How to improve in English language ?
For a number of years, Thinking Factory had mainly classes for Primary 5 and Primary 6 students. This was due to time constraints as my focus would be on the PSLE year for my P6 students. Over the years, I’ve realised that the PSLE English paper is becoming more challenging. Vocabulary is of a higher level and both Comprehension Cloze and Open-ended are not as straight forward as they used to be.
Schools also set more challenging SA1 and Preliminary English papers.
To keep up with the expectations of the national examination, I have been trying to find ways to build up my Primary 4 to Primary 6 students’ vocabulary and techniques to handle the Paper 2 components more successfully.
This year, I plan to focus more on the Paper 2 components that seem to challenge many students – Synthesis & Transformation/ Comprehension Cloze and Comprehension Open-ended.
My students have also been given more lists to widen their vocabulary, aside from their usual Vocabulary and Editing lists. Lists of Phrasal verbs and Collocation are very useful when working on Comprehension Cloze.
Aside from Paper 2, Stimulus-based conversation in the Oral component is also one component that requires practice over a period of a time. A student takes time to build up confidence to be able to discuss a variety of topics.
I believe that building a good foundation of the English Language at a younger age can ease a student’s transition in the upper primary levels.
For all these reasons, with the help of experienced teachers, I have decided to open up more Primary 3 and Primary 4 English classes this year at Thinking Factory.
Our hope is that we can help build a solid English Language foundation for our lower primary students so that they can tackle the upper primary level more confidently.
Some of the areas that Primary 3 and Primary 4 students should focus on are:
- Reading a variety of books to spark imagination and ideas
- Writing weekly. Whether it is a composition with marks awarded or a personal journal at home or a book of imaginative stories, children at this age should be encouraged to write.
- Building up vocabulary. Short lists of new, complex words or commonly misspelled words can be given and tested in a home setting or in a classroom. This will allow the child to build a strong base for good spelling and vocabulary.
- Start using proper techniques when handling Paper 2 components. The same techniques used in the upper primary should be taught for lower primary. Finding grammatical clues, breaking down comprehension and visual passages to show understanding or remembering rules for sentence combining are some such techniques.
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