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Friday September 13, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday September 13, 2013 MYT 7:31:10 AM
PETALING JAYA: While parents decry the low standard of English among teachers, some lecturers lament that they were “cheated” by the way they were trained.
Devi, for instance, chose to make teaching a career about eight years ago.
Her pride in graduating as a teacher quickly disappeared after her first few weeks in the classroom as she taught English to the students.
Devi discovered a significant gap in ability between her and them.
“Some speak much better English than I do, especially those from the better classes.
“It really affected my confidence,” she recalled.
“How can I teach these students when they know more than I do?
“I felt let down by my education and training; I felt so unprepared,” said Devi, who only opted to teach English while she was enrolled in her teacher training course, and appears to have quite a good command of the language.
“It was embarrassing at first when I mispronounced words and got my tenses wrong, and my better students corrected me.
“Now I look at it as a learning experience, and I just have to keep trying to improve myself,” she said.
Another is Zeti. With English not being her teacher training option, Zeti felt lost when she was asked to teach the language in her school.
“I can communicate fairly well in the language, but I’m definitely not trained to teach it.
“A few in-service courses here and there only helped a bit,” she pointed out.
“It’s really frustrating to hear complaints about how bad we (teachers) are when people don’t acknowledge the kind of challenges we face.
“I’m good at what I was trained in, but suddenly I’m expected to be an expert in another area overnight – how can I stay motivated?”
Meanwhile, experienced English teacher Gina opted to undergo a masters programme at a private university in the hopes of expanding her teaching skills.
“I wanted to learn more about the methodology of language teaching, but I didn’t feel like I was learning anything new. In fact, a short course I went for on my own time had more to offer.
“But how many teachers have the time to do this?
“It’s one thing to have a good command of English, but teaching is a different ball-game altogether.”
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