1 GUIDELINES FOR COMPOSITION (DIRECTED WRITING/CONTINUOUS WRITING) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 OPENING PARAGRAPH using idiom, proverb, quotation, saying, question, anecdote, statistics, description etc interesting PARAGRAPH 2 main idea details by using examples, illustrations, descriptive words/phrases well-developed PARAGRAPH 3 main idea details by using examples, illustrations, descriptive words/phrases well-developed PARAGRAPH 4 main idea details by using examples, illustrations, descriptive words/phrases well-developed CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH summarizing using idiom, proverb, quotation, saying, question, anecdote, statistics, description etc Mark *** Complete this self-evaluation form before you hand in your composition. 2 Pre-Writing Strategies Pre-writing is a way of organizing your thoughts and beginning to put the information you have on paper. It is best to do a pre-writing activity before you actually begin writing your paper or essay. think more clearly see a start of your paper You should use prewriting to . . keep track of your ideas practice expressing yourself in writing BASIC PREWRITING STRATEGIES Develop Questions What do I know? What do I need to find out? What is the point of the paper? Jot List Brainstorm Freewrite Visualize / Organize Major Categories Outline Mapping Tree Diagram 3 Guide to Mapping Mapping is a process of reorganizing and rearranging (moving) the most important ideas and information from your reading or textbook and converting it into a diagram with your own words to help you understand and remember what you read. Outlines Webs Story maps Lists Graphic organizers Brainstorming How do you select the type of map to be used? Use Charts or Matrixes to Use Stars or Spiders to show Use Trees or Hierarchies to compare and contrast qualities, themes, examples, descriptions, show categories, examples, descriptions, and and definitions. classifications, analysis, facts. structures, descriptions, and examples. Use Chains to show processes, Use Flowcharts/Venn Use Sketches to show physical sequences, causes and effects, Diagrams to show structures, visual images, chronological order, and steps. relationships between concrete objects, spatial diagrams, points of overlap, relationships, and descriptions and points of distinction. of places. 4 Sample of a Tree Generated through the Questioning Method The Journalists' Questions Journalists traditionally ask six questions when they are writing assignments, 5 W's and 1 H: Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why?, How? You can use these questions to explore the topic you are writing about for an assignment. A key to using the journalists' questions is to make them flexible enough to account for the specific details of your topic. For instance, if your topic is the rise and fall of the Puget Sound tides and its effect on salmon spawning, you may have very little to say about Who? if your focus doesn't account for human involvement. On the other hand, some topics may be heavy on the Who?, especially if human involvement is a crucial part of the topic. Possible generic questions you can ask using the six journalists' questions follow: Who?: Who are the participants? Who is affected? Who are the primary actors? Who are the secondary actors? What?: What is the topic? What is the significance of the topic? What is the basic problem? What are the issues? Where?: Where does the activity take place? Where does the problem or issue have its source? At what place is the cause or effect of the problem most visible? When?: When is the issue most apparent? (past? present? future?) When did the issue or problem develop? What historical forces helped shape the problem or issue and at what point in time will the problem or issue culminate in a crisis? When is action needed to address the issue or problem? Why?: Why did the issue or problem arise? Why is it (your topic) an issue or problem at all? Why did the issue or problem develop in the way that it did? How?: How is the issue or problem significant? How can it be addressed? How does it affect the participants? How can the issue or problem be resolved? 5 My Ideal School What is a school? Is it a building? Is it a place where future generations are educated? To me, a school is the centre for education. It provides intellectual, emotional, as well as spiritual enrichment. Similarly, ideal means most suitable, perfect. I am sure that everyone has their own notion of what an ideal school is. It is a place where one feels most comfortable to learn in. In my opinion, an ideal school would consists of a building with an ultra-modern infrastructure and top- notch facilities. It would look more like resort rather than a typical school. All the classrooms would have colourful walls with wonderful paintings and thought-provoking pictures hanging on them. To ensure students‘ optimum productivity, the school would also have a comfortable environment to study in. All the classrooms would be well-lit and fully air-conditioned. It has been observed that the traditional arrangement of tables and chairs in the classrooms does not allow teachers to pay equal attention to students. Thus, it would be perfect to arrange the tables and chairs in a semi- circle facing the teacher. It would also be great if the number of students in a class is limited to 20 per class rather than the present 40 or 50 per class. Apart from that, we also need a well-equipped library with the state-of-art facilities for students to conduct their research and studies. The library of an ideal school should be filled with books and materials on a wide range of topics. Computer cataloguing should also be introduced to make referencing easier. Furthermore, the school should also provide free Internet services to students. In addition, an ideal school should have a sophisticated gymnasium and sports centre. Students can work out in the gymnasium and also play a game or two of badminton in the indoor badminton court. Athletes and swimmers can also train at the school mini stadium and swimming pool. Students nowadays are burdened with homework and endless examination. An idyllic school should provide students with space for creativity, innovation and spiritual growth. More constructive and productive homework should be given instead of burdening homework. Students should be