July and October 2016

July 2016

Welcome!

We’d like to welcome two new teachers who have recently joined our team: Teacher Samira and Teacher Adri.

We have a really exciting term ahead of us! We have parent workshops, Nelson Mandela week, storytelling and competitions for all students! 

 Adri

Adri, who is joining as Academic Coordinator, has been working for BC Malaysia for almost 2 years before joining the Damansara branch full-time. In the KL Teaching Centre she was involved in teaching both adults and children and worked on materials development for our courses. This term she teaches UP4 classes on Saturdays and Sundays. Feel free to approach her and say hello!

Samira

Samira has recently joined us from Iran and we’re very happy to have her here in Damansara. Samira has been teaching in Iran and she also spent some time in the UK where she completed her masters in teaching English to young Learners. This term she is teaching UP2, UP3 and Primary Plus 3.

Child safety

Keeping your child safe is an absolutely priority for us. This is why all students are provided with either a green (for 11+ years) or a pink (5-10 years) tag. Please ensure your child is wearing their tag at all times. Please also ensure that you don’t bring your child any earlier than 10 minutes before their class starts and collect your child straight after their class finishes; we recommend that you arrive to pick up your child 5 minutes before their class finishes – Unfortunately, we don’t have much space for students to wait or staff members to look after them so this is very important.

Storytelling

Our resident storyteller joined us in week 4 for another spectacular storytelling session. These sessions were held on the 3rd and 5th of August and enjoyed immensely by our PP1, PP2 and Phonics students. The next storytelling session will be next term!

Global Art Competition

We’re excited to tell you about our annual global art competition! This year’s theme is the national flower and/or animal of Malaysia. There are three age groups: 8 and under, 9-11 and 12-15. Students who are interested have to create a piece of art based on the theme on an A4 or A3 size paper. Students should use strong colours and lines to make the piece bright and strong, but they should not use colour pencils. They need to provide the following information on the back of their piece of art:

  • The title of the picture
  • Student’s name and age
  • Teacher’s name
  • Name of the teaching centre (Damansara)

We’ve already had lots of wonderful entries and we look forward to getting more! The winners and the runner-up will receive exciting prizes and the winners from each age group will be entered into the global young learners’ art competition in September 2016.

Parent workshops

We will be running some parent workshops this term in order to support parents in helping their children succeed!

Phonics: In week 5, we’ll be running workshops for parents of our students who are studying phonics. The aim of this workshop is to inform you how we are teaching your children as well as giving you tips on how to help them with their homework and support them at home. This workshop will be on Thursday 11th August.

Pronunciation: In week 6, we’ll be running parent workshops at the weekend for parents of primary and lower secondary students. This workshop will focus on how we teach pronunciation as well as showing you how to help your child develop in this area. This workshop will be on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August.

Important changes to Primary Plus Online Portal

We are simplifying the way parents log in. Instead of having a separate parent and students account, they will just have one account per child. Parent accounts will no longer work from August 2016.

The log-in process is still the same: go to the Primary Plus portal (https://primaryplus.britishcouncil.org) and input your child’s username and password. If you have more than one child studying Primary Plus, they will each have their own accounts, with a separate username and password. If they are in different classes, you will need to log in twice using both accounts in order to access their progress.

LearnEnglishKids website

The British Council’s LearnEnglishKids website is designed especially for parents who want to support their children’s learning. It is full of videos, songs, games and exercises to help kids learn while having fun, and there are tips for parents too! Connect with LearnEnglishKids on Twitter and Facebook to make sure that you see the latest updates!

October 2016

Welcome to the final term of 2016. We have some exciting events happening this term, including parent workshops, competitions, and our very first collaboration with Kidzania!

Parents of Secondary students: We need your help!

Following feedback and enquiries we’ve had from some parents of Secondary students, we’re looking into starting some courses next year to support students who are hoping to or already studying towards taking IGCSE exams. 

Please follow the links below to answer some questions to ensure the courses we offer suit the specific needs of your children.

Survey for all Lower Secondary classes (students between 13-15 years) https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/britishcouncildamansara

Survey for Upper Secondary classes (students between 16-18 years) https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/damansarasurvey1

Exciting Kidzania collaboration

Visiting KidZania is the most original educational experience in KL – and British Council is now partnering with KidZania to offer an excellent opportunity for your child to win a holiday course worth up to RM 975 as well as four complimentary tickets and KidZania goodies worth RM 150!!

What do you need to do to win?

  1. Visit KidZania between 15 October – 6 November and receive 30% off your entry fee.
  2. Write about or draw your experience (a template will be given to you).
  3. If you are selected as a finalist you will be invited to attend the Judging Stage and present your work to the audience at the KidZania Theatre on 28 November at 2pm.
  4. Stand to win a fully paid holiday course!

Full details of this competition will be given in a letter to your child in the coming weeks. Look out for posters around the centre too!

Christmas Holiday courses

Get the most out of the school holidays by registering your child for a short holiday programme to improve their confidence.

This year, the British Council is commemorating 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare with some exciting holiday courses for children based on the life of Shakespeare and his plays. The holiday courses will make the works of this great British writer accessible to children while helping them improve their skills in English.

Child safety

This term, we will be marking child safety week with activities in class to raise students’ awareness of potential issues in their safety. Our youngest students will be introduced to ideas about safe touch, while our older students will look at how to stay safe online. Last term, with the increasing popularity of Pokémon Go, some classes looked at the potential problems that the game may create.

Primary Plus Online Portal

The activities for Topic 7 are live on the Primary Plus portal and students can log in and start them at any time. The activities are a great way to practise the language covered in class and students can earn badges for completing the activities, then unlock the Shaun the Sheep videos to watch online. 

Changes to the way we use course books

The British Council Young Learner team has been gathering feedback from teachers and students on how course books are used in our Upper Primary, Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary classes. We recommend students in these courses take approximately two years to move to the next level (160 learning hours), but in the past we have been using course books over 1 year (80 hours).

Based on the feedback we have received from parents and the research we have done with teachers and students, from next year, all of our UP, LS and US books will be used over a 2 year period, in line with the length of the course. This is to allow teachers to provide more opportunities for students to use their language in class through speaking and writing tasks, and to expose them to more natural English through the use of readers and videos in class. In addition, after feedback from students, we will also be integrating basic academic skills development lessons into each term to help students build their skills toward potential future academic studies in English.

This also means that for students in UP, LS and US, you will now only need to buy 1 set of books every two years.

Parent workshops

On Thursday 6 October, we’ll be holding our first parent workshop of the term which will focus on phonics. The aim of this workshop will be to help you understand more clearly what and exactly how your child is learning in their phonics class. You will take part in a demo lesson so you can experience what your child goes through in their classes, as well as hear an explanation about why this is important. At the end there will be time for you to ask questions and we’ll ask you to fill in a very short survey so we can get your feedback on the course so far. There is no need to sign up, just come along!

There will be another parent Workshop on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October. This will be aimed at parents of Secondary students and will focus on writing skills for exams. Times and room number will be confirmed nearer the date.

And finally….

We’re sorry to be saying goodbye to teacher Munirah at the end of October. Teacher Munirah has been with us for over a year now and has enjoyed teaching Primary as well as Secondary courses. Munirah is moving to Russia to start an exciting new life there with her husband. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank her for all of her hard work and wish her the best of luck in the future.