Welcome to the Unique English Classroom (UEC). I am extremely excited to finally launch our inaugural UEC newsletter.
UEC interactive classes started with the Setiawalk Puchong corporate centre leading the pack by kicking off their first lesson 3rd October 2017. Subsequently, UEC centres in Bukit Jelutong, Ayeh Keroh, Setia Alam and Bandar Botanik Klang started during the same month too. Today, we have over 11 centres running UEC programmes. Six more centres will be starting very soon.
What is so unique about UEC? How confident are we to compete with the many English learning centres or tuition centres around us?
First, we emphasize on applying what the skills taught in English. Here’s how …. we who mentor children via a fun and interactive way while teaching English through stories.
We want them to know how to use the correct English in writing an interesting story, and not to just focus on Academic English with workbooks and frequent assessments.
What is the point of knowing the rules of English grammar if we can’t write an article or a story? We call our teacher’s ‘Creative Educators’ and we require them to be creative in guiding and teaching children. When the children enjoy their classes, that is when they will truly learn.
With very best wishes,
On the 4th of February, UEC Setiawalk Puchong was honoured to host dozens of parents and kids for a fun-filled workshop bent on the exploration of creativity in the minds of kids.
Our founder, Catherine Khoo – known as Auntie Cat to the kids – conducted this workshop with vigour and experience, her passionate endeavours inspiring the kids.
The workshop started out when Auntie Cat introduced the participants to the dynamic workings of a typical UEC class – where videos, interactive activities and sharing sessions are incorporated.
Not long after, both the parents and kids could be seen participating in the plethora of activities prepared for them. Among the activities, the one that stood out is the creative writing segment where the parent-kid-duo would have to pen a story based on 5 picture-cards provided to them.
They had to come up with a title and a completed short-story, using the cards as guides as to what the characters and settings of the story would turn out to be. After that, the story would have to be presented in front of everyone with the parent as the narrator and the kid as a choreographer.
It was incredible to see how the creative minds of the kids and the rational thinking of the parents merged together to produce outstanding pieces of work that even they themselves didn’t think was possible.
After what could be described as a rewarding but exhausting 2-hour workshop with Auntie Cat, everybody involved would have certainly learnt much from each other, and that’s a given.
Star Story #1: A Blessing in Disguise
By Zhe Dean (age 10) – AWIS and Alphabet Authors’ student
There was once a little boy named Troy who lived with his grandfather. One day, his grandfather died because a lion ate him. There was no one to feed Troy and he went hungry and thirsty for days.
Meanwhile, a rich man by the name of Billy was cruising in his private plane. But the plane crashed in midair and he landed in a jungle. He was the only person alive.
Billy wanted to explore further to look for food. He prayed that he would find food and that he wouldn’t meet a kid because he thought that kids were disgusting.
While he walked up a muddy hill he soon saw an old, poor and dirty kampung house. He went in and saw a little boy who looks scared and hungry. The little boy is Troy. Troy then went up to Billy but got pushed away.
“I hate disgusting kids!” exclaimed Billy. Then, Billy left the little boy in the house and continued his journey.
He walked up a steep mountain and saw a lion. Billy was scared and he couldn’t move. The lion was going to eat Billy when a stone hit it in the eye. The lion was in pain and ran away. Troy was the one that saved Billy!
Billy was grateful that Troy helped him. They eventually found their way out of the forest.
Billy adopted Troy and gave him a life that anybody would wish for. Troy had changed Billy from a selfish, lonely man to a sweet Daddy. Together, they lived a happy life.
Two of my daughters, Sze Kay (12) and Sze Huin (10) joined Unique English Classroom since October 2017 and have been with the Aspiring Writers & Illustrators Scheme (AWIS) programme for almost six months now.
How do I come across UEC? Well, I joined SAM Singapore Maths earlier, and found out some of them are offering UEC programmes too. I have been looking for an English creative writings classes for my kids and after the initial inquiry with UEC, I decided to try it out. Both my husband and I always believe that being able to write and articulate one’s thoughts on pen and paper helps mould a child into their future working lives better. Writing and speaking well is the key to good communication too.
