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Innovations in ELT Practices

Keywords: esl,innovation


The Journal of The English Language Teaching Centre Malaysia

Issue 6
November 2018

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices




Ministry of Education Malaysia
Kompleks Pendidikan Nilai
71760 Bandar Enstek
Negeri Sembilan

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Editor in Chief
Dr Kalminderjit Kaur a/p Gurcharan Singh
Editorial Team
Puan Yusnamariah binti Md Yusop
Cik Syaliana binti Jamaludin
Dr Selvanayagi Shanmugam
Technical Editorial Officer
Encik Mohammad Hidayat bin Hasan
Peer Review Team
Dr Kalminderjit Kaur a/p Gurcharan Singh
Dr Khairul Aini binti Mohd Jiri
Dr Rashidah binti Rahamat
Dr Chithra a/p K.M. Krishnan Adiyodi
Dr Wagheeh Shukry bin Hassan
Dr T.Vanitha a/p Thanabalan
Dr Jasvir Kaur a/p Kakah @ Kakah Amar Singh
Dr Looi Lin Eng
Puan Sarina binti Salim
Puan Roslin Ong binti Abdullah
Puan Diana Fatimah binti Ahmad Sahani

The ESL Practitioner is a publication of the English Language Teaching Centre, Ministry
of Education Malaysia. Its readership includes English Language practitioners and
ELT officers from across the Ministry of Education. The materials published in the ESL
Practitioner Journal include ELT based research findings, viewpoints, innovations on
effective ELT practices. The journal also documents impact studies on ELT initiatives from
within the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

Copyright @ 2018
English Language Teaching Centre
Ministry of Education Malaysia

All rights reserved. No part of this production may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system
or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright holder.


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices


Director’s Note 4
Editor’s Note 5

1. Negotiating Culture and Identity with Internationally-Distributed Books 9
Ramesh Nair & Raja Nor Shafinas Raja Harun

2. Investigating TPACK Domains of Online Course Participants in An Online 23
Flipped Learning Course
Mohd Faisal Farish bin Ishak

3. Evaluation of the English for Preschool Teachers (EPT) Module: A Pilot Project 45
T.Vanitha a/p Thanabalan & Nor Izni binti Mohd Hassan

4. Employing Differentiated Instruction in Designing Lessons for LINUS2.0 Pupils 59
Zikri Effandy binti Zainudin & Yusnamariah binti Md Yusop

5. CLIL: The Content Teachers’ Perspectives 79
Rashidah binti Rahamat & Jecquline Anak Gelau

6. A Conceptual Framework for Evaluating the School Support Plan Using The 95
Discrepancy Evaluation Model
Hasreena binti Abdul Rahman

7. The Use of Instagram In Encouraging Free Writing Among Secondary School 107
Tavamani Thiagarajan & Noor Diana binti Suhaimi


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices


Congratulations to the editorial team of the Research and Development Department,
English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) on the successful publication of the fifth issue
of the ESL Practitioner Journal.

The ESL Practitioner Journal aims to provide ELT practitioners from all institutions an
opportunity to publish and share the findings of their research studies with the wider
education fraternity. Being a practitioner-based journal, the ESL practitioner journal
encourages and provides a space for ELT practitioners to write and share best practices,
perspectives and new ideas on teaching and learning strategies in the classroom.

As we move towards 21st century learning, it is important that teachers develop research
skills such as the ability to examine, inquiry and reflect on their own practices in order to
improve and strengthen their teaching. Teachers nee to act as researchers who can make
continuous improvements to their own teaching strategies to impact learner outcomes.
Research into one’s own practice also allows teachers to take on a data driven approach
in making accurate and more informed day to day decisions on effective planning of
teaching and learning.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the contributors for your insightful
contribution. I also thank the Research and Development Department Head, cum Deputy
Director, English Language Teaching Centre, Dr Kalminderjit Kaur a/p Gurcharan Singh
and her editorial team for their dedication and the excellent work done in completing
this issue.

Pn. Farah Mardhy binti Aman
4 Director

English Language Teaching Centre
Ministry of Education Malaysia.

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices


The Research and Development Department, English language Teaching Centre (ELTC)
Ministry of Education Malaysia is proud to present the fifth issue of the ESL Practitioner
Journal 2018. The ESL Practitioner Journal is an annual publication of the Research and
development Department at ELTC.

Over the past five years, the ESL Practitioner Journal has strived to contribute to the
academic discourse surrounding ELT teaching, learning and training in Malaysia by
publishing articles from English Language practitioners nationwide. The collection of
papers in this fifth issue of the ESL Practitioner Journal represent a diverse selection
of stimulating and interesting articles which surround areas such as ELT observations,
perspectives on effective practices in teaching and learning, ELT training and programme
evaluation and the use of digital technology in ELT education.

I am confident that the authors, through their writings have provided thought provoking
views and ideas that will contribute towards an increased understanding of the ELT
profession and also illuminate some recent developments in the way ELT teaching and
learning as well as training can be shaped for effective outcomes.

I take this opportunity to thank all the authors who have contributed their writings in
this publication. Your work reflects your commitment and dedication towards effective
English language instructions in the Malaysian classroom. I also take this opportunity to
thank the review team members and the technical team for your assistance in the editing
process of the publication.

Last but not least my deepest appreciation and thanks goes to the editorial team
members of the ESL Practitioner Journal and especially to Pn Yusnamariah binti Yusof
whose continuous support, dedication and hard-work has ensured the successful and
timely publication of this journal.

Thank you and happy reading.

Editor in Chief 5

Dr Kalminderjit Kaur a/p Gurcharan Singh
Deputy Director
English Language Teaching Centre
Ministry of Education Malaysia

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices


Ramesh Nair is an Associate Professor at the Academy of Language Studies, Universiti
Teknologi MARA Malaysia, and a research fellow at the Academic Communication Centre
of the Accounting Research Institute. In recent years, he has collaborated on research
projects evaluating English Language Education reform in Malaysia. He is a member of
the English Language Standards and Quality Council, Ministry of Education Malaysia and
The Honorary Secretary of the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association. 

Raja Nor Safinas Raja Harun is an Associate Professor at the English Language and
Literature Department, UPSI. She has been a teacher educator since 2000 and has vast
experiences in the area of ELT and teacher education. She held administrative posts
as the dean of the faculty and deputy dean academic of graduate studies. She is the
lead researcher for the Curriculum in Developing a Malaysian Teacher Education Model
and the lead researcher for the Meaningful Inquiry Model for Developing ESL Student
Teachers. She has commercialised the CaELT (Computer Adaptive English Language
Test) in collaboration with MIMOS Berhad. Besides that, she is one of the panel members
for the English language Standards and Quality Council. She is the Chief Editor for
the Journal of Education in Social Science (EJOSS), UPSI. Her areas of publication and
research include ESL teacher education, innovative pedagogy and ESP. In 2015, she
was the recipient for the prestigious National Academic Award under the category for
Teaching and Learning Award (Social Science and Arts), organised by the Ministry of
Higher Education. In 2017, she won the Eminent Educator Award (Social Science & Arts
Category) in conjunction with UPSI’s 20th Year Anniversary.

Dr T.Vanitha Thanabalan is the Head of Department of the Language and Literacy
department at the English language Teaching Centre. She has presented at several
international conferences. Her passion is in developing literacy among aborigin children.
Her areas of interest are curriculum development, assessment and evaluation as well as


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Nor Izni Mohd Hassan is a lecturer at the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC),
Ministry of Education Malaysia. She obtained both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s
degree in TESL from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Shah Alam, Selangor. Her current
field placement is with the Language and Literacy department in ELTC. She is interested
in early childhood language and literacy development and the implementation of
developmentally appropriate practices in the teaching and learning of English language
in preschool classrooms.

