Don't speak in English because I cannot speak in English.

on Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Don't speak in English because I cannot speak in English.

That is the exact sentence of at least 3 girls in my form 5 classroom in their journal. They were told to write about the things that they wish could happen in their English classroom to aid in their learning process.

Don't speak in English because I cannot speak in English.

I cannot believe there is such level of ignorance and complacence of their abilities that they can actually write down such words. I'm not saying that these kids should automatically feel great about speaking in 100% English and therefore are being forced to become native speakers of English. I'm not even trying to force them to score and A in their SPM examinations because I can understand how difficult it is for me to score an A in a Japanese Exam if there was one that I could take.

I cannot imagine writing an essay in Japanese nor understand a passage in Arabic. I am well aware that to some of these kids, English is a foreign language if not alien. What beguiles me is not their level of competency but their level of motivation and attitude towards learning.

At home = speak in Malay.
History class = speak in Malay.
Science classes = speak in Malay.
Talking to friends = speak in Malay.
Talking to other teachers = speak in Malay.
Talking to some English teachers = speak in Malay.
Talking to anyone else around their neighbourhood = speak in Malay.
Talking to their pet dog or pet cat at home = speak in Malay.
Scolding their siblings = speak in Malay.
Thinking about getting out of school early = thinking in Malay.

Malay Language classes = speak in Malay.
English Language classes = YOU ALSO WANT TO speak in Malay.

When do you want someone or something in your life that speaks in English?


Anonymous said...

this post is so true! My students will tell me 'Teacher, jangan cakap orang putih! Tak faham ba'
And I'll give them that look and said 'This is an English class. When will you learn?'

Sigh.. My English classes are like 50% in BM.


Government Agent said...

Do not give in to them..

reduce your level and frequency but never take out English in your classes at all

Show them how reluctant you are to use other languages

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