After their first class, both my girls told me that they enjoyed the dynamics of the class and love the interaction among the teacher and students, especially during the storytelling and story writing.
In the class, they will participate in various activities such as audio storytelling, short movies, group discussion, sensational words research, presentation etc. My girls love their Teacher Farah very much and described her as kind, caring and very patient with children.
My eldest daughter, Amilea (12) joined AWIS since Jan 2018 and my youngest daughter, Michelle joined Alphabet Learners (8) at the same time. At that time, I had been searching for an appropriate after-school English programme for them. That was when I found UEC, Setiawalk Puchong from the internet.
Although the distance was a problem for me, I decided to give it a try after I realised that they emphasize on application English writing and of course, their reasonable fees too.
My daughters enjoyed every class they attend and are always looking forward to upcoming classes every week. I noticed they have improved their command of English and vocabulary in their writing since joining UEC.
I strongly believe that the UEC programmes help to develop their confidence level in speaking and also increase their interest in English writing. When I asked my daughters what they loved the most, Michelle told me that she loves the dynamic and interactions between teacher and students; while Amilea loves the story-writing which helps her to learn more words.
If given a chance, I would recommend UEC because of the passionate teachers they have, the fun and interactive curriculum and the fact that they help to develop my daughters’ interest in English.
I can’t really believe it is already the end of term. Even the kids can’t believe it. I joked that it is really the last class with me and that we were not going to see each other again. They were not happy at all, making sad faces, few were stomping their feet and ask why? I laughed so hard till I nearly cried. Yes, they loved me after all.
So we spent some time during the last class to reflect on what they had achieved and not achieved. For my Thursday and Friday AWIS classes it is quite surprising to note the same pattern, the students who started as timid, quiet and non-responsive students were the ones who submitted the best final story. I was very surprised. They had even pushed themselves to write up to 500 words. Of course the grammar is all over the place but I loved their determination to try and express their new found courage to write. It is not the best story I have ever read. It is still a simple story but with additions of new words learnt from class. Some words didn’t even belong to the sentence but their sheer determination to write really touches my heart.
I used the term courage because these are kids that were so scared to speak in English. They always speak softly as if to make sure nobody hears them when they were uttering the words. But now they can shout out the answers to our Hangman game or charades: they don’t even think about what they want to say. They Just blurt it out. That’s what I told them, “In my class I would not penalize you for speaking broken English because you will not learn the language until you use it. Learn from your mistakes and you will speak better English.”
One mom called me and said her daughter speaks English at home now even with her little brother and she is quite amazed by it. And that girl is so shy when she first entered our programme. She only smiled when I asked her name. She did not want to enter my class because she told her mother that other students would make fun of her English. Fair enough, she is really bad in pronouncing most words but I told her to keep reading and only watch English cartoons or movies.
She became the top student in my class. I am very proud of her achievements. Her father even told me that he is willing to fork out some money to get his daughter’s story published – well she has been writing a lot at home, stories about her pets, her friends, things at home – IN ENGLISH of course, for the first time in her life and her father got very excited and wants me to review it. I reviewed some and they were just diary-like stories, lots of spelling errors, nothing fantastic BUT her efforts and determination made it special. I told her parents to let her write all she wants. It is a good practice but let her also do it in a proper way, then get it published. So she will be joining me in January for AWIS1B and later on to the next level of course.
For those few brilliant kids who joined my class, I think along the way they had lost their focus. Somehow they knew that they are up to the standard so they could not be bothered to give it an extra effort to do their homework or even work during classes.
Now that I had announced the top scorer in class, some of them were shocked but after Ietting them read their friends’ stories, they understood. They kept quiet and reluctantly said, “Yes, they wrote better stories than us.” I told them that a brain would not be useful if you don’t use it in a proper way. You still need to do your work and think. They promised to do better next year.
I am glad that the term ended in a good way. All of my students are continuing to the next level. In 2018, we will be opening new classes and continuing classes. We are targeting at least 50 students to register. It will be a busy year ahead.