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Tuesday, December 13, 2022

How to help young children learn English

One of the best things you can do for your children is to teach them English from an early age. From social confidence to brain development, academic results to employment potential, the benefits are almost endless. Here’s how to introduce English for children through games and fun activities.

Why children need to learn English

Let’s begin by discussing why English for children matters in the early years of their education.

Over one billion people speak English around the world. And, unusually, more people speak English as a second language than as their mother tongue. English is the language of international business, diplomacy, education, finance and even aviation. In other words, it’s an essential life skill for the 21st century. However, these aren’t the only benefits of learning English for kids. Learning languages as a child is also very good for your brain.

Young children have an amazing capacity to absorb a vast amount of new information in their brains. This means that when it comes to languages and skills, they are able to pick them up more easily than adults. Research from Lund University in Sweden has proven that learning a second language can even make brains grow larger!

Children who learn English also have the opportunity to practise their communication skills. Through playing word games, speaking in front of a group and practising conversational routines, they gain social skills and confidence.

How to start teaching English at home

It’s never too early to start teaching English to kids. In fact, the earlier you start, the better!

However, it’s important to choose the right approach. Children at an early age have short attention spans and aren’t used to rigid classroom rules. Instead, you should make English for kids an enjoyable experience, with short activities and fun songs, stories and games.

In the next section, we’ve shared some tips for teaching English to early years children.

Tips for teaching English to young children

  • Treat English as a fun game. Play word games, paper games or even playground games in English. Keep it short and sweet: ideally, your child should think of English as a fun activity that you do together, just like going to the park or doing crafts.
  • Make English part of your daily routine. With small children, it’s best to learn little and often. And by incorporating English into your everyday life, you’ll create an immersion effect. Students often get better results when they learn English through immersion such as cultivating a habit of reading books together or discussing their day.
  • Tell stories. Young kids love reading, hearing and telling stories. So it’s a great way to start teaching English at home! Initially it’s a good idea to read to your child but gradually they should be given the opportunity to read the story to you. You can do this by taking turns to read different pages in the book.
  • Be careful and don’t be too pedantic. Remember, your goal is to make English for children seem playful and natural. Don’t worry about correcting your kid’s tenses or explaining conditionals to them! If you correct them too much, you may run the risk of stifling their confidence.
  • Use songs and music. Most children love singing or playing music. Plus, singing is a great way to remember new words or practise correct pronunciation. There are lots of videos for early years English online which use actions and pictures as extra language support. Try these ones on the British Council LearnEnglishKids website: https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/listen-watch

English classes for young children

As well as learning English at home, you might decide that your child would benefit from an English class for kids.

These classes can speed up your child’s learning because they are taught by expert instructors and provide more opportunities to practise communication skills in a group. However, it’s still important to keep chatting, playing and singing at home!

About The British Council in Malaysia

The British Council in Malaysia offers a wide range of English classes for young children - including group courses and customised one-to-one courses. Your child will learn more than just language, they will develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and making connections. Our aim is to nurture our students to become creative thinkers and confident communicators, so that they may thrive both inside and outside of the classroom.

To find out more about our courses for kids and teens, visit our website or book a free consultation with our friendly consultant.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

2023/2024 School Holidays Calendar


We have so many school holidays and yet the strange thing is we keep on looking out for more! For example, we have a 3 week holiday in December 2022, a 5 day Chinese New Year holiday in January 2023 and another 3 weeks end of academic year holiday in March 2023. So many holidays and yet, the first question that parents often ask is "Is the school holiday schedule for next year out yet?" 

It is finally uploaded on the MOE site. Now parents can do planning for 2023/2024. 

The academic year remains the same which means that the school year will begin in March 2023 and the calendar is now  called the 2023/2024 academic calendar. Below is the calendar including the Festive calendar for 2023/2024.You can download it in pdf format from the Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia website here: Kalendar Academik Sesi 2023/2024

Below is the academic calendar for 2023/2024 for Group A schools ie schools in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.

The first day of school for Group A schools is 19 March 2023.

Below is the academic calendar for 2023/2024 session for Group B schools ie schools in Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan & Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya.

The first day of school in 2023 for Group B schools is 20 March 2023.

The Festive Calendar 2023/2024 is below. A few festivals like Christmas 2023 and Chinese New Year 2024 happen to fall during the school holidays. 

Apart from asking about the school holidays schedule, parents have been wondering whether the start of school would revert back to January instead of March. The Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia just answered this question in their latest Facebook post dated 10 December 2022.  which is reproduced below. 

