29 May 2008

English Class

English class yesterday was really fun. I gave my students an assignment on conducting meetings and also gave them a controversial topic - traditional vs modern. They were all members of the town planning committee and had to decide whether they wanted to bring down all the old buildings in the town, add a motorway, get rid of the forest and trees around the town to make way for supermarkets and large shopping centres or retain the traditional structures with minor renovations. The students really got into it and they had a fierce debate. Both sides were clear and put forward their arguments forcefully. Imagine my boys who were quite shy and withdrawn on the first day, Afzan and Azman, fighting to change their city. It was satisfying and really heartwarming to see them get into the project with gusto. They enjoyed themselves so much that I found it difficult to stop them and end the meeting. I think Ali was great as chairman as was Nasiha earlier. In the earlier exercise I told them to choose their own agenda and Group 1 chose to organise a concert. She had the meeting well in hand and I can see that she had the makings of a great CEO one day. Nasiha at first glance would never have struck you as a go getter but she has shown that she can talk, even if her English is not that good. She is confident and talks in a no nonsense way. I think she handled that meeting better than many bosses I know.
Swee Lian on the other hand is rather timid and shy, hardly talk unless talked to and seldom even smiles. I like most of them, in fact all of them in different ways. There is Afzan the shy boy who first entered my class. He would only speak in Malay, and Kelantanese Malay at that! Nowadays he can speak with anyone, in or out of class. I'm glad to say that he volunteers information, participates actively in class and even speaks English outside class. You see these boys have the potential, they just need to be persuaded to open their wings and fly.
Ainol is a born leader, quickly managing her group and is also creative. Shairah is shy but will talk in group activities. Even Sabariah is active in groupwork and I can see her participating in most of the activities. However Atiqah is still very shy and only talks if asked. I hope by the end of this course she will be more confident.

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