Malay Language Centre of Singapore launches cards to boost pupils' reading

(From left) MOE deputy director-general of education Chua Yen Ching, Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman and MLCS director Mohamed Noh Daipi unveiling the new MLCS Teaching Resource and Reference Publications on Nov 23, 2020. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Malay language teachers here who need to cater to students with ever-diversifying learning needs can make use of the Malay Language Centre of Singapore's (MLCS) arsenal of resources.

The latest is Mari Membaca (Let's Read), a reading resource package aimed at pre-schoolers and Primary 1 and 2 pupils, which was launched during the centre's 10th anniversary celebration on Monday (Nov 23).

The graded reading cards aim to nurture pupils' pre-reading ability, enrich their vocabulary and enhance their basic comprehension skills.

All Ministry of Education (MOE) pre-schools and primary schools will receive the cards, which come in three difficulty levels to cater to the different needs of the pupils.

At the event, the centre also launched a book titled Bicara Budiman Sarkasi Said (The Wisdom of Sarkasi Said), which chronicles the life journey and achievements of the local batik master.

The launch was attended by 345 participants, comprising lecturers, teachers, education officers and undergraduates. It was held both in person at the centre and via Zoom, with some tuning in from Malaysia and Indonesia.

Run by the MOE, the centre was set up in 2010 to support the training and development of in-service Malay language teachers, and improve the quality of the teaching and learning of the language in Singapore.

Over the years, it has offered a wide range of professional development courses, workshops and seminars.

Its signature programmes include the annual Malay Language Seminar, where teachers can present their classroom-based research and best practices with their peers, and the Arif Budiman lecture series, where regional and international experts and scholars share the latest developments in areas such as Malay linguistics, literature and culture.

When the circuit breaker earlier this year forced the centre to pivot from its usual face-to-face training sessions, it responded by creating an entirely new suite of online courses housed on the Student Learning Space, an online learning platform.

These courses focused on the key areas of practice under the SkillsFuture for Educators professional development roadmap for teachers, covering topics such as inquiry-based learning and differentiated instruction.

Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman, who was the guest of honour at the event, pointed out the centre's significant contribution to teachers' professional development and in improving teaching and learning.

Dr Maliki, who is also a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, said in his speech in Malay: "MLCS offers highly relevant and up-to-date courses that are comparable to pedagogies adopted and applied in the teaching of other subjects."

He also said that, with the increasing number of Malay families using English as their main language, "such a change in profile certainly poses a challenge in language acquisition and learning among our school children".

"As a result, students entering schools with diverse language backgrounds and having diverse mother tongue learning needs require teachers to equip themselves with extensive and in-depth knowledge and skills to meet the diverse students' needs," he added.

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