Life long sharing . . .

Learning BM – Sharing by my Guru

Posted on: October 7, 2015

Regarding learning Bahasa Malaysia (BM), it always troubles me that beside memorizing and learning by heart, there is no other way for us to learn it. Then one day, I received a message from a parent whom I respect a lot. Alas, the Guru I am looking for is right on my doorstep. With great honor, I met up with him and managed to get some good advice from him. Here is what he shared:

  1. First, we need a mindset change. Don’t treat Pemahaman and Penulisan as two separate subjects to tackle. Teach the kids to see it as learning a language. Teach them to combine learning of BM Pemahaman and Penulisan together.
  2. For start, we need to create a BM reference book using an exercise book. Yes, the kid’s own BM revision book. Tell the kids to make their own notes and revision book instead of relying on all the reference books in the market. I am getting my eldest to mind-map and make his own notes on all subjects and when exams are near, he only reads his own notes. I forbade any reference book and so he learns to make good notes. The process of making notes is where and when he really LEARNS, not the notes itself. Hence, buying off the shelf reference books omitted this crucial learning process.
  3. I would recommend using Science notebook with alternate blank page. It is the best choice. I called it “The Blue Book”.
    sciencenotebook
  4. NILAI MURNI: Get a list of all the Nilai-nilai Murni. For each Nilai Murni,write down its meaning and synonyms
    • Find three sentences using the Nilai Murni; best to pick from Contoh Karangan books. By doing so, we indirectly make the kids read more and go through more good sample essay. Remember, reading is crucial for writing good essay.
    • You can start with one sentence first. Not a must to come out with all three sentences at one time.
    • This is a continuous exercise; update/add on the sample sentences from time to time.
    • By doing this, the kids understand the meaning of Nilai Murni, which helps in Bahagian B. Then, they also learn how to use the Nilai Murni in making sentences. And if you look at the UPSR essay questions, in general, you cannot run away from writing facts or describing things using Nilai Murni.
    • nilaimurni
  5. Prepare RANGKA (framework) for each type of karangan berformat. Copy down the rangka into “The Blue Book” even if Contoh Karangan books have it. This is part of the learning process. Encourage the kid to add on any personalized notes, such as some good opening they like to use for syarahan. At the end, this Blue Book will serve as their revision book. All the important notes should be in this little Blue Book. Don’t expect a kid to go through all the sample essays in all Contoh Karangan books the day before exam as revision.rangka
  6. Two of the Contoh Karangan books recommended are (best if can finish reading them) :
    • “222 Koleksi Penulisan Bahasa Malaysia UPSR” by Malaya Press  222
    • “X-plor UPSR Koleksi Karangan” by Info Didik
  7. MIND-MAPPING: Teach your children MIND MAPPING, which will be the key tool to help them make effective notes and after that, leave them to do it in their own format or style. I actually bought TONY BUZAN’s book on mind mapping for kids and let him read it himself so that he can understand and appreciate the concept of the tool. mindmap2
  8. Before exam preparation, mind map every essay question using Contoh Karangan books. This trains the kids to be able to identify and extract key content/points for a topic discussed while going through the sample essay. With this, kids learn to associate key contents with the topic of essay, and the topic can be in any format, such as syarahan, surat rasmi etc.  And kids do not need to memorize the whole sample essay including the format by heart.
  9. Here is an example of how he used mind map to do Penulisan past year paper, learn to create content and then select essay.
    mindmap
  10. Using the “LEGO” analogy to explain to kids – E.g. The top (pembuka) and the bottom (penutup) are like the special pieces in LEGO. So need to know them and then, the middle (content/isi) can mix and match. They can just pluck those key contents which they have learnt/read previously and put it.
  11. During exam, go through each question. Evaluate each question and see how many points you have for each question. Then choose the one you have all the points/the most points. The key is: Do what you know, NOT what you like. In other words, choose the one you can score the best. Then spend 5 minutes to do the full mind map before starting to write.
  12. Even at home, simulate this by using past year questions. Come out with the mind-mapped rangka, and choose one to write. In actual exams, he will DO ONLY ONE MIND MAP after selecting the topic, not 3 that you see in photos.
    pastyearquestion
  13. Tips on WHAT TO DO FIRST during Penulisan exam.
    1. Start with Bina Ayat.
    2. Then Ulasan. As the mind is still fresh now, just warm up from Bina Ayat, it is best to work on Ulasan. Ulasan needs clear mind to do and cannot be panic. And Ulasan is very crucial in determining what grade a kid can score.
    3. Lastly only Karangan. This type of question has very high risk of keluar tajuk (out of scope). This type of mistake is fatal. This can be avoided by using mind map. Teach the kids to always refer back the mind map every time they finish one paragraph and before starting a new one. This is to make sure they are not carried away and write something out of scope. We used mind map to help solve the “out of topic” writing by constant reference.
    4. A good time management skill is required. E.g. When the reminder of last 10 minutes left is announced, must start to wrap up. Must always bear in mind, as long as there are 5 points + pembuka + penutup, no out-of-topic, they are fine.
  14. Now, let’s move to Pemahaman. The same exercise like Nilai Murni needs to be done for the following topics. Do it every few months.
    • Simpulan Bahasa / Peribahasa
    • Penanda Wancana (note: this is important and often neglected)
  15. Before each exam, read the following grammar topics. These types of questions make up 25% of the paper.
    • Kata Banyak Makna
    • Kata Hampir Sama Makna
    • Penjodoh Bilangan
  16. Explain to the kids, whatever they learn in item 14. and 15. above are also useful for their essay as it enrich their vocabulary and enhance their language.
  17. These two tatabahasa books are highly recommended:
    1. “Teman Pelajar Sistem Bahasa” by Cemerlang  temanpelajar
    2.  “Fokus Tatabahasa” by Pelangi focuspelangi
  18. Know the differences between Pantun, Sajak, Puisi, Syair, Gurindam and Seloka. It’s quite common when poem is used in comprehension paper, the first question will ask for “What is the type of this poem?”
    poemPREPARATION FOR UPSR (Standard 6 students)
  19. Past Year Papers – start doing it as early as Jan. Every two/three weeks complete one paper. Must target to finish by two months before UPSR. The last two months before UPSR exam should be kept for doing revision.
  20. When going through the past year papers, make sure the kids understand every single answer, be it correct or wrong. Learn the meaning and its usage. This is to enhance the vocabulary of used in SK BM paper.
  21. During Final Revision (last week or two week before exam), review all the questions they did wrongly, understand what and why. Kids tend to make systematic errors.

Lastly, quoting my Guru, “Parents must understand there is no shortcut to building solid foundation, it takes TIME and PRACTICE, and you may only see the results a few months later or during actual UPSR exam.

The hardest part is for us as parents TO BE PATIENT and allow them to make mistakes and do it their own way. So, the earlier you can start, the better and be brave enough to actually tell the child to revise for exams using his/her own notes and nothing else. The first time I said that to my son, he got a shock and I was nervous. But when he realized I was being serious about revising from notes as key revision tool, he improved and fine-tuned his notes later.

** You can download the pdf version of this article here:
English: BM-Guru.pdf
Chinese: BM-Guru华语.pdf

** For more tips on learning Bahasa Malaysia, please refer to: BAHASA MALAYSIA (BM) home tution Q & A

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