encouraged to understand their homework and find joy and fun in doing them. Students should not be doing homework for the sake of doing them. Apart from that, homework should also be fun and provides an exciting path to self-discovery instead of being dull and monotonous. Teachers could perhaps have Biology classes outdoors so that students can really appreciate the beauty of nature or organise field trips to exhibition and conventions to make learning interesting. Sad to say, many youngsters nowadays are Mat Salleh Celup – hopeless Americanised victim of pop culture. Therefore, traditional art and culture classes should also be held in the ideal school to nurture the spirit of appreciation amongst students. Moreover, to maximize the students‘ learning capacities, lessons should start at 10.00am. Timetable should not be packed and hectic. There should be breaks in between lessons so that students can digest knowledge from the previous lesson instead of rushing into the next lesson straight after the previous one. Recess should also be lengthened so that students can enjoy their food in the cafeteria or read in the urbane library or even exercise in the school sports centre. In this era of globalisation, ICT is of utmost importance. The modern world is fast-moving forward with paperless banking, paperless administration and many up-to-date technologies. So, why can‘t schools have paperless teaching and learning? In the ideal school, students should each be given a notebook. Heavy school bags and tones of books should be a thing of the past. In this era of K- Economy, students can be technology- savvy by having their lessons online. Besides, it would also be excellent if students can have teleconferencing and online forum with scholars from all over the world. On top of that, students can hand up their homework in the form of Compact Disc (CD) or emails. Teachers can also post the students‘ results and comments on secure school website so that parents can care for their child‘s academic achievements irrespective of time and place. 6 In addition, an ideal school should not require its students to wear school uniforms. Uniforms tend to make a school dull. It presents students as faceless beings in uni-colour. One‘s clothing represents one‘s personalities and makes one unique. Students should be allowed to present themselves properly by wearing proper attire to school. Furthermore, an ideal school should also be co-educational. This would enable better communication between genders and prevents gender discrimination. Such a school would provide chances for members of the opposite sex to work together and understand each other better thus encouraging a sense of mutual respect among its students. The notion of ideal is sometimes painfully defined as an idea existing only in imagination and is not likely to come true. The 21st century promises a lot for individuals from all walks of life. Will the concept of an ideal school materialize? The idea might seem far-fetched at the moment. However, it is my belief that if each and everyone of us were to reach in to find the best within ourselves and reach out to give the best education to our future generations, the idea of creating an ideal school would not merely remain a dream after all. (890 words) 7 Directed Writing Question - SPM 2007 You have been asked by your teacher to give a talk on a reference book that is useful for secondary students. You have decided to talk about a science book. Use the following notes about the book to write your talk. Details of the book - Title: Science Made Simple - Author: Sharifah Shazana - Publisher: Bunga Publications Reasons why the book is useful - attractive presentation - clear explanations - helpful diagrams - variety of exercises - sample answers - practice question papers - useful tips When writing the talk, you should remember: - to use an appropriate greeting and closing - to state the purpose of the talk - to use all the notes given - to give two other reasons of your own - that the talk is for school students Sample Answer Good morning, dear students. I am the President of the Science Club. I would like to warmly welcome all of you here. The reason that I stand here in front of all of you is because I would like to give a talk on a reference book that is useful for all secondary students. I am sure all of you use many different types of reference books of your studies. The reference book that I am going to talk about is a science book. First and foremost, allow me to introduce the title of the book. It is `Science Made Simple‘. The author of this book is Sharifah Shazana and the publisher is Bunga Publications. There are many reasons as to why the book is useful for secondary students. The first reason is its attractive presentation. The cover of the book itself is so attractive that the moment we see it, our eyes will be glued onto the cover. Apart from the cover, the contents of the book are also presented in a very attractive manner. The next reason is clear explanations. Students can easily understand the notes given in the book. Each topic is explained in details and keywords have been given to enable students to remember important facts. The explanations are simplified that even students from the weaker classes can understand well. 8 Of course, there are no science books without diagrams. Similarly this reference book has various helpful diagrams. The diagrams are colorful and clear picture of the processes explained. I am sure this is what most students prefer. In addition to the above reasons, this reference book is very essential to all secondary students because there are a variety of exercises in it. Each topic is accompanied by various exercises. Students can check their understanding of the topics by attempting the exercises given. The answers for the exercises are also provided in a separate booklet foe easy reference. There are also various practice question papers according to exam format. Students can use these question paper for revision purposes. These practice questions will also be useful for group discussions as sample answers are provided as well. Another special reason is, each topic in this reference book starts with discussion activity with relevance to the theme of the topic. As such, students can express their ideas before actually making use of the contents of the book. Finally, there are