In the post, they explained a few issues:

  • Schools to start a week later in March 2023. The first day of school has been pushed further to 19 or 20 March 2023 instead of 12 or 13 of March 2023 to facilitate the SPM examinations. However, even with this push back, schools is still able to maintain the minimum number of days required in a year.
  • The decision to revert the school calendar back to January has been deferred. It would take 3 years from 2023 to 2026 by reducing holidays etc to revert back to January. Therefore, in consideration of the economic impact of this to the nation and the wellfare of teachers and students, the decision to revert the school calendar has been deferred.
  • SPM will not be in November or December due to floods. Previously SPM was conducted in November or December but it has since been postponed to February or March due to flooding. KPM notes that by holding the exams in February or March, the waiting period for university students is shortened, however they will constantly monitor the preparation of the academic calendar for the next year to ensure the smooth flow of teaching and learning.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Six lower primary English books recommendations for your list

This post is brought to you by British Council Malaysia.

You want your child to not only develop their comprehension skills, but also grow as a passionate reader.

Reading is foundational for a child’s communication skills. It helps to build language and inspire new curiosity about the world around them. It can also be a great delight for both children and parents to engage in together. In this article, we will take a look at some of the ways you can nurture your child’s reading comprehension at home, including six book recommendations to add to your list..

Strategies to boost your child’s reading comprehension

Because every child is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reading development. Children will respond to reading methods in different ways and make progress at different rates.

As a first step, one of the best ways to help your child connect with the words on the page is with phonics instruction. You can guide them in pairing letters with the corresponding sounds, allowing your child the chance to make their own attempts at pronunciation. Segmenting (splitting up the separate sounds) and blending (joining them together to form the whole word) can be useful tools.

As your child learns, encourage them to ask questions. By giving them the space to feel their way around the text and express curiosity, you will help them to get creative and think independently. In turn, ask them open-ended questions, like 'what do you think will happen in the story?' Enjoy watching them use their imagination while they gain practice in organising and vocalising their thoughts.

Of course, one easy strategy for improving your child’s reading comprehension is to allow them to choose stories that will captivate them. Encourage them to pick books that match their interests and carve out time each day to lose yourself in them together.

Six of our favourite children’s books

Need some ideas? Here are some top recommendations from our teaching staff for Primary.
  •  If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't! by Elise Parsley is a simple story about a show-and-tell that’s excellent fun for young children to interact with.
  • Letters to Pluto by Lou Treleaven, Jon’s teacher has started an interplanetary penpal programme. A wonderfully creative book that features some unusual words to play around with.
  • Geronimo Stilton series by Elisabetta Dami. This hugely popular series takes children on worldwide adventures with consistent characters and plenty of wordplay.
  • The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer is a lively and humorous book about two boys condemned to step foot inside their local library. Filled with everyday scenarios, it’s a great option for reluctant and keen young readers alike.
  • Rainbow Magic by Shirley Barber is a classic fairytale filled with beautiful illustrations and creative devices that will ignite the imagination.
  • Kid Normal series by Greg James is a fun story that tells us we don’t need superpowers to be a superhero. A thought-provoking sentiment for children to explore between laughs.
About The British Council in Malaysia

The British Council in Malaysia offers English courses for kids and teens. Your child will learn more than just language, they will develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and making connections. Our aim is to nurture our students to become creative thinkers and confident communicators, so that they may thrive both inside and outside of the classroom.

To find out more about our courses for kids and teens, visit our website or book a free consultation with our friendly consultant.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Sri KDU International School Info Day (Kota Damansara Campus) to be held on 16 November 2022

Sri KDU International School Info Day (Kota Damansara Campus) to be held on 16 November 2022
Dear Parents,

Sri KDU International School (Kota Damansara Campus) will be holding its Info Day on this coming Wednesday, 16th November, 2022.

Info Day is the perfect opportunity for you to gather as much information as you can about the school while it is in session. This will give you the chance to visit and tour the school while classes are ongoing so that you can visualize whether the environment is suitable for your child.

During the Info Day you will have the chance to talk to the student leaders. Will your child be one of them later? Speak to the Academic Team and ask any questions you have about the school, its syllabus, fees, extra-curricular activities and more. You can write down your questions before going so you will not miss anything important. 

Do not forget to go on a personalised campus tour during the Info Day. You will be able to view the school classroom, labs, hall, sports, music, and other facilities.

Enquiries and School Tours for International Primary and Secondary schools will be on from 9am to 12pm on 16th November 2022.

Those who are interested to find out more about tertiary pathways post IGCSE/SPM can also come earlier for the A Level Presentation from 8.15am to 9am. Sri KDU International school will take you from primary school right up to A Levels. This is excellent for those who seek stability and continuity in learning institutions so come and find out more.

