Active practice and application of English language skills are indispensable when it comes to achieving mastery. From the perspective of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB), the PSLE examinations are aimed at evaluating the holistic understanding and applicability of English language skills that students have acquired over their primary education years.
For writing exercises, a comprehensive approach can be embraced by focusing on various aspects of writing. These might include grammar, vocabulary, sentence construction, paragraphing, composition writing, and summarisation. Here, the goal should be to enhance the capacity to communicate effectively in written English. Regular practice of writing exercises like essays, short stories, and letters can provide students with an opportunity to explore different writing styles and formats.
One specific method is to engage in a writing task that integrates new vocabulary words each week. This way, students can expand their lexicon and get comfortable with using new words in their writing. Implementing peer reviews where students critique each other’s work can also be a great way to identify common mistakes and learn from them.
For speaking activities, students should be given ample opportunities to express their thoughts, opinions, and ideas in English. This can be done through a range of activities such as class discussions, debates, presentations, and role plays. Such activities not only improve students’ speaking skills but also their listening skills and critical thinking abilities.
Importantly, providing a safe and supportive environment where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities is crucial in building confidence. Language is best learnt when there’s room to make mistakes and learn from them.
MOE’s English Language syllabus stresses the importance of active learning and interaction in the language learning process. This perspective aligns well with the contemporary understanding of second language acquisition, which emphasises the value of output (production of language) as well as input (exposure to language).
Remember, the goal of the PSLE English examination, and indeed all language learning, is to be able to use the language effectively for communication. Therefore, any practice activities should be targeted towards this end. The more one can use English in realistic, communicative situations, the more one’s proficiency is likely to improve.
The key to actively practising and applying English language skills lies in regular practice, constructive feedback, and creating a conducive learning environment. This approach aligns with the aims of MOE and SEAB in helping students attain language proficiency that extends beyond the PSLE examinations and serves them in their lifelong learning journey.