Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Kecak Rocks!

Kecak (pronounced: /'ke.tʃak/, roughly "KEH-chahk", alternate spellings: Ketjak and Ketjack), a form of Balinese music drama, originated in the 1930s and is performed primarily by men. Also known as the piece, performed by a circle of 100 or more performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting "cak" and throwing up their arms, depicts a battle from the Ramayana where the monkey-like Vanara helped Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana. However, Kecak has roots in sanghyang, a trance-inducing exorcism dance.[1]

Kecak was originally a trance ritual accompanied by male chorus. German painter and musician Walter Spies became deeply interested in the ritual while living in Bali in the 1930s and worked to recreate it into a drama, based on the Hindu Ramayana and including dance, intended to be presented to Western tourist audiences. This transformation is an example of what James Clifford describes as part of the "modern art-culture system"[2] in which, "the West or the central power adopts, transforms, and consumes non-Western or peripheral cultural elements, while making 'art' which was once embedded in the culture as a while, into a separate entity."[3] Spies worked with Wayan Limbak and Limbak popularized the dance by traveling throughout the world with Balinese performance groups. These travels have helped to make the Kecak famous throughout the world.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Lesson Plan

“How I am feeling today?”

LEVEL : Form 2 (intermediate)
TIME : 30 minutes
AIMS : 1.To practice writing and speaking skills
2. To enhance vocabulary
TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS : One computer per students with an Internet connection,
and a web browser. Each student needs an e-mail address.
Websites : http://library.thinkquest.org/25500/index2.htm

1. Locate sites offering suitable feelings and emotions.
2. Check sites before lesson
1. Teacher asks students how they are feeling on the day and share with the class. Teacher asks students types of emotions and feelings they are familiar with.
2. Teacher provides the websites for the students to get to know more about feelings and emotions.
3. Teacher distributes worksheet prepared. Students need to refer to the website if they need information to guide them.
4. Teacher asks students to share with the class on their work. Teacher checks vocabulary that is being used by the students.
1. Teacher provides students with a blank call-out regarding feelings and emotions.
2. Students need to post their answers through e-mails and will be shared in the next class.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

ESL Website Evaluation

ESL Website Evaluation
Website: www.learn-english-today.com
1. What does the application attempt to “teach”?
This application is attempting to teach the students in improving their English grammar and vocabulary throughout the exercises. Learners can do as many grammar and vocabulary activities as they want because this application contains suitable exercises to improve their language. Apart from this, this application helps learners in enhancing their English language by providing Word Games and English idioms. So, throughout the exercises and activities provided by this particular application, learners will be able to improve their English.

2. Who are the users the website/websites is/are targeting?
The websites is www.learn-english-today.com. Referred to the website, this website is targeting to upper secondary school students which are 16-17 years students. It is not suitable to primary students as the activities here are quite difficult. At first, when I browsed the website, I am not much attracted with the graphics as the colors are not so vivacious. However, because of the limited graphics and design as well as colors, the website does not distract the learners too much. It is very simple. The activities in this website are interesting and suitable whereby they fit the learners’ level in order to enhance their understanding of English language. For example, the materials such as Word Games, Vocabulary exercises, Phrasal verbs and News will help them to improve their language. These can stimulate the learners to do the activities contain in this website. In addition, this website is accessible and easy to use as the learners do not have to sign up or buy the website in order to practice their skills and understanding in English language. In addition, the materials are printable and parents can also involve in learning process with the children.

