One technique that I use is the FLIPPED CLASSROOM technique. I use my variations of course, but basically it is where the student will be given the responsibility of teaching the students under my guidance. It is similar to a presentation but more informal. This ensures that the student retains and responds to the text effectively.

BRAINSTORMING is something I encourage the students to do. Often times I group them and provide large sheets and Marker pens so that they can freely brainstorm as a group (which develops their team work and communication as well, thereby bolstering their confidence). This technique vastly improves their thought patterns as they visually set out the various aspects that revolve around a certain text or verse. Continuously doing this improves their critical thinking skills and their brain functioning as their minds are trained to branch out their thoughts freely, which leads to innovative thinking.

What naturally follows brainstorming is MIND-MAPPING which uses visual diagrams to help the mind visualize all the connections and aspects of a topic.

Another technique I developed (maybe there is such a technique – but I organically developed it) is the IMAGE based system. Each text contains POWERFUL points which can be pictured vividly. These images and moments in the story or poem capture the essence of the themes that the text illumines. Since powerful images are so easily absorbed by the mind, this technique effectively transforms those images into memory points to which I pour the information the students need to learn. When writing an examination, tapping into those images will unlock the details that are packed behind them. This is rather similar to some Mnemonic techniques.

Something I find effective and necessary for any teacher is the ability to CONNECT the text to the audience – the student. Making it a part of their experience in the human condition (the shared cup we all partake in) makes the texts so enjoyable and interesting. At times this needs a bit of localizing.

I believe that O Level English Literature should also be an opportunity for students to improve their competency in English (which is the global/business language in the world – at least till it is replaced by Chinese). To this end, I always will give feedback to the students on how they can enhance their expression and make it more effective and professional.

At the same time, I believe that in English Literature for OL, the practical use of the language needs to be taught as well. Presentation skills, discussions, argumentative skills and debates are some of the things that I get the students to engage in, using the texts in the syllabus. When we can ‘kill two (or more, actually) birds with one stone,’ it is a shame how we as teachers fail to optimize the collective time and energy in the classroom.

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