many special and useful tips for examination preparation in the reference book. I am sure all of you would be happy in hearing this. I think I have given sufficient reasons to all of you regarding this science reference book. I hope all of you will buy and benefit in using this reference book. Before I end my talk, I would like to thank all of you again for listening attentively to my talk. 9 Question: Your friend, who lives in another town, wants to know whether he/she should run for the post of Head Prefect. Write a letter to your friend giving reasons why he/she would make a good Head Prefect. Use the notes given below to write your letter. Personal qualities - Friendly - Responsible - Helpful Academic performance - Intelligent student - Hard-working - Problem solver Co-curricular involvement - Blue House Captain - Secretary of English Language Society - School debater Other points - lives near school – able to sacrifice time - good study habits – academic performance will not be affected - popular with students and teachers When writing your letter, you should remember to include the following: - address - salutation/greeting - close - use all the given notes Sample Answer 50, Taman Madu, Bukit Merah, 54000 Taiping, 21 November 2006 Dear Kamal, It has been quite a while since I last heard from you. However, I was happy to receive the birthday card from you last week, together with the message note in it. I understand that you are in a dilemma of running for the post of Head Prefect at your school. Do not worry. I am writing you this letter to reassure you that you would make an excellent Head Prefect. You should take on this task because you have great personal qualities that would make you a good Head Prefect. You are well liked and respected by the student of your school. Besides, your responsible nature will be a well-added advantage too. You are always fond of helping others. As such, this helpful character of yours is indeed a pleasure to others. Furthermore, your academic performance outshines your peers, making it clear that you are an intelligent and hard-working student. You are always willing to walk an extra mile to achieve something. Besides that, you are also a problem solver. Whenever, your classmates face problems, 10 you always seem to find ways of solving them. As regarding to your co-curricular involvement, I would be happy to say that you are active enough in it too. As a Blue House Captain, it has proven your great leadership qualities and skills. Being elected as the secretary of the English Language Society also proves that the students of your school have much faith in you entrust you with such huge responsibility. Apart from this, you have always represented your school as a school debater. This portrays your confidence and self-esteem. The strategic location of your house should also give you an extra shove towards running for the post. As it is within walking distance from the school, you would be able to sacrifice time and effort in carrying out your duties as Head Prefect. You have had good study habits since young, therefore your academic performance will not be affected and you will remain as a top student. Last but not least, you are also popular among students and teachers because of your achievements. I am sure you can be good role model if you are the Head Prefect as everybody will respect you. I hope I have convinced you enough to run for the post of Head Prefect. You deserve it, so go far it. Anyway my advance congrats to you if you are selected. Bye, till hear from you again. Your loving friend, Lokman (Mohamad Lokman bin Ramli) 11 Directed Writing Question - SPM 2005 Question: You have just returned from a three-day outdoor activity camp. You have decided to write a letter to a friend about your experience at the camp. Write your letter based on all the notes below. - Who organized the camp - Date of the camp - Transport to the campsite - Number of participants - Location of the camp - Accommodation - Give two relevant examples of : - activities - benefits - problems When writing the letter you should remember: - to layout the letter correctly - to use paragraphs - that your letter is to a friend Sample Answer Shirley Lim, No. 9, Jln Mesra, 47600 Subang Jaya, Selangor. 10 December 2005 Dear Shanti, Hi, there! How are you? I am sorry I was not able to reply your letter earlier. I was at a camp. T he camp was called ‗Discover Yourself‘. It was an enriching experience as I have never attended such camp before. My uncle, who is one of the organizers, roped me in. At first, I was very apprehensive about the whole thing. But later I realized I needed some motivation to boost me for the coming SPM examination. Let me give you some details. The organizers are a group of people who call themselves 'The Millennium People‘. They are basically teachers, trainers and leaders from various social groups who have come together to help young people to excel. The camp was from 1st of December to 9th December. It was a three day outdoor activity camp. We went to the camp by bus and later got into a ferry that took us to the Pangkor Island. There were about 120 participants with 12 trainers. The camp was conducted in the west of Pangkor Island. It was so quiet and peaceful, overlooking the beautiful hills. It was a superb place for us to unwind and discover ourselves. There were little chalets reserved for us. We enjoyed many interesting activities. I can describe them all but I need to tell you some of the interesting activities. The first activity was called ‗Loosen Up‘. We got to know each other in this ice-breaking session. Then came the difficult section. It was called the ‗Bear the Brunt‘ session. Here we were practically yelled at and scolded by the trainers. The purpose was to break our egos. After this we were given a series of motivation guidance for studying, self improvement and time management. I greatly benefited from this camp. I have discovered my own potentials. Now I know that I have a good memory and can socialize easily. I also have identified my weaknesses. My greatest weakness is procrastination. But we have learnt to deal and overcome our weaknesses. 