3. What sorts of things is the application users expected to do with regards to learning the content?
Referred to this website, the material is trying to improve the level of students’ understanding of English language. For example, the Vocabulary section helps learners to test how good they are in English vocabulary. When the learners click on this section, it will appear a list of English vocabulary whereby it separates within its area. For example, environment area, there are lots of vocabulary terms regarding to environment. To avoid students from boredom after finishing the normal exercises, learners can click to Word Games section and try to complete the games which deal with grammar exercises. Examples of Word Games are crossword, jumbled sentences, quizzes, missing words and matching exercises. These games comprises of 4 levels, which are easy, medium, more difficult and challenging. Students can actually choose where they want to start. In addition, it also contains printable Word Games whereby students can print the games for their reference use. This website contains jokes and riddles for the students to avoid them from boredom. Students will not feel bored with the websites as there are other alternatives for them instead of normal English exercises. What attracts me more is the Online Newspapers section. This is where students can improve their reading skills where they can read updated news provided by the website. Plus, this will improve students’ knowledge about recent news and issues happen. Indirectly, the learners will not left behind and they know what actually happen in outside world even though they are completing the activities and exercises. Also, this application attempt to help students improve their vocabulary as it provides Online Dictionary. If the students do not know some English words, they can click to this section and find the meaning of the word that they do not understand. Indirectly, this will upgrade the students’ level of English vocabulary. Apart from this, students can also click to link of Idioms to learn hundreds of idioms clearly explained which are used in conversational English. This application is suitable for upper secondary school students as there is a section called “Business English” whereby it contains vocabulary and suitable conversations used in English business area. It helps the students to learn what they should talk, what they should know and how they should act if it happens to be in English business field in the future. In addition, this application provides links to listening resources where learners can go to the link and find lots of website related to learning exercises.

4. What sorts of computer skills is the application users expected to have in order to operate/access/use the application?
T he program creator does not burden the learners to use the application. The learners do not need to sign up or log in just to enter the website. They just go to the web and can use the website easily (user-friendly). There is no membership requirement required to use this application. Plus, the learners do not need to download any other software to complete or do the activities.

5. While you are “playing”/”accessing”/”assessing” the website(s), does it remind you of anything you do (or have done) in a classroom, or with a teacher, or with a fellow classmate, or in self study?
Absolutely yes. When I was in Part 1 degree, my lecturer asked us to try browsing any ESL websites and try to do the activities. So, I have encountered with the experience of browsing the ESL website before. Another event was during my practicum semester where I needed to do the lesson plans for the students. I used to browse to lots of ESL websites to create lesson plans for the students whereby I searched for the games, lessons and also videos. It helped me a lot as I got many interesting activities and exercise from the websites. Also, when I was in Part 6, taking Methodology in Teaching Literature, my friends and I needed to create a literature English lesson plan creatively. We browsed to some ESL websites to search and got some ideas on what activities we should included in the lesson. Last but not least, when I am at home, I usually help my sisters to improve their English using ESL websites. And they are very fond and interested to learn especially when doing the games. They found it very attractive with the sound, images and graphics.

6. Can you pinpoint some theories of language learning and/or teaching underlying the application?
One of the language learning theories is Silent Way. By using this website, students are autonomous. According to a book entitled “Teaching by Principles, An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, Second Edition” written by H.Douglas Brown (2001), this approach promotes discovery learning in which learners independently learn and find out certain knowledge they want to know through exercises. For example, learners pick to do Word Games, but they don’t have the teachers or guiders to facilitate them. They need to do the activities on their own without any help. This can help them to practice the exercise and knowledge independently. Another theory underlying this application is Cognitivism where people actually control their action; what they do and what they want. It involves on how learners lead their own way (control) their path of learning. They can choose what exercise they want to do and what not. It stresses on how we direct our attention, perceive, think, remember, and solve problems.

7. How well is the constructivist theory of language learning and/or teaching underlying the application?
Constructivist theory states that learner construct knowledge for them as they learn. From the application, learners gain the knowledge as they learn. If they do not do the activities, they won’t get the knowledge or better understanding on that particular topic. According to John Dewey in his book titled ‘How We Think’, he said that “The learner constructs his own conceptualisations and finds his own solutions to problems, mastering autonomy and independence. It means that the learners try to solve questions and learn autonomously by using this application. Also, this theory view that “Learners construct their own knowledge by looking for meaning and order; they interpret what they hear, read, and see based on their previous learning and habits. So, the learning process is determined by the learners themselves; what happens in the learning process is how they receive the information and solve it through what they have learner before. In addition, this theory of language states that learning involves language. It means that, when learners involve in this activity, they talk to themselves. For example, “What should I do next?”, “How should I answer this?” and “Yes, I know this one!” If we see in real life, we actually “talk” when we do our work. The same goes to the learners who use this application. Indirectly, they learn through their own “talk” or the language itself when they do the activities.

