Every TKsian a proficient user and passionate learner of English
The English Language and Literature (EL) Department not only ensures that each student has a strong and solid foundation in grammar, but also works to ignite a spark of curiosity about pertinent issues in Singapore and the world, as well as to cultivate an appreciation for the beauty of the English language. Through a diverse range of engaging collaborative, interactive and IT based lessons, the EL department reflects on and refines its methods to help students achieve these desired outcomes.
Teaching and Learning Approach
The EL Department embraces the Three Es: Enrich, Empower and Excel.
We believe that English should be framed in creative contexts outside of the classroom.
TK places a strong emphasis on Current Affairs and the EL department supports this by taking charge of two fortnightly Current Affairs Presentations over the course of the school year. We guide our students to choose a relevant topic, enhance it with visuals and props and groom them to be confident and eloquent public speakers. We also vet the Current Affairs articles which every Lower Secondary class takes turns to produce.
Each level participates in a myriad of thrilling and engaging activities (both during curriculum time and after school) to celebrate the English Language and British culture.
This year, highlights included the Secondary Twos dabbling in Reader’s Theatre as they performed a dramatic reading of the Lorax (by Dr.Seuss).
The Secondary Threes had the opportunity to express their artistic side as they set up and decorated booths in order to create as authentic an idea of “English Tea” as possible, and later had to use their charm to convince a panel of judges that theirs was best.
The Secondary Fours exercised their persuasive powers and analytical skills as they engaged in a rousing Teacher vs Students debate.
Whole School Approach to English
The EL department seeks to maintain a high standard of English amongst staff as well as students by creating bite-sized English tips and tidbits to share with the rest of the school. This is done through short and sweet weekly emails and punchy, short presentations during Staff Contact Time.
Furthermore, we compiled selected students’ creative works into a yearly publication that also focuses on grammar and vocabulary (2011-2013). This year’s book was termed “The English (Grammar) Patient.”
Finally, we invited knowledgeable guest speakers such as Marife Cruz Yap (Langlit Enrichment Course) and Tazneen ( Oral Communication by Introspective Learning) to provide fresh perspectives and share their skills and expertise with our students.
We believe that students should have the opportunity to take charge of their own learning.
Secondary One ALICe (Developing Attributes of Learners in the 21st Century) programme
This is a collaboration between English, Geography, Art and Mathematics, with time allocated to it weekly and spanning nearly the whole year. Students form groups and choose their own topics within the scope of Geography. They then conduct research, design posters and present their findings in front of the teachers and peers. The oral presentation component forms 20% of their SA2 marks for English.
Secondary Two Project Work
The theme for this year’s project work was “Giving a voice to the voiceless.” It focused on English and Media Literacy, giving students the opportunity to practice and hone their video editing and interviewing skills as they were allowed to choose and film any individual they felt fit the bill. Some interesting choices included a domestic worker, a former drug addict and an ice cream seller.
Secondary 3 Student Research: Creative Writing
As part of the Student Research programme which is opened up to students at Secondary 3, students pursue the art of Creative Writing under the guidance and supervision of the highly experienced and reputable Dr Shah. Over the course of many weeks, they learnt more about the critical elements of creative writing and worked on crafting their original short stories. After much blood, sweat and tears, the fruits of their labour were published in TK’s very own “The English Grammar Patient” as well as on lulu.com
“I’ve always loved writing and the fact that our stories would get published just served as such a huge incentive for me. The Creative Writing programme has truly opened my eyes to the wonders of English.” –Li Wee Shyan (3H)
We believe that students should be exposed to different methodologies and outside opportunities.
The 2013 team consisting of Ryan Koh Xian Qi (3B) Li Wee Shyan and Zhang Xiaoshi, Diamanta (both 3H) took part in the Julia Gabriels Singapore Schools Debating Competition and through grit and wit made it all the way to the Quarter Finals. Wee Shyan and Ryan were ranked among the Top 20 best speakers in the nation, while Xiaoshi and Wee Shyan were awarded the coveted title of “Best Speaker” for one round each.
“Debating for TK is like using a permanent marker. You couldn’t erase the memory even if you tried.” –Zhang Xiaoshi, Diamanta (3H)
Time-tabled time (Professional sharing amongst teachers from the same level)
Our teachers meet each week to share our best practices and exchange feedback on how the students are responding to the skills and techniques being introduced or emphasized. We work as a team to make the necessary adjustments and ensure that lessons are engaging and effective.
Lecture-style teaching (only for Secondary Fours)
In order to capitalize on our various teacher’s strengths and ensure that students receive a consistent message across the level, our Secondary Four team decided to experiment with the idea of holding lecture-style sessions once a week from the start of the year.
“Each teacher has their area of specialization and we found it novel and beneficial because it allowed us to experience their different teaching styles.” –Hazel Toh and Wang Zheng Qing (4E)