Mohd Faisal Farish bin Ishak is currently a PhD candidate in Universiti Pendidikan
Sultan Idris (UPSI). He started his career as an English language teacher in both primary
and secondary schools and that contributed to his 17 years of teaching experience. His
academic qualifications include M.Ed. in Teaching of English as a second language (UPSI)
and B.Ed. in Teaching of English as a second language (UPSI). He is now attached to the
English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) as an academic lecturer in the Language and
Technology Department. He trains in-service teachers for contemporary pedagogy and
mostly on mobile and online learning. Serving the Ministry of Education Malaysia, he
is also involved in a programme that supports the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-
2025 which is called ‘Program Transformasi Sekolah (TS25)’. He dedicates himself to
supporting English language practitioners to subscribe to the belief of lifelong learning.

Zikri Effandy bin Zainudin is currently working as a District English Language Officer
(Primary) in Mersing District Education Office. His academic qualifications include M.Ed
in Teaching of English as a second language (UTM). He started his carrier as a primary
school teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan LKTP Nitar 01, Mersing, Johor from 2011 to 2017.

Yusnamariah binti Md Yusop began her academic career as a language teacher in 2007. 7
She has taught three primary schools; SK Ulu Poi, Kanowit, Sarawak, SK Taman Dusun
Nyior, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan and SK Palong 4 (F), Gemas, Negeri Sembilan. She has
also been an English Language FasiLINUS Officer in Jempol and Jelebu District Office.
She obtained her M.Ed of English As a Second Language (UKM) in 2013. Currently, she
is working as a lecturer in the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC), Ministry of
Education Malaysia.

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Rashidah Rahamat is currently an academic lecturer in the English Language Teaching
Centre, MOE. Her career as an educator developed for 18 years in schools, before
embarking on a new path: training the in-service teachers. Her main interests of research
are on CLIL, mobile learning, e-learning, Web2.0 as well as integrating the use of
technology in training for adult learners.

Jecquline Anak Gelau is an English Language teacher at SMK Taman Ehsan, Selangor.
She has been teaching for 9 years. Her research interests include CLIL, assessment and

Hasreena Abdul Rahman is a lecturer at the English Language Teaching Centre,
Malaysia. She always has a thirst for new knowledge and experiences. She is currently
involved in the English Outreach Programme. Her passions include project management,
conducting outreach programmes and programme evaluation.

Tavamani Thigarajan has been an English Language teacher at Sekolah Menengah
Kebangsaan Kuala Balah, Kelantan since 2014 to present. She obtained her B.Ed in
English As a Second Language from University of Portsmouth in 2013. She is a dedicated,
ambitious and goal-driven educator.

Noor Diana binti Suhaimi with a qualification in B.Ed TESOL from Victoria University
of Wellington, New Zealand has been teaching English to primary pupils for the past
five years. She is currently a teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan Pulapah, Jempol, Negeri
Sembilan, a Cluster School. Her areas of interest include mobile learning and digital
media literacy.


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices




ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices


After decades of utilising English language textbooks that were written and published
locally in Malaysia, internationally-distributed books aligned to the Common European
Framework of Reference (CEFR) were selected as textbooks for Year One and Two
as well as Form One and Two classes under the new standard-based curriculum for
secondary (KSSM) and primary (KSSR) schools. The introduction of these books brought
to the fore passionate discussions on the cultural appropriateness of the content in the
English language textbooks. Among others, individuals and organisations questioned
the pedagogical soundness of teaching English using material containing cultural
elements that were beyond the learners’ realm of experience. It is no surprise that the
selection of English language textbooks can be so contentious; language, culture, and
identity are after all inextricably intertwined. In this paper, we look at arguments on both
sides of the divide. We frame our discussion within the context of teaching English as
an International Language and the alignment of the curriculum to the CEFR. Keeping in
mind that teachers are tasked with making good use of the internationally-distributed
books in their classrooms, we also discuss how textbooks can serve as a complementary
resource to additional material in which Malaysian children can see themselves.

Keywords: CEFR, textbook, English Language, Malaysia Education System


If education prepares students for the future, then this preparation has to be based on
the realities of today. However, these realities are in constant flux, thereby posing a
challenge for those tasked with preparing to educate students. Advances in the fields
of science and technology as well as communication require educators to question both
the content as well as approaches taken to teach core subjects. We have come to realise
that the careers of today were unheard of just a decade ago, and some jobs today will
not exist in years to come. Education must therefore evolve to keep up with a rapidly
changing world (Donovan, 2008; Gordon, 2013), and this is best reflected in new national
education policies that set forth future directions for a nation’s education system.

New education policies often translate into changes in existing content and classroom
practices and adapting to these changes can be difficult (Azman, 2016; Wood, 2004). It
is therefore important that these difficulties are recognised and addressed in a timely
manner so that the aspirations of new policies are realised.

10 The launch of the Malaysia Education Blueprint (MEB) 2013-2025 in September 2013
marked the most significant change to the Malaysian English Language Education system
in recent times. In broad terms, the MEB outlines a plan for revamping the Malaysian
education system to ensure that the next generation of Malaysians can compete in

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

a global workforce. The document calls for 11 shifts that need to take place within
the education system and these involve shifts in “strategy and direction”, as well as
“operational changes” (p.E9). The second of the 11 shifts makes specific reference to
language teaching and calls to ensure that “every child is proficient in Bahasa Malaysia
and English language” (p.E9).

The proposals in the blueprint were made in reference to a baseline study that was also
reported in the same document. Among others, the study gauged the performance of
students in English and described their performance in relation to the CEFR (Common
European Framework of Reference). In the baseline study, the CEFR allowed for reporting
the performance of Malaysian students in English against a framework used around
the globe for describing language ability, particularly in a second or foreign language
learning context. This reference to the CEFR in the MEB and the need to describe English
language performance in a more universal way has seen the framework becoming a
central component to Malaysia’s English Language Education reform plans.

Anchored to the MEB, the English Language Standards and Quality Council published
a comprehensive plan for progressive reforms in English Language Education from
pre-school right up to university (Don, 2016). This publication titled “English Language
Education Reform in Malaysia: The Roadmap 2015-2025” currently serves to guide
the Ministry of Education Malaysia’s English Language Education reform agenda. The
roadmap is also guided by the CEFR. The stated aspirational language proficiency
targets from pre-school right up to university are presented based on descriptors found
in the CEFR, and this allows for a universal way of talking about progression in learning
a language.

The Introduction of The CEFR at Schools
In 2018, the introduction of the CEFR-informed English Language syllabi and schemes-
of-work in secondary and primary schools provided stakeholders with the first indications
of the anticipated challenges of introducing a universal framework for teaching, learning
and assessing English.

In preparation for the introduction of the new English Language syllabi and schemes- 11
of-work under the new standard-based curriculum for secondary (KSSM) and primary
(KSSR) schools, the Ministry of Education (MOE) Malaysia coordinated the collaborative
engagement of several departments such as the Curriculum Development Division, the
Textbook Division, the Examination Syndicate and the English Language Teaching Centre.
The aim was to ensure that these key departments worked in unison with Cambridge
English, the appointed external experts on the CEFR.

With the foundation in place, beginning 2016, a series of workshops were carried out in
stages nationwide to familiarise teachers with the CEFR and equip them with the specific
skills necessary to teach English based on what researchers such as Yeni-Palabiyik and

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Daloglu (2016) and Arnott et al. (2017) describe as an action-oriented approach to
language learning. Drawing on a cascade training approach to ensure that all English
teachers are trained, the MOE appointed a team of master trainers made up of teachers
in schools, lecturers at higher learning institutions and teacher educators.
The CEFR Familiarisation workshop which was the first to be conducted offered an
overview of the CEFR to teachers, introducing them to the CEFR descriptor scales tied
to the four main skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The master trainers
received direct training by trainers from Cambridge English, and they were then required
to cascade the training to English teachers across the country.

The Materials Evaluation and Adaptation workshop was the second workshop in the
series, and it was aimed at training teachers to evaluate and adapt materials for activities
that matched the CEFR descriptor scales. Next, the CEFR Curriculum Induction workshop
was carried out following the same cascade model to introduce master trainers and
teachers to the CEFR-aligned syllabi and scheme of work for Year 1, Year 2, Form 1
and Form 2. This was followed by workshops on carrying out formative assessments to
support teaching and learning activities.

