo, reading “Charlotte’s Web”, which tells the story of a friendship between a livestock pig and a spider, was the highlight of his learning experience.
“The storyline was thought-provoking and had many interesting characters,” he shares. “It taught me to empathise as I put myself in the characters’ shoes. The activities also encouraged my friends and me to be creative as we tried to solve the problems faced by the characters.”