Thursday, June 25, 2009

Improving English

After Reading the article from Star, I am very impress for the fact that Halimah came up with few suggestions to improve the standards of English. Edunovice agrees that the standard of English has deteriorate since the era of IRC and ICQ.

Taken From Star

Id like to offer some pragmatic and realistic suggestions based on my experience and knowledge of developments in this area:

Use language tapes to improve listening and speaking skills

This can be done in the school language labs or, on the students own CD player/walkman (with earphones) for one period a week under teacher supervision in school, and regularly under parental supervision at home.

Students get to hear English spoken by native speakers in conversations and in relevant communicative situations and they will internalise the elements of the language pronunciation, intonation, grammar and vocabulary to reinforce learning in the other English periods.

Young people like to imitate and with good models of English on tape, they get the full advantages of the language drills which they can practise in their own time.

The text of the tape can be printed out and used to teach reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary.

Copies of the tape and text are easily and cheaply made for internal use. It has proven to be a highly successful teaching and learning methodology in China.

Reading and writing skills

Bring back the book report as a weekly or fortnightly activity in the English classes.

Students are assigned a reading task, preferably a simple reader.

They submit a written exercise: (i) paraphrase or summary of the story (ii) description of their favourite characters (iii) phrase/ line/ paragraph quotations they like lifted from the text (iv) vocabulary work for new words and phrases that they come across and how to use them. To reinforce their speech and speaking skills, an oral presentation can be made in class.

Teach an arts-based subject like History in English

History, Living Skills and Civics offer teachers and students a wider scope for using language in all its manifestations — reading, writing, listening and speaking.

These subjects are a lot more descriptive and exploratory. I am all for making English compulsory for SPM because this offers the greatest motivation for learning the language and for changing the attitudes towards it! And its not too much to ask for a pass in the English paper!

The rural schools must be equipped with the basic facilities and methodologies that the teachers can handle.

Even if they are not English language specialists, they can inspire learning and the right attitudes towards the subject.

At the same time, they can use the same facilities to improve themselves. They are worth a try!

HALIMAH MOHD SAID, Kuala Lumpur

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