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Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Posted by: cheaman

The English language has generated a lot of interest recently. From using English as a medium of instruction for Maths and Science to a proposal to make it a compulsory subject at SPM level from the Education Minister himself, the avalanche of pro and con opinions from educators, politicians, NGOs, parents and students themselves has turned this lingua franca of the world into a controversial quagmire.

The liberal Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has invited further feedback from the public before a decision is made by the Cabinet. Being an educationist for over 40 years, permit me to give my two cents worth.

Perhaps a calm analysis of the entire issue and some basic understanding of education concepts on testing and evaluation, may put this ‘controversy’ into some perspective.

a. Revamp the English syllabus. Place special emphasis on teaching basic grammar and sentence structure. Teach ‘survival English’ during the early stages (Primary level).

b. Communication English should be properly taught together with relevant grammar and structure.

c. Incidentally, communication has a purpose. For what purpose do you want to use English? [...] Maybe the education ministry should consider introducing ESP (English for Special Purposes) in schools. This approach was used inSingapore some 25 years ago!

d. Revamp the set of English vocabulary items and make it more relevant for Malaysian learners to learn at each stage.

e. After the pilot project of introducing computers as another teaching tool in school during the 1990s, most schools are equipped with computer labs by now. So introduce interactive English learning in schools. This may reduce the need to import native speakers of the language. Just train teachers on how to use the interactive teaching software.

f. Another alternative is to permit ‘vernacular’ English schools to be set up and allow parents to make their own choice as to where they want to send their children.

Full Text of the posting by cheaman

Source: StarOnline or click HERE

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