PETALING JAYA: Teachers have been urged to go the extra mile to boost the level of English proficiency among students.
“We should not be too parochial. We have to accept that English is the international language and it is vital to be in the forefront at the international stage,” said National Parent-Teacher Associations Collaborative Council president Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Ali Hasan.
He called for a quantum leap to help students improve their language skills.
“Necessary steps have to be taken to make sure that we are on par with other countries, especially Singapore,” he said.
Dr Mohamad Ali said that firstly, the teachers themselves should be proficient to teach English.
“There is not enough emphasis on the teachers. In fact, we are trying our best to get teachers from other countries to volunteer to teach English here. These are only temporary measures.
“We must get our priorities right. We need specialised English and literature teachers who can cope with the coaching, delivering and the speaking of English language in schools,” Dr Mohamad Ali said.
He added that Malaysia was still emphasising on “exam-oriented language”.
“Maybe programmes such as English communication skills should be introduced on weekends or during school holidays,” he said.
The National Union of the Teaching Profession president Kamarozaman Abd Razak stressed the need for more teachers with the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) qualification.
Many teachers only took up the language as a minor in their tertiary education, he said.
“Besides, the Education Ministry has too many programmes sometimes.
“The teachers have to be away for a certain period for courses and other activities and this will disrupt the teaching process in schools.
“On the part of students, some of them don’t see how English will benefit them. We see such problems at schools in the rural areas as compared to cities and urban areas,” Kamarozaman said.
He urged teachers to discuss with parents on ways to deal with this.
Other steps could include organising English-oriented activities such as public speaking or quizzes.
“Schools can also hold their weekly assemblies, sports day, speech day or any other activities in English,” he said.
“This will force the students to converse in English and they will be able to pick it up from there.”
On Jan 1, Bernama reported that Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman hoped all state assemblymen would take initiatives to improve the command of English among primary school children in their constituencies.
This is important to ensure the pupils would perform better in the UPSR this year after the state recorded a below-par performance in 2016.
“The UPSR format changed last year and it was quite difficult for teachers and students, indirectly causing a deterioration in UPSR results for English and Science subjects.
“As the Seberang Takir assemblyman, I took the initiative to allocate RM10,000 this year to schools in the constituency, and I hope it will help to improve English more effectively,” he said.
“Maybe other assemblymen can take similar initiatives, or whatever is good for improving the performance of English in primary schools in their respective constituencies.
“They could, maybe, buy English newspapers as well to help the students,” he said.
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