Proposal to use Scrabble to teach English


  • Nation
  • Monday, 16 Jun 2003

BY V. CHANDRASEKARAN

SUNGAI PETANI: Scrabble has been proposed as a tool to teach English in schools from next year. 

Malaysian Scrabble Association president Nik Zamri Abdul Majid said his association, Scrabble Masters (M) Sdn Bhd and toy company Mattel South-East Asia had made the proposal to the Education Ministry two months ago after conducting a survey. 

He said the proposal involved a RM50mil allocation to buy 114,000 scrabble sets for 5,700 secondary and primary schools nationwide. Although the ministry had not given any official approval, it was very supportive of the idea, he said. 

“As per the proposal, each school will be allocated 20 scrabble sets, and two English lessons are to be used up for the game weekly,” he said. 

In Thailand, where English was not the lingua franca, some 5,000 students participated in Scrabble tournaments and improved their proficiency in the language, he said. 

“It has been found that students from SM La Salle and St John Institution in Kuala Lumpur who played Scrabble have improved their standard of English by about 30%,” he added. 

He said several Chinese schools in Penang, Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur had started using the word game as a teaching tool for English. 

“Students can improve their command of English in a fun yet educational way by playing the game.  

It allows them to improve their spelling, learn new words and also encourages reading habits,” he said after attending the launching of a “Scrabble to School” programme here yesterday. 

Prof Dr Mohd Khir Awang, the political secretary of Education Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Mahadzir Mohd Khir, launched the programme on behalf of Mahadzir at SM Sains Sultan Mohamed Jiwa yesterday. 

The “Scrabble to School” programme, launched with the Education Ministry's backing, was intended to boost English proficiency among students. It was held for the first time for secondary school students, and would lead to the fourth National Junior Scrabble championship in September. 

Under the programme, a series of workshops for teachers and students would be held in selected secondary schools throughout Peninsular Malaysia to teach them the game and show how it could serve as an effective tool to learn English.  

Nik Zamri said there were also plans to introduce Scrabble workshops and state-level tournaments to primary schools and higher learning institutions.  

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