Monday, May 30, 2011

News: Fun in the Classroom -- ICELT 2011

Fun in the classroom

If you are running out of ideas to keep the students in your English Language classroom interested and involved in the lesson, you definitely should not miss the International Conference on English Language Teaching (ICELT) 2011.

The conference, organised by Universiti Putra Malaysia’s (UPM) Faculty of Educational Studies and supported by the Education Ministry, will be held from September 18 to 20 at the Swiss-Garden Golf Resort and Spa, Damai Laut, Perak.

It promises to be a one-of-its-kind conference for English language teachers focusing on infusing creativity, fun, and interesting activities into the teaching and learning experience.

Themed “Teaching English as a Performing Art”, ICELT 2011 will see a gathering of some of the world’s most renowned names in the performing arts and English language teaching.

Among the featured speakers will be Jan Blake, a leading storyteller who specialises in stories from Africa and the Caribbean.

Then there is much sought after performance poet Adisa, recipient of the Apples and Snakes New Performance Poet of the Year award. He has delivered his work all around the world, “from pub basements to Buckingham Palace”.

Modern-day court jester Vivian Gladwell, who lives and works in France, is another speaker you wouldn’t want to miss.

Other featured speakers are Alan Maley who has been involved in English language teaching for over 45 years. He has worked with the British Council offices around the world, including Ghana, Italy, France, China, India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and his native country Britain.

British collaborative writers Steve Skidmore and Steve Barlow – or collectively known as The Two Steves – who mostly work in the field of children’s literature, are also on the list of confirmed speakers at the conference.

The coming together of such an assortment of creativity and talent – with practical applications for the classroom – should provide a pool of valuable resources for the English language teacher or anyone who attends.

For more information, visit or call 03-8946 8172.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Announcement: ELTC-TED Conference 2011 (5-7 July 2011) in Seremban, Malaysia

ELTC-TED Conference 2011: :ELTC is pleased to announce that it will be organising an international conference together with TED on teacher professional development pertaining to the strengthening of the English language, in line with the MBMMBI Programme Program Memartabatkan Bahasa Malaysia dan Memperkukuhkan Bahasa Inggeris).

Details of the conference are as follows:

Theme:Strengthening English Language (MBI) Through Teacher Professional Development

Date: 5 - 7 July 2011

Venue: Royale Bintang Hotel, Seremban

View and download conference flyer here at: :click here.

Who should participate:
ELT professionals,officers of MOE divisions and JPNs involved in the implementation of MBMMBI, representatives from PTAs and NUTP, all other stakeholders in the business of English Language Teaching

Call for papers:
Original papers focussing on the theme of the conference are invited. The subthemes are as follows:

  • Upskilling English language teachers through teacher development

  • Fun learning through Language Arts

  • KSSR English language curriculum implementation

  • Assessment for learning in the EL classroom

  • Current Pedagogical Approaches in ELT

  • ICT in ELT

  • Children’s Literature

    Presentation Format

    1. Plenary Papers
    These are lecture presentations by scholars in the field of ELT. About 45 minutes will be allocated per paper presentation, plus 15 minutes Q&A.

    2.Parellel Papers
    These are lecture presentations by one or more authors. About 30 minutes will be allocated per paper presentation, plus 10 minutes for Q&A.

    3.Workshops These are practical sessions conducted by one or more authors which engage participants in relevant hands-on activities. About 60 minutes will be allocated for workshop sessions.

    Guidelines on Submission of Paper

    a. A 200 to 250-word abstract with a title and a 50-word biodata should be sent to the Conference Secretariat via email by 02 May 2011. Download abstract template here at:click here. (This form can be downloaded).

    b. The Conference Secretariat will notify proposers by 16 May 2011 on whether the submissions have been accepted.

    c. An electronic copy of the full paper selected must be sent to the Conference Secretariat by 17 June 2011.

