Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MBMMBI - Stress on Grammar Not Phonics.

 GRAMMAR  laa.....
I came across a very good comment on the PPSMI - MBMMBI issue in the local newspaper today, by Mr Liong Kam Chong of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.
Would like to share it with all of you reading this blog...

THE Education Ministry has announced that a new curriculum for English language would be implemented next year. It will teach students according to the standard British English language phonics so that they will know how to pronounce English words as spoken by native speakers.
Some 365 master teachers will be brought in from overseas, starting in June, to help train local teachers.
This is indeed amazing. Only earlier in the year, the ministry concluded that most of our teachers could not effectively teach and most of our students could not effectively learn Science and Mathematics in English.
Today we aspire to change all that by getting our teachers and students to first learn to speak standard British English like the "orang putih" do!

While not arguing about the merits of using the right pronunciation, the question that begs to be asked is, where is the priority? How does making the “right” sounds become crucial in helping a foreigner learn the rudiments of a language? How will the “right” sounds help one learn the grammar of a language?
Countries all over the world are pushing for their citizens to master the English language. This is especially so in technologically advanced countries like Germany, Japan, South Korea, China, India and others.
Ever heard how the nationals of these countries speak English? Do they sound like “native” speakers? Definitely not! You can tell an Indian from a Korean, a Japanese from a Chinese when they speak English. And what’s so wrong about their pronunciation?

These nations don’t believe in wasting their time and resources just so that their nationals can “twist” their tongues to speak standard British English like native speakers.
They focus on what is important, which is know the language for its economic values.
Come to think of it, even we Malaysians of different racial origins speak our national language differently.
Try as we may, we sound different, and happily we all accept the sounds we make. A Chinese who tries to speak Kelantanese Malay may make your hair stand on end. Even Malays from other states may struggle. Amongst the Chinese, you can spot a Hokkien when he tries to speak Cantonese and vice versa. They simply don’t sound original.

So, why are we putting emphasis on training our students to pronounce English words as spoken by “native” speakers who incidentally stay thousands of kilometres away from us? It makes no sense.
Time and money spent can be better used to learn the rudiments of grammar, which I believe are the building blocks and fundamentals of the language.

My added comments:
To master a language, it is better to use it everyday.
Simple... Use it in class during the teaching and learning proses. We had that going smoothly in schools for 8 years already, through the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI). Then suddenly, one wise guy, using his capacity as a leader, stopped the programme. Short sighted...
Now, English has to be taught as a subject in school. That's going to take a long, long, long time to master......It's back to the Malay Medium school session as in 1980 to 2002. Before 1980, it was the English Medium in schools. After 2002, it was the "Mix Medium" in schools. Science, Maths, Technical subjects and of course, the English Language were, and presently taught in English. Subjects like History, Geography and Living Skills are taught in Bahasa Melayu.
Now, beginning 2012, it's going to be the Malay Medium, every subject in Malay, just like in 1980...
How I wish there's another Dr. Mahathir around, in office....

Just for thoughts...
Have a nice day.....


Syiqin said...

Ur rite sir!Wat truk jaa nak blajar phonics..Mastering the grammar is more crucial compared to make English sound like the"real English"..100% supported..

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.To master a foreign language, we have to speak the language as much as we can.

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