How to RSVP your attendance.

RSVP 03-6145 3888 or email info@srikdu.edu.my for more info or click here to rsvp. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

English Lessons for 10 to 12 year olds

This post was brought to you by British Council Malaysia

You want your child to not only do well in the exam room but discover the joy in learning. So what can we do outside of their school lessons to help them stay engaged and fulfil their potential?

Why English enrichment is important for well-rounded learning

Upper Primary is a transitional time for kids as they prepare for the next stage in their academic journey. During these crucial years, it’s important that children are given the tools and techniques they need to overcome learning obstacles and rise to new challenges.

English enrichment is an essential part of a child’s holistic education, because it’s not simply about cultivating new language skills (though those are important). Through collaborative activities and a rich variety of texts, our young learners are encouraged to express themselves with confidence that goes beyond their English language skills.

We want to see our students become independent thinkers, in charge of their own learning. Our highly qualified and passionate teachers guide children to go beyond the surface of their reading material, nurturing critical thinking skills that will promote greater creativity, understanding and confidence.

Instead of asking our students to accept and memorise facts, we help them to interpret stories and practise vocalising their ideas, while listening to other perspectives. This way, children learn to apply their new knowledge to skills such as evidence-building and precise self-expression, as they learn about the wider world.

What to expect from our Primary Plus courses

Comprehension strategies

Comprehension skills will be improved through the use of challenging texts. Children are supported to learn close reading techniques as they expand their knowledge and form an interest in a variety of topics while having fun learning with classmates of the same age in groups and pairs

Composition techniques

Composition techniques are taught by exploring a range of text types, such as narrative, email and personal recount. Our students are always looking to improve their writing through redrafting and introducing new words into their vocabulary through familiar topics and in activities such as writing creatively.

Challenging tasks

We encourage our young learners to engage more deeply with home and international topics and apply this knowledge to writing, reading and oral tasks. Greater awareness of the wider world will help children to excel academically.


Feedback is a core aspect of our safe, supportive and dynamic learning environment. Our experienced teachers provide regular, individual feedback so that your child may grow into a reflective learner, as well as keeping parents informed of their progress.

Discover our learning hub

At the British Council, we also motivate your child to engage in independent study via our learning hub which helps them build a love of learning English through personalised dashboard and built-in self-evaluation that helps them reflect on their learning journey. An online platform to facilitate learning before and after class, students are given the space to deepen their understanding of English. It improves their grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, and listening skills using engaging high-quality online learning resources designed by experts while class time is more focused on improving their English-speaking skills.

About The British Council in Malaysia

The British Council in Malaysia offers English courses for kids and teens. Students will focus on literature, helping them to grow as passionate readers and build on their written and communication skills through targeted individual and group practices.

Our highly qualified and passionate teachers provide a safe and engaging environment for your child to enjoy learning new concepts and express themselves freely, so they can progress through school with enhanced confidence and enthusiasm. 

To find out more about our courses for kids and teens, visit our website or book a free consultation with our friendly consultant.



Monday, October 17, 2022

Sekolah Sri KDU Kota Damansara Info Day to be held on 19 October 2022

Sekolah Sri KDU Kota Damansara will be having an Info Day for parents and students on 19 October 2022. Parents who are interested to find out more about the school can take this opportunity to visit the school to chat with teachers and students and tour the school premise. 

Info Day is the best time to find out more about the school as teachers and students will be available to answer your questions. You will have the chance to have a personalized tour around the school led by prefects and observe the learning environment while the school is in session.

Don't forget to list down all the questions you have about the school syllabus, culture, co-curriculum activities, pricing and more. Viewing the school will also give you the opportunity to visualize if your child will be happy in the school environment for the next few important growing years of his or her life. If possible, bring your child along to look around too and encourage them to ask questions. 

Here is the program for the Info Day. 

Event: Sekolah Sri KDU Kota Damansara Info Day

Date: 19 October 2022

Time: 9.30am to 12.30pm

1. School tour led by prefects
2. Chat session with academic leadership team and students
3. Taster session for primary and secondary school students (Sign up before 17 Oct 2022)

Exclusive Promo:
50% rebate* on Registration Fee for sign ups for March 2023 intake
(*T&C apply)

03-6145 3888

Sekolah Sri KDU Kota Damansara address and location map:

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Kid's Halloween Costumes on Shopee Malaysia

 With Halloween just around the corner, there are more and more Halloween themed parties and gatherings happening. If your kid is invited to one, what should they wear? Scary or cute? Which one shall you choose? It's not too difficult to find a reasonably priced one nowadays, thanks to online shopping. 

