Monday, February 15, 2010

In Your light I learn how to love.

“In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you.” -Rumi

"With the Beloved's water of life, no illness remains
In the Beloved's rose garden of union, no thorn remains.
They say there is a window from one heart to another
How can there be a window where no wall remains?"

“God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Warmth veiled the boundless edges
Slowly dimming in the evening sun
Joy filled the heart
Slowly glowing beyond the golden hue

Serenity veiled the boundless edges
Glimmering in the evening breeze
Beauty spills around
Slowing glowing within the heart

Words can be expressed
Revealing the beauty of Allah’s creation
But no words to heave
The rhythms of my heart,
The melodies of my soul and
The serenity of my life…………

6.55pm 5th February2010

*sunset photos taken at bukit expo, in university putra malaysia

roses among thorns?

Drama is introduced in the new KBSM literature component for 2010 for the lower and upper secondary together with new poems and short stories. Rumplelstiltskin by Angela Lanyon is used for the lower secondary while Gulp and Gasp by John Townsend for the upper secondary. Will it be roses or thorns for the teachers as well as the students? It all depends on the teachers approach and the students acceptance. 

Teaching drama should be welcomed with open arms as it involves all four skills and provides a solid context for language learning, personal growth and culture understanding which can eventually enhance the intrapersonal and interpersonal growth. Besides that, it provides a touch of motivation element of joy and fun in the class room which can develop and stimulate students’ creativity and imagination. “Drama activities provide numerous avenues for group work and studies on second language learners show that using drama in the language classroom has increased students’ motivation, self-esteem and spontaneity.” (Edwin, 2004) Thus, it is a good idea to get the students involve in the role play for performance as they can comprehend better and eventually develop their love for literature as the most important concern is not the end product and artistic excellence but the students’ involvement in order that they can develop the cognitive and effective domains and as an amazing learning experience.
“Literary texts and drama activities can be used to teach language skills and also develop the cognitive and affective domains and meet cultural needs of the students. The utilization of drama activities will help bring back some of the important emotional content into the language learning experience which is often lacking in communicative language classrooms.” (Edwin, 2004)
“Tell me and I will forget, Show me and I will remember, Involve me and I will understand” Chinese proverb

Opening the door to the world of creative arts

Teaching literature is a challenging task if our students are not interested in it. Teachers have to give room to the students and opportunity to express their view and thoughts and appreciate their involvement. Feedback and comments from teachers do not have to be always positive, there are times we need to response to the students answers by asking them to support their stand with more textual evidence. Literature is pieces of creative writing, which can be also valued as work of arts, that can arouse interest in reading and also enhance language competency. Cultural models, language models and personal growth models for teaching literature can be applied when we teach literature in order to stimulate their interest and develop the cognitive and affective domains of the students.

“Teaching literature is a subject, and a difficult one. Doing it well requires scholarly and critical sophistication, but it also requires a clear idea of what literature is, of what is entailed in reading and criticizing it. It requires, in fact, some very self-conscious theorizing. But beyond the questions that ought to feed any serious critic’s sense of what doing literature might mean, there are questions about the relation between such sophistication, and the necessities of the classroom: what, how, and when are students more likely to learn?" (Levine,2001:14)

Monday, February 8, 2010

discovering the hidden “pearls” in “The Pearl”

I truly enjoy teaching my form 5 tuition students “The Pearl” ,a novel by John Steinbeck and it’s an amazing experience for me. At first most of my students who attended my class did not like literature, especially the novel. It was a challenge for me but I accepted it as God’s test for me. I tried to look through the rose tinted glasses, and I put more effort to bring the life to the literature lesson. I wrote a brief synopsis and concise summaries of the six chapters of the novel for my students to read .Then I told my students that we can never love this novel by just holding it; so we have to read it, explore it, go inside it, and imagine that we are there with them. I told them to put their love in what they are reading, and as they read the novel, I asked them to observe the characters and the way they talk, act and interact with other characters, and take note of the sequence of events from the beginning, rising action, climax, falling action and ending. Then I discussed with them the characterization of the characters. “ Insight into characters in literary texts could also derived directly through the characters’ actions, speech and thoughts. A character’s actions, speech and thoughts in any situation would throw light on his personality and character traits.”(Edwin,2004) I love to hear their different opinions regarding the characters of Kino, Juana, the pearl buyers, the doctor, Juan Tomas, Apolonia, the priest and the trackers. The most interesting part is when the students tried to bring out the theme of the novel together with the moral values and lessons that they have learned, they finally discovered the situational irony in the novel. 

The pearl of the world that Kino had discovered which was supposed to bring the image of wealth, happiness and purity has turned out to be the cause of evilness, discrimination, envy, disaster, obsession, and finally the dramatic tragedy as Coyotito, the only baby of poor Kino and Juana , was accidentally killed by one of the trackers.
I do not encourage my students to bring in any reference books for “The Pearl” as I wanted them to discover independently the "pearls" hidden in “The Pearl” and of course I facilitated them as they did various activities. I want my students to enjoy the literature lesson and make them explore the novel themselves so that it will be students’ oriented and not just teacher centered. I also gave my comments and feedback as they express their views individually or in groups. I love to see their cheerfulness and enthusiasm as they express and support their thoughts. What really touched me was when my students finally admitted that they love literature and really enjoyed the class. It is so amazing to see my students developing in their personal growth, improving in their language proficiency and bringing other literary text into the class room to be exchanged among themselves for extensive reading.
“Literature is experience, not information, and the students must be invited to participate in it, not simply observe it from outside. Thus, the students is very important- not simply a recipient of information, but rather a maker of knowledge out of meetings with literary texts.” Probst (1988:Preface)

Monday, February 1, 2010

a beautiful Andalusian Poetry

Look at the beautiful sun.

As it rises, it shows one golden eyebrow,

plays miser with the other one,

but we know that soon

it will spread out a radiant veil

over all.

A marvelous mirror that appears in the East

only to hide again at dusk.

The sky is saddened

when the sun leaves

and puts on mourning robes.

I believe that falling stars

are nothing more

than sky's gem-hard tears.

- Ibn Abi I-Haytham, Andalusia