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Something delightful to share with everyone

I have just received a fantastic news from my all my secondary 3 Chung Cheng High students!  All of them scored a distinction for their English debating Weighted Assessment!  They were so happy and so was I.  One even shared with me that it’s his first ever distinction for English.  I told him more to come if he continued to put in his effort.

They had indeed put in good effort, followed my pointers and techniques to deliver a good debating script and presentation!  Going forward, I hope they can see that by putting in effort, the outcome will likely be positive. And that it will propel them to continue their endeavour.

You can click on the link to view two of the students’ presentation.

A Sincere Message to all my students

Dear Students

It is my pleasure to teach each and every one of you.  As we all know, we only have 24 hours a day.  Each session that I allocate for you is precious to me as well.  I give my full commitment in passing the right knowledge.

Thus, it is only fair that I give my time to students who will also return full commitment towards learning and picking up knowledge from me.  It takes two to tango!  

If you show a sluggish attitude, it is not possible for me to continue my enthusiasm.  This, I believe you would agree.  

Just share some correspondence (attached) with you.  Treasure the opportunity given to you, don’t lose it.

An enquiry to help a GP student
A Sec 1 student whom I had to turn down (voice recording) despite the mother’s persistence
A very sincere plea from a mother of a Pri 6 student
A helpless tone of a mother of another Pri 6 child
A happy parent who can vouch for my dedication
Another referral that I had to turn away

Training the young debating

30 years ago, I represented my school and Singapore in International Debates overseas.  Today, I am able to relive the excitement by training (remotely) some Chung Cheng High students in debating for their weighted assessment.  I am happy to feature 2 of them with contrasting styles – one aggressive and the other, calm and collected.  Both, I must say, are equally good.  

The student submitted his presentation for assessment and was subsequently informed by his teacher that he was the Best Speaker. Kudos Yi Feng!
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Erica too was informed that she got a distinction for her presentation. Well-done! You have earned it!

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Writing Descriptive Essays

A good descriptive essay describes the content so well that it brings out the five senses; smell, touch, sight, taste and hearing.  To achieve that, students must readily be equipped with fantastic descriptive phrases to facilitate their writing.  These phrases are most easily adapted from novels or narrative texts.

I have collected a list of such phrases from books and narrative writings that I have come across.  For students who are attempting descriptive essays or those preparing their PSLE, these phrases will be very useful to incorporate in your essay.

Descriptive phrases

  1. Multitudinous stirring of leaves

Describes how the leaves move, before an impending storm or when the wind blows 

2. Trees swayed and strained

Describes how strong the wind is that trees are almost uprooted

3. Wind howled like a crying banshee

Describes the blowing of the wind to that of a howling ghost to emphasize creepiness

4. Air screamed as though it was packed with attacking demons

Describes the forceful nature of wind

5. Pelting down bullets of rain

Describes a heavy rainfall

6. Roofs of houses peeled away

Describe the destructive nature of a hurricane or tornado

7. Parting traffic like a knife

Describe how a vehicle, most likely an ambulance, navigates through heavy traffic during an emergency

8. Eyes dilated in terror

Describes a terrified look of a person

9. A spasm of terror ran through him

Describes how a person is overwhelmed by terror

10. Eyes crinkled up in a wide smile

Describes how a person’s face brightens up in joy

11. A mounting pressure of tears

Describes how a person is overwhelmed with emotions 

12. Heart hammering in my chest

Describes the forceful beating of the heart

13. Body glistened with sweat

Describes the texture of the skin moist with sweat

14. Face tight with pain

Describes the expression of a person in pain

15. Heart leapt to my mouth

Describes how a person is so suddenly shocked

16. Multitude of colours

Describes a variety of colours

A brand new decade!

Happy New Year to all!

To some students, this year marks another milestone in their education journey; a new environment in a junior college or polytechnic.  And to some, the year marks a new beginning to a more rigorous upper secondary curriculum while some, will have a taste of life as a secondary school student.  

Whatever this year means to you, never stop believing in your dreams.  Continue to hold it dear to your heart and know it will manifest some some day, really.