12 However, the camp had its own problems. Some participants did not co-operate because they refused to participate in the hiking and jungle trekking activities. Another problem was that, we did not have water supply on the first day. But these are all small matters compared to the benefits and the lifelong experience that I have gathered in the camp. In the next camp, I will surely take you along. That‘s all for now. I hope to hear from you soon. Take care. Your friend, Shirley Shirley Lim **** Directed Writing Question - SPM 2004 Question: There are a few matters in your school which could be improved. The school's Prefects' Board has had a meeting. The prefects have decided to write a report for the principal. As the secretary to the board, you have been asked to write the report. In your report, include the following: - The unsatisfactory service and high food prices in the school canteen - The urgent need to improve the cleanliness of the school - The request for a pedestrian or zebra crossing in front of the school Do remember to: - Give your report a title - Use all the points given - Provide two relevant details/examples for each of the four points - Write in paragraphs Sample Answer To: Puan Maisarah binti Kamaruzaman, Principal, SMK Kampung Pandan, 56400 Kuala Lumpur. Suggestions for Improving Facilities in SMK Kampung Pandan The Prefectorial Board of SMK Kampung Pandan had a meeting on 17 September 2004 at 2.00 pm in the Prefectorial Room. The meeting was called by our Head Prefect, Nazrin bin Arshad, because there have been many complaints about the condition of the school. Here we would like to present a detail report of the meeting to the principal of SMK Kampung Pandan for further action and consideration. The first issue that was discussed was the unsatisfactory service and high food prices in the school canteen. The canteen seems to be short of workers because there are only two people handling the huge crowd of students during recess. Due to this, some students are not able to buy their food on time. I addition, the price of food seems rather expensive for school students. For example, a plate of 13 fried rice is RM2.00. Most of the students only bring RM1.00 to school, so they are only able to by light food like bread or buns. There is an urgent need to improve the cleanliness of the school. The first place to start is the school toilet. Usually after recess the toilets are in the deplorable condition. The workers need to work to wash the toilets as soon as recess is over. Furthermore, in the canteen the food is split all over the floor, leaving behind stain and stench. The next point of discussion was the safely of the students. Since the traffic is very heavy in front of the school is over, there need to be a pedestrian crossing. Even a zebra crossing with a traffic warden would be ideal for the time being. This is due to the fact that there have been minor accidents in the past couple of months. We hope that the school authorities would take the necessary actions to improve the condition of the school so that the students would have a safe, clean and comfortable environment in which they could study. Reported by, Shalini (Shalini Ganesan) Secretary, Prefectorial Board, SMK Kampung Pandan. 14 Directed Writing Question - SPM 2003 Question: Your class would like to make a trip after the end-of-year examination. You are the class monitor. You get a message from your teacher, who is away from school, asking you to discuss with the students where they would like to go. You have been given the following information on the two trips. Write a formal letter to your teacher stating the choice made by your class and give reasons for the choice. Trip to the City - DATE: 15 - 17 December - DURATION: 3 days and 2 nights - ACCOMMODATION: Hotel - COST PER PERSON: RM 120.00 - Places of interest: • Art gallery • Shopping complexes • Parks and gardens • Zoos • Museums Trip to the Seaside - DATE: 2 - 4 December - DURATION: 3 days and 2 nights - ACCOMMODATION: Camps - COST PER PERSON: RM80.00 - Activities: • Swimming • Boat rides • Games on the beaches • Jungle trekking • Campfires When writing the formal letter you should remember to: - make a choice of one trip - give reasons using all the information given on the trip of your choice 15 Sample Answer Juliana bt Mat Deris, 142, Taman Berangan, 09600 Slim River, Perak Darul Ridzuan. __________________________________________________________________________________ Puan Kamaliah bt Aliff, 106, Taman Oriental, 39600 Slim River, Perak Darul Ridzuan. 10 October 2003 Dear Madam, Decisions on trip to the seaside After having discussed with the students regarding the trip we have planned after the end-of-year examination, we have decided to carry on the trip to the seaside. 2. The trip to the seaside was decided because the students say that the cost for the trip, which is about RM80 per person, is cheaper and it is affordable for every student. Besides that, the students feel that the idea of staying in camps is good, which will enable us to enjoy ourselves during our stay at the seaside for 3 days and 2 nights. 3. Not only that, all of us considered that the date proposed that is from 2 to 4 December is convenient because it is the beginning of the month and many of us will be able to make it for the trip. Many of us will be going out for holidays with our family members around the end of the month. 4. Moreover, we think that the activities proposed will be very enjoyable. The proposed activities, which include swimming, boat riding, games on the beach, jungle trekking and campfires would help to create stronger ties between students. 