    All correspondence concerning submission of papers and/or further enquiries should be addressed to the Conference Secretariat at:

    Hotel rates, meals and conference fee packages(3 days) for participants from outside the Ministry of Education are as follows:

    Package 1: Standard Room RM 858 (per pax)
    Package 2: Twin Sharing RM 624 (per pax)
    Package 3: RM 300 (Day Participant)

  • Source:

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Report: Melaka State Teacher's Day Celebration 2011

    Hi All,

     I've just returned from the Melaka State Level Teacher's Day Celebration 2011.

    It was held at the Merlimau Polytechnic College. Besides the usual awards for innovative teachers, there were 3 teachers who were recognised as the Melaka State Teacher of the Year.

    The interesting thing that I've observed about the 3 recipients besides their outstanding contributions to education, was that they had received an English medium education in the late 50s and the 60s.

    Hajah Hamidah bt Baba (ex-Director of the Translation Institut of Malaysia) was educated in Masjid Tanah Primary English School (1956-1958), MGS (1959-1963) and Malacca High School  (1964-1969).

    Ahmad bin Mohamad Said (ex-Director of the Teacher Training Division) was educated in Jasin Primary English School (1957-1958) and ACS Melaka (1959-1963).

    Haji Ab. Rasid bin Yaakop (ex-Director of the Textbook Division) was educated in Gajah Berang Secondary School (1963).

    The first two personalities were educated in mission schools where English was the main medium of instruction while the last recipient studied in a government English medium school.

    I am pleased to note the impact that the mission schools and an English medium education had on their successes and achievements.

    Below is the cover of the programme booklet and the early education of the 3 personalities.

    Rodney Tan

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Special Dining Offer For Teachers in May (and Tuesdays)

    To All Teachers in Melaka:

    Here's a fantastic offer from the 5-star Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Melaka for the whole month of May 2011 especially for Teachers and Nurses only.

    50% off the food prices for the lunch and dim sum breakfast.

    Please refer to the flyer below.

    Besides that, Emperor Hotel is having a 50% off a selected menu which includes local and Western food every Tuesday during lunch time. You will have good food, no crowds and attentive waiters. Just had a great time with my ex-colleagues yesterday (Wesak Day).

    So, don't think twice. Do have a good time with your fellow colleagues for the month of May and also Tuesdays at these two places.

    Rodney Tan

    P.S.  Click on the flyer to view a bigger size.

    Poem: A Tribute to (ACS) Teachers

    Dear All,

    This poem was contributed by an Old Boy (MACSian) named Tedin Ng.

    The poem was composed by a Malaccan ACS student way back in 1967.

    The composer of this poem Ong Tiong Tai of Form 5 Science (1967).

    The words are surprisingly still fresh and relevant for teachers of today.

    Enjoy & Happy Teacher's Day 2011!

    Rodney Tan


    Report & Poem : Teacher's Day Celebrations 2011 at SMK Methodist ACS Melaka

    Dear All,

    On 16 May 2011 (Monday), the nation remembers the teachers and celebrated that day with all kinds of activities. Usually these activities are organised by the students with the guidance of teachers.

    In SMK Methodist ACS, as the President of the Teacher's Club, I had to assist the Perfect's Board commitee in organising the celebration. Anyway, with the help of the teacher's club commitee and Pn. Jamilah who is one of the teacher in-charge of the Perfects, we managed to pull it off.

    A number of the classes especially the Form 5s and a handful of other classes had organised a class party in honour of teachers. The administration of the school encourages the classes to hold class parties to inculcate the value of appreciating their teachers and to learn how to organise events. Having said that, the class teachers had to be very much involved in carrying out this event as the all male students still needed the teacher's guidance and contributions. Anyway, it was a good start as the students are observing and modeling after the teacher.

