More and more views on the PPSMI - MBMMBI issue are given in the local newspapers.. I can't help it but have to share these comments with you :
The Star, Friday,26 March 2010, Views N59.
Education Ministry making a costly blunderThe letters “Stress on grammar, not phonics” (The Star, March 24) and “Grammar matters more than phonetics” (The Star, March 25) really caught my attention. I wish to add a couple of points in support of their views.
I totally agree with both writers that the Education Ministry has obviously got its priority wrong again. Bringing in foreign teachers to teach Malaysians to “pronounce English words as spoken by native speakers” is an expensive mistake that will take us nowhere as far as improving our standard of English is concerned.
First of all, as mentioned by both the writers, it is the grammar that is the problem. While most Malaysians can pronounce the English words well enough to be understood, it is the grammar that leaves much to be desired.
The priority is thus to really focus on grammar, and the way it is taught needs to be revised for it to be effective.
Secondly, I have been wondering all these years why we never make use of the phonetics symbols, available in every good dictionary, to help us with the pronunciation.
Every English teacher must learn phonetics, and they can in turn teach students to learn the correct pronunciation themselves.
Sadly, I have never heard of phonetics symbols being taught in Malaysian schools. If the above cannot be done for some reason, there is even a better solution nowadays.
In this technological age, digital dictionaries always come with the recorded sound for each word, both in American and British pronunciations. Just click on the words and you can hear how they are pronounced immediately, any time you want! How expensive can a digital dictionary be?
Much has been said about the sad state of our education system, yet again we are seeing another costly blunder being developed by those responsible to salvage it. I will ask the same question that many have asked: What has happened to this country?
Importing master teachers to teach English a futile exerciseI believe language cannot be mastered by studying it as a subject nor by attending short courses. I believe that if one wants to be proficient in any language of the world, including Aboriginese, one has to acquire it through social conditioning.
Much has been done by the Education Ministry to make students proficient in English but the result is far from satisfactory. The latest move by the ministry to import 365 master teachers from overseas to train local teachers in British English will be another futile exercise at the expense of taxpayers.
I was a product of an English medium school in the 1960s and I didn’t have the privilege of having been taught by master teachers from overseas, yet I have no problem with my English.
The fact that I studied in an English school gave me the advantage of reading more English books compared with my friends who did not have the privilege.
In the 1960s, public libraries such as The British Council and USIS (United States Information Service) in Kuala Lumpur were always full of students of all races. There was hardly room to sit on weekends. Why? Because the students were from English medium schools and the libraries stocked a wide range of interesting books in English.
Sadly today, public libraries such as the Kuala Lumpur Library and the National Library with much better facilities are unable to attract students simply because the present generation, being the product of national schools, are unable to read books written in English.
Hence, not only do the students suffer but the nation suffers too.
Students attending international schools have no problem with English. Neither do the children of diplomats who are fortunate enough to follow their father overseas and who study in international schools.
The tendency to read books is greater among international school students than national school students. Why? Simply because English opens the door of knowledge.
Will the recruitment of 365 master teachers from overseas to teach British English guarantee that our teachers will benefit and pass on the knowledge to students?
I have my doubts and am willing to bet my last dollar with anybody that it will end up a failure. And the master teachers know it is a herculean task.
Well..., you don't need to be in the Education industry to give your views..We are talking about the nation..What's going to happen to our children in the next year or two....Parents have to give your views before it's too late!!!! After all, the slogan says it:
"RAKYAT DIDAHULUKAN, PENCAPAIAN DIUTAMAKAN"
Just my simple thoughts.....
Have a nice day....