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March 13th, 2019

Rise, the teachers of English

On March 10, Bernama reported of the need to “Intensify training to improve English proficiency of teachers’.

Among others that were mentioned were:

i) Capable teachers and ensuring sufficient numbers to teach Mathematics in English to meet the government’s policy of allowing the teaching of both subjects in English.

ii) Ensure the principals can converse in English fluently so that they can run the programme smoothly.

It was also commented by prominent academicians that teachers in schools are not proficient enough to use English as medium of instructions.

I am not surprised in knowing this as it has been so long that the roadmap for English as medium of instruction are discussed and talked about and still no ‘concrete solutions’ are met to overcome the problems.

So it is true on saying ‘teachers’ graduated from Education Faculties and Teacher Training Institutes are not ‘competent’ or skilled enough to teach English in schools.

Then it is sad to see in the news many are lauding and telling everyone that we do have ‘world class teacher trainees’, passionate graduate’s trainees, and etc.

Why do we have to be ‘blunt’ in telling the reality and the truth?

Let’s not point fingers to blame as of course it will never end.

If scholars of the like of Malaysian National Professors Council cannot come up with a very good concrete solutions then who are the others to say, talk, write or bring up the best answers.

Even the honorable PM once said ‘we do not need their intelligence; I think we do have intelligence within us”. (May 25, 2018)

We may ask what we really want from our education especially in using English as the medium of instruction.

As I read through some of the papers, articles, journals, it is sound enough what we need is ‘highly effective teachers of English’.

We do need to look at the qualities of a good teacher of English.

Through some informal brainstorming sessions with some of my colleagues, we agreed that to define an effective teacher and/or of English as someone who possesses 5 I’s consisting good imagination, interaction, innovative, independent or own thinking and interdependence imagination.

It is notable that teachers who have good imaginative power will have new and lots of ideas to break the monotonous environment and will be able to make students participate lively in class.

Albert Einstein says that “imagination is more important than knowledge”.

“Human progress is possible only through education. Without imagination, education becomes a kind of intellectual recycling of the same knowledge passed from teacher to student and back to teacher on the test.
Education should do more than simply transmit information; it should develop skills such as imagination that evolve our knowledge and move us forward as a species.”

Educators who are creative and imaginative can show any teaching especially language aptitude strangely and adequately.

They can build up students' imaginative self-articulation. Educators who are imaginative investigate and make new things.

Students normally appreciate being guided by imaginative educators.

Having imaginative ability can do ponders for any class.

An innovative teacher is one who is brave enough to try new things in order to be on the same track.

Students seem to be fondly acquitted to innovative teacher.

Innovativeness means to introduce changes and new ideas, daring to be different and being unique, going off the track in order to be on the track, experimenting new things and being fresh always.

A teacher who doesn’t talk or who doesn’t promotes interaction in the class is not doing the right thing to their profession.

A teacher needs to empower learners and helping them develop their communication skills.

Teachers should motivate their students; create opportunities for them to interact with one another through commutainment (communication through entertainment) activities such as role-plays, group’s discussions, mock interviews, etc.

Students need to be independent to develop their independent thinking; here teachers can only provide assistance.

Independent thinking is the process of being able to think on your own, without someone else guiding you.

Independent thinking implies thinking on your own, being critical of what you see and hear and questioning information and irrational assumptions

Now, do you know anyone in your group who is an independent thinker?

An independent think normally helps the group of students develop the desire and ability to think on their own.

An independent thinker contributes a lot to the team. A normal language learning tasks should aim at developing students’ thinking skills.

Besides independent thinker, we are strongly advised to be interdependence, as it is essential for a successful person.

The stages from dependent stage to independent stage and then to interdependent stage is very important for students.

Interpersonal relationship is the key to success in today's competitive world. 

As human beings we do need to socialize. A person who has the capability to relate with each others can be more successful compared to the quite restricted type.

Those who are interdependent utilize positive dialect and win individuals.

They are courteous, charming, down to earth, enticing and effective.


An educator or linguistic teacher who is imaginative, innovative, interactive, independent and interdependent can be successful in the field and can lead the students from dependent stage to independent stage and then to interdependent stage.

Azizi Ahmad Malaysiakini Letters 13 March 2019

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