The learned writer points out (and rightly so) that the constant changes to the country’s education policies have led to students’ poor performance in the subject, both in urban and as well as rural schools.
Every time the authorities shift the goalpost, students are left in the lurch and parents more confused and confounded. The abolition of the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English is a case in point.
We need not stress or dwell on the importance of the English language. Instead, we should focus on the need to review the present system and to provide practical solutions to enable students to master the language.
It is time lawmakers and laymen realised that English is a difficult and complex language, and there is no shortcut to attain proficiency in it.
Sufficient time and sustained efforts over a long period are vital to acquire a good command of the language, both written and spoken.
Here, the teacher plays a crucial role. The teacher must have been trained to teach the language and must have the communication skills to impart the knowledge. We cannot afford to have the blind leading the blind.
Students must have a good grounding in English grammar. Grammar is the building block to speaking and writing grammatically correct English. Generally, children from homes where English is habitually spoken find it easier to understand and grasp the rudiments of English grammar.
English literature, poetry, debates, drama and plays enhance students’ conversational and oratory skills, and even give them the courage to argue with dramatic intensity when the situation demands.
Last but not least is the importance of reading. Parents must inculcate the reading habit in their children from a young age. They must be provided with books close to their level of development and interests. Besides magazines and periodicals, newspapers also provide vast materials to improve their knowledge and literary skills.
S. Sundareson, Petaling Jaya, Selangor NST LETTERS 15 SEPTEMBER 2014 @ 8:07 AM