Our Confusion Over Teaching English at Public Schools

I don’t get Malaysians who are against this Dual Language Program (DLP).
“Another new policy?!”
“What’s wrong with this country huh? Sheeshh”
“That’s it, our education system is useless and has gone down in the dumps!”

I’m sure we’ve all heard those before. In fact, we may have been the ones saying those things ourselves. While I’m not arguing against those outbursts, as they may have some truths to it, my point now is the DLP.

Are those who are against it are even aware what the program is all about? Not every school has to go through with it lah. So don’t get all panicky. (If you’re still interested to read my rants, please click on the link to read a bit about the DLP first).

For schools who DO qualify to go ahead with the program, what are you complaining about? I get that school administrators and teachers may not be in favour of yet again another new policy by the ministry; that there’s just too much additional work to be done. Too much hassle etc.. But wait. At the end of the day, shouldn’t your main objective be your students? Don’t you want to help them be proficient in English? Yes, I am aware that the task of making one proficient in English is NOT easy and that it shouldn’t rest on the teachers alone. Students should, ideally, speak English at home with their parents, family members and friends, they should be surrounded with English books, should only watch English programs and be in a conducive environment.. Unfortunately, not all students have that luxury. So their best bet to learn English is, perhaps, at school. So quit feeling like you’re the victims (even if you really are) and try to motivate yourselves to give the best to your students. Our vocation as educators is a noble one. It comes with a price. Sometimes we don’t get rewarded or even acknowledged but that shouldn’t be a primary concern. Right?

And for parents whose children are at selected schools that qualify for the DLP program.. What are YOU complaining about? Is it because you don’t want your kids to have more exposure of other subjects in English? Is it because your argument is “Why only math, science & information technology subjects? Aren’t the other subjects important too?” (My eyes are rolling at this point, so I’ll just stop). Is it because you’re still dwelling on the perception that the teachers “aren’t ready” yet? Newsflash. That’s why the program is only offered to schools that have the capacity – the manpower and facilities. I believe in our teachers’ capabilities. Some teachers are really good at what they do and are selfless, but they may be overshadowed by those who aren’t or a bit berkira with their job scopes. Nonetheless, if we don’t believe in them, how else can they be confident to do their jobs? Let them educate our kids. Yet, at the same time, we shouldn’t outsource too much. We need to be hands-on in our kids’ English learning as well. Speak English with them often. Provide them with the necessary environment to learn and speak English. I’m not an expert myself, so I’m still learning. Let’s learn together and help the teachers in making our kids’ English better.

I personally feel that ending the PPSMI was a mistake. But we need to realize and agree that many Malaysians were against that policy (teaching math and science in English) as well. I’m guessing that was the reason it was ended in the first place. But now when the English standard is sub-par, many Malaysians (including those very same people) are blaming the system and demanding that something be done. In response, the ministry came up with the Dual Language Program. Mind you, it’s still in its pilot stage. So there’s definitely room for improvement. But you can almost immediately hear perfectionist Malaysians scream, “This is not implemented nationwide or statewide. It is only for schools that opt for it and have met many criteria. I foresee many schools opting out due to lack of support from rural folks, teachers and Guru Besar etc”.. 😐

So, back to my original question. I really don’t get it. What do you want, Malaysia?

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One Comment on “Our Confusion Over Teaching English at Public Schools”

  1. Erliza says:

    I strongly agree with u. They shouldn’t ended the PPSMI and it was a big mistake. I come from rural area and english such a big obstacle for me to pass. I dont speak english at home or school, dont read english book and also dont listen to english song. My batch was the 1st batch that study Math and Science in english. It was hard. Really hard especially the term. But i need to admit my vocab increase and it really helpful in my university time. I cannot imagine what will happen if PPSMI don’t exist. For urban area, maybe it is an easy job for teachers, but for rural area like my area, the teachers have to put extra effort to teach us in english and i’m so thankful for them for not give up on us. Now, I can read english novel, can write a little , but having difficulty to speak due to lack of confidence. I still learning until now. Anyhow, I personally love PPSMI.


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