Teaching and learning of the English language took on a new direction when MOE introduced the STELLAR programme in chosen schools in 2006. 3 years later, with its celebrated results, more schools embarked on STELLAR and English is no longer taught as a subject that is drilled senselessly into young minds. GRAM’S anticipated this change in direction and CompreGRAM was developed.
A visit to GRAM’S classrooms would welcome you to tables scattered with magazines, newspaper articles and books that are within reach for anyone to pick-up and read. Students waiting for their class to start would either grab a reading material or dive into a conversation and share their latest adventure with anyone who cares to listen. Buzzing with chatter, discussions and sometimes friendly disagreements are just what classes at GRAM’S are all about.
Image (above) : Students engaging in a pre-
lesson discussion on information that they’ve gathered from the magazines in class.
CompreGRAM focuses on helping children making improvements, however small, and students’ weekly work are customised to their abilities. No two children work on the same worksheets as their abilities are unique. Students self-direct their learning; choosing their own reading materials every week from the various age appropriate books that are available to them.
Image (above): Screengrabs from Class Dojo website. Parents are updated weekly on their child’s work and their chosen books so that they could be more involved in their development.
Activity sheets assigned to the students focus on discreet grammar, vocabulary building and reading comprehension. Sharing of what each individual has read is also encouraged so as to coax verbal communication amongst them.
Image (above): Presentations and sharing sessions are aplenty in GRAM’S. Students gain in confidence over time and overcome their fears of public speaking.
Activities are not constrained to the classroom. Lessons are sometimes brought outdoors to bring the language to life and impress upon the students that learning English is not just for the exams.
Image (above): Students get themselves involved in GRAM’S Cookie Charity Sale where they interact with passers-by, learn about small enterprises and voluntarism.
Community projects are also part of the curriculum so as to inculcate the sense of responsibility to the community.
Image(above): Students from all GRAM’S programmes (Art, Chinese & English) collaborate to design posters that are displayed around Beauty World Centre.
All these activities are very different to how English was taught in schools back in the day where the mastery of the language means drilling of grammatical rules, memorising of vocabulary and even countless spelling tests. While all these foundations are still necessary and important, the route taken to achieve them is now dynamic and non-linear. While doing well for the exams are still the priority, how the children apply them to life will be the true measurement of their success.