When it comes to writing responses to the novel question in SPM, there are a few issues among some SPM candidates. Normally, they are able to narrate the incidents or events in the novel fairly well. However, a common issue among some SPM candidates is their inability to justify or reason confidently. For an instance, they are able to rewrite or narrate the challenges faced by the main character, nevertheless, fail to explain clearly how the main character faces his or her challenges. Similarly, they are able to describe a character who is courageous but they cannot explain with clarity the importance of being courageous.
No doubt, SPM examination is just around the corner but it does not mean it is too late to do anything. As teachers, we need to give our best to our learners and keep addressing their learning issues as best as we could. One of the preparations or revisions which can be done for the novel question is to ensure the SPM candidates are ready to justify their ideas or thoughts. They should be able to reason well. Asking the right questions is crucial in developing and enhancing our learners’ reasoning ability. The following are some questions which should promote them to think critically so that they can provide the best explanations or reasons.
1. Which character who has positive values? How does the character make other people’s life better with those positive values?
2. How is relationship maintained between two characters? Among several ways of maintaining the relationship that you mention, which one is the best way? Why do you say so?
3. What are the challenges faces by the main character? How are the challenges faced?
4. What is the most important trait portrayed by the main character? How has this trait helped the character to achieve success in life?
5. What is an outstanding trait shown by the main character? How does the outstanding trait lead to positive consequences?
1. What is the most important event? Why do you say so?
2. Which event in the novel has impacted you? Why do you say so?
3. “It is important to do the right thing all the time”. Which incidents in the novel portray the statement? What is the importance of doing things the right way to the main character in the novel?
4. What is the biggest challenge faced by one of the characters? How is that challenge faced by the character? Support your response by providing relevant details of what happened in the novel.
5. Which event/incident makes you emotional? Why do you feel that way?
1. How kindness / determination / love is portrayed?
2. “Being determined pays”. How far is this statement true in the novel? How to promote determination in life?
3. “True friendship is a selfless act”. Who shows the statement above? How does the character show it?
4. Which theme is clearly presented through the actions of the main character? How is the theme portrayed?
5. Which incidents portray the importance of courage? What are the effects of being courageous?
1. “We must hold firm to what we believe in”. How is this shown in the novel? How would you apply the statement in your life as a student?
2. “It is important to be supportive to others”. Which character can be said to portray the statement well? Why do you say so?
3. What is the most significant value portrayed in the story? How is the value presented?
4. Which incident portrays a value very clearly? How can you apply the value in your life?
5. How can you relate the most important lesson from the novel to your own life?
It is my ultimate hope this write-up is fruitful and helpful to many teachers as well as SPM candidates. To me, the questions listed above, if asked and answered seriously and independently by the SPM candidates, will sharpen learners’ reasoning skills and ability. Of course, if time permits, more HOTS questions on the novel can be posed to the learners. The point is, there are always revisions and preparations which focus on HOTS or reasoning that should be made till the finishing line. Let’s give our best! May all succeed!