Hey all... I'm back.. hehe sort of. Anyway, I've recieved some great emails and messages on facebook (add me as Audrey Wiles) about my blog and the good stuff you've gained from it. Hopefully I didn't disappoint.
Right, I've been thinking about why my students cant score higher than band 3 and 4... and I've finally hit the nail on its head. It's because students these days include too many generalisations and sweeping statements which are not backed up by facts. So then I sent them of a fact finding research and they have come back with key facts that can be used in their essays. I've then compiled (the first batch below) the info and written MUET style academic sentences which addresses key issues. I then printed out the samples below and got them to highlight whichever parts they considered as factual. Then in my next lesson, I will give them some sections with fill in the blanks activity (fill with facts) and some sections where they have to write their own sample sentences using the facts they can recall. Anyway, whichever style you use to present is not the issue but the fact that Band 5 & 6 students are expected to have a very HIGH LEVEL OF CRITICAL THINKING and maturity of ideas is reflected based on the content of their academic essays.
So students out there, read the examples below and highlight the facts. Teachers, get your students to do it. An enrichment activity is you can give them more issues and they can write their own samples, maybe one group one issue.
My next blog will be on using Malaysian government policies as content for factual and academic writing. So stay tuned and don't forget to comment about this technique. Was it effective for you? Your students? :P
In terms of world peace, we should never repeat the mistakes of World War I in 1918 where we lost about 5 million people and World War II in 1945 that took the lives of more than 61 million. These wars are concrete examples of why killing and death are not acceptable. Instead, we should find a way through the United Nations and other such organisations to conduct peace talks at all costs because wars give nothing but negative impact to the human race.
Mankind is doing irreparable damage to mother nature to the extent that more and more natural disasters have occurred in recent times such as the undersea earthquake a day after Christmas in 2004 which unleashed multiple tsunamis in 14 countries killing over 230,000 people. More recent are the earthquakes in New Zealand last year and this year Japan was hit full force by a tsunami that almost destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power plant and caused a nuclear meltdown similar to the radioactive disaster in Chernobyl, Ukriane (1986). Therefore, we must reduce our negative impact to the environment because it will definitely affect mother nature.
3. NATIONAL UNITY
There are many lessons we can learn from our own history including the May 13 1969 racial riots between the Malay and Chinese especially in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Almost 200 people were killed and this really emphasised why we need to be more understanding, tolerant and respectful of each others’ cultural differences. Otherwise, another terrible racial riot will occur and this will destroy the national unity that we have worked so hard to achieve for the past half century of independence.
World peace is threatened when terrorists launch attacks such as the 9/11/2001 hijacking of two 767 jets into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City. This is such a tragedy because it took 2,753 lives but there are uncountable more lives, maybe millions, that have been shaken by this terrible event. This has led to more lives lost through the hunting down of Saddam Hussien and Osama bin Laden, both of whom were influential leaders that commanded troops of terrorists. Hence, the governments of each country need to work hand in hand to protect its citizens from further terrorist threat.
In recent times, the world has seen a number of tragedies that are unbelievable and atrocious such as the bombing in Oslo, Norway where Anders Brevik went on a shooting rampage and killed at least 77 youths because he was against multiculturalism and Muslim immigration. Thus, although we should be patriotic at all times, there must be moderation because the extremism showed by Norweigian Anders Behring Breivik is very unhealthy and this does not create peace, but instigates world wars.
6. PROUD TO BE MALAYSIAN
We should be proud to be living in a peaceful land as there are no wars, enough food and opportunity to improve our standard of living. On the other hand, places like Palestine face the uncertainty and horrors of war every day, while there are many crisis elsewhere such as in Somalia, Afghanistan and even in Thailand which is our direct neighbour. In short, we need to defend our peace and freedom not just for this generation but for our children, and our children’s children.
7. ENDANGERED ANIMALS
Datuk Michelle Yeoh from Perak is an international actress most famed for her role in action movies and being the Bond girl in ‘Tomorrow never dies’ is also known for her full support of the anti-smuggling of endangered animals campaign. Along with celebrities such as Jackie Chan, they both support the saying, “When the buying stops, the killing will too.” Therefore, we should also support this campaign to stop the buying of illegal animal products such as ground rhino horn, ornamental elephant tusks and animal fur and skin to make clothes and accessories.
8. INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE
Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed is an extremely inspirational man as he was the longest serving prime minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 during which he was called the ‘Father of Modernisation’. We have a lot to thank him for including our aspiration to achieve the developed nation status through Vision 2020. He was also behind the successful programs such as Multimedia Super Corridor, Proton cars, KLCC and KL towers, Formula 1 Sepang Circuit and many more which have brought prosperity and countless opportunities to fellow Malaysians. Therefore, to me he is truly inspirational as even today he has his own website, blog and Facebook page where he shows eloquence and critical thinking even though he is now 86 years old.
Malaysia has a lot to be proud of in terms of sports as today we have two individuals in racquet sports that are ranked No. 1 in the world. They are Datuk Lee Chong Wei for badminton and Datuk Nicol Ann David for squash, both hailing from the island of Penang. The two are prime examples of a combination of hard work and good upbringing because they have managed to divide their time to be a successful sportsperson. Datuk Nicol is 28 years old and been playing squash intensively since young but she still managed to score flying colours in her SPM where she obtained 7As. This is evidence that with the right attitude and diligence, anything is possible.
Malaysia is proud to have businessmen who have carved a name for themselves in the international arena. Tan Sri Anthony Francis Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia, owns the world best low-cost airline (2009-2011) which has created countless opportunities for Malaysians to travel around the world for business and leisure. With his amazing tagline, “Now everyone can fly”, it is truly wonderful that we can experience international travel because travelling is now affordable for all. Another famous Malaysian entrepreneur is Datuk Jimmy Choo, famed for his exquisite handmade heels which are sought after by all the celebrities in America and the whole world including the fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker, a famous Hollywood actress. Therefore, we should always look for opportunities to expand our business not just in the Malaysian market but penetrate the international market as well.