JOHOR BARU: Some teachers are worried that certain students may not be able to catch up to the higher standard of English in imported textbooks that will go into use next year.
Johor English Language Teaching Association president Vincent D’Silva said a sudden switch to materials from overseas could be detrimental because learning English is a major challenge for many Malaysian students, especially those in rural areas.
“If the students cannot identify with the topics taught, they might just switch off and this will hinder them from learning English.
“Caution must be exercised when we introduce something new as it can have severe repercussions. Not every student is exposed to Western culture,” he said yesterday.
“It is important that the contents of the books be thoroughly scrutinised by experts.”
He said teachers would need support from experts to ensure successful implementation.
“There is no rule stating that foreign textbooks should be the only materials used, but they can be supplemented with local materials such as newspapers.
“We can have a webpage where issues related to the use of foreign textbooks can be discussed and addressed,” he added.
D’Silva said English textbooks should serve as facilitators rather than barriers to learning the language.
“If there is a need to reconsider this decision, we should consider resources that are more suited to the majority of our students,” he said.
The Star reported in October that imported English textbooks will be used in schools as part of the Education Ministry’s move to implement the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) aligned curriculum.
CEFR is a guide developed by the Council of Europe to gauge foreign language proficiency.