5. Therefore, we will be very happy if you could arrange the trip to the seaside as soon as you come back to school. We are hoping to see you soon at school. Thank you. Yours faithfully, …………………… (JULIANA BT MAT DERIS) Form 5 Neon Monitor 16 Directed Writing Question - SPM 2002 Question: Road accidents have been on the increase with more young people becoming victims. Your school has decided to launch a ―Road Safety Week‖ to raise awareness among students of the need to be more responsible on the road chairperson of the school‘s organising committee, you have been asked to give a talk to other students on road safety. Below are some notes you have made on the reasons why road accidents occur and suggestions to reduce the number of accidents. Reasons * Speed * Reckless driving * Tiredness * Racing * Poor maintenance of vehicles * Road conditions Suggestions * Strict enforcement of traffic rules * Increase fines * Road-worthy vehicles * Awareness campaigns * Increase age limit for new drivers * Suspend driving license Write out the talk that you would give. When writing out what you plan to say, you should remember to: - address the audience - introduce the topic of the talk - use all the notes above - end the talk appropriately Sample Answer A very good morning to the Principal of SM Sri Mayang, teachers and fellow friends. As the chairperson of the school‘s organizing committee for the ‗Road Safety Week‘, I would like to give a talk on some safety tips for the students. As we know, there has been an increase in the accidents reported involving students of this school. I hope this talk will raise your awareness to be more responsible and careful when using the road. I would like to identify some of the reasons why road accidents occur. First, speeding beyond the prescribed limits is the main cause. Some drivers not only speed but also drive recklessly, breaking road rules and beating the traffic lights. Moreover, drivers who are tired after long distance driving or after a long day work, may not be able to concentrate on the road, thus causing accidents. Youngsters using the road as their racing track is another cause too. Drivers who do not check and maintain their vehicles often may be involved in accidents because their vehicle is faulty. Many potholes and uneven roads which contribute to the poor condition of the road too can cause accidents. However, these problems can be overcome with strict enforcement of traffic rules to those who flaunt the law. The offenders should be caught and fines should be increased. Only road-worthy vehicles, which have been maintained well, should be permitted on the roads. Awareness campaigns on safe driving should be carried out everywhere. Since young drivers are high on the accident list, their age limit should be increased. If the drivers are involved in any accidents, their licence should be suspended. 17 I hope the short talk that I have delivered have given you some ideas of how to use the road safely. Thank you for listening. **** Directed Writing Question - SPM 2001 Question: You find that many of your friends are under a lot of pressure. They spend most of their time studying and appear to suffer from stress. Write an article for your school newsletter on how to cope with stress. Include the following points: - Regular exercise - Hobbies - Plan a timetable - Work in groups - Balanced meals - Enough sleep - Study skills - Make a check-list - Seek advice - Games - Talk to your family - Listen to music You should use the all points given above and add two new points of your own. When writing the article, you should remember: - to give a title - that your readers are mainly students - to include all the points given - to add two new points of your own - to write in paragraphs (35 Marks) Sample Answer Tips on Coping with Stress for Students Stress is a word that is closely associated to students like us who are studying for our SPM examination. Stress comes from our family and teachers who are pressuring us to do well, as well as from the competition among our friends to excel. However, there is no way out; we have to find ways to overcome with stress. Firstly, we must make time for exercise. Sitting and studying for hours can add more stress, so going for walks or jogging will do us good. Having hobbies such as stamp collecting or playing music will help to relax our tensed mind. For all these activities, you need to have a timetable for studying and relaxing. Studying in groups is a good idea. You can discuss what you do not know with your friends and motivate each other to study Eating a balanced meal is essential to cope with stress. We need the nutrition and energy to study. You also must have enough sleep. Do not cut on your sleeping hours, studying too late into the night and walking up early. You will be tired to concentrate in class. You also must practice good study skills. Making notes and mind – mapping are good studying techniques. Make a checklist that helps you to monitor how far you are with revision. If you 18 feel distressed, seek advice from your teacher or counsellor. Go for outdoor games such as badminton or tennis to release your tension and get away from books for a while. Talk to your family members if you think they are pushing you too much to study. Listen to music that makes you feel light and easy. If you have difficulty in certain subjects, go for private tuition to get some assistance. Spend equal time for all the subjects. We tend to spend more time on our favourite subjects and less time on others. This will affect our SPM grades. I hope you take heed of my tips and wish you all the best in the coming SPM examination. Written by: Mohammad Firdaus bin Abdul Rahim Form 5 Cromium **** ―Public exams should be abolished. Do you agree?‖ Public examinations play an important role in a student‘s life in Malaysia. In his eleven years of schooling, a student has to sit for three major public examinations, the UPSR, PMR and SPM. These examinations are taken seriously by all parties involved, especially students because the results are used for a wide range of purposes ranging from placement of students to awarding of scholarships. Despite these advantages, I strongly believe that public examinations should be abolished as they have several drawbacks. To begin with, public examinations to some extent merely test a student‘s ability to memorise and regurgitate facts. Bloom‘s taxonomy of learning ranks these skills as lower order thinking skills. Higher order thinking skills such as application and inference are often neglected. Students with excellent memory do well in such examinations while those with poor memorising skills do poorly. Thus, it is not surprising that many students with poor recall skills loathe subjects like History and Biology. Another case in point is the Moral Education paper, which requires students to memorise moral values. This is not a valid test as it tests only a student‘s knowledge of values, not the practice of these values. An A in this paper does not guarantee that the student is a morally sound and virtuous individual. And what about the student who gets an E? Are we suggesting that he is not a morally upright individual? Another reason why I am not in favour of public examinations is that they are not the best way to identify a student‘s