Here are some kid's halloween costumes you can use not only for Halloween but also for themed birthday parties, cosplay gatherings and fancy dress parties. 

1. Boy's Harry Potter or Girl's Witch Costume

If you have a few kids, these are great for siblings because you can get matching ones. The girl ones look like cute and lovely girl witches whereas the boy one looks like Harry Potter.

Where to buy: https://shope.ee/4APAswrMlG

2. Boy and Girl Vampire Costume

The crimson will stand out among the blacks and purples of Halloween. Some of the costumes come with headgear and other accessories like wand or broom etc so make sure you read the description before you select your costume.

Where to buy: https://shope.ee/10S97qYJsH 3. Girl's witch costume This witch costume can be worn like a party dress without the hat and broom. Add the hat and broom for
better effect. Remove the accessories and the dress can be recycled for normal use.

Where to buy:

4. Boy's Pirate Costume

Ahoy! Me Hearties! If you are thinking of a boy's pirate costume which is perfect not only for Halloween but also for fancy dress parties in school or at a friend's birthday party, remember to get your boy to learn some pirate lingo first.  Here's a few pirate styles to choose from.

5. Kid's Superhero Costumes

We need some superheroes to save everyone from the bats, ghosts, zombies , vampires and more on Halloween. These kid's superhero costumes should do the trick. Black Panther, Optimus Prime, Wolverine, pick from these and more.

6. Kid's Ghost Skeleton Costume

This is a two piece costume with robe and mask. You can get extra skeleton gloves too for a more fancy look. This looks easy and breezy. Ditch the mask for your own Halloween makeup for kids if a mask is too uncomfortable.

7. Girl's rainbow unicorn with wings costume

Fancy up with this girl's rainbow unicorn with wings costume. Put on some Halloween makeup to complete the look. Can be reused for a princess party too! 

8. Halloween Bat Costume for kids

For kids who hate a fuss or don't like wearing costumes, you can get a simple cloak or cape which they can slip on over their normal clothing. Wear a black tee and black pants and this Halloween Bat Cloak and tadaa you have a nice Halloween costume.

Happy Shopping! Don't forget to check out the customer reviews and read the product description carefully!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Know the new academic calendar to plan your vacations

The 2022 academic year started in March 2022 and is known as the 2022/2023 academic year. We have had a lot of questions from our FB group on whether the new academic year is here to stay. At the point of writing there are no changes, it remains in March of every year.

So how does that affect parents making vacation plans. Let's have a look at the academic year 2021 and the academic year 2022/2023 side by side to see the difference. We are comparing the calendar of Kumpulan B schools.

Both the academic  year 2021 and academic year 2022/2023 has 8 weeks of holidays.  However the 8 weeks are at different times of the year. Here's how they are different.

Academic Year 2021 has 2 terms. Term 1 has a mid term break of 1 week. There is a middle of the year break in between the two terms of 2 weeks. In term 2 there are 2 mid term breaks of 1 week each. At the end of the academic year there is an end of academic year break of 3 weeks. The end of academic year break is from 11 Dec to 31 Dec 2021. Total weeks of break is 8 weeks (1+2+1+1+3 weeks).

Academic Year 2022/2023 has 3 terms.  Term 1 and Term 2 ends with 1 week of break each. There is no mid year break. Instead Term 3 ends with a 3 week break. The Term 3 break is from 10 Dec to 31 Dec 2022. (This is similar to the end of year break from academic year 2021 so you can plan for your vacation as usual at the year end as before). Finally, there is an end of academic year break of 3 weeks from 18 Feb to 12 Mac 2023 before the new academic year begins. Total weeks of break is 8 weeks (1+1+3+3 weeks).

In short, the new academic year has two 3 week breaks which makes it possible for some families to plan longer vacations since 1 week is usually a bit short for making holiday plans. What do you think of the new academic calendar in terms of the holiday dates?

Teaching that makes a difference

This post is brought to you by Taylor’s International School.

RAISING the next generation of movers and shakers who will make an impact in the future starts from building a strong foundation throughout their formative years and beyond. Good teachers play a big role in building this foundation. The best teachers instil confidence, motivate students to self-learn and uses effective teaching strategies. Teaching strategies play an important role in classroom instruction because it adds excitement to the lessons and encourages students to participate in class and connect with their peers while learning.

