Hornbill Unleashed

November 19, 2013

‘Oh my English’ debate goes on as STU backs ELTC

Filed under: Education,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

educationPeter Boon 

The move by the Education Ministry to look at new ways and measures to improve the teaching and learning of English augurs well with Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU).

STU president Jisin Nyud in assuring their support, noted at the moment that the ministry through English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) and other agencies are trying

their best to bring back English and their programme and this is ongoing.

“We hope these programmes will improve the proficiency of English teachers,” Jisin said yesterday.

He was reacting to Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching’s statement on the need to further improve English language teachers on their proficiency and pedagogical skills, as well as motivate them to be more professional.

She reportedly said they were now trying to bring back activities through co-curriculum to make English learning more meaningful and fun.

Education director-general Tan Sri Abd Ghafar Mahmud was quoted to have said that in this year’s UPSR, pupils’ overall performance in the English language subject at the national schools (SK) dropped by 0.06 point over last year’s figure.

Jisin opined that PPSMI (the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in English) was a good step towards the improvement of teaching and learning English in the classroom.

For teachers, through the programme of buddy support system, English language teachers work with those

teaching Science and Maths in English on how to improve their mastery.

“On the teaching side, students and teachers communicate in the language. Even though it does not involve others, it boosts confidence in teachers and also students.

“It cannot be denied that it is not easy to master this language as it is a foreign language. The inability to master the language will make it difficult for the teacher to lead the class.

“Even during those days (when) everything was taught (in English), students found it so different to speak it.

“So one may wonder how an average student in Malay medium could speak the language,” he said.

In fact, according to Jisin, all this while, schools had been trying to change the perception that learning is fun and easy by indulging students in activities like choral speaking, scrabble, poetry recital, story-telling and other range of competitions organised by schools, districts, division and state Education Department.

However, the participation of students was still not formidable, he noted, adding that this

was due to poor mastery of English.

He observed that older generations from the English medium remembered how they struggled to master the language and overcame initial shyness and timidity to speak.

Learning a foreign language was “very alien”.

“Once they overcame the fear, they began to speak it with confidence. However, gone are the days.

“We can see, even after retirement, these veterans are still able to communicate in English.

“Sad to note, these traits are not present in most Malaysian students nowadays, except those raised in international schools or in English-speaking families,” he said.

Jisin mentioned that a normal Malaysian student may listen and understand English, but lack confidence to speak.


1 Comment »

  1. Fear is the real issue here. If you are good in English and want to promote it, fear will come – the national language proponents fear you will forget your roots and unpatriotic. There is nothing to fear because Dr. Mahathir is a good speaker and prolific writer in English yet he is 100% Malay/Muslim.

    Comment by i knowit all — November 19, 2013 @ 3:25 PM | Reply

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