strengths or weaknesses. This is because these examinations test only certain skills. Allow me to illustrate my point. The language papers, for example, test a student‘s reading and writing skills only and even so, the range of sub-skills tested is limited. An A in these subjects does not reflect a student‘s competency in all areas of the language. For all you know, he may be an incompetent speaker. Or for that matter, does a C mean a student is about average in all the language skills? Do these grades tell us where a student‘s strengths and weaknesses lie? Another major drawback is that teaching in schools today is largely influenced by public examinations. Teachers teach to prepare students for exams and not for life. As such, many of our students are ill-prepared to face the challenges of the real world. This also goes against the grain of our National Philosophy of Education where the emphasis is on character building and the development of human capital. All parties involved are to be blamed for this as they are more concerned with student achievement and not student development. At the end of the day, parents want straight A‘s for their children, principals want excellent performances from their students and teachers, and the list goes on. 19 Finally, in their quest for excellent academic results, school becomes a bore and a chore. Students are overwhelmed with homework, extra classes and tuition, and teachers are overworked, leaving both parties with little or no time for relaxation. Thus, it is not surprising that students choose to ignore co-curricular activities. They see these as a waste of precious time. Parents, too, are affected by the emphasis on academic achievement. Some go to great lengths to secure private tuition for their children, hiring only the best. Thus, we can conclude that public exams take the fun out of learning. We cannot deny the fact that public examinations enable us to assess thousands of students using a similar instrument but the question one needs to ask is who eventually benefits from such a system? What happens to students who are not able to master test-taking skills? Is academic excellence the only indicator of success as suggested by the public examination system? In a world which is changing rapidly, we need to prepare our students for the many challenges they will have to face as they will form the backbone of our nation in the years to come. Taking into consideration the flaws of the public exam system, it is clear that we should seriously consider other means of assessing students and do away with public exams. **** Write a story ending with, “I never saw her again after that”. The gaunt figure that inched its way slowly towards the medicine counter looked old and haggard. Her dreary-looking outfit did nothing to conceal her bleak and depressing demeanour. Anyone who looked at her would have thought she carried the world‘s burdens on her shoulders. Quietly, she sat on one of the chairs and waited patiently, like the rest of us, for her number to be flashed on the digital screen. I was rattled. I knew I had seen her somewhere before — a younger, happier version. There was no way I could be wrong. Like an arrow released from its bow, the buried and forgotten memories pierced my heart with an unknown intensity. It had to be Mary Anne, my best friend in secondary school. Then again, this person looked old, much too old to be 29. Anyway, I summoned enough courage and went towards her. Hearing my footsteps, she looked up slowly. The flash of recognition in her eyes told me I was not wrong. ―It is you, Mary Anne Danker, is it not?‖ She nodded her head silently as if embarrassed. ―Hello, John? You are looking good.‖ Her remarks reminded me of how beautiful she had been once. Mary Anne had been the school beauty. Everyone had admired her for her looks, her brains and her beautiful character. Many had said, rather enviously, that God had worked overtime with her – making her one of his masterpieces. One day, Mary Anne had stopped coming to school. Devastated, I had gone to her house, only to find it all locked up. Checks with neighbours proved futile. No one knew where the Danker family had gone and why they had left so suddenly. Taking a seat next to her, I wondered what had happened to the ravishing beauty I had once known. ―Why did you leave so suddenly, Mary Anne? Why?‖ 20 She looked at me nervously, clasping and unclasping her hands in her lap. I could sense that she was rather reluctant to talk, reluctant to expose a part of her life which had probably caused her a great deal of pain and suffering. A prolonged silence ensued. Finally, she inhaled deeply and started telling me her story. Her mother had been diagnosed with endstage cancer and there was nothing the doctors could do. They said that she had only three months to live. Her father thought it best to return to their hometown, to let her live in peace in the surroundings she had grown up in. Her father, devastated by his wife‘s death, started to neglect his own health and three months later, he too died of a broken heart, leaving Mary Anne in the care of relatives. Tears rolled down Mary Anne‘s cheeks as she related the difficult years with her aunt. The old widow treated her badly, forcing Mary Anne to quit school and to work as a dishwasher in a restaurant. The cruel old lady often beat her, and her cousins, jealous of her beauty, were more vicious than their mother. Now that the aunt was old and suffering from cancer, her five children had deserted her when they realised that she needed special care. Despite her aunt‘s ghastly treatment of her, Mary Anne felt sorry for her. ―I cannot leave her. She has no one else,‖ she said. ―I have promised to take care of her till the end of her life.‖ I looked at Mary Anne and saw her goodness. Instead of seeing a gaunt and weary figure, I saw an amazingly beautiful human being. My heart went out to her. Just then her number was flashed on the screen. She got up and collected the medicine which, I understood, was for her aunt. Never had I felt so helpless and wretched. Her story reminded me of something my late grandfather used to say, ―Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.