Many teachers are quite content with their knowledge and teaching methods but, believe me, our needs change over time. The teaching methods we have been practising over the years may not be applicable now. They might be obsolete. That is when we find ourselves lacking in ideas on how to teach certain skills efficiently.
Teachers should break away from their comfort zone and face the challenges of the 21st century’s learning and teaching environment.
Students have different expectations from us. Are we ready to meet their needs?
Isn’t it true that high-performance teachers produce high-quality students? Moreover, pupils are digital natives and it is high time we upskill ourselves.
If we depend on the short courses provided by our respective district education offices (PPD), it is not sufficient.
In the process of acquiring effective methods of teaching and knowledge of the English language, I would rather go for the experts. They are the subject matter analysts who have researched various fields of the language.
At the conference, I was overwhelmed by the speakers who have decades of experience in the language field. They shared their views and experiences with us in regards to English.
I would categorise them as language advocates. Their concern is mainly the standard of English in our country.
Their burning desire to uphold the standard of English in our country is something to be appreciated. I can comprehend their concerns as they are worried about current and future graduates.
One of the speakers said that many graduates are handicapped by their poor grasp of English.
They can’t communicate and impress employers in the job market. Some even shamelessly ask prospective employers to speak in another language because they have no confidence using English.
These local graduates are left behind in the international arena. English is no more a colonial language that should be sidelined. But it has taken a back seat over the years.
Sadly, we are seeing the repercussions now. Our own graduates are suffering without proper job opportunities. The future is bleak and uncertain.
As far as the private sector is concerned, English is the medium of language since these companies have strong ties with international counterparts.
So, like it or not, learning English is fundamentally important. As what Ludwig Wittgenstein, a philosopher said: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”
We can’t live in denial forever. Let us address our weaknesses and ponder what initiatives we can take on our part to upgrade ourselves and make us marketable. Sumati Muniandy, Johor Baru, Johor NST Letters 09 September 2015