Sunday, October 02, 2016

English (2)

MM Online - English proficiency: What say you… — Saleh Mohammed

If we want to improve our English we need to use it. There are 3 aspects of using the English language, namely, (a) reading-speaking, (b) writing, and (c) listening-comprehending.

Of the three, (c) is the most difficult, though recently the DPM has had problems with (a) at the UN, wakakaka.

You'd note that listening goes together with comprehending (or understanding) or what one listens to will be useless.

Reading goes with speaking where in the former the reader follows the text of a book or document or newspaper, while in the latter the speaking may be more freelance or impromptu or in response to an ongoing dialogue.

Thus, to reiterate, if you are able to listen you must also be able to understand or comprehend what you have successfully listen to, or those words you've heard would be a jumble of gobbledygook.

Therefore to learn English as quickly and as fluently as our students can, they should engage in reading, writing and listening as much as possible, which makes the subjects of Maths and Science poor choices as learning vehicles.

How much English can our students learn by finding the area of the region bounded by the curve y = f (x), x-axis and the lines x = a and x = b (b > a)?

Fluency in a language requires constant usage and practice in reading-speaking (discussing), writing and listening-comprehending, and the best subjects for such exercises, apart from the English language subject, would be the subjects of history, literature, civics, religion in the English language, economics, etc, but definitely not Maths and Science as Mahathir wanted us to switch over to learn English.

It's little wonder the teachers rebelled at his proposal as it's seen by Chinese vernacular and even Malay language teachers as worthless at best and sabotage at worst. For once, both language teachers are united in rejecting Mahathir's proposal.

Besides I suspect most primary teachers, Chinese and Malay languages, can't teach in the English language, wakakaka.

And SJKCs viewed Mahathir's proposal as suspiciously his attempt to sabotage the good progress of the schools´maths and science programs.

1 comment:

  1. I was a teacher for more than 30 years, spanning a period from the tail end of the English school system to the implementation of the PPSMI policy. When I started teaching, English was still being used for Science and Maths in Secondary Schools, with a transition to Bahasa for Geography and Commerce.
    Since then the standard of English in the country has fallen disastrously, until you get...Zahid Hamidi at the United Nations General Assembly.

    I think PPSMI was not such a bad idea , as a means to get pupils to use more English, especially at Secondary School level. Science and Maths only require simple , direct English. The Chinese Language warriors should not have had any concerns at Secondary level, because there are no Chinese medium Government secondary schools.

    That PPSMI failed is a testament to how bad the situation had become. Much of my career was in Small town schools, where there is little interest in learning English.
    The Malay kids live in a Bahasa bubble, a world of Malay language books, magazines, newspapers, Malay language movies, TV. English is a very alien language. Similarly most Chinese kids live in a Chinese language bubble, Chinese books, magazines, movies, TV.

    I personally feel Astro has become a kind of divisive factor in Malaysian society. You can spend a whole year watching nothing except Chinese programs or Malay programs , depending on your preference.
    The teachers could not teach Science and Maths in English either.
    In the end it was a disaster.

    Those who argue that Japan and South Korea became technological powerhouses without using English are kidding themselves. Those countries have uncompromisingly tough educational standards to the extent their lack of English is irrelevant. Both have very large publishing industries translating foreign books and magazine into their language. They can get by with a small number of people who are proficient in English, to engage with the outside world.

    How many books on Science and Maths are published in Bahasa or translated into Bahasa ? If it hasn't happened after 59 years Merdeka, its not going to happen.