8. In 1980s and early 1990s, there was a major debate on ‘whether the computer was “master” of or “slave” to the learning process (Higgins and Johns, 1984). In relation to your evaluation - is the computer a replacement for teachers, or merely an obedient servant to students?
Regarding to my evaluation, the computer is not a replacement for teachers, or merely an obedient servant to students. Computer is like “a middle-man” for the users. Computers help the users or learners to get information or learn about something. Similar to what I have evaluated, the computer helps the learner to improve their understanding on particular subject. The computer cannot replace a teacher because a teacher is still the major guider or instructor in conveying information to the students. Computer can also help the teachers to find additional information to teach lessons in class. The computer is one of the technological aids for both the learners and teachers to assist them in teaching and learning process.

9. Would you like to use the application yourself in your future work?
Yes. This is due to several reasons. The main reason is because it contains interesting and suitable activities for lower secondary students. As being explained earlier, the activities and exercises can attract the learners to use this application such as Word Games, Vocabulary, Jokes, and News. The Word Games section allows students to choose which level they prefer to complete. The activities provided in this application can stimulate them to learn English better and varied. They can start from the initial stage to the highest level. The second reason is this application is user-friendly. Learners do not need to sign up or download any software to use this application. It is easy to use and does not burden the learners. Plus, the limited scrolling to the link of each activity is not too much and learners won’t have chaos when using this application. Last but not least, the material is printable whereby users can print for their reference use.

10. Suggestions/ Recommendation.
I have some suggestions and recommendation for this application. Overall, this application is good with the diversity of activities provided for the learners to improve their English. The first suggestion is the graphics. I think the graphics should be improved by adding interesting background, sounds, and images to attract the learners. Next, the fonts should be larger especially at the front page so that learners should be able to see what the content is in details. Last but not least, I think they should include listening activities in the application itself and not through the link. This can be easier for the learners and there won’t be any “traffics” in the application because of the well-organized contents.
H. Douglas Brown (2001), Principles of Language Teaching and Learning, Second Edition

Friday, 16 January 2009

Friday, 2 January 2009

heyya heyyo!

well, this is my really first time having my own blog. gosh, i need to admit, don't really "into" computer thingy, but i think this blog will be my "bff" till the end of this semester.
first thing first..let me introduce a little bit of myself. i'm Nurul Hazwani Azmi and people call me "Wanie" or "Wanito" ( this name is created by one of my housemates and till now it's been my favorite username).. I'm 23 years old (as new year begin, i'm getting older now).. I'm from Kelantan and i'm proud to be a Kelantenese. I was born on 30th April 1986 and that makes me be a Taurus.. Well, i guess that's all about me for now. Let's jump to the first task for this subject. Haha!

Okay, talking about computer software that i know, well, the most "excellent" that i can utilize is Microsoft Word of course. It has been a good company for me to complete my assignments. Besides Microsoft Word, i kno whow to use Microsoft PowerPoint too. Both of the computer software are normally used for my tasks. I dont really know how to use excel as it deals with maths. Grr... I hate mathematics! That's the only computer softwares that i can utilize. More than that, it's a NO-NO.. i'm not into computer stuffs... ;p

Talking about computer hardware skills, I don't have much knowledge about it. I know a bit about RAM, ROM, hard disks, motherboard. erm...i think that's all.. I dont know what else to write about computer hardware skills. So, that's all about it.. Hehe..

Lastly, for computer internet activities, I have MySpace, Friendster and Facebook. i use all that to connect and with my friends about any matters, Besides, I usually download songs from the net. Sometimes, I do download videos such as cartoons and advertisements.

That's all about my basic knowledge and what do i know about computers. I admit that i'm not good in using computers. Hope i can go through it..