    I received a few gifts but the most meaningful were the words of appreciation from some naughty students. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out from another teacher that a student of mine had won a prize from the STAR Stuff@School Teacher's Day Acrostic Poem Contest. Sigh..... how I wished there was a photo taken of Jaziq Zakwan Jenal, a quiet, pint-sized student from Limbongan, Melaka who composed an acrostic poem using my name as the initial letters of the wonderful poem and me. The poem can be found on the STAR 9th May 2011 Stuff@School pullout section. As to the prize, Jaziq will get a novel while I will get a RM100 voucher to dine at the Victoria Station, a restaurant that is well known for it's Western food.

    I've included the poem below for your enjoyment!

    Happy Teacher's Day to all Malaysian educators!

    Rodney Tan


    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Free Tickets to "Magical Musicals" and Chance to Participate in a Flash Mob

    For Readers in Malaysia:

    Here's a chance to win tickets to an international level musical presentation especially if you register your blog with The STAR blogger community.

    However, the STAR is cooking something up for non-bloggers as well. Be prepared to participate in a flash mob scene!


    Details below:

    May 16, 2011
    Free tickets to 'Magical Musicals'
    Posted by Michael A Fredericks.
    Sunway Lagoon is at it again. They're bringing some talented folks over from London's West End theatres to perform right here in KL, just like they did with Peter Pan the Musical last year.
    This time around, they've promised a bigger, better, more oomph show, and they're doing so by bringing more talents who'll be performing songs that you're familiar with, and oh, they've made some major improvements to the Amphitheatre in Sunway Lagoon.
    What that translates to is a well, bigger, better, more oomph show, we suppose.

    The 90 minute production is called Magical Musicals, and will run from June 10 to July 17 at the Amphitheatre@ Sunway Lagoon. It will feature songs from Moulin Rouge!, Mamma Mia!, Dreamgirls, Fame, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Footloose, We Will Rock You, West Side Story, Hairspray and even the latest television musical phenomenon, Glee.
    Anyway, as an AMBP member, you're invited.
    But you know how it is. When we say "you're invited", what we actually mean is we wish we could give each and every member a ticket to watch the show, but unfortunately, we can't.
    We've only got 140 Grand Premiere tickets (June 10, mixture of Red and Blue Zone tickets) to give away, so 70 of you will get to win a ticket for yourself and a friend, simply by registering your interest.

    For more info on the show, and on how you can improve your chances of winning, mosey on over to our Magical Musicals page.
    One other way you can get yourself a free ticket is by joining Sunway Lagoon's Flash Mob via AMBP/
    You'll have to first confirm that you want to participate in the Flash Mob by registering here, but in order for you to win 1 Yellow Zone Ticket to Magical Musicals you'll have to indicate that you're an AMBP member or an reader.
    So if your name is Ibby Oli, and you happen to love to jump around dance, which makes you fairly suitable for this flash mob thingy, you'll have to do the following when you fill up the form:
    First Name: Ibby ( or Ibby (AMBP)
    Last Name: Oli
    So, there you go. Just two of the ways for you to win tickets to watch Sunway Lagoon's Magical Musicals.
    If you're not a blogger or an AMBP member, and if you're rubbish at dancing, don't fret. We're cooking something up just for you and it won't involve dancing, blogging or chest-thumping. Just visit; if we run a contest or giveaway or something, we'll run it there.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Tribute to Inspiring Teachers on Malaysia's Teacher's Day: Reaching for the Stars

    Dear All,

    It's a pleasant surprise and an honour to be featured in our national newspaper, The STAR for Teacher's Day as one of the educators who "went beyond the call of duty" to inspire our students.

    I just simply want to thank God for opening doors to enable me to attend this once in a lifetime opportunity. Would also like to appreciate my better half for supporting me in this trip and holding the fort will I was away aiming for the stars.

    Anyway, below is the write-up from the news report about my experiences at the Honeywell NASA Educators@Space Camp.

    Rodney Tan


    The Star Online > Education                                                                     Sunday May 15, 2011

    Beyond the call of duty


    There are educators who are good at their job, and there are those who see teaching as a lifelong calling and put in the effort to inspire their charges.