While these workshops have all been aimed at equipping every English language teacher
with the knowledge and skills necessary for teaching and assessing effectively using the
CEFR-aligned schemes-of-work, there is a need to ensure that teachers continue to be
fully supported. Gaps need to be identified and measures need to be taken to address
those gaps. Therefore, on-going initiatives by the Ministry of Education Malaysia to
closely monitor implementation of the new curriculum are indeed timely and vital to
ensure that students gain from their language learning experience.

The Introduction of Internationally-Distributed Textbooks
Although the launch of the MEB and The Roadmap publication happened earlier, it
was the announcement of the introduction of the newly selected textbooks in 2017 that
really drew widespread interest to the reform process. After decades of using locally
published English language textbooks, the decision to select off-the-shelf, internationally-
distributed books to meet the demands of the new CEFR-aligned syllabi and schemes-of-
work drew a great deal of public attention. Heated discussions in the public sphere took
place as academics and politicians weighed in on the choice of the “foreign” textbooks.
The debates largely settled on the theme of cultural appropriateness and the capacity
of Malaysian students and even teachers to handle internationally-distributed textbooks.
Specific examples were drawn from the approved textbooks to highlight how alien
aspects of the books were. Concerns ranged from images of Caucasian characters to
descriptions of celebrations and festivities from half way round the world. Some asserted
12 that these were problematic and unsuitable for use in Malaysian English language
classrooms. Others maintained that the internationally-distributed textbooks would help
Malaysian children expand their knowledge-base and these internationally-distributed
textbooks were of superior quality to local publications.

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

In the first part of this paper, we weigh in on this debate about the use of internationally-
distributed textbooks. We opine that divided opinions about the suitability of the books
are anchored, to some extent at least, to how we view the position of English in Malaysia.

Most Malaysians would quite readily claim that English is a second language in Malaysia.
This would be based on a variety of assertions including the facts that English is taught
formally from the time children begin pre-school, that the presence of the language is felt
extensively all around us, and that English is the preferred language of communication
in the private sector (Gill, 2005). Indeed, in comparison to countries like Japan, Korea
and Thailand where English is typically described as a foreign language, there is more
use of English in Malaysia. However, it can also be argued that in many parts of Malaysia,
English functions more like a foreign language, with little need for communities in these
areas to use English. For this reason, we contend that broadly defining English as a
second language or a foreign language is problematic in many countries today.

Taking Ownership of English
There have been calls for some time now to critically reflect on the impact of labels such
as English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) or English
for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) (Canagarajah, 2012). Kharchenko (2014) argues
that qualifications and courses such as TESL, TEFL and TESOL serve a common purpose
which is to remind learners that they are entering a new community of English speakers,
and that they are outsiders who at best, will become good second or foreign language
learners of English. Opposed to such descriptions, there have been calls to move away
from this practice of othering global speakers of English (McKay & Bokhorst-Heng,
2008). Instead, we are invited to consider English as a global language, serving specific
purposes in specific communities - a language that belongs to a global community. Some
proponents of this view describe English as an International Language (EIL), that is, a
language used by people of diverse linguistic backgrounds to communicate amongst
themselves rather than with native speakers of English (Seidlhofer, 2005).

EIL positions English as a means to communicate with others in international and
intercultural situations. For this reason, drawing on one’s intercultural communicative
competence (ICC) and cultural awareness becomes important. This assertion naturally
has pedagogical implications in an EIL classroom (McKay, 2003). Both ICC and cultural
awareness need to be fostered to ensure that socially appropriate language is used in the
communicative context. The shift from an ESL/EFL approach to an EIL approach would
therefore require a paradigm shift as English language teaching practitioners have to
reconsider ways of helping their students hone their ICC and cultural awareness.

Beyond linguistic competence, an EIL approach foregrounds the importance of helping 13
learners understand and appreciate the cultural norms of other communities (Byram,
1997; Shin, Eslami & Chen, 2011). Towards this end, Yuen (2011) contends that students
should have access to material representing various cultures because access to such

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

material provides the opportunity for developing the communicative and pragmatic
tools that supports comprehension and enhancement of ICC. So, suffice to say, there
are benefits to be gained from exposure to culturally diverse material if our aim is to
achieve intercultural communicative competence. However, this should not be at the
expense of abandoning local cultural elements. Cortazzi and Jin (1999) suggest that
language teachers ought to draw on three sources of cultural information, namely (i)
content from the target culture which is content reflecting the culture of communities
where the target language is widely used, (ii) content from the source culture which is
content of the learner’s community, and (iii) content reflecting cultural elements from
global communities.

On the same point, McKay (2003) opines that the integration of target culture components
in textbooks enhances learner motivation to learn the language. Coupling such content
with source culture material, that is, material reflecting the learners’ own culture is also
important as familiarity supports comprehension. Finally, materials introducing the
cultures of diverse, far away communities may help promote cross-cultural sociolinguistic
competence that supports effective communication across communities. Developing
such competence is important because understanding and appreciating different
cultures should form an integral part of language learning (Brody, 2003; Yuen, 2011), at
least within an EIL framework.

Also weighing in on the issue of cultural content in English language textbooks, and
forwarding an argument against textbooks that are predominantly Anglocentric or
Eurocentric, both Mckay (2003) and Kumaravadivelu (2006) caution that the desire to
learn English in many parts of the world today is to communicate with a global community
and this does not necessitate embracing the cultural identity of so-called native speakers.
The call appears to be the same – English language lessons should serve as a platform
for developing intercultural awareness through the selection of teaching and learning
material that exposes learners to a diverse range of cultures.

So, the question is how appropriate is the selection of internationally-distributed textbooks
for Malaysian classrooms if we consider English as an International Language? Literature
appears to suggest that English lessons serve as an excellent platform for promoting
ICC. If so, materials used in English lessons should reflect this, with a balance between
target culture, source culture and international culture. Clearly, the role of teachers here
is central as it is highly unlikely that any textbook will provide the right balance of such

It should be stressed here that the selection of the internationally-distributed textbooks in
14 Malaysia was not a signal that authorities were rejecting local culture in favour of materials

containing elements of western or international cultures. The selection was essentially
to meet practical needs. The introduction of the CEFR-informed syllabi and schemes-of-
work in Year 1 and 2 as well as Form 1 and 2 classes meant that teachers needed access

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

to materials that were themselves aligned to the CEFR. This is because the teachers are
still at the very early stages of adapting to the CEFR and assessing student performance
within a new aligned curriculum. Hence, the choice appears to be between using locally
published books and having teachers align those books to the needs of a CEFR-informed
syllabus or using CEFR-aligned internationally-distributed books and incorporating local
cultural elements in language lessons. Given the limited experience with the CEFR, it
would appear to make sense that the latter would be a more viable option.


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Using Internationally-Distributed Textbooks in Malaysian English Language
Going by letters submitted to newspaper columns, public opinion has been largely
divided about the introduction of the CEFR-aligned syllabi for English and the use of
internationally-distributed textbooks. Doing an n on-line search for such letters by using
key phrases such as “English textbooks”, “imported textbooks” and “foreign content in
textbooks”, we were able to pick out various excerpts from mainstream online newspapers
which reflected this division:

Supporting use of the new Objecting the use of the new textbooks

locally produced textbooks are new textbooks don’t explicitly reflect alignment to
not able meet the new CEFR the CEFR

to ensure students achieve imported textbooks introduced in January lack local
proficiency levels aligned to context, making it difficult for students to relate
international standards

if students are exposed to more difficult to explain cultural and contemporary foreign
information on other cultures practices that are alien both to the teacher and the
including those they aren’t student
familiar with, it’s okay. Perhaps
it will even encourage them to
read more

private schools are already General knowledge about foreign cultures is good,
using imported textbooks but we must learn about ourselves first before we
can learn about others.

the standards of the current Textbooks should relate to the local context
local textbooks were too low, because contextual learning, which connects the
which prevented students content being taught, to the pupils’ daily lives, the
from reaching a higher level of community around them, and the world, facilitates
learning more effective learning

Foreign content could widen the learning gap
between urban and rural kids. Rural kids rely mostly
on textbooks to learn English, so it’s crucial that they
can relate to the content. If their counterparts in the
city want to know about foreign culture, they can do
so online as they’re exposed to various resources.
16 They’re not dependent on textbooks.

