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Every pupil to be an effective User of English as a Communicative Tool
To enable every child to be a competent and critical listener and reader; a confident and expressive speaker and writer of English; a reader today, and a leader tomorrow
The English Department seeks to help students achieve academic excellence by developing instructional programmes which cultivate a pervasive school culture of reading. We believe that the readers of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Reading allows students to develop a sophisticated and sure command of the language, the ability to express themselves clearly and precisely, offers them an invaluable avenue with which to gain knowledge about the world around them, enhances their creative capacities and exposes them to complex issues that will develop their ethical sensibilities. The importance of these skills for students who we believe will be the leaders of tomorrow is difficult to overestimate.
The importance of reading is often underestimated. Most students do not realise that reading has a direct impact on their academic performance and future success. Even if they realise it, they choose technology related activities like watching videos on Youtube, engaging in social media platforms and playing computer games over reading.
In his 1982 book, Krashen argues that extensive reading will lead to language acquisition if certain preconditions are met. These include adequate exposure to the language, interesting material, and a relaxed, tension-free learning environment.
Hence, we made this important decision - to focus our efforts on creating a reading culture in the school.
- P4 “Better English through National Geographic”
We believe that in nurturing student leaders, it is necessary to inculcate an attitude of intellectual curiosity and openness, as well as a desire to use language to effectively convey ideas and inspiration. The P4 “Better English through National Geographic” programme fulfils this aim. It provides students with a broad array of activities that feature articles that are not only well-written, but very informative about the natural and cultural world that surrounds us, and include vibrant photographs that capture the students’ attention. The reading activities that students are able to engage in spark off a passion for reading.
- P5 Literature Enrichment Programme
In the P5 Literature Enrichment Programme, teachers use the award- winning novel Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White to teach the students about the qualities of literature; sensitive and nuanced used of language, narrative flow, and characters the students can empathise with. This allows students to develop an ability to use language with precision for deliberate effect, something which is very important for aspiring leaders. As students enjoy the story, they imbibe such skills without even knowing it!
- P6 “Towards a global citizen with Newsademic” programme
In this programme, teachers use a fortnightly international newspaper, Newsademic, as a resource to teach students global citizenship and reading comprehension. Students come into constant contact with language as it is deployed and encountered in its most common form, and learn to develop a habit of using such language resources around them. Being aware of important local and global developments is important in nurturing future leaders.
iREAD - Class Library Programme
The whole school reads every Friday during the last period, with teachers acting as role models. The books used for the programme include different genres of text and were carefully selected to meet the needs of every student.
Makeover of Our School Library
The school has recently embarked on an overhaul of the library to encourage students to utilise the resources and the opportunities it provides them with. Some of the major changes to the library include:
- Creating a warm, cosy feel by using wooden shelves for books
- Increasing the number of books through direct purchases and through collaboration with Sembawang NLB
- Increasing number of books that students can borrow to four
- Introducing library periods during curriculum time
- Introducing new books during assembly periods
- Introducing monthly thematic displays of books to entice pupils
- Establishing the Anchor Library Club as a CCA
- Developing P5 students’ Media Literacy through an 18-h Media Literacy Course
- Putting in place the ‘READ’ programme
The 'READ' programme is designed to encourage pupils to read widely. The programme includes a system that awards badges toincentivise students to read more, while imparting to the exercise an element of fun.
'READ' represents Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst and Diamond, with Diamond being the highest accolade of awards given to avid readers. Every semester, top readers are awarded badges of different tiers according to the number of books they have read.
Classes which borrow the highest number of books for their level are also rewarded with a higher borrowing limit.
Innovative Teaching Strategies
- Phonics and Grammar Through Songs: Students usually dread learning about grammar because its rules are seen as dry and tedious. However, by teaching students about phonics and grammar through fun sing-along songs, teachers are able to approach the topic from a fresh and exciting perspective, one that turns the process of learning from a chore into an activity that students look forward to. By singing and therefore internalising the lyrics of these songs, students learn about the rules of grammar and phonics without ever having to undergo rote memorisation.
- The English Through Drama and Literacy Club allows English to come alive for students as they participate in creative activities. Giving students the space to creatively explore and test the boundaries of their linguistic abilities through drama and writing is crucial to letting them develop confidence and linguistic flair, abilities that will serve them well as leaders.