‖ Before leaving, Mary Anne turned and smiled sadly at me. I never saw her again after that. (677 words) 21 Studying the literature component is useful. Do you agree? Answer: The literature component was made part of the Malaysian school curriculum in 2000. This move was seen as vital as literature has untold benefits for language learners. I strongly believe that studying the literature component is useful because it helps promote language learning, exposes students to a variety of cultures, improves thinking skills and gives us a better understanding of mankind. To begin with, studying the literature component helps encourage language learning. Literature texts, be they poems, short stories or novels, can be used to teach grammar and vocabulary. Grammar and vocabulary exercises generated from literature texts are more interesting and motivating. They not only help us improve our understanding of the language but also help us learn new ways of using language. Exposure to new words, interesting phrases and literary devices such as metaphors, similes and personification show us how language can be used creatively. By learning the various literary devices we can even create our own examples of such devices. Next, it cannot be denied that literature texts expose us to a variety of cultures. The short stories and poems studied in Form Four are written by foreign and local writers and through these texts we learn to understand and appreciate cultures and ideologies which are not similar to ours. The poem Monsoon History, for instance, exposes us to the Baba Nyonya culture. The short story The Drover‘s Wife exposes us to the hardships of people who live in the Australian bush. Looking for a Rain God, which is based on a true story, exposes us to the hardships faced by the people in Botswana and how one family in particular succumbs to the old practice of ritual killing. These and the other texts expose us to the lives of different people across the continents and also their ways of dealing with circumstances. The authors force us to explore our beliefs and those of other people and by doing so we are able to understand people of other cultures. Moreover, studying literature also helps us improve our thinking skills. When we actively engage with literature texts, we are forced to think about characters, themes and issues raised by the author or poet. We learn to gather information not only from the text but also from our own observations, experiences, and reflections as well as those of others. We learn to view things from different perspectives. All these help develop our critical thinking skills. Finally, literature gives us a better understanding of mankind. Great authors have, over the centuries, conveyed their insights into human nature through an amazing assortment of characters from all walks of life engaged in a variety of activities. These characters, from the virtuous to the despicable, help us understand the people around us. We might recognise some women around us who are materialistic like Mathilde from The Necklace or cruel like Ravi‘s stepmother in The Return. Seeing such similarities can help us to understand and accept other people. 22 We cannot deny that there are immense benefits to be reaped from studying the literature component and Education Ministry should be lauded for making a wise decision to include it in the English Language syllabus. Someone once said, ―A man who does not read or reads little or reads only trash, is a person with an impediment.‖ Literature texts, be they classics or modern texts, help remove these impediments. They are living texts and we should not overlook the incredible wealth they offer us. [580 words] ***** Road Safety Road Safety is essential in our daily life. Thus to observe the traffic rules is an important activity to ensure road safety. Road safety should first of all begin at home by teaching and instructing children about the traffic rules with some good hints on the do‘s and dont‘s. Children should also be taught the highway code and advised to follow them strictly. Hence safety rules is everybody‘s business. Statistics has time and again shown that a great proportion of the people involved in road accidents are school children. It cannot be denied therefore that improper education is one of the major causes if accidents. There are cases where accident are caused by children running across the road without much attention, crossing behind parked vehicle, cycling two or three abreast carrying pillion riders, alighting from moving buses and cycling without due care. Therefore, they should be thought the important the road safety both at home and in schools. Exhibitions by the schools and demonstrations by the police authorities can do much in instilling in the children in a greater awareness of the dangers on the roads. As for the drivers on the road, they should always concentrate and study the situation ahead. It is very important that they anticipate road movements. They should drive safely showing consideration for others road users. The drives of heavy vehicles especially, should exercise greater consideration for those of smaller vehicles. Motorist and taxi- drivers should not exceed the speed limits and should always think of the safety of the passengers. A good driver should also know how to assess the speed and the distance of the oncoming traffic. Dangerous of overtaking has been cited as one of the major causes of road accidents. Drives in their enthusiasm or impatience overtakes other vehicles and end up in the head-on collision with other oncoming vehicles. Drives should always exercise caution and show more road sense. Motorcyclist should always wear safety helmet for their own safety. They should remember that prevention is better than cure. The government on their part should distribute pamphlets which warn and instill fear in road- users who are careless and inconsiderate. Posters in vivid pictorial terms which tell of the dangers and the consequences of careless reckless driving should also be imposed to act as deterrents to negligent driving. Unroadworthy vehicles such as vehicles whish are very old and in state of despair, vehicles which do not be allowed on the road until the defects are corrected. Finally all roads until the defects are reflectors should not be allowed on the roads until the defects are corrected. Finally all road-users should cultivate the virtues of consideration, tolerate, patience, caution and a respect for the highway code for everybody‘s benefit. 