English is not an impossible dream

Language mentor: Teachers listen intently as a A Pro-ELT trainer (centre) briefs them during a training session in Johor. – File photo

Although the Education Ministry’s postponement of English as a must-pass subject in the SPM last week was unexpected, it explains here the steps it is taking to strengthen English language proficiency among students and teachers.

THE English language is without a doubt the most influential language in the world. Trade and commerce in the globalised world are dependent on English as a lingua franca.

Academic and scientific researches are also largely authored in the English language. The government and Education Ministry are fully aware of the importance of the English language to the long-term development and well-being of Malaysia today and the future.

Many proactive measures and policies have been instituted to ensure our children and graduates have a strong command of the language.

The ministry has taken a dual-pronged approach to increase the quality of English at both the school and tertiary level of education. The first is remedial in nature and the second is policies that will strengthen English overall among students.

The first phase is to retrain current teachers to reach a satisfactory level of English proficiency through various methods. Among the methods employed to do this is the Native English Speaking Programme (Program Penutur Jati).

So far 1,800 primary schools have undergone this programme across six geographical zones. 360 mentors whose native language is English have spent 360,925 hours of personal input time to train 4,639 teachers so far.

There has also been an improvement to the teaching and learning pedagogy of the English language for teachers. This improvement stresses on factors such as class administration, student motivation, research literature and teacher evaluations to further improve the delivery of English lessons.

To build a strong foundation, the ministry has embarked on the first phase of increasing literacy by choosing 21,568 students randomly across the country based on the School Based Assessment.

by P. KAMALANATHAN.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Education/2015/08/30/English-is-not-an-impossible-dream/

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