If you notice, my website has a brand new look!  The new website would not have been possible without the hard work of my dearest wife, Aihui.  She literally had to pull her hair out to iron out some of the thorny issues.  No amount of words can thank her enough for her grit in getting the new website ready.  Still, I want to thank her from the bottom of my 

Paper 1 final component – Editing

11 October 2019

This month I would like to share the final component in Paper 1 which is Editing.  A lot of students attempt the Editing based on “gut feel” or by “trial and error”.  Most times, many are disappointed by their scores.

In fact, it is just a simple technique to follow in order to ace the Editing – look for the 7 types of errors in the text:

  1. Grammar – referring to subject verb agreement, tenses etc

Example: The child may become greedy and expects more toys – expect

  1. Preposition – such as in, on, under, through etc

Example: I am now travelling in the bus – on 

  1. Word form – any word can come in 4 different forms; noun, verb, adjective and adverb   

This is a beautiful (noun) crafted piece of work – beautifully (adverb) 

  1. Pronoun – such as it, he, they, ourselves, their etc

Example: The dog is trained to walk home by himself – itself

  1. 5W 1H – (who, what, where, when, why, how)

Example: This is the park when I will go to unwind – where

  1. Conjunction – a word that connects the whole sentence such that it makes sense

Example: Fried food is unhealthy and many people still love it – yet

  1.   Article – (a, an, the)

Some students are still unclear when to change from “a’’ to “the” and vice versa.  “A” is used when it refers to things in general and “the” refers to something more specific.
The school is an institution where students attend to gain knowledge – A
Singapore is a small country.  A country is known for its strict laws – The

Handling Situational Writing

20 September 2019

The English O-level Paper 1 begins next month.  There are still students who are unclear about the Situational Writing format.  Hence, I would like to take this chance to share with everyone the different types of situational writing and the correct format.

You may download and look the the corresponding format.

English O-level Oral Exam

12 August 2019

The English O-level oral exams starts from from tomorrow until the next two weeks.  I always tell students that the oral exam is the easiest to score.  

For Reading, just be mindful of words that appear before vowels.  Pause whenever there is a comma and full stop.  Do NOT rush through your reading.  Finally, there are commonly mispronounced words that you may counter.  I would like to share some of these words.

For Spoken Interaction, when presented with a visual stimulus (picture), link it to a theme.  The O-level oral is based on a thematic approach.  For example, if you see a picture of children playing at a playground, the discussion would most likely be centred on childhood, play, outdoor fun etc.  Examiners are NOT there to assess how intelligent your ANSWERS are.  Rather, what is important is how relaxed and confident you are.  Are you able to hold a conversation relating to the topic?  Remember, it’s best to share your personal experiences as it helps to keep the conversation going and it’s uniquely yours!  When you are sharing, don’t forget your grammar!

For those who would like to have more practice and tips on tackling the exams, you may grab a copy of my O-Level English Oral book from The Popular bookstores.  The book also includes the official assessment criteria by the Exams Board.  Good luck!

Writing Expository Essay

21 July 2019

Expository Essay
The purpose of an expository essay is to present and explain a situation or issue by providing readers with the relevant information.  An example of an Expository essay – “How has technology improved lives?”.  

An expository essay is usually a five-paragraph essay or longer.  Below is the structure of an Expository essay.  

The Introduction paragraph provides an overview or background information.  For instance, students can write about how life is different now compared with the past when technology was not readily available.  Consequently, how lives have improved in various aspects such as lifestyle, work and entertainment because of technology.

Body Paragraphs
Each Body paragraph should cover only one point.  Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence.  Remember to use an example; preferably a real-life one, to substantiate a point.

Paragraph 2 – Point #1 how technology improves lives.  Support with one example or statistics

Paragraph 3 – Point #2 how technology improves lives.  Support with one example or statistics

Paragraph 4 – Point #3 how technology improves lives.  Support with one example or statistics

Finally, the Conclusion paragraph can offer a final thought or solution to the topic or issue being discussed.