Taylor’s International School’s teaching strategies

Taylor’s International School (TIS) is making a difference in the lives of its students through a teaching approach that maximises every learning opportunity

Academic excellence alongside the development of character and life skills are top priorities as teachers seek to equip students with a well-rounded and diverse set of experiences to thrive in tomorrow's world.

A teacher piques students’ curiosity to engage them in the lesson. 
(Pic taken before the Covid-19 pandemic)

TIS’s teaching strategies are rooted in the Quantum Learning System. 

What is the Quantum Learning System?  This approach is based on the brain’s natural way of  learning and recognises unique individual learning styles. Through the use of this proven research-based methodology, teachers pique curiosity and engage students right from the moment a lesson begins. Our teachers deliver engaging lessons, facilitate innovative learning, instil good values and prioritize the well-being of their students. Check out what the students say below.

Delivering engaging and joyful lessons

A teacher demonstrating an experiment creating ‘A-ha!’ moments of discovery during a Science lesson.

“My teacher makes learning fun and easy. She explains things very clearly by using a lot of visuals. If I am still unclear on certain things, she will take the time to re-explain and give more examples to make me understand better. I especially enjoy group-based activities. The activities get harder each time and it challenges me to want to learn more.”  
~ Hannah Koh. (TIS Puchong Year 6 student).

Facilitating innovative learning

A joyful lesson strategically crafted to optimise students’ participation and comprehension. 
(Pic taken before the Covid-19 pandemic)

“My art teacher encourages me to think out of the box for my creations. She inspires me to try out new techniques and ideas. After giving me some direction, she would challenge me to take it further. This has helped me gain confidence in my learning.” 
~ Kavytasha Ranjithan (TIS Puchong Year 8 student)

TIS teachers inspire students to think innovatively about their learning. 

Lessons and activities are crafted in ways where students learn how to use different techniques to reach a conclusion. 

Students are often challenged to think outside the box for solutions. 

Instilling good values

“We are taught to step up and communicate. “Our teachers help us get along and they always tell us to coordinate with each other. We are encouraged to talk to everyone and treat the class as one big family.”

~ Aryan Mirza. (TIS Kuala Lumpur Year 9 student)

Character development is an integral part of TIS’ curriculum. Strong character and good values are emphasised as part of the foundation during lessons.

Teachers regularly coach students in sociability, effective communication skills and much more.

Prioritising well-being

“Our teachers care about our mental wellbeing and always check on us. Every day before classes begin they make sure everyone is fine and doing well. They help us a lot.”

~ Aryan Mirza. (TIS Kuala Lumpur Year 9 student)

TIS teachers create a positive and respectful atmosphere that makes students feel safe,  trusted, supported, belonged and emotionally confident. Issues that impact student life such as health and personal safety are frequently addressed.

Although student life will always have its fair share of challenges, the well-rounded educational approach adopted at TIS provides students the future ready skills to thrive in their learning years and beyond.
Giving our children a sound, holistic education is important so that they get a head start towards a successful future.

Visit TIS Open Week from November 7-12. Discover how their students are being nurtured and prepared for the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow.

Click here to reserve your spot today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Learning Through Play

This post was brought to you by British Council Malaysia.

If you’re a parent of a primary-level student, you probably find yourself wondering if there’s any educational value in the games your child is playing. Do kids learn by playing and is there a way to capitalise on this to get your kid to learn English?

Different types of play

Play is said to be an integral part of growing up. Most parents won’t need to be told what the definition of ‘play’ is – they would probably agree that it’s when kids are running around playing together or playing games. But did you know that there are different types of play[1]? Generally defined as ‘a fun activity’, play ranges from free play (such as running around with other kids without much adult supervision), guided play (where adults scaffold, or help the children), games (with rules set by an adult) and direct instructions (an adult-designed activity setting constraints on play). While all forms of play are beneficial, in education, it is the guided play, games and direct instructions which we focus on.

Play in education

Arguments for learning through play date back as far as the 5th century BCE when Plato[2] highlighted the value of play when learning, as opposed to using force, as this empowers children to be naturally drawn to the subject matter, and not scared of it. It wasn’t until much later, however, that learning through play became a norm.

Modern approaches to play in education draw from theories developed by Vygotsky[3] who spoke of zone of proximal development (ZPD). In a nutshell, this notion refers to the gap between what a learner can do on their own, and what they can do with the support of an adult. Thanks to such guidance, a student is said to make progress much faster than working on their own. Vygotsky believed that through interactive and social play, children developed their higher mental functions.

Play in English Language Learning

In the classroom, we aim to help young learners to learn through play by tapping into their ZPD by focussing on tasks they can do with the support and guidance from a teacher. With time, students learn to perform tasks independently. Many classroom activities focus on play as a vehicle for learning.

