New Straits Times
TIK TOK FUN WAY TO TEACH ENGLISH
English teacher posts engrossing content on video app to attract students
“IF at first you don’t succeed, then try and try again.” This phrase exemplifies the determination of an English teacher here who refused to throw in the towel when he realised his students were either not following or responding to his online classes (PdPR).
The PdPR classes were initiated when the first Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented in March.
Ahmad Shahrul Azhan Ibrahim, 45, popularly known as @Sir_Asai which is an acronym for his name on video app Tik Tok, is well known for his unique videos in teaching English.
The teacher at SMK Long Ghafar II in Pasir Tumbuh here, who previously taught at SMK Jeli for 17 years, was initially concerned about his students.
“From early last year, when schools closed because of the MCO, I noticed that many students were not following my online classes nor responding well, and this was not just upsetting but also worrisome.
“So I had to find out why and find new ways of teaching English so that my students would not lag behind.
“In Kelantan, many students, especially those in rural areas and from poor backgrounds, have a poor command of English.
“This is because they are not native speakers, and hardly have the chance to speak the language, which they will need for their tertiary education and work.
“So after talking with them, I found out what piqued their interest.
“What they liked was to watch Instagram content and videos on YouTube and Tik Tok.
“I thought about it and prepared an audacious plan to reach out to them by posting English language content and learning materials on Instagram.
“I posted pictures on idioms and vocabulary, along with tasks and exercises, in 60 to 70 per cent of my teaching, and my students responded.”
Another issue that gave him sleepless nights was the fact that many students were not interested in reading and had a short attention span when it came to learning, which included the English language.
He realised the need to broaden his students’ learning experience beyond the classroom, online classes via Zoom and Google Meet, as well as Instagram.
“I found out about Tik Tok from my students, who told me that they loved the video app because apart from being concise, it had a lot of content that they liked, such as music and dance videos.
“So I thought about how to adapt my teaching to be presented in videos of between 30 seconds and three minutes.
“It took a lot of planning, but I found a unique way of using Tik Tok to teach them, and I managed to get them interested by getting them involved via roleplay, where they get to practise what they are learning.
“I also included music videos, songs and movies that they like.
“Thankfully, it worked out well, much better than I expected.
“My videos have gone viral and have benefited many students in the country,” said Ahmad Shahrul, who is from Kota Baru.
He said as a teacher, his main aim was to ensure that his students appreciated and understood what he taught.
He said this was what drove him to connect with them and to think of new ways to teach them.
“I do not want to be stereotyped and conventional.
“So this is why I came up with my own take on learning for my students’ benefit. This way is more interesting because they can identify with it based on their interests.”
For the future, he hopes not just to find other ways to encourage learning, but also to collaborate with artistes and celebrities, who have many followers on social media and are looked up to as role models by students, to help him teach English.