When it comes to learning, our approach is to use the 2A method — Analysis and Application.
FIRST STEP: ANALYSIS
We go through the model composition to learn words, phrases, and literary devices. This is because it’s difficult for them to learn literary techniques in isolation.
(An excerpt of a composition analysis in our Creative Writing Book, Vol 3)
When analysing a model composition, we pick out the phrases and break down the spelling, sentence structure, and why certain phrases were used and not others. Using a model composition gives the context to why a technique is used.
During this process, a little bit of memory work is required. We often use mnemonics to help students remember.
SECOND STEP: APPLICATION
After understanding the reasoning, students can apply the techniques they have learnt in the model composition to a different composition (category).
However, a lower primary student might only be expected to apply it to the same or similar topic, while an upper primary student would be expected to apply it to different categories, topics, or even use the techniques learnt to write a new composition from scratch.
But isn’t it better for students to write their own compositions instead of using a model?
We find that most children at this age are unable to come up with the plot. They lack the experience, literary techniques, and vocabulary. If they are asked to write without a model, there will be too many areas to correct — and the learning is no longer effective.
So, how is my child’s composition marked and how will they improve?
Because the writing is based on the model composition, the teacher may choose not to mark extensively on the use of phrases and sentences (which have already been explored during the analysis of the model composition).
However, through the child’s writing, our teachers are able to spot if they have a certain weakness (building tension, applying phrases wrongly, etc). Common mistakes and weaknesses in the class will be worked on during lessons.
When a student is able to apply what is learnt at a higher level (to similar / different / completely new topics), the teacher is then able to grade them accordingly to gauge their progress and mastery of the topic.
The Alternative Story Learning Centre Pte Ltd 2017