Role plays are an example of a fun activity which allows children to develop their English language skills in a fun way. While younger children often come up with their own make-believe scenarios and act them while playing on their own, in class, teachers help set up such an activity, to ensure kids get the most language benefits from it.

An example from the British Council

As part of their course, students are asked to act out a role play based on a clip they watched, for example, Shaun the Sheep. They would normally be assigned roles, e.g., one person is Shaun, another the Farmer, another Bitzer etc. Students have time to think of an alternative ending to a story, for example what happened after Timmy was supersized? The teacher helps with a brainstorm, encouraging creative thinking and the sharing of ideas, they help students put their ideas on paper and give support with the language. Finally, the students have an opportunity to act out their play. As role plays are consistently done in several lessons, the students become more independent, and with time, learn how to use the language from these make-believe scenarios, in daily life, independently. Research[4] has shown that students greatly benefit from role plays, e.g., by improving their vocabulary, complexity of syntax, and pronunciation.

© British Council

Games are another great example of structured play, which helps students learn new language while having fun. Students learn by discovering, processing, and applying new information. They also have a competitive element which kids often find highly motivating.

Through repetition and experimentation kids synthesise language rules and develop higher-level thinking skills.

An example from the British Council

In the classroom, kids are learning to speculate. This is a new, abstract concept and involves using a sophisticated grammar structure called ‘conditionals’. It means students need to remember several rules at the same time to from sentences like ‘If I was the president, I’d give out free candy every Friday.” The activity is set up by having the teacher introduce the language using a recording from the Primary Plus magazine. In the recording, kids are talking about what they would do if they were president. Following an explanation of the rules, the children play a game. Online, this means reshuffling the words to form appropriate sentences, in the physical classroom, they are organising cut-ups. The activity is learner centred, engages students to work in a team and helps them remember the new rule. The competitive factor (who gets most correct, who finishes first) adds to the excitement and helps them learn without being stressed out.

Play does not take away from learning

Many research findings[5] show that parents in Asia may not see the advantage to imaginative play. Often, understanding the teacher’s perspective on the ‘fun’ activities done in class helps parents understand its value. If you’d like to know more about the British Council approach to teaching and learning, please book a free consultation with our friendly consultant.


[2] D’Angour,Armand. (2013). Plato and play: taking education seriously in Ancient Greece .American Journal of Play, 5 (3), 293-307

[3] Daniels, H.(2016). Vygotsky and pedagogy.New York:Routlegde

[4] Korat, O., Bahar, E., & Snapir, M .(2003). Sociodramatic play as opportunity for literacy development: The teacher’s role. The Reading Teacher, 56, 386–393

[5] Singer, D.G., Singer, J. L., D'Agostino, H., & DeLong, R. (2009). Children’s pastimes in sixteen Nations. American Journal of Play, 1, 283-312.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Raising Students to have a Strong Foundation in Three Languages

This post is brought to you by Taylor’s International School.

Many Malaysian students have to learn several languages at school. How will they be able to master a few languages at the same time?

Taylor’s International School (TIS) prepares students for the future with a strong foundation in three languages, English, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia. At TIS, these three languages are an integral part of the curriculum. We strongly believe language learning is very important as it brings huge benefits to both our students’ personal lives and career prospects. Learning different languages helps students appreciate different cultures. With better cultural and language awareness, students will have a sense of what it is to be a global citizen in an interconnected world.

Taylor's International School
TIS students have been consistently achieving IGCSE examination results of 90% to 100% for languages over the past six years.

How do our students master the three languages?

Below are the testimonials of top students in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin and their thoughts on learning these three languages at TIS.

Gan Eronn, a Year 11 student from TIS Kuala Lumpur and a top scorer for the IGCSE Malay language paper, shares how the unique teaching style at TIS has helped him to develop a deep interest and passion for the language.

“My teachers always emphasize the importance of understanding and applying critical thinking to lessons rather than just getting the answers. Not only will we be more efficient in our daily life by being able to communicate with other Malaysians, but knowing the National language well helps to build a deeper connection and love for our country,” says Eronn when it comes to the need of learning Bahasa Malaysia.

English is used as the main medium of instruction at TIS while Mandarin is given equally important focus. According to Year 11 student Shuen Tan Jia Xuan from TIS Puchong,

“Studying at TIS after transferring from a Chinese school has given me more opportunities to communicate in English and strengthen my written and listening skills. With my familiarity with both English and Mandarin, I am confident that I’ll have better job prospects in the future,” says Shuen Tan. 

