THE decline in English is because of poor teaching techniques.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap said teachers should teach English in a fun way using different methods and teaching tools. Only then will students be able to learn the language, she added.
“Studies show that the speaking abilities of students are affected when teachers have ineffective methods and weaknesses in skills.
“There is a need to get teachers and students to speak more English.
“We need to make it our personal responsibility to learn the language and merely depending on classroom teaching is not enough,” said Yap.
Towards better standards: Yap (centre) with Osman and Capel at the conference.
Yap expressed these concerns during the official opening of the three-day Seventh International English Language Teaching conference in Penang recently. Also present was state education director Datuk Osman Hussain.
Yap praised the event organiser – Penang English Language Teaching & Learning association (Pellta) -– for creating an outlet for English teachers and educational experts to learn and share.
She urged more teachers to use interactive teaching methods in the classroom to create a fun learning atmosphere.
“Task-based learning is good because students will be able to interact with others and they have to cooperate with one another,” she said.
Pellta president Rovina Elaine Capel said that the conference includes various workshops which share practical tips.
“We have international participants and speakers from 10 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Korea, Iran, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia,” she said.
Capel said Pellta has been around for 25 years, organising various workshops for English teachers.
“We organise workshops and invite educational experts whenever they are in town,” she said, adding that the conference is held every two years.
She said that the organisation had about 200 members.
Dr Tamas Kiss of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said that learning a new language was easy.
He was there to conduct a workshop on “Creative Ways of Teaching Grammar”. During his workshop, he placed a text in Romanian and asked participants to translate it to English based on their knowledge of the English grammar structure.
“Students should learn to focus on the meaning and language; not just in forms and rigid structure,” said Dr Kiss.