Dictionary games

WOULD a dictionary be used only to check new words? If so, the motivation can be quite low to use it regularly as a prime language learning resource. In one instance, a teacher advised a student whose work was riddled with spelling errors and word misuse to consult a dictionary whenever in doubt. The student's astonishing reply: "But professor, I'm never in doubt."

Continue Reading

Selecting a dictionary

VISUALS give way to a world of increasing text for the beginning tweens. It’s a time when they are likely to ask for text-rich materials to avoid being viewed as a mere child. However, with increasing text comes new words and meanings which must be sourced and understood. It is in this context, a good and relevant dictionary comes into play.

Continue Reading

Junk mail to good use

JUNK MAIL is unsolicited commercial mail. We receive quite a bit of it regularly, and it generally ends up in the waste bin. But is there a way to extract some value from it from the perspective of learning and parenting? Improve your children's language skills and add to their general knowledge through association to their environment 


What You Will Need

  • Junk mails

  • Time 


If you have been through your children’s English paper (from Primary 3 onwards), you would notice a section called “Stimulus Graphics MCQ”. Most times, the content relates to what I would call practical English and general knowledge eg invitation to an opening, news of events, announcements, launches, lucky draws, etc.

Once, my son had a topic about insurance – there was jargon like premiums, coverage and beneficiaries. Needless to say, he did not do well.
In reality, it is not difficult to score in this section. Simply expose your children to such content as often as you can. You need not source very hard. Most time your letterbox would be invaded by such content ranging from brochures on property, household services, marketing materials from different brand owners, donations, invitations to launches, etc. Hand them to your children, let them go through to brief as well as ‘advise’ you on the course of actions, if any. You will be surprised at their willing response as it would make them feel valued, involved and grown-up.  Hear them explain and you will be amazed at how such a level of engagement could become a learning opportunity. In fact, if well deployed, it becomes a conversational piece where your child will learn beyond the content of the material.


  • Zero





Tough questions: Aims of school examinations




A recent news report touched on the issue of tough school examinations that appeared to result in high student failure rates. In contrast, national examinations like the PSLE appeared to be easier.  A former primary school Level Head, Albert Koh currently teaches in a secondary school.  In this article, he gives his perspective on examinations, discussing their roles, and differentiating school examinations from national type.

Continue Reading