Year 11 student Ainul Sabariah from TIS Puchong who scored a superb grade A* in Mandarin for IGCSE, believes that learning more than one language is a great asset.

“Learning a new language exposes and encourages an appreciation for the traditions and history of the people associated with that language and allows me to connect with a wide range of cultures,” she said.

Why does TIS focus on these three languages?

- Enhances employability and career options. Only speaking in one’s native language is no longer enough if you want to pursue a career with a global company. Speaking more than one language enhances employability and career options, as many companies specifically request for multilingual jobseekers.

- Improves executive functioning skills. It has been proven that learning two or more languages from an early age increases executive functioning skills. Students will be able to think more creatively, have better time management, improved memory as well as better organization overall when they learn to juggle the learning of several languages at the same time.

- Helps in the understanding and appreciation of other cultures. One important advantage of multilingualism is the ability to accept, understand and adapt to different cultures, countries and situations. Students will learn to appreciate other traditions and cultures better when they learn the language of different races.

- Better business opportunities in the future. At TIS, students’ study two of the most widely spoken languages in the World; English and Mandarin. China is the world’s second-largest economy and Malaysia’s largest trading partner. Hence, learning Mandarin gives our students enormous advantages for career and business opportunities in later life.

- Useful to learn our National language for better communication and for those who wish to practice law or medicine locally. While it is important to focus on English and Mandarin due to global trends and demand, one should not forget about Bahasa Malaysia. As the official language in Malaysia, it is widely used in all official communication and an important language to learn, especially for those who wish to practice law and medicine locally. It is also useful to be able to communicate with everyone in fluent Bahasa Malaysia as you go about your daily life. 

In raising our students for the world of tomorrow, TIS prepares its students to be outstanding learners for the recruitment market. At TIS, we build a strong foundation in three languages and our students have made us proud by consistently achieving outstanding IGCSE examination results of 90% to 100% for languages over the past five years.

If you are thinking of choosing an international school with an excellent language programme, call 03-9200 9898 (Kuala Lumpur campus) or 03-5879 5000 (Puchong campus) for more information and to have all your queries answered.

Making the Right Choice with Taylor's

Enquire with us today to get a FREE copy of TIS Essential Guide. We will share with you some insightful information why Taylor’s International School (TIS) should be your school of choice.

Taylor’s International School prepares students with a strong foundation in three languages to ensure they have a lingual dexterity in the ever-competitive global stage.
Disclaimer: All photos were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

When is Deepavali 2022 school holidays?


Deepavali public holiday this  year is on Monday, 24 October 2022
. In addition, schools have been given extra 2 days off for the Deepavali school festive holidays. Add 2 days of weekend and the total number of days off is 5 days as follows.

For schools in Kumpulan A which are schools in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, the extra 2 days off are on Sunday, 23 October 2022 and Tuesday, 25 October 2022. Since these states observe Friday and Saturday as a weekend. Therefore schools from Kumpulan A will have Deepavali 2022 School Holidays from Friday, 21 October 2022 until Tuesday, 25 October 2022. 

As for all other states which observe Saturday and Sunday as weekend ie Schools in Kumpulan B, the extra Deepavali School Festive holidays is Tuesday, 25 October 2022 and Wednesday, 26 October 2022. This means that schools  from Kumpulan B will have Deepavali 2022 School Holidays from Saturday, 22 October 2022 until Wednesday, 26 October 2022.

The exception is Sarawak. Since Deepavali is not a public holiday in Sarawak, schools are given the extra day off on Monday 24 October 2022, schools in Sarawak will therefore have Deepavali 2022 School Holidays from Saturday, 22 October 2022 until Monday, 24 October 2022.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

What you need to know about taking the ETS train ride to the north

The school holidays are coming and perhaps you are looking for a place to go for a couple of days. If you are planning to go to the North side of peninsular Malaysia, you can go there by train ie by ETS. Here's what you need to know before taking the ETS train to the north. This post is focussed on travelling to the North eg Ipoh, Padang Besar or Butterworth but naturally you can also travel to the South too, to Gemas, then hop on to another shuttle train from Gemas to JB Sentral and from there take a shuttle from JB Sentral to Woodlands, Singapore. Check here for list of KTM stations both North and South.

Buying Tickets

1. You can book your tickets online through the KITS (KTMB Integrated Ticketing System). You can also purchase your tickets over the counter or at kiosks at any KTMB station or via KTMB mobile app on Google Play or KTMB mobile app on Apple App store. If you purchase online or via mobile app, your ticket will be in digital format with a QR code which you can scan at the entrances when you arrive or leave a station.

