Every Saint, an active listener, eloquent speaker, critical reader and skilled writer
To inspire the love for language through rich learning environments, creative activities and positive role models
A strong command of the English Language allows Saints to think about ideas with clarity and precision. In particular, we seek to develop Holistic Thinkers who are creative, analytical and reflective.
In our department, we believe that proficiency of the English Language is cultivated through rich learning experiences. Our programmes encourage the daily use of the English Language through reading, listening, speaking and writing.
Language also empowers us to understand our emotions and develop skills to communicate with others effectively. The ability to express our feelings both through spoken and written means is especially important in this digital age. With technology allowing communication to transcend physical boundaries, Saints should be able not only to express themselves effectively online, but also be able to listen and read critically to understand others. These are the traits of the Skillful Communicator.
Apart from using language as a means to think, feel, and communicate, the deep appreciation for the beauty of a language can be a valuable end in itself. At times, the development of such an appreciation involves playing with the language rather than direct instruction. By playing with the language, Saints can better understand how language functions in different contexts. To this end, our Saints will be provided with sufficient opportunities to appreciate word play, poems, drama and song lyrics.
Using Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle, our language teachers deliver lessons where the learner gets himself involved in doing, reflecting, concluding and applying what he has learnt. The department believes that this approach to teaching language will ensure higher levels of pupil engagement and practical opportunities to apply their learning.
(i) Drop Everything and Read (DEAR)
On Mondays to Wednesdays, P1 to P6 pupils are required to read an English storybook from the time they arrive at their classrooms to 7.20am. He can read any book of his choice during this time. At appropriate junctures, the class EL Captain will invite various pupils to share a book review. This provides them an opportunity to practise public speaking and learn from other pupils’ reading experiences.
Through this programme, we hope to cultivate a routine of self-directed and independent reading.
(ii) IRead Book
P1 and P2 pupils are encouraged to develop the love for reading. Each class will be issued books for pupils to borrow. Pupils will read one book a day and exchange the book with another pupil the next day.
Parents’ involvement in their children’s learning is crucial. Thus, we strongly encourage our pupils to read the book to, or with, their parents at home. A short sharing about the book is also done in class.
(iii) Speech and Drama
P1 and P2 pupils will experience learning oracy through speech and drama lessons that are incorporated into the school’s EL curriculum. We hope to inculcate the confidence and clarity in communication through the use of skills from the performing arts. This is aligned to our school’s key emphasis on developing Skilled Communicators.
(iv) Reader’s Theatre
In our attempt to promote creativity, self-confidence and critical thinking, we hope to expose our middle primary pupils to story-telling using drama conventions. These activities are also infused within the EL curriculum where students will learn how to express themselves with confidence and clarity.
(v) Morning Oracy Progamme
Selected P6 pupils undergo this specially designed program to prepare them for the PSLE Oral Examinations. Parent Volunteers (PVs) work together with SAJS EL teachers to provide additional support to prepare our boys for their oral examinations.
All PVs in this programme participate in a training session with a representative from the EL department, who leads the programme. Their active participation is key to the success of this programme and SAJS is especially grateful to them for supporting our boys’ learning.
(vi) Hearts and Voices
Hearts and Voices is a Key Signature Programme where pupils are provided with learning experiences and taught core writing strategies to improve their writing skills.
Teachers make use of Making Thinking Visible strategies and routines such as the Ladder of Feedback and Claim-Support-Question to enhance our pupils’ thinking and level of creativity.
In every writing cycle, students will complete these bite-sized activities as a build-up to their actual writing piece. Along the way, students work together and brainstorm for ideas, good vocabulary and plan their stories through these activities.
Parents can help us in the following areas
(i) Active listener
- Role model good listening by paying attention to what your boy says and what he means
- Ask questions that begin with ‘What’, ‘How’ and ‘Why’ to encourage your boy to express himself beyond a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’
- It is a good practice to watch the news together to enhance their awareness of the correct use of the English language.
(ii) Eloquent speaker
- Role model good pronunciation
- Allow them to express their thoughts and encourage them to justify their views in standard English
- Emphasise the thinking process before speaking (Why do you say that? What was the reason?)
- Watch examples of good and creative speaking (newscasters, radio DJs)
(iii) Critical reader
- Role model reading for pleasure and for information
- Read to them, read with them and hear them share their views on the books they read.
- Identify a quiet corner to read with your boy without distractions
- Make it a family routine to visit the National Library weekly so that they can have access to good reading materials
(iv) Skilled writer
- Provide authentic experiences for them to pen down their thoughts during special family occasions
- Role model writing (This can be reflections, thank-you notes, recipes and even short stories)
- Encourage your boy to write reflections of what he has learnt in school
- Practise, practise, practise
Some recommendations from our teachers
We are delighted to share that Hearts and Voices: Volume 3 is available now!
You can download the online version of Hearts and Voices: Volume 1 [here] Upload PDF here, Volume 2 [here] Upload PDF here and Volume 3 [here] Upload PDF here.
Mrs Tan Siew Mei ( HOD / English )