23 what is the advantages and disadvantages of being a member of a large family? What family means? Family to me is having a caring mother, a loving father, and a helpful sisters and brothers. Along with aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents and lots more. From the reader‘s digest dictionary, a nuclear family consists of parents and their children, whereas an extended family includes other relatives. Family is an important role in life. Being a part and a member of a large or either small family, we could see that everyone in this world have their own family, that they loved much. A person without family is all alone by themselves is lonely and empty of happiness. Having a large family is a reward for a person in life. Some of the advantages of having and being part of a large family is one can has the support of the family circle. They can get help and support from one another. the eldest and the youngest can depending on each other and one should be the leader so that the eldest can take the responsibility to overtake and solve others problem. Solving and sharing sister‘s and brother‘s problem made us to be a better person and getting a close relationship together. Another advantages of being a member of a large family, is the household chores can be divided equally among the children likes many hand make light work means sharing work makes the job easier. Apart from that, another advantage being a member of a large family is the older children can learn responsibility from an early age. As example, when they get sisters and brothers when they are still need an attention and cares from their parents, they individually have to care and think about themselves and others when the mother gives birth of their little brother and sister. As their family becomes bigger, they have to overtake their parents responsibility little much. Sometimes, they get used to it and becomes more matured than their real age! Although there are so many advantages, sadly, when they got too many siblings, the average parent does not really have the time nor the patience for their children in today‘s hectic lifestyle. In most families with troubled teenagers, we find troubled adult as parents. Some parents feel that their children are old enough to make their own decisions, so they literally allow them to do anything they want. Without parental guidance, these parents are unwittingly setting their children up for mistakes that they may regret for the rest of their lives. As the breadwinner is not high income earner they are not be able to afford a big house for their children as they have a large family and the members will got no privacy if the house is small. As they have a large family members, parents are not be able to give individual attention to every child. Effective parenting is much needed during the adolescent years. Their parents tend to be too busy with their work to give them any attention. Parents are reminded that the parenting goal should be to encourage children to have self-disciplined and self-control. And this will be the problem if they have too many children. With such demand, having a large family is a reward and not everyone will have this opportunity. Family is an important role in our lives. As the famous saying goes, blood is thicker than water. Loves our family more than everything ! 24 Boys and girls should be given equal opportunity in education. Give your views. Nowadays, many students at University in our country have many girl‘s student from boys. The situation happened not because our country do not ignore boy‘s student but there are make it happened. Many girls‘ student in University get opportunity to study because a lot of them are female and this situation make them comfortable to study. They can study and achieve their ambition property because there is not composition between male students. Girl‘s student in University have many opportunity because they study very hard when they at school. Male‘s student usually lazy to study and play very much than study. Because of that many people say that boy‘s student does not have opportunity in education. We are supposed to give boy‘s student space to they think about their life. Boys and girls should be given equal opportunities in education. I think this issues maybe did not speak because in college or university have many girls that boys. Because of that, they think that our government do not give equal opportunity to boy and choose girls to get education at the higher place. People are not realized what are real situation right now because they just easy to make a complaint about this issues and do not think why this happened in our education. Our country, right now really want boys in university or college but their result in examination does not show that they want to study. Their result make boys did not quality to study at university or college. Next, this situation is happened because they are lazy to study and they also enter with crimes like drug, gambling or so on. Our race religion and country maybe destroyed if we give our country in their hands. I think our country will be destroyed and our children also have a dark dream in their ambition. A person that want to be a Chief Minister in our country, Malaysia, that person must have determination, have a brilliant ideas, carefully with their country and have a high stage in education. Someone like that, we want to be a Chief Minister. We do not care about girls and ignore our boys in education but their attitude is not quality to enter at the university or college. After that, boys also involved in many crimes and our country difficult to make a decision because there are many girls than boys in education and who will be replace our Chief Minister if we do not have a right candidate right now.? Our government gives equal opportunities to our children to study and they do not pick girls or boys to study at the higher stage those boys. There are equal and as a student they have to grab the golden opportunity in their hand. They do not suppose to throw their ambition because of small things. Our education system in Malaysia very fair and equal everyone. As a Malaysian‘s people they will get opportunity to study in Malaysia and get a good education really don‘t have to say because our government very fair in education. I think boys didn‘t take the change to study property and successful in examination.