Read the KITS Faq here

2. Make sure to book early as the trains can be quite full especially during peak season.

3.  Secondary students, college students or university students in Malaysia can apply for the KTM i-card to get rebates up to 40% from the adult ticket fare. The annual fee for the KTM i-card is RM33. You could save more than that for just one long distance trip, so it is worthwhile to apply.

Read the KTM i-card info here.

4. The trains travel up to 140km/h

Choosing Tickets

5. There are 6 coaches named coach A to coach F.  When embarking, you can easily wait at the front of your coach as you will find the floor clearly marked to identify the coaches waiting area. The stops at each station can be quite short, around half a minute to 2 to 3 minutes, so waiting at the right place will help you embark quickly.

Watch out for the markings on the floor to decide where you should wait for your coach on the platform.

6. There are several tickets you can choose from. Front facing (facing the same direction as the way the train is headed), back facing, window or aisle. There is also a table seat with front facing and back facing tickets facing the table. This is nice for a family travelling together. See the diagram below for the table setting.

When selecting seats, you will be shown seats that have been taken up including whether they have been taken up by a male or female passenger. Normal class coaches have 4 seats per row.

7. There are about 5 trains heading to the north daily with the last stop at Padang Besar.

8. You can purchase Silver, Gold, Platinum or Business Class tickets. 

9. Business class tickets are only available for long haul journeys. The price is higher but you get to enjoy a more spacious seating in a 2+1 configuration (3 seats per row. 2 seats on one side of the aisle and 1 seat on the other side). Business class tickets are on Coach A of a Platinum ride. The other normal coaches have 4 seats per row (2 seats on each side of the aisle ie 2+2 configuration). Leg space is wider and the chairs can recline up to 45 degrees on a business class ride. You can also charge  your devices using usb or 3-pin power outlets. Snacks and lunch is included in the fare.  Each seat has its own on screen with complimentary wi-fi for internet access.

The business class seats are on Coach A and have only 3 seats per row as shown.

You will receive snacks on a business ticket

Free onboard entertainment and lunch is served when travelling on business tickets

In addition to a power outlet, a USB port is provided in business class.

10. What is the difference between silver, gold and platinum? The number of stops and the time of the journey. Short distance routes have silver and gold only. The silver train has more stops and is usually at a not so popular time. 

Similarly, the gold and platinum seats in a longer route are differentiated by the number of stops. The gold train makes more stops and is usually at a not so popular time. 

The price difference between the silver and gold (for shorter route) or gold and platinum (for longer routes) are usually quite a lot although the actual time of the journey is not very much longer and at times even shorter despite making more stops! There is not much difference in facilities. eg. the silver or gold trains may not have usb chargers but they do have 3-pin power points for charging of devices. In the 5 daily trips there is usually only one trip for silver and one trip for gold so the take up rates is very high and fast. Book early if you wish to take these trains.

11. How long is the journey? The journey from KL Sentral to Padang Besar by ETS train is around 5 hours 30 minutes whereas the journey from KL Sentral to Ipoh is about 2 hours and 40 minutes.

12. According to this article, you can also get discounts by applying promo codes from now till Nov 30.

13. All trains have washroom and a food and beverage bistro.

14. KTM currently uses trains from South Korea (KTM Class 91) and China (KTM Class 93).

15. The temperature is kept at about 22 degrees. It can be a little bit cold but not freezing cold. 

Only silver and gold trains are used for shorter distances eg: KL Sentral to Ipoh

Gold and platinum seats are available for longer routes. Gold trains are cheaper because they make more stops. Book early to prevent disappointment. 

Miles and miles of padi fields make your ride peaceful and enjoyable further up North

The train is clean and cool with temperatures of about 22 degrees. It travels up to 140km/h.

Pros and Cons.
Travelling on a train is not so tiring as driving to your destination because you can relax and do your own thing during the journey. The downside is you will not have any transport once you arrive at your destination. It is ok if you have relatives waiting for you upon arrival. You can also call a grab or arrange for car rental for pickup and drop off at the railway station. Of course it will cost more to buy tickets and arrange for car rental compared to driving. However, it is nice to let someone else do the driving while you sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

Idea: You can even go on a day trip from KL Sentral to Ipoh by ETS.

Take the morning train from KL Sentral to Ipoh at 8.47 and arrive at 11.28. Have an early lunch, jalan-jalan, early dinner and leave at 6.35 arriving in KL at 9.13pm. A round trip like that will cost around RM80/pax. 

KTM ETS Route Map for North and South of Peninsular Malaysia

KTM ETS Route Map

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