HOW CAN ENGLISH LANGUAGE PANELS FUNCTION BETTER?
This posting concerns every panel member in any English Language Panel and perhaps all the Heads of Language Department. It should not only be the concern of the Head of English Panel. Of course, I do not know how the English Language Panel in your school lay out the planning of the year or the format used to present "Pelan Tindakan Panitia Bahasa Inggeris 2018". I have seen many yearly action plans and some really need to be improved. I believe making changes and improvements should not be a problem because nobody is perfect. All of us especially me, are still learners. I know the Head of English Language Panels out there are trying and doing their best. If there are flaws here and there, nothing to worry, we just need to improve from time to time so that the panel can function better.
Some English panel has 20 or perhaps 30 activities and programmes for 2018. Well, congratulations!! However, if those activities are simply listed one by one from January until November 2018, to me, that is not a good way to present the planning. A mere long list of activities or programmes, let's say from number 1 to 25, does not indicate clearly which ones are the main and supporting activities.
Personally, I believe, in making sure English panels function better, the activities or programmes carried out by any English Language Panel should be separated according to these categories:
THE PRIME CATEGORY: The activities/ strategies / programmes in this category are carried out during English lessons. As all of you know, it is during English lessons that teachers spend the most amount of time with their learners. Therefore, the prime activities or strategies either to improve the examination results, reduce errors, develop writing skills or learners' confidence to communicate in English MUST BE DONE during the English lessons. I would recommend that there should only be one focus during the English lessons that is to implement activities or strategies to improve the examination results.
THE SUPPORTING CATEGORY: To me, the activities / strategies / programmes under this second category should also focus on helping learners to get the best result in examinations. However, mind you, they are not carried out during the English lessons. The activities / strategies / programmes here should also be ongoing such as the extra classes and English clinic. Nevertheless, you can also include activities like "Bengkel Teknik Menjawab" and "SPM 1119 Writing Workshop" in this category even though you only have each of them once because they are closely related to examinations.
THE ENRICHING CATEGORY: The activities or programmes under this category are the additional English activities organised by the panel like English Week and Treasure Hunt. Besides, activities that support Highly Immerisve Programme such as Assembly in English and English DJ also fall under this category. Co-academic competitions such as drama and choral speaking also belong to this third category. In short, the activities or programmes under the Enriching Category are not for examination purposes but more for the development of language skills and human values (such as confidence, teamwork, creativity, talent and leadership).
THE TEACHER PROFESSIONALISM CATEGORY: It is the responsibility of the Head of the English Language Panel to develop teaching professionalism among the panel members. Definitely, there are various ways to do so. I prefer Professional Learning Community sessions. The choice is yours but this category must be included in the planning made by the panel.
THE NICHE AREA CATEGORY: When I was teaching in SMK Kulim, I had this category because English Language subject was chosen to be the niche area for curriculum. If it is relevant to you, then, the planning made by your panel must have this category. Activities which highlight your English panel's distinctiveness must be in this category. For instances, The 5th International Edu Visit to Australia and The 3rd International Literature Appreciation Camp 2018.
THE MANAGEMENT CATEGORY: This category is optional. To me, there is no harm to include it as having panel meetings and updating panel files are also activities carried out by the English Language Panel.
To sum up, please do not simply list down all your activities and programmes. The list does not show clearly which ones are your prime, supporting and enriching activities. If you agree with me, please adapt and adapt my categories. Perhaps you can also create your own categories. Indeed, having categories is crucial as the categories will help you see which types of activities you have been highlighting the most and the least in your panel.
I have never claimed my planning is the best. I know there are always rooms for improvement. Click here if you wish to see my "Pelan Tindakan Panitia Bahasa Inggeris 2018". Hopefully, my sharing session in this posting has enlightened you on the planning that each English panel should make. If you have simply listed down all the activities or programmes without any category, perhaps, you should make a change. I will be glad if you are willing to change for betterment. In shaa Allah, your English panel will function better and better!