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

There are many who have been vocal in their opposition to the use of internationally-
distributed textbooks in Malaysian English language classrooms. Indeed, they have valid
reasons for their scepticism. While we will agree that the selection of these books is not
the ideal solution, we contend that these CEFR-aligned books serve as an important
source of reference for our teachers as they adapt to their CEFR-informed syllabi and
schemes of work.

It now falls upon teachers to ensure that classroom teaching and learning activities as well
as assessment practices are guided by the new curriculum documents. Again, framing
our discussion within an EIL approach, we propose that teachers need to draw on the
content of the internationally-distributed textbooks at their disposal and supplement
them with other material that develops the ICC of Malaysian students. Also, concern
about the absence of local cultural elements is valid and needs to be addressed. The
schemes of work in the new curriculum actually provide space for the incorporation of
material reflecting local culture. Teachers are directed to develop their own teaching
materials in addition to using the textbook and this is where teachers should draw on
their training in materials adaptation to design CEFR- informed lessons using materials
that incorporates local culture.

Studies are currently underway to inquire on the use of the internationally-distributed
books among English teachers in schools and initial feedback, although not empirically
evident at this stage in terms of sample size, has indicated that English teachers are not
strongly opposed to the use of internationally distributed books. This may be because
teachers prefer the new textbooks which are aligned to the schemes of work and this
facilitates lesson planning. Some of the main concerns among teachers revolve around
the challenge of adapting to the new methods of teaching and assessing. Therefore,
continuous support and improvement is needed to ensure success in the implementation
of the CEFR-aligned syllabi and the use of the internationally-distributed textbooks.

Also, we have to acknowledge the fact that the foreign cultural issues embedded in the 17
internationally-distributed textbooks may not only pose problems for the learners, but
also in some instances, the English language teachers too. The teachers’ own limited
exposure to foreign cultures can certainly affect the teaching and learning process.
However, this should no longer be an issue which cannot be resolved. The advent of
technology can assist teachers to engage in self-directed learning which can enhance
their knowledge of cultural issues (Choudhury, 2014). Teachers need to be proactive
individuals in developing and constructing their own knowledge and experience and
this can be co-constructed through dialogic interactions and discussions with other
practitioners inside and outside the locality in which they are situated.

The way that we approach teaching, learning and assessing in schools needs to be
informed by collaborative engagement. The teachers in English language departments
at schools should dedicate some of their time for professional development to improving

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

their teaching and assessing practices using the internationally-distributed textbooks.
They should work collaboratively to resolve issues in the classroom that may arise
because of culture-specific materials in the textbook. Teachers are in the best position
to understand the cultural inhibitions of their learners and in so doing, resolve issues that
may arise. Teachers need to explore ways to enhance the learners’ understanding of both
foreign and local culture by developing a variety of materials, and the most efficient way
of doing this would be through collaborative engagement. Without such collaboration,
English teachers would likely feel alone and burdened.

Teachers should be able to address the lack of local cultural elements in the internationally-
distributed textbooks given the flexibility that a CEFR-aligned syllabus offers. Indeed,
the schemes of work for English that accompany the new KSSM and KSSR propose
both textbook and non-textbook lessons throughout the year. Whilst the use of the
internationally-distributed textbooks has been assigned for certain lessons, teachers have
the flexibility to also plan non-textbook lessons. This is when teachers can collaborate
and develop materials to enhance learners’ appreciation of both local and global
communities and cultures. Besides that, teachers can also draw on knowledge gained
from the internationally-distributed textbooks and materials evaluation and adaptation
workshops they attended to prepare teaching materials aligned to the CEFR scales. In
the same way, teachers should also be able to cater for the development of differentiated
learning materials for students of varying abilities.

Through collaborative engagements, teachers may have access to a vast range of
resources. The use of a syllabi aligned to the CEFR now makes collaboration possible not
only with teachers in Malaysia, but also with a global community of teachers who speak
the same language in terms of achievements measured against the CEFR scales. English
teachers need to communicate, collaborate and share ideas with other practitioners. In
this way, teachers can enhance their creativity, a central focus of 21st century teaching
and learning practices that also calls for greater communication, collaboration and critical

For all this, teachers need to be supported by district education offices tasked with
coordinating activities that encourage teachers to take on active roles as part of their
professional learning communities. For example, teachers need to be given the space
and time to discuss and express their concerns, share knowledge of teaching approaches,
practices and developing materials, provide support and feedback to peers, and discuss
action-oriented goals to move forward.

In recent years, there have also been discussions on providing equal opportunities and
18 access to education, particularly to those who are marginalized by poverty and locality

(Hassan & Rasiah, 2011; Tan, Ho & Pang, 2016). Studies have for example acknowledged
that there exists a learning gap between learners in the urban and rural areas with learners
in urban areas having greater motivation to learn English because of greater access and

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

exposure compared to learners in rural parts of Malaysia (Mahyuddin et al., 2006). The use
of internationally-distributed books may serve to provide greater intercultural awareness
to all learners, regardless of where they find themselves, and such textbooks could better
motivate learners to learn the language (Erbaggio, Gopalakrishnan, Hobbs & Liu, 2012).
Learners can be better exposed to the outside world rather than to what they have within
their locality. This exposure is especially important to learners in rural parts of Malaysia
who have limited access to online resources compared to those in the urban areas.

Textbooks serve as an important resource in English language classrooms. The
introduction of the new CEFR-informed syllabi and schemes of work make the textbooks
an even more important resource for teachers because they are still new to the CEFR.
However, one also needs to keep in mind that the textbook is just one of many resources
that teachers should draw on for their lessons. It may be argued that the introduction of
the CEFR has opened the door to greater selection of ELT resources because English
teachers in Malaysia are now part of a global community of teachers who draw on CEFR-
aligned materials. Therefore, Malaysian teachers are now in a position to share resources
for teaching learners of English at A2 with teachers teaching the same level in other parts
of the world. The only challenge is the incorporation of materials that allows Malaysian
children to see the representation of their culture. This is where teachers will need to
draw on their skills to ensure that Malaysian children have access to source culture, target
culture and global culture material.


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Innovations in ELT Practices


Arnott, S., Brogden, L. M., Faez, F., Péguret, M., Piccardo, E., Rehner, K., Taylor, S.,
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must evolve. Mathematics and Computer Education, 47(2), 126.

Hassan, O. R., & Rasiah, R. (2011). Poverty and student performance in
Malaysia. International Journal of Institutions and Economies, 3(1), 61-76.

Kharchenko, N. (2014). Imagined communities and teaching English as a second
language. Journal of Foreign Languages, Cultures and Civilizations, 2(1), 21-39.

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Edge (Ed.). Relocating TESOL in the age of empire (pp. 1–26). New York: Macmilan

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(2006). The relationship between students’ self efficacy and their English language
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Ramesh Nair
Universiti Teknologi MARA
[email protected]
Raja Nor Safinas Raja Harun
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
[email protected]


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices





ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices


The purpose of this paper is to investigate teachers’ TPACK domains in planning
digital tools-based activities. It discusses a small part of a major study that investigated
Malaysian ESL teacher’s flipped ESL instructional design of teaching and learning in
their own classroom context. 2 participants were involved in this case study. A miniscule
analysis was done for a digital tool called Blendspace (a learning management system
– LMS) in order to investigate teacher’s classroom digital tool-based activity plans. The
digital tools introduced to the participants were purposely provided to assist their ESL
flipped learning instructional design. Qualitative data derived from the study showed
that new input had ameliorated the existing TK domain and made it developmental. This
resulted in an improvised TPACK and became conceptually enriched – the framework
then is seen as an inclusive TPACK domains that consists of developmental TK and
non-developmental PK and CK. Participants used conceptually enriched TPACK to plan
digital tools-based activity

Keywords: TPACK; digital tools; flipped learning; ESL


This study is a miniscule and focused part of a bigger study about the design of ESL
flipped instruction among non-options English Language teachers in Malaysia. Many
studies on flipped learning have never missed revealing digital tools that support the
pedagogy (Zainuddin & Halili, 2016). Flipped learning is another new comer in education
trend (Szparagowski, 2014). It is popular in the world of education and many educators
as well as educational institutions adapt the idea out of its popularity (Bishop & Verleger,
2013; McBride, 2015).

