Resources available to help one master English language

Among the teachers who were presented with Inspiring Teacher of English Awards are (from far left) Ms Ilavarasi Sekaran, 30, of Cantonment Primary School, Madam Suzanna Hashim, 42, of Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), Ms Arafah Tajudin, 27, of Eunos Pr
Among the teachers who were presented with Inspiring Teacher of English Awards are (from left) Ms Ilavarasi Sekaran, 30, of Cantonment Primary School, Madam Suzanna Hashim, 42, of Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), Ms Arafah Tajudin, 27, of Eunos Primary School, and Mrs Tina Ng, 52, of Xingnan Primary School. ST FILE PHOTO

Read, listen and practise constantly

Last month, 10 teachers won the Inspiring Teacher of English Awards, given by the Speak Good English Movement and The Straits Times. The awards, supported by the Ministry of Education, recognise outstanding teachers of English language, English literature and General Paper. Here are some tips on learning English from two winners.

Mrs Tina Ng, 52, English language head of department at Xingnan Primary School

Read widely

Pick up a book at the library, read the newspapers, read fiction and non-fiction materials and a range of text types. Pay attention to how words are used and how sentences are formed. Keep a word bank book of good and useful words and phrases and learn their meanings. Use them when you speak or write.

Listen to good English

Listen to the news in English as well as information from a variety of sources, including radio channels such as Kiss 92 FM or BBC. Listen to English songs and sing along to improve fluency and intonation.

Speak English often

The best way to learn English is through speaking. Start conversations in English whenever you can.

Practise reading aloud often to get your diction and pronunciation right so as to gain confidence in oral communication. Reading out loud along with a CD is great for intonation, pronunciation and rhythm.

Practise writing

Be acquainted with various writing styles and genres. Keep an English journal. Start by writing a few sentences a day and get into the habit of writing more. This helps develop writing fluency.

Use English language resources

Look up meanings of new and difficult words in a dictionary. Go to the Speak Good English Movement website to learn more about grammar rules, vocabulary and the correct use of English. You can make use of the Web, which has resources to help you learn or improve your English, such as BBC Learning English and learnenglish.ecenglish.com

Seek clarifications

If you do not understand something, ask your teachers, classmates, friends or someone who is good in the language for help. Make it a point to check and double-check your work for spelling and grammatical mistakes.


Madam Suzanna Hashim, 42, English language head of department at Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)

Pick up a new word a day

Learn a new word every day and look up the meaning of these words using a dictionary. This helps you widen your vocabulary. Use these words when writing a composition.

Read the newspapers daily

Pick an article to discuss with your classmates. The discussion will help you become a confident speaker and prepare you for the oral examinations.

Through this, you will also be able to gather interesting ideas that can be used in your writing.

Parents can help their children by posing questions to help the children verbalise what they have read. By answering thought-provoking questions, the children will be encouraged to think critically and deeply.

Read widely

Read different genres of books and text types. By doing so, you will be able to obtain a wide range of ideas for writing.

Listen to radio news

Listen to news broadcasts over the radio. Parents can ask their children questions based on what they have heard.

This will help develop the children's listening skills.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2015, with the headline 'Resources available to help one master English language'. Print Edition | Subscribe