Preparing our learners to answer the novel question in SPM 1119/2 should not be taken for granted. SPM candidates should be given sufficient practices as the second part of the novel question is always demanding. As we know, most of the time, Part 1 of the novel question requires learners to retell or rewrite about a character, plot or give some details of incidents with close reference to the novel/text. However, Part 2 of the novel question always requires learners to think critically and provide their views or personal responses. This HOTS task can be challenging to some learners.
SPM 2018: With close reference to the text, describe one problem faced by the main character (PART 1). Give your opinion about the way the problem was solved (PART 2).
SPM 2017: Based on the novel that you have studied, write about a value that is important to one of the characters in the story (PART 1). Give reasons why it is so, with close reference to the text (PART 2).
SPM 2016: Describe a scene that makes you either happy or sad (PART 1). Give reasons why the scene makes you feel happy or sad with close reference to the text (PART 2).
I am positive many SPM candidates are weaker in Part 2 which involves High Order Thinking Skills. However, it does not mean nothing can be done to address this issue. To me, this cliche still stands tall "Practice Makes Perfect". No doubt, aiming for perfection is sometimes arguable but surely, through ongoing and consistent practices, there will be progress and success.
In this write-up, I wish to share my strategy, named Novel Marathon which has been helping my SPM candidates to have a better understanding of the novel as well as be more familiar with ways to deal with Part 2 of the question. The more they discuss Part 1, more details of the novel will be remembered. Simultaneously, the more learners discuss or write about Part 2, the better it is for them. Their maturity in giving responses and ability to think critically will be enhanced.
How to implement Novel Marathon? I bet ESL/EFL teachers know the answer. It depends and it varies too. It could be individual, pair or group work. Must they write a complete answer for each novel question? Not necessarily. At least, after discussing both parts (Part 1 and Part 2), the details and viewpoints are presented orally in class. It would be better, an outline for each novel question is also written and shared in printed form. In short, the implementation of Novel Marathon depends on some factors especially the learners teachers have in class. Unquestionably, learning activities among excellent, average and weak learners vary. The choice is always yours.
If you are keen to implement Novel Marathon, please click this link.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE PANEL
SEKOLAH MENENGAH KEBANGSAAN SULTAN BADLISHAH
DEAR MR KILMER: REINFORCEMENT PRACTICES
Compiled and prepared by Zanurin bin Mohamad Safar
Describe two characters who show similar characteristics in the novel that you have studied.
Describe the most important theme in the novel. Discuss how the theme can be applied in your life as a school student.
Describe a close relationship between two characters in the novel that you have studied. Explain valuable lessons which you have learnt from their close relationship.
Write about a principle of life held by one of the characters in the novel. Discuss how the principle is relevant to you as a teenager.
Describe a character who portrays sheer determination in the novel that you have studied. What are the effects of his or her determination?
Describe a scene which portrays a value in detail. Explain the importance of the value. Support your answer with close reference to the text.
Choose three incidents that you wish did not happen in the novel. Give reasons with close reference to the text.
‘Patience is a virtue’. Describe a character who shows great patience and discuss the effects of being patient.
The element of kindness is portrayed throughout the novel. With close reference to the text, discuss how this element is shown in the novel.
Describe happenings which highlight courage in the novel. With close reference to the text, discuss the consequences of being courageous.
‘Responsibility is a very important aspect in life.’ Based on the novel you have studied, identify one main character whom you consider to be a very responsible person. With close reference to the text, explain the positive outcomes of being responsible.
From the novel that you have read, describe scenes which make you angry. With close reference to the text, explain why you feel that way.
Discuss an issue in the novel you have studied which makes you feel sad. Why do you feel that way? Support your answer with close reference to the text.
‘Life is full of challenges’. Discuss an important value that is held firmly by one of the characters in facing challenges. Support your answer with close reference to the text.
Which character in the novel gains your utmost respect? Discuss one reason in detail with close reference to the text.
Which part of the story do you like most? Give reasons for your choice with close reference to the text.
Based on the novel you have studied, which character has made a great influence on you. Explain in what way the character has influenced you.
Which character do you sympathise with in the novel you have studied? Explain why you sympathise with this character. Support your answer with evidence from the text.
From the novel that you have read, discuss a theme that highlights a reality in life. Use the information from the novel to support your answer.
Write a detailed account of an event in the novel which conveys three important messages. In your account you must make clear what that messages are.
Choose an event in the novel you have studied which has touched your heart. Give reasons for your choice and with close reference to the text discuss the event.
Choose an event that you think has a great impact on one of the characters in the novel you have studied. With close reference to the text, give reasons for your answer.
Based on the novel you have studied, state one of the decisions made by the main character and explain the reasons why the decision is made.
Who would you like to be in the novel? Give reasons for your choice with close reference to the text.
If you could change the ending of the story, how would you change it? Give reasons for your choice, with close reference to the text.