This study was conducted in an online learning environment. An online course was
created to support the environment. Initially, the online course designed for this study
emerged from a needs analysis. It is found that 100% of the teachers were aware of
the flipped learning initiative in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 document
(MEB) but only 60% of them knew what blended learning is all about. Narrowing down
to look at their understanding on flipped learning concept, the result showed only 36%
knew about it. However, when they were asked to describe flipped learning in an open
ended question, they only presented vague ideas. The examples of such responses are
as below:
Question: In my opinion Flipped Classroom is…
24 RSP01 : Interesting but schools lacked facilities.

RSP02 : A contemporary technique relevant to current school students.
RSP03 : Collaborated tools from the internet.

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The results projected an idea that ESL teachers in Malaysia, really needed knowledge
and guidelines to implement flipped learning pedagogy in order to support the initiative.
I believe that the findings of this study can contribute to the area of flipped learning
design as many researches mention that more research is needed in contributing to
expanding the understanding about this pedagogy (Filiz & Kurt, 2015; Mehring, 2015;
Moran & Young, 2014)


Digital tools-supported Flipped learning
Flipped learning is a pedagogy in which direct instruction moves from the group learning
space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into
a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they
apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter (FLN, 2014). Some studies
show that digital tools assist this pedagogy and distinguish flipped learning instruction
from traditional instruction (Basal, 2015; Egbert, Herman, & Lee, 2015; Newman, Kim,
Lee, Brown, & Huston, 2016).

Digital tools have been used in many flipped learning practices. Zainudin and Halili
(2016) have analysed 20 articles about flipped classroom from 2013-2015. They found
that digital tools or technology had been used to support flipped learning in various ways
and was mentioned in 13 articles. The discussions about flipped learning in the articles
revealed the importance of digital tools to support flipped learning.

Language Lessons and Digital Tools-supported Flipped Learning
Reports of flipped learning across areas in the field of ESL are considered limited and
those that address the flipped ESL instructional design even much more limited (Egbert
et al., 2015). Most of the studies about flipped learning are from foreign teaching
experiences. Insufficient of literature in flipped learning pedagogy has been mentioned
in some initial researches on this area. Most of the writings are only in the form of blog
posts, online magazines and newspapers. There is a need to have more research to be
done in order to augment reviews, suggestions and implications for teachers to start
flipping their lessons (Mok, 2014; Moran & Young, 2014; Vaughan, 2014). Most of the
researches were done in higher institution and there is scant research in the Teaching of
English as a Second Language (TESL).

In reducing of inadequacy of literature in flipped learning, Moran and Young (2014) have 25
conducted a mixed-method study that examines engagement of high school students in
a flipped English Language Arts (ELA) classroom. The quantitative data indicated general
support for the method’s principles but revealed mixed attitudes towards it as a method
of instruction, especially in terms of it as a strategy for addressing all instruction in the
ELA classroom. On the other hand, the qualitative data indicated that some students felt

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

more engaged by the flipped method, while others did not. The overall results of the
research concluded that flipped method might be effective, in part, in an ELA classroom,
but not as a sole means of instructions.

Another recent research on this pedagogy was conducted by Lane-Kelso (2015). This
qualitative study focuses on the pedagogy of flipped instruction and the experiences
of the flipping method with graduate students in Oman. The study gave insights on
the flipped pedagogy based on the educators (participants) who implemented it on
their students. The participants were Omani master teachers. Based on the findings and
discussion, the study showed that flipped instruction is an appropriate bridge to integrate
new technologies in the form of digital tools into a traditional educational setting.

Digital tools are existing technology that support teaching and learning. The nature of
flipped learning is manipuating existing technology to suit students learning context
(Bergmann, Jonathan; Sams, 2014). The ‘in-class’ session spares the time for students
to interact and practice language skills. Researches expose that flipped learning creates
opportunities for students to have more interaction and communication in classroom.
This is because the content of the lesson has been revealed earlier during ‘before-class’
online session. Digital tools support both sessions. In language learning, interaction in
classroom helps students to have ‘negotiation of meanings’ where they can improve on
whatever language skills they lack (Hedge, 2000).

Earlier in English Language as a Second Language learning (ESL) field, Stockwell (2012)
mentioned that the use of instructional technology can benefit students by providing
repetition, comprehension checks and frequent opportunities for discussion, questions
and review of material. In assisting teachers, it tailors the oral and written discourse
sheltered classes by creating their own materials. For instance, software programmes, as
well as websites, permit teachers to create materials geared to the reading levels of their
students (Stockwell, 2012). However, recent online tools such as Blendspace and Google
Apps create opportunities for students to create their own learning materials in order to
complete classroom tasks and projects (Datig & Ruswick, 2013).

Based on the reviewed literature, none has ever really looked at the stage or phase where
teachers are trained before they start flipping their lessons. I do believe that teacher’s
initial ideas about using digital tools is important be taken into account in investigating
their bigger plan for flipped learning.


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

The Role of Digital Tools in Flipped Learning
In many flipped learning implementation, digital tools are used to assist the pedagogy
(Zainuddin & Halili, 2016). Commonly, digital tools are used to:

• Retrieve content for students to access at their own preferences and to suit their
pace of learning (e.g. lecture material, readings, interactive multimedia),

• Curate content for students to gather their own resources.
• Present learning materials in a variety of formats to suit differentiated learning and

multimodal learning (e.g. text, videos, audio, multimedia),
• Provide opportunities for discourse and interaction in and out of class (e.g. polling

tools, discussion tools, content creation tools),
• Convey timely information, updates and reminders for students (e.g micro-blogging,

announcement tools),
• Provide immediate and anonymous feedback for teachers and students (e.g. quizzes,

polls) to signal revision points,
• Capture data about students to analyse their progress and identify ‘at risk’ students

(e.g. analytics).
(About Flipped Classroom, 2015)


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
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Conceptual Framework
The research took place in an online learning environment. An online course was
developed to support the environment. The online course was conducted for 3 months;
from 1st July 2017 to 30th September 2017. Qualitative data collection was done via
the online tasks responses. The tasks involved discussions, quizzes, reflective journals
and assignments. The online course was designed in a way to scaffold teachers towards
producing instructional design that incorporates the use of digital tools and a flipped
ESL lesson.

FIGURE 1: Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework above (Figure 1) shows that the online course was developed
with the underlying theory of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle Theory (Figure 2).
Participants joined the course and interacted with the course tasks. The responses they
produced became the learning outcomes. The learning outcomes were analysed by
using Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework.

The TPACK framework was used to analyse teacher’s activity plan for a digital tool that
functioned as a learning management system. The question that this research had to
answer was “How do teachers use their Technology, Pedagogy and Content knowledge
to plan digital tool-based activities?”. This emerging question will later open a path and
provide appropriate lens to explore teacher’s flipped ESL lessons. The online course
introduced 3 digital tools – Blendspace, EDpuzzle and Padlet. They were put into
modules. For this small study, I only revealed and discussed the analysis of participant’s
responses that were derived from Blendspace Module. The analysis was done for two
stages; (1) Reflective Observation stage and (2) Abstract Conceptualisation stage.


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle
The online course was design based on Kolb’s Experiential learning cycle (McLeod, 2013).

