Learn English in daily life

In real life children had little to do with English in Science and Mathematical subjects. Therefore teaching the subjects in English may not be able to assist children to thrive in the language. — NSTP Archive

English literacy is defined as the ability to read and write in the language.

Literacy is often perceived as cognitive, a set of fixed skills assessed at school.

This means a particular way of reading and writing that is predetermined by the education system.

As a result, we sometimes overlook the role of students’ socio-cultural background that can become a “pool of knowledge” that teachers can exploit

In the Malaysian context, the integration of literacy as a set of skills and as a sociocultural practice is recommended by researchers in the field of English curriculum development.

In Malaysia, children are exposed to English at an early age.

They can spot the language easily through songs, cartoons, movies, games, comics, billboards, restaurant menus and other sources.

Educators need to tap into the knowledge derived from what the children experience in daily life.

In real life, children have little to do with English in Science and Mathematics.

Therefore, teaching Science and Mathematics in English may not assist children to thrive in the language.

In fact, using English in Science and Mathematics can complicate the children’s comprehension of the subjects.

I would recommend that English is strengthened through subjects such as information and communications technology (ICT), music and art.

In ICT, for example, children come across many English terms such as “loading” rather than “memuatkan”, “app” rather than “aplikasi” and “CD” rather than “cakera optik” in their daily life when they use ICT tools and gadgets.

In music, teachers can employ nursery rhymes or English songs to teach students.

The media or music room
commonly has a television set, radio or CD player that can be exploited to achieve learning objectives.

The room is also equipped with musical instruments that teachers can benefit from.

They can be used to accompany singing performances.

During art classes, teachers can encourage children to draw comics or cartoon characters and use English words and sentences to complete the drawings.

These activities can be held when teachers are not conducting Bahasa Melayu-based activities that they
normally do as specified in the syllabus.

Such activities are in line with the “learning English in a fun way” concept advocated by the Education Ministry.

Although the practicality of these suggestions may be vague, they can ensure that children’s sociocultural factors are taken into account before any policy is revamped and executed.

The question of “what children do with English in their life?” needs to be considered before any English language policy is implemented.

By SITI SORAYA LIN.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/07/508336/learn-english-daily-life

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