Monday, July 22, 2013

book club | the READ. WRITE. SPEAK. learning experience

Md Indera (top, right) leading workshop activities based on our Halo Island minibook

This week we feature education innovator Md Indera, who offers the creative Read. Write. Speak. workshops through his education company MD98.

Indera has been bringing our stories to life in his classes, by using our books to teach dramatic reading, character values, project skills, and more. He also directed the learning activities for the ALIVE@Bukit Chandu event, as part of this year's Total Defence Day celebration co-organised by the National Museum of Singapore. Thanks to him, our Sherlock Hong series had a special showcase there.

Indera believes in connecting honestly with young learners, and encouraging them to express themselves through their natural talents. His passion for teaching English Literature has helped many students appreciate the subject's greater value beyond examinations and grades. With his Read. Write. Speak. workshops, he aims to build on this foundation and create learning experiences that truly inspire and enrich.

"I read recently in the newspapers that the number of students taking English Literature in schools is at an all-time low. There is a drop from 17,000 taking the subject in 1992 to 3,000 today. I experienced this challenge myself when I was a full time educator with the Ministry of Education. My subject specialisation was English Literature. This subject had gained an "ill reputation" for producing dismal results, and was avoided by teachers. But I had an enlightened school Principal, Mr. Seet Tiat Hee, who gave me an opportunity to open up an upper secondary English Literature class, despite much opposition.  
By then I had developed my own methods to make learning enjoyable for my students. Through a myriad of experiential programs, combined with a rigorous regime of reading and writing, we actually produced 21% distinctions at the final GCE 'O' Levels.
This is something that I attribute to hard work and creative teaching methods, to constantly engage and stimulate the learners. We went for court proceedings to prepare for our National Literature debates; our teams won and this brought positive attention to the school. We caught a professionally staged production of Macbeth at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, which was a first experience for most of the students. We even invited the lead actor, Sonny Lim, to participate in a kind of interactive "Actor’s Studio", for the students to develop active communication through direct question and answer. 
We create rich EXPERIENCES and lasting CONNECTIONS which ultimately take learners out of their comfort zones. These experiences will essentially translate into depth and maturity in their thinking and writing. 
Now, as a workshop developer, I definitely see Don’s books as a valuable resource, and I would like to inspire the kids at my classes to pick up on the altruistic themes and characters found in stories like "Halo Island" and the Sherlock Hong series. The greater goal is also to bring up more "writer warriors" like Don, who are not afraid to write and self-publish in a world of saturated media and consumerist culture. We have to raise a new generation that is young and brave, literate and enterprising. Do come to my workshops, and you will experience what I mean for yourself!
Look out for our upcoming Young Writers Workshop during the September holidays, where we will use materials from Super Cool Books and explore the realm of self-publishing with participants. WATCH THIS SPACE!"