FIGURE 2: Adapted Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle for Online Training Structure

Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) Framework
This study used TPACK to analyse course learning outcomes resulted from participants’
interactions with course tasks. The Technological Knowledge (TK) domain of this
framework provides an appropriate lens to analyse the responses from the participants’
interactions with the learning artefact.

Curry and Cherner (2016) mention that TPACK is a framework that was earlier introduced
by Shulman (1986, 1987) as Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) and later was
reorganised by Koehler and Mishra (2009) in order to include technology domain. The
framework is now called Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK)
as depicted in Figure 3. Curry and Cherner (2016) further explain based on Koehler and
Mishra’s work. The 3 domains of TPACK are:

Technological Knowledge (TK) describes a teacher’s ability to understand and operate
both standard technologies and emerging technologies.

Pedagogical Knowledge (PK) shows a teacher’s understanding of the processes and 29
practices or methods of teaching and learning as well as issues of student learning,
classroom management, lesson plan development and implementation.

Content Knowledge (CK) is teacher’s knowledge about subject matter to be learned or
taught. The knowledge may consist theories, concepts, ideas, organisational frameworks
and knowledge of evidence and proof.

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

FIGURE 3: TPACK framework

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices


An online course was designed to create an online learning community environment with
learning tasks that stimulated teachers’ reflective actions towards planning their digital
tool-based activity. Given the name ‘Digital Tools for 21st Century English Language
Teaching’ (DTC1011); the course learning tasks were set by following 4 stages in Kolb’s
Experiential Learning Cycle (Figure 2). They are (1) Concrete experience, (2) Reflective
Observation, (3) Abstract Conceptualisation and (4) Active experimentation. (McLeod,
2013). The responses for each task provided qualitative data for the analysis. CANVAS
Learning Management System (LMS) was used as a platform to deliver the course contents
and to support online learning environment. In this study, the analysis was selectively
done at Reflective Observation (ROs) and Abstract Conceptualisation (ACs) stages.

The Tasks
This study consists analysis of responses resulted from course participants’ interactions
with the online learning tasks and contents. The tasks and contents were provided in
an online course learning environment. The online course consisted of 21 tasks to be
completed in order to achieve course accomplishment status. Specifically, for this study,
2 tasks were analysed – Task 3 (ROs) and Task 5 (ACs) for a digital tool Blendspace.

Two samples were taken from the most outstanding, active and consistent course
participants. The given pseudonyms were Camillia and Petunia. Camillia was a Sekolah
Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) (Chinese Vernacular School) ESL teacher in east Malaysia and
Petunia is a Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) (National Primary School) ESL teacher in a peninsula
Malaysia state.

Data Analysis Procedure
Data was analysed by using Individual-level Logic Model (Yin, 2014). This model suggests
adaptable logical flow of data analysing for behavioural course of events of a sampling
that generated codes (Figure 4). The coding process was done by applying ‘Simultaneous
Coding’ as suggested by Saldaña (2016) which applies two or more codes within a single
datum. A qualitative data software called ATLAS.ti was used to assist the coding process
(Figure 5).


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Using Digital Tools Reflective Abstract
in Lesson Observation Conceptualisation

• Blendspace Stage Stage

How Codes Codes

FIGURE 4: Data analysis by using Individual-Logic Model adapted from Yin (2014)

FIGURE 5: Simultaneous coding via Atlas.ti software.


Findings were based on TPACK domains analysis of 2 participants. Based on the analysis,

TPACK domains found emerged in two categories; (1) single domains and (2) combined

domains. Discussions were made based on combined domains because significant

ameliorations of TK were found that helped answering “How do teachers use their

technology, pedagogy and content knowledge to plan digital tool-based activities?”.

Result showed that new input ameliorated the existing TK domain and made it

developmental. This had resulted in an improvised TPACK where the framework became

supplemental. The enriched TPACK was conceptual. It was an inclusive TPACK domain

32 that consisted of developmental TK and non-developmental PK and CK. Participants
used the enriched TPACK to design their contextual ESL lesson that incorporated the use

of Blendspace to improve students’ learning experience. Figure 5 shows the conceptual

enriched TPACK framework of a participant.

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

FIGURE 6: Sample of conceptual enriched TPACK framework of a participant
Sample 1: Camillia
Camillia is a non-option ESL teacher. She has been teaching English for 10 years. She
is currently teaching in a Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (Chinese vernacular school)
in Sarawak. She believes that teaching and learning with using Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) is challenging due to teachers’ attitude towards
Describing her own classroom practice, Camillia mentions that she is a moderate ICT
user. She usually uses YouTube videos for helping student’s understanding and to gain
their attention. She prefers using ICT in most of her lessons. However, the inadequacy of
ICT facilities in the school usually hinders her from using ICT most of the time.


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Camillia’s Interaction with Task 3 and Task 5

Task 3: Reflective Observational stage
This stage provided a view in which Camillia chose and adapted ‘Power of Video’ and
‘Class Jukebox’. Stating her preference, Camillia revealed her existing TCK which was
using a video clip (TK) to teach grammatical items (CK). She mentioned,

“I prefer using video in my teaching and learning process. Before this, I tried using video
clip of a movie (Madagascar) in teaching simple past tense, students showed their interest
and requested for more.”

Another following response revealed a TPK. Her existing PK was about prompting pupils’
previous knowledge to obtain students’ voice. Her existing TK was using video for
motivational tool. The combination of these domains produced supplemented TPACK. It
was proven in her plan of using Blendspace as a platform to serve the purpose. Projecting
her idea of using the new TK she mentioned,

“I will ask students to tell me some of the movies or cartoons that they like the most. Then, I
will place these videos at strategic points in my Blendspace.”

Camillia manipulated pupils’ previous knowledge (PK) and planned to use pupils’
favourite video on Blendspace. She was referring to Blendspace logical tile sequence
when she mentioned ‘strategic points’. This has proven that her practice of using video
for teaching and learning is now changed.

Task 5: Abstract Conceptualisation stage
At this stage, Camillia was seen adapting another Blendspace activity which was
‘Smorgasbord’. The emerging combined domains were TPKs. She modified the activity
for her Year 2 class and the topic she used was based on the curriculum specification.
Using video for lesson stimulus was her existing TK. Amelioration of TK resulted to using
video stimulus on Blendspace platform. The new TK was used to enhance sing-a-long
activity, introductory stage and to imply i+1 kind of activity (PK). Combination of the new
TK and existing PK resulted enriched TPACK in her plan. The response below shows the
selected amelioration of TK evidence:

“I will start with a song ‘ The wheel on the vehicles go round and round’. After that, there
is a question for students to answer ‘Name as many vehicles as possible that you have seen
from the song’.”

34 Starting a lesson with a sing-a-long activity with the purpose of unpacking pupils’
previous knowledge depicted Camillia’s existing PK. Her usual practice of using video
stimulus shows the existing TK. Exposure to the new tool opened an opportunity to
amelioration of TK and combination of different domains produced enriched TPACK.

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Here her usual use of video stimulus had changed by using a prompting question on
Blendspace platform which allowed her pupils to interact with the video with Blendspace
comment feature.

Camillia’s Learning Outcomes
In Task 6, Camillia produced a Blendspace page as the learning outcome (Figure 6). The
link to this learning product is

FIGURE 7: Camillia’s Blendspace Design

The Blendspace page design reflects her enriched TPACK. In this task, Camillia has
designed her Blendspace based on the contextual idea she described in Task 3 and 5. She
uses 4 YouTube videos, 3 texts, 1 uploaded local file and 1 Blendspace quiz. The design
shows that she uses texts as prompts for speaking activities and in-class discussion. The
matching game is done via a PowerPoint file. The only quiz she had in the lesson triggers
pupils’ ability to relate description of vehicles to the names of the vehicles. The way she
designed her lesson content showed that she had adapted the ‘Smorgasbord’ concept
of lesson content delivery.

The design depicts her knowledge of arranging her teaching and learning content 35
well with multimedia. That is a clear combination of TK (new), PK and CK. She suits her
teaching and learning context by using Blendspace as the main prompt for classroom
activities. This can be considered as a good start for her to use Blendspace to promote
active student-based learning that involves Higher-Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) activities
as suggested by Bergmann and Sams (2014) for flipped learning.