    ON HIS blog, Rodney Tan Chai Whatt introduces himself as a progressive English language teacher teaching in a secondary school at the Unesco World Heritage City of Malacca.

    Indeed, Tan is one of the “cool” teachers in school who posts revision materials online, and interacts with his students on his English Teachers’ Network blog.

    Spaceman: Tan being strapped to the multi-axis trainer by a facilitator. He had to remove his spectacles and and things from his trouser pocket to prevent the items from floating in the air.

    “A progressive teacher must be willing to try new things and unorthodox methods in the classroom. I always try to read up on the latest research findings on education to find out how I can keep my students interested,” says the SMK Methodist ACS Malacca teacher.

    Always striving to improve himself, Tan had applied to join the Honeywell Space Camp for Educators programme in the United States (US) Space and Rocket Centre, Huntsville, Alabama for the past few years.

    Third time proved the charm when he was finally accepted into the all-expenses-paid programme last year.

    His accomplishment is the pride of his students who are privileged to have a teacher who has stepped inside a space shuttle simulator.

    Joining 110 other teachers from 21 countries worldwide, Tan embarked on an experience of a lifetime exploring the Apollo Saturn V rocket and the famous Space Shuttle Atlantis, and even experimented with building water bottle rockets himself.

    “I have been fascinated with space since I was a child, but never in my life did I think I would have had a chance to come this close to being in a space shuttle,” says the affable 49-year-old Star Trek fan who plays the guitar occasionally.

    Tan was successful in getting accepted into the all-expenses-paid-programme after three previous attempts.

    He submitted his application with an essay detailing the problems faced in the classroom, ways he used in overcoming them and how the experience gained at the Space Camp would be incorporated into his lessons.

    “Besides marvelling at the exhibits at the US Space and Rocket Centre, the greatest benefit from the experience (camp) was the opportunity to network and exchange views and ideas with educators from across the globe,” says Tan.

    Organised by the US Space and Rocket Centre Education Department, the space camp is a professional development programme for teachers with 45 hours of intensive classroom, laboratory and training time focusing on space science and space exploration.

    Teachers also participated in astronaut-style training and simulations, as well as activities to promote lifelong learning in a classroom setting.

    “The activities make the process of learning enjoyable and meaningful. Science was brought to life through practical projects such as rocket building,” says Tan.

    Aimed at motivating students towards learning Science, the activities were centred around problem-solving methods encompassing problem analysis, brainstorming of ideas and testing of the solutions.

    Being surrounded by teachers who are passionate about space has turned out to be a very inspiring experience for Tan.

    “They are keen to learn and we are like the excitable students during the challenge where teams of teachers compete to build the heat shields that protect spacecraft as it re-enters the earth’s atmosphere,” says Tan.

    He commends the effort taken by the US government to promote continuous learning programmes for teachers.

    “It is easy to see why the US is so successful in space exploration. Teachers play an important role in inspiring the next generation of astronauts,” he says.

    Voicing his concern for the lack of professional development programmes for teachers in Malaysia, Tan supports other teachers to follow in his footsteps and apply for similar programmes.

    “I am an English teacher and I was selected for this programme that caters for Maths and Science teachers. I don’t see why other subject teachers should not give it a try,” says Tan.

    Now his students have a reason to look forward to his lessons as they get to listen to their teacher recounting his out-of-space experience which includes being spun around by a multi-axis trainer, a machine which simulates the disorientation astronauts feel during re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

    There is little wonder now that space frequently becomes a theme in comprehension and essay writing for his students.

    “It is a pity that there is not enough emphasis on space in our Science subjects in school. Based on what I have observed, we could replicate, adapt and innovate the US space education programme to suit our local context and resources,” says Tan.

    “I hope I can motivate my students to literally and metaphorically ‘reach for the stars’,” he says.

    Aim for the stars he does, and Tan is beaming with pride that 12 of his students have recently received offers to participate in a space camp programme for students in Turkey.

    > For more information on the Honeywell Space Camp for Educators programme, visit

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