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Figure 8 shows the summary of emerging TPACK domains in her Blendspace page
design; the learning outcome. Dotted logical connectors represent the source of TPACK
emergence evidence. For example, Quotation 7:1 refers to Tile 1,2,3,6 and 7 as evidence
of ‘using Blendspace for video display code’; this was new TK and it appears in Quotation
7:1. New TK and existing TK is labelled as – ‘is part of’ to show the amelioration activity
between both domains. Tile 3 shows her existing PK which is practicing assessment for
learning. Tile 8 shows her existing TK of using PowerPoint for content delivery is now
enhanced by embedding it into Blendspace LMS.

new TK is part of existing TK is a using slides
and Word
7:1 Quotation is a is associated with Processor
7:1 - Tile 1,2,6 & 7 Using existing PK
She provides for 7:3 Quotation 7:3-Tile 8
videos that for pupils Blendspace for The existing TK is using slides
to learn more about video display for teaching and learning is now
transport. enhanced by the new TK
is a is a
7:2 Quotation Pedagogical Using game in
7:2:- Tile 3 Practice learning
Teacher asks Matching game
questions to test is a
pupils’ Assessment 7:4 Quotation
comprehension. 7:4 Tile 4 & 5
is a Teacher asks
Class-based questions to test
Assessment is a pupils’
is associated with

question to

FIGURE 8: TPACK domains in Camillia’s Learning Outcome for Task 6

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Sample 2: Petunia
Similar to Camillia, Petunia also is a non-option ESL teacher. She has been teaching
English for 5 years. She is currently teaching in Sekolah Kebangsaan (National Primary
School) in Kedah. She believes that teachers in general have to equip themselves with
knowledge in ICT because without this knowledge, teachers may have difficulties to
understand pupils’ needs. It is also important for their professional development purpose
since using ICT in teaching and learning is challenging.

Describing her own classroom practice, Petunia frequently uses ICT in the teaching of
English. She utilises school ICT laboratory and the existing government provided Frog
VLE. She uses Frog VLE for classroom exercises and discussion. Her pupils enjoy playing
educational games and watching YouTube videos that she has posted occasionally.
She agrees that using ICT in for teaching and learning can gain pupils’ attention and
participation towards learning.

Petunia’s Interaction with Task 3 and Task 5
The interaction with Task 3 happened in Reflective Observational stage and interaction
with Task 5 happened in Abstract Conceptualisation stage.

Task 3: Reflective Observational stage
Petunia chose and adapted ‘Class Jukebox’ and ‘Beginning, Middle and End’. Her
choice was contextual. She linked her idea of using Blendspace to her own classroom
context. The idea exposed TPK and TCK domains. It is found that TK domain become
ameliorated after she interacted with the learning artefact. The amelioration found in
her choice and justification in which she connected to her existing PK about attention
span of pupils. Her description about technical procedures also became the evident of
emergence of new TK and she connected it with subject of choice and the list of features
of a novel. The ameliorated TK became a new TK and has formed enriched TPACK when
the new TK connected existing CK and PK. Below is the response excerpt that shows the
amelioration of existing TK:

“I want to create a Blendspace with one song choice from everybody. I will load it up and
play it at a low volume, where the pupils can listen to some of their favorite songs while they
work. …. So, that’s why i would like to use this “class jukebox’ way with my pupils to keep
them attentive throughout the lesson.”

Petunia planned to use “classjuke box” (as stated in the learning artefact) with purpose
of improving pupils’ attention span.

“In my opinion, i think that this way is suitable to teach Contemporary Children’s Literature 37
(CCL). For example, “The Jungle Book’ . I will divide a new Blendspace into three sections:
Beginning, Middle, and End. At the beginning level, i would upload the features of a novel

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

( author, publisher, characters, setting and so on.) Then, i will post short quiz regarding the
features of the novel. This is to test their understanding regarding the features.”

When Petunia mentioned ‘this way’ she was referring to the Blendspace activity called
‘Beginning, Middle and End’. Contextually, she linked this new TK to her existing CK that
was proven by the description of subject and features of novel she described.

Task 5: Abstract Conceptualisation stage
At this stage, Petunia was seen portraying her choice in Reflective Observational stage.
She specifically adapted ‘Beginning, Middle and End’ for her activity plan. She believed
that this adaptation is suitable for Contemporary Children’s Literature (CCL) subject. This
behaviour proves the emergence of TCK domain. When she further described the plan,
TPK domain emerged. Both TK that blended to CK and PK were ameliorated. In her
response she mentioned,

“I will divide a new Blendspace into three sections: Beginning, Middle and End. At the
beginning level, i would upload the features of a novel ( author, publisher, characters,
setting and so on.)”

The response shows that Petunia realised that Blendspace has a feature that she can use
to arrange into logical Blendspace tile sequence. The new TK was combined with her
existing CK and produced enriched TPACK that changed her usual practice of delivering
her lesson content.

“Then, i will post short quiz regarding the features of the novel and discuss the answers. This
is to test their understanding regarding the features.”

Describing her plan further, Petunia shows that she can carry out in-class assessment by
using quiz feature in Blendspace. The enriched TPACK showed significant modification
to her usual in-class assessment practice.


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

Petunia’s Learning Outcome
Petunia’s Enriched TPACK emerged in both stages was transformed into a learning
product in Task 6. The data below is taken from an assignment given in Task 6. The link
to this learning product is

Figure 9: Petunia’s Blendspace Design
Petunia’s learning outcome shows scaffolding activities by using various sources such
as 4 YouTube videos, 4 textual documents and 2 quizzes. She has shown the ability to
arrange her lesson contents in proper sequence and this is the evidence of ameliorated
TK that affected her PK. Her previous practice was playing YouTube videos from YouTube
webpage as she described in Task 02,

“other than that, I also would use YOUTUBE to play stories and songs. My pupils love to
watch it. Moreover, I also would use ICT by preparing power point presentation, videos and
songs for my pupils”.
The Blendspace she produced also shows how the amelioration of her existing TK has
produced enriched TPACK. Diagram 2 summarises the emerging TPACK domains in
Petunia’s Blendspace page design; the learning outcome. As described earlier dotted
logical connectors represent the evidence of TPACK emergence.


ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

9:3 Quotation 9:5 Quotation
9:3 9:5
Tile 2 & Tile 8 shows Tile 4 shows her
existing TK of using existing TK of using
Word processor is video for lesson.
enhanced in new TK

new TK using video for
9:1 Quotation is part of is a
9:1 is a is a using slides
The lesson title and Word
depicts the usage of Processor
existing PK affected
by new TK. 9:6 Quotation
is associated with existing TK Tile 5 shows existing
Using is associated with is associated with
Blendspace for

9:8 Quotation existing PK is associated with existing CK
Tile 7 shows her PK is a
on enrichment is a
is a Content

pedagogical Pedagogical 9:2 Quotation 9:2
awareness Practice Tile 1,4 & 9 show existing
TK of using video for Set
is a is a induction and content
student's is a delivery is now enhanced by
is a Blendspace the new TK.
motivation is a


set induction

is cause of enrichment is a
using reward activity Class-based

9:10 Quotation
Tile 9 shows the use
of reward for closure
which is her existing

9:4 Quotation
Tile 3 & 6 show
existing PK on
assessment in now is
now applied on a new
platform provided by
new TK.

FIGURE 10: TPACK domains in Petunia’s Learning Outcome for Task 6

The existing TK was shown in Tile 2 and 8 (Quotation 9:3) in which she used word
processor for teaching and learning. The existing TK of using video for lesson was shown
in Tile 1, 4 and 9 (Quotation 9:2). All those existing TK were ameliorated by the new TK
which was using Blendspace for pedagogical purposes. The amelioration process was
40 represented by ‘is part of’ logical connector. Petunia used this enriched TPACK to carry
out her Language Arts lesson.

ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices

This study found the existence of a cognitive activity that involved amelioration of
existing TK by new input from the online course; the new TK. This cognitive activity
modified teachers’ existing TPACK that formed a new form of TPACK which was labelled
as ‘enriched TPACK’. The analysis shows that teachers used their existing TPACK as a
manipulative knowledge for them to plan digital tools-based activities. The ‘enriched
TPACK’ significantly changed teacher’s current classroom practice. Consequently, the
new practice showed teacher’s ability to manipulate new knowledge to suit their own
teaching and learning context. That ability I believed, could be used either as an essential
schemata or a set of essential TPACK repository for the implementation of flipped ESL
learning. Future studies on teachers’ TPACK domains analysis may want to explore more
on teachers’ enriched TPACK robustness after a series of professional development
courses which this minuscule study did not look into.


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Innovations in ELT Practices


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[email protected]


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Innovations in ELT Practices




ESL Practitioner: The Journal of the English Language Teaching Centre
Innovations in ELT Practices


This paper presents the evaluation of the English For Preschool Teachers (EPT) module
piloted in 2018. This module was developed as part of the requirement to provide
teachers in preschools with continuous professional development in upskilling their
language proficiency in English and to enhance their pedagogy. With the implementation
of the Roadmap, a comprehensive plan for the development of English language in the
country, all English language teachers from preschool to tertiary need to be proficient
in the language. The National Preschool Standard-based Curriculum (NPSC) has been
aligned to the CEFR and English is now included as a subject in the preschool curriculum.
Hence, there is a need for preschool teachers to improve their proficiency in the English
language. The English language Teaching Centre (ELTC) as the lead agency for in-
service teacher training was tasked to develop teacher proficiency. English for Preschool
Teachers (EPT) has been developed mainly to build and enhance preschool teachers’
proficiency in delivering the content in the preschool classroom. As an effort to ensure
validity of the content in EPT, some of the units in the preschool module were piloted
to gauge their usability and to identify gaps in the modules. Based on the findings of
the pilot exercise some implications towards the development of the teacher training
curriculum for preschool are discussed.

Keywords: preschool teachers; English proficiency; teacher training


The National Education Blueprint (2013-2025) has clearly stated that students’ proficiency
in English language will be the most immediate priority. It is aspired that after three years
of schooling, every child will achieve 100% basic literacy in the English language. Towards
reaching this aspiration, The English Language Roadmap, a document which describes
the aspirations for the English language development in Malaysia, states a comprehensive
plan for developing English language from preschool to higher education. The Roadmap
states, ‘The ultimate goal of preschool English Language learning is to give preschool
children confidence in using English in and outside the classroom, and to facilitate the
smooth transition to English language learning in Primary school. It is more important to
develop a positive attitude towards English and to make a good start in spoken English
and literacy in English than to achieve a specific level of proficiency’(The Roadmap 2015-
2025, pp.116).

The National Preschool Standard-based Curriculum (NPSC) was reviewed in 2017 by
46 the Curriculum Development Division to align the curriculum to the aspirations stated

in the Roadmap. The NPSC has included English language as a subject where the
four language skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) are stressed. A total of
300 interactional hours are allocated for the English Language in the curriculum. The

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Innovations in ELT Practices

curriculum is organised as such to allow the preschool teachers to facilitate the learning
of basic literacy in English language.
In order to achieve the objective of English Language learning stated within the NPSC,
teachers need to be confident in delivering the content in the curriculum as well as
communicating with the children.

‘Young learners cannot be expected to acquire the foundations if their teachers lack
either the English proficiency to provide suitable models, or the basic knowledge of
language systems that they need in order to guide the learning of their students’ (The
Roadmap 2015-2025, pg. 129).

As a training centre for English language, ELTC has been tasked to act on delivering
the aspirations in the Roadmap. The Teacher Education Division (TED) conducted an
English language proficiency test (Ujian Kecekapan Bahasa Inggeris or UKBI) in 2017. A
total of 9,103 preschool teachers sat for the test and it was found that the majority of the
teachers were at or below level B on the CEFR in terms of their proficiency level. This calls
for the need to upskill the teachers to improve their proficiency so that they will be able
to translate the new curriculum well in the preschool classroom. One of the initiatives
taken by ELTC was to develop the English for Preschool Teachers (EPT) programme. EPT
is designed to provide preschool teachers with support in mastering English language
proficiency. The content of EPT will be described later in this article.


Pedagogy approaches for preschool
Malaysian preschool education focuses on: i) fun learning approach; ii) child-centred
learning and classroom activities that focus on problem solving and decision making
and iii) the utilization of learning centres (Curriculum Development Division, 2017). In
the new, NPSC introduced by the MOE, the play-based approach has been emphasised
in the preschool teaching and learning process (Lily Muliana & Mohamed Nor Azhari,
2013). The incorporation of play-based approach as part of the preschool curriculum
aims to help children develop physically, academically, mentally and socially (Sharifah
Nor & Aliza, 2016). The advocacy of the use of play-based approach in the NPSC is
to ensure that the new curriculum is effective in meeting the goals and objectives of
curricular reforms (Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, 2009) as set by the MoE for preschool

The EEE Model and English Language Centre 47
Aligning pupils’ language skills according to CEFR, the ‘Encounter, Engage and Exploit
(EEE) Model is introduced into Malaysian preschools as a framework that is helpful in
sequencing activities in a logical and progressive manner. The (EEE)’ model reflects
a language teaching methodology well known as PPP, ‘Presentation, Practice, and

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Innovations in ELT Practices

Production’ (Mourão and Gamboa, 2007 in Robinson, Mourão & Nam, 2015). Both
models suggest a sequence of activities that begins with the introduction, or presentation,
of new language. This is followed by activities that encourage learners to engage with
and practise the new language and continues with opportunities to use the newly learnt
language creatively and for real communicative purposes. The EEE model provides a
child-centred approach which considers the roles and responsibilities of both teachers
and learners in the selection and sequencing of language learning activities. Following
the first two stages of the EEE model, teachers can plan sequences of learning activities
which are designed to expose children to new language and then allow them to practise it
through specific games and tasks that will develop understanding, fluency and accuracy.
The first stage which is known as the ‘Encounter’ stage is likely to encourage a more
physical response and children tend to respond in chorus. ‘Engage’ is the second stage
which may lead children to gradually take control of the language and begin to provide
responses individually. The intention of the third stage which is the ‘Exploit’ stage is to
enable children to exploit their knowledge of the English language. Exploit activities offer
an opportunity for individual practice and choice in the language the children want to use
(Robinson, Mourão & Nam, 2015).

Teacher training
Teachers teaching English literacy for preschools need expertise in pedagogical
approaches for young children learning English as second language. At the same time,
they are also required to enhance their level of English proficiency. In 2010, MOE
conducted a study on the status of English language in 102 public and private preschools
and the teachers interviewed exhibited apprehensiveness for not having sufficient
command to converse in English language (The Roadmap 2015-2025). The Cambridge
Malaysia Baseline Study (2013) stated that a significant proportion of English teachers
did not attain sufficient level of English proficiency. A study conducted by Rohaty Mohd
Majzub (2013) concurs with the findings of the baseline study. The lack of confidence
leads to teachers opting to interact in the lessons using mother tongue. This leads to a
preschool environment that does not support the practice of using the English language.

Nunan (2015) emphasises on the importance of training for teachers who are going to
teach a language to young learners. Copland, Garton and Burns (2014) reiterate that it
is crucial that teachers are supported in developing skills and confidence in teaching
the preschool curriculum. The aspiration to place Malaysian education at world class
demands that teacher training takes into account teacher qualification and proficiency in
English Language for a world class preschool teacher education (Rohaty Mohd Majzub,

48 English for Preschool Teachers (EPT)
The EPT programme is offered to teachers in national (SK) and national type (SJKC/SJKT)
preschools. It is a 6-credit programme conducted through face-to-face interaction and
fieldwork